A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Charlottesville vs. Aspen for Food, Nightlife, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Charlottesville or Aspen?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Charlottesville and Aspen. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a young, collegiate, and southern university town. As this is a charming small town, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and hiking.

Aspen

Aspen is a charming, quaint, and vibrant ski town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the nightlife, live music, and food.

Charlottesville and Aspen: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Aspen. Although Charlottesville and Aspen are both popular with visitors, Aspen has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Aspen is more popular for its skiing, food, nightlife, music, resorts, hiking, shopping, christmas markets, and impressive beauty, while Charlottesville is known for its museums, historical sights, and quaint atmosphere. Aspen is more touristy than Charlottesville and is popular for its world-class skiing, many food, film, and music festivals, and its stunning mountain hikes. It is also home to The Maroon Bells. Charlottesville is popular for being home to the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and serving as a gateway to Shenandoah National Park.

How is Charlottesville different from Aspen?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Skiing?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is terrific for skiing. However, Charlottesville is not a skiing destination.

Aspen is a top destination for snow skiing, and it attracts visitors from around the world. Near the town, there are 4 separate ski resorts. In town you'll find Aspen Mountain, which is known for it's black-diamond runs. Aspen Highlands, a couple miles away, has a mix of slopes and is less crowded. Buttermilk attracts many freestyle skiers and Aspen Snowmass is considered one of the best family-friendly ski areas.

Charlottesville is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Charlottesville is a university town with good options for its museums and landmarks. However, Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Charlottesville. A highlight of a trip to the area is a visit to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The city is also famously home to the beautiful University of Virginia, which has a manicured and beautiful campus. History buffs will also appreciate visiting the Civil War Sites that are nearby as well.

Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Charlottesville or Aspen? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is terrific for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Charlottesville is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Eat your way through Aspen, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants. In town you'll find cafes and restaurants that cater to both the local crowd and the travelers who flock to the area during peak seasons.

Charlottesville may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Head to the Historic Downtown Mall to enjoy an outdoor meal at a top rated restaurant. There are also restaurants that cater specifically to students and offer affordable and quick meals.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Nightlife?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for nightlife and partying. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Aspen has something for everybody. The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene includes craft beer, live music, and dancing. There's a local vibe, particularly during the off-season times when the tourist crowds are less.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a university town with an active nightlife. The best areas for nightlife are found around the Downtown Mall, Belmont neighborhood, the Corner, and University Ave west near the mall. Even though there are a number of activities to enjoy at night, this is still a small town and the nightlife scene reflects that.


Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Music?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for its live music scene. However, Charlottesville is not a live music destination.

Aspen has a thriving music scene. Popular music venues in town include Silver City Mountain Saloon and Belly Up Aspen.

Charlottesville is not a live music destination.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Resorts?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for its luxury resorts. However, Charlottesville is not a resort destination.

There are plenty of resorts in Aspen to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, and St. Regis Aspen.

Charlottesville is not a resort destination.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for its Old Town?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Charlottesville is a university town with good options for its historic old town charm. However, Aspen does not have a historic old town.

Charlottesville offers a nice historic old town area. The Historic Downtown Mall is filled with restaurants and shops. It's a pedestrian only area with a lot of character and energy.

Aspen does not have a historic old town.


Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Hiking?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for hiking. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Aspen for the hiking trails. During the summer and fall seasons, hiking is a great way to explore Aspen's nearby beauty. Popular trails include the Ute Trail, the Lost Man Trail, and the famous Maroon Bells Scenic Trail.

Charlottesville is a good destination for hiking. Just outside of town there are plenty of hiking opportunities including in and around Shenandoah National Park. Hiking is at its best during the fall season when the leaves are changing.

Is the Shopping Better in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for its shopping opportunities. However, Charlottesville is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Aspen is well-known for its shopping. There are many great local shops and art galleries where you can pick interesting items or fine art.

Charlottesville is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Christmas?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is terrific for its Christmas holiday experiences. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for its Christmas activities.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in Aspen. There are a number of beautiful activities that will bring the holiday season to life in the town.

Charlottesville is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. From Christmas lights on campus to a festive atmosphere at the Monticello, the town is beautiful for Christmas.


Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Christmas Markets?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for visiting Christmas markets. However, Charlottesville does not offer Christmas markets.

Aspen has plenty of Christmas markets during the holiday season. The town has a charming Christmas market that is fun to explore and has around 40 vendors.

Charlottesville does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Families?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Both Charlottesville and Aspen are good family-friendly destinations.

Charlottesville offers lots of family activities. Wandering the campus of UVA, picking fruit at Carter Mountain Orchard or exploring the downtown mall, including the Virginia Discovery Museum are all activities that everyone can enjoy. There are also great hiking trails just outside of town.

Aspen is a family-friendly place to visit. Families that enjoy skiing together, hiking, rock climbing, and having adventures will enjoy a visit to this town. Aspen Mountain is not a great option for beginning skiers, but further away, Aspen Snowmass offers good beginner slopes.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Couples?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for its romantic activities. Also, Charlottesville is not as popular, but is still a nice university town for couples.

Aspen is a great ski town if you're traveling as a couple. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy and the setting is cute and very scenic, making it a beautiful and romantic destination.

Charlottesville is a good university town for couples to visit. The UVA campus is beautiful to explore, as is Monticello. The Downtown Mall has many great restaurants and activities that make for a nice date night and during the day, there's also beautiful hikes nearby that are at their peak during the fall season.


Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Students?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Charlottesville is renowned for students. However, Aspen is not popular with students.

Charlottesville is a very popular university town for students. The town is home to the beautiful University of Virginia and it's a popular destination for international students as well as local students. Much of the town is focused around student life, and the city's proximity to Washington, DC means it has access to global opportunities.

Aspen is not popular with students.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a good destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Charlottesville is not known for its public transit.

While Aspen offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are several shuttle buses around the town.

Public transit is generally limited in Charlottesville. There is a bus system that runs between campus, downtown, and several neighborhoods in Charlottesville.

Is Charlottesville or Aspen a more walkable city?

Charlottesville
Aspen

Aspen is a great ski town for its high level of walkability. However, Charlottesville is not known for its ease of walking around.

Aspen is a very walkable ski town. The town is compact enough that it can be explored on foot. If you're planning to head into the mountains to hike, you'll likely need a car.

Charlottesville is generally not very walkable. While the University of Virginia campus and the Downtown Mall are both very walkable, most of the town is not.


For even more information, also check out Is Charlottesville Worth Visiting? and Is Aspen Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Aspen or Charlottesville?

How long in Charlottesville or Aspen?

In either Charlottesville or Aspen, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Aspen than Charlottesville because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Charlottesville, and 3-5 days is enough time in Aspen.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Aspen than Charlottesville 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 Aspen.


  • How many days in Charlottesville or Aspen? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlottesville 2-3 
    Aspen 3-5

One day in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Even though Charlottesville is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. This university town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

The vibrant small town of Aspen offers nightlife and live music. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Charlottesville or Aspen?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Charlottesville. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

The ski town of Aspen offers live music and food. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Charlottesville is a fun place to experience. Charlottesville is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Aspen is a great place to explore. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This ski town offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.


A week in Charlottesville or Aspen?

Charlottesville is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Many people enjoy the shopping and skiing when visiting Aspen. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


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, Aspen or Charlottesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Charlottesville is $154, while the average daily cost in Aspen is $293. 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 Charlottesville and Aspen in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlottesville $80
    Aspen $170
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlottesville $160
    Aspen $340
Compare Hotels in Charlottesville and Aspen

Looking for a hotel in Charlottesville or Aspen? 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 Charlottesville


Hotels in Aspen


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: Charlottesville Hotel Prices and Aspen Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlottesville $53
    Aspen $56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlottesville

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

  • Private Arrival Transfer from Charlotteville Airport (CHO): $50
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlottesville Airport (CHO): $50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) - Private Transfer Arrival or Departure: $269
  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $222

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlottesville or Aspen?

Prices for flights to both Aspen and Charlottesville 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
    Charlottesville $42
    Aspen $85

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charlottesville

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

  • The UVA Corner Food Tour: Private Walking Food Tour in Charlottesville: $139
  • The Downtown Mall Food Tour: $149

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlottesville $18
    Aspen $45

Tours and Activities in Charlottesville

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

  • Charlottesville Historic Downtown APP/GPS Smartphone Walking Tour: $7.75
  • Shenandoah National Park Audio Driving Tour: $7.99
  • Shenandoah National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Charlottesville Dark History Ghost Tour : $24
  • Ghosts of Court Square Walking Tour: $26

Tours and Activities in Aspen

Here are a few actual costs in Aspen for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Aspen Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Scenic Walking Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • City Highlights Walking Tour: $40
  • Dark History Ghost-Themed Guided Walking Tour: $40
  • From Past to Present History Walking Tour: $40
  • Highlights of Aspen Tour: $40

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlottesville $53
    Aspen $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlottesville

Also in Charlottesville, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Wine Tours (Minimum 3 & Maximum 6 ) Pickup Maximum 30 Mi : $85


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charlottesville and Aspen, we can see that Aspen is more expensive. And not only is Charlottesville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Charlottesville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Charlottesville 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 Aspen would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Aspen than you might in Charlottesville.

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


Which is Bigger, Charlottesville or Aspen?

Charlottesville has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Aspen. When comparing the sizes of Charlottesville and Aspen, 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.