A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Charlotte vs. Rapid City for Attractions, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Charlotte or Rapid City?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Charlotte and Rapid City can help you decide which place is right for you.

Charlotte

Charlotte is a growing, evolving, and up-and-coming city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a friendly, fascinating, and activity-filled city. It's also popular because of the museums, food, and hiking.

Charlotte and Rapid City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Mount Rushmore
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Charlotte or Rapid City?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Charlotte than Rapid City, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Charlotte is more popular for its nightlife and big city activities, while Rapid City is known for its museums and hiking. Rapid City is more touristy than Charlotte and is known for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. Charlotte is popular for its banking industry and growing Uptown area. It is also home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

How is Charlotte different from Rapid City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Rapid City and Charlotte. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Charlotte or Rapid City?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Rapid City is terrific for its historical sights. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Rapid City has many famous sights for visitors. You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

Charlotte is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The Mint Museum is a popular place to visit, as is the Gantt Center for African American Arts. Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and sports enthusiasts will enjoy a stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


Is the Food Better in Charlotte or Rapid City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Charlotte and Rapid City.

Charlotte is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The food scene continues to grow and change around town. You'll find the latest trendy restaurant changes regularly, but dishes often include upscale southern faire or classic American. There are also many international restaurants, particularly Mexican, Thai, and Chinese.

Rapid City offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Nightlife?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Charlotte is very good for nightlife and partying. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Charlotte. Head Uptown for some of the best nightlife. The city has many bars and clubs that keep things fun late into the night.

Rapid City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Hiking?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Rapid City is great for hiking. However, Charlotte is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors go to Rapid City for the hiking trails. The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

Charlotte is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Charlotte or Rapid City?

Charlotte
Rapid City

If you're looking to go shopping, Charlotte and Rapid City both offer plenty of good spots.

Charlotte has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. Shopping malls such as SouthPark Mall or Carolina Place offer all of the standard retailers. Concord Mills is another favorite mall in the area. Aside from the malls, there is no shortage of shopping centers around town.

Rapid City is a great destination for shopping. Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Families?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Rapid City is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Rapid City is one of the most popular family destinations. Nearby national parks and outdoor activities, this is the perfect base for exploring the area with kids. Nearby you'll find the Big Thunder Gold Mine, which has tours and lets you pan for gold, and Custer State Park, which is filled with wildlife. Wall Drug is worth a stopoff, as is Dinosaur Park.

Charlotte is a family-friendly place to visit. There are a number of museums for kids, with one of the best being Discovery Place. It has many hands-on science based exhibits that kids will love. Another unique experience is a visit to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Carowinds Amusement Park is also in the area as are many great parks, playgrounds, and natural areas.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Couples?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Rapid City is great for couples. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Rapid City is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Couples will enjoy the amazing national parks in the area and the easy access to iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore. There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as great hiking trails and unique landscapes.

Charlotte is a nice destination for couples. There are a number of date night activities around town, particularly Uptown. You can see a show or concert at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center or hit up one of the trendy bars or restaurants. There are also sporting events and other festivals that are fun to experience.


Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Rapid City is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Charlotte is not a good destination for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Rapid City. Backpackers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty and the nearby national parks.

Charlotte is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's not a backpacker destination, there are some cheaper motels that budget travelers can stay at.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Students?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Charlotte is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Rapid City is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Charlotte. There are a number of smaller colleges in town, but the biggest university is the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Rapid City is not popular with students.

Is Charlotte or Rapid City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Charlotte is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Charlotte has some public transit options. There's a light rail system as well as buses that travel around town.

Public transit is generally limited in Rapid City. While there are a few buses, this isn't a realistic option for traveling through the region.


Is Charlotte or Rapid City a more walkable city?

Charlotte
Rapid City

Charlotte is very good for its high level of walkability. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

Charlotte is a somewhat walkable place. The Uptown area is the most walkable part of the city.

Rapid City is generally not very walkable. While the downtown is walkable, most visitors use the city as a base for exploring the surrounding areas, and this requires a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Charlotte Worth Visiting? and Is Rapid City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Rapid City or Charlotte?

How long in Charlotte or Rapid City?

It's fun to spend time in either Charlotte or Rapid City. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Rapid City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Charlotte, and 2-4 days is enough time in Rapid City.

Families should spend more time in Rapid City than Charlotte. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Rapid City, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Rapid City than Charlotte. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Rapid City that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Rapid City than Charlotte if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Rapid City.


  • How many days in Charlotte or Rapid City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlotte 1-3 
    Rapid City 2-4

One day in Charlotte or Rapid City?

With museums and nightlife around the evolving city of Charlotte, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Charlotte, one day is sufficent for most.

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Rapid City. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Charlotte or Rapid City?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Charlotte, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

You'll find museums and food around the fascinating destination of Rapid City. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Charlotte or Rapid City?

Charlotte, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the activity-filled city of Rapid City. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the museums. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Charlotte or Rapid City?

Charlotte is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Rapid City is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Rapid City or Charlotte?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Charlotte is $191, while the average daily cost in Rapid City is $116. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Charlotte and Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlotte $118
    Rapid City $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlotte $236
    Rapid City $120
Compare Hotels in Charlotte and Rapid City

Looking for a hotel in Charlotte or Rapid City? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Charlotte


Hotels in Rapid City


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Charlotte Hotel Prices and Rapid City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlotte $33
    Rapid City $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlotte

Also for Charlotte, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): $54
  • Departure Transfer: Charlotte to Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT in Business Car: $132
  • Charlotte Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Sedan: $150
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): 1-Way Transfer to Charlotte: $99
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $134
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Arrival Private Transfer: $67
  • Arrival Transfer: Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte in Business Car: $132

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlotte or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City and Charlotte change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Charlotte $46
    Rapid City $23
Typical Food Prices in Charlotte

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Charlotte:


  • Pizza at Airport
    $4.03
  • Cracker Barrel Lunch (family of 4)
    $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rapid City

For Rapid City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Roller Coaster Tickets with Dinner and Show in Rapid City: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlotte $43
    Rapid City $26

Tours and Activities in Charlotte

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Charlotte.

  • 2.5 Hour Black History Van Tour-Perseverance, Power, and Progress: $59
  • 90 Minute Historic Uptown Neighborhood Segway Tour of Charlotte: $75
  • Big Bite Brew Tour in Charlotte's LoSo District: $150
  • Carolina History and Haunts Charlotte Historical Ghost Walking Tour : $27
  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour - Smartphone guided audio/gps Tour at your own pace: $6.75
  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour: Smartphone Audio & GPS Tour: $6.50
  • Charlotte Haunted Booze and Boos Ghost Walking Tour: $35
  • Charlotte Historic : Queen Bee City Tour: $39
  • Charlotte Historical City Tour: $45
  • Charlotte Indoor Skydiving Experience with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate: $90
  • Charlotte Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Charlotte's Only Southern Charm Haunted/True Crime Golf Cart Tour: $48

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

For Rapid City, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $650
  • Badlands Sunset and Wildlife Adventure : $289
  • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239
  • Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours: $20
  • Buffalo Jeep Safari & Mammoth Site Tour: $700
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
  • From Private Devils Tower Tour and Hike: $650
  • From Private Spearfish Canyon Tour: $650
  • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
  • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Rapid City, SD: $15

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlotte $20
    Rapid City $6.93

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlotte

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Charlotte:

  • Charlotte Brewery Crawl Tour: $48
  • 3-Hour Brewery Crawl on 7 passenger Cart: $48
  • Original Charlotte Brewery Tour - Craft Beer Experience : $125
  • Bar Crawl on a Rollin Disco Ball Golf Cart in Charlotte: $240


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charlotte and Rapid City, we can see that Charlotte is more expensive. And not only is Rapid City much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Rapid City would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Rapid City and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Charlotte would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Charlotte than you might in Rapid City.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Charlotte Expensive? and Is Rapid City Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Charlotte or Rapid City?

Charlotte has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Rapid City. When comparing the sizes of Charlotte and Rapid City, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.