A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Chattanooga vs. Roanoke for Hiking, Couples, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Chattanooga or Roanoke?

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

Should I visit Chattanooga or Roanoke? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga is a bustling, outdoorsy, and thriving city. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Roanoke

Roanoke is a scenic, outdoorsy, and laid back town. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Chattanooga and Roanoke: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Chattanooga than Roanoke. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Chattanooga is famous for it's hikes, railways, and nearby natural areas. It is also well known for Rock City. Roanoke is famous for its welcoming hospitality and convenient access to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

How is Chattanooga different from Roanoke?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Chattanooga or Roanoke.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Chattanooga. It's a thriving city and there are a number of museums to explore. The Hunter Museum of American Art is great for art enthusiasts. There's also the Creative Discovery Museum, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and the 6th Cavalry Museum, as well as several smaller museums that you can visit.

Roanoke is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are several museums and sights around town such as the Living-Coral Reef Aquarium, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the Taubman Museum of Art. There's also the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.


Is the Food Better in Chattanooga or Roanoke? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Chattanooga is a popular place for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Roanoke is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Chattanooga is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are a growing number of restaurants that range from local dives to fine dining. Fried food is common, but you'll also find Mexican and classic hamburgers. Popular dishes that are local to the area include catfish, southern barbecue, and hush puppies.

Roanoke offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are burger joints, pizza restaurants, and plenty of other casual eateries where you can grab a quick meal.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Nightlife?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

It's hard to distinguish whether Chattanooga or Roanoke has a better nightlife scene.

Chattanooga has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. You'll find plenty of bars and clubs around town. There are also a number of comedy and improv clubs that are fun to check out.

If you're looking for night time activities Roanoke has a few options to choose from. There are local venues in the area that have drinks and often live music. You'll find jazz, country, rock, and bluegrass, particularly along Crooked Road in Franklin County.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Hiking?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

If you're looking to go hiking, Chattanooga and Roanoke both have high quality trails.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Chattanooga. It's proximity to the mountains means that you don't have to go far to find good hiking. Within a half hour of town there are more than 50 trailheads. Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain are both hiking destinations. Several trails have swimming spots and many pass through nice forests or head to impressive viewpoints.

Many visitors go to Roanoke for the hiking trails. The surrounding countryside is filled with mountain hikes. The Blue Ridge Mountains are crossed by trails that take you to waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and through serene forest. McAfee Knob, Sharp Top Mountain, and Roaring Run Trail some of the best hikes in the area.


Is the Shopping Better in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Shopping is a popular activity in both Roanoke and Chattanooga.

Many visitors go to Chattanooga to go shopping. Head downtown for local shops or to the larger malls if you want mainstream stores. Many visitors enjoy antiquing while they're in town, but there are also farmer's markets and thrift stores.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Roanoke. Market Street in Downtown Roanoke is lined with local vendors, particularly at the Historic Roanoke City Market. The town also has a mall and several shopping centers.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Families?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Chattanooga or Roanoke.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Chattanooga. Many people enjoy a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium, which has a touch tank and a butterfly exhibit, among other things. Near downtown, Coolidge Park is a great place for kids to get their energy out. There's also the popular Lookout Mountain Incline Railway as well as many hiking trails in the area.

Roanoke offers lots of family activities. The Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with kid-friendly hiking trails and fun outdoor activities. You can visit the Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum or Smith Mountain Lake Farm. There's also Virginia Children's Theater.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Couples?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Roanoke is a great destination for couples. Also, Chattanooga is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Roanoke frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Staying at a quaint bed and breakfast, tucked into the beautiful mountain setting is the perfect romantic getaway. Nearby there are vineyards and wine cellars, as well as gardens, hikes, and other outdoor activities.

Chattanooga is a nice destination for couples. Many couples enjoy staying at a local inn and then dining in a nice restaurant or visiting a winery. There's an eclectic art district to explore as well as horse drawn carriages and plenty of nearby hiking trails.


Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Roanoke is a popular place for backpackers. However, Chattanooga is a city with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Roanoke. There are several campgrounds in the area as well as great hiking trails.

Chattanooga is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's proximity to the mountains and diverse outdoor activities make this an under-rated destination for many backpackers.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Chattanooga is a great city for times when you don't have a car. However, Roanoke is not known for its public transit.

The public transit in Chattanooga can get you to most places easily. The city has a convenient and free electric shuttle service. It travels through the downtown and has stops at many points of interest such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium.

Public transit is generally limited in Roanoke. There are buses as well as a free trolley service through the downtown, but you really do need a car to get most places.

Is Chattanooga or Roanoke a more walkable city?

Chattanooga
Roanoke

Chattanooga is a great city for its ease of walking around. However, Roanoke is not known for its walkability.

Chattanooga is a very walkable destination. The city has put a lot of effort into improving its walkability. In particular, the downtown is nice to explore on foot.

Roanoke is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, with sidewalks and more dense development styles.


For even more information, also check out Is Chattanooga Worth Visiting? and Is Roanoke Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Roanoke or Chattanooga?

How long in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chattanooga and Roanoke. In our opinion, Chattanooga has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Chattanooga than Roanoke. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Chattanooga, and 1-3 days is enough time in Roanoke.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Roanoke than Chattanooga 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 Roanoke.


  • How many days in Chattanooga or Roanoke? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chattanooga 2-3 
    Roanoke 1-3

One day in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

In Chattanooga, you'll find nightlife and food. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the scenic town of Roanoke. Hikers are also drawn to this area. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

In Chattanooga, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chattanooga has to offer.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the laid back destination of Roanoke. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Chattanooga is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

The scenic town of Roanoke offers museums and nightlife. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.


A week in Chattanooga or Roanoke?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chattanooga. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Chattanooga. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Many people enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting Roanoke. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, and The Best Camping Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Roanoke or Chattanooga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chattanooga is $182, while the average daily cost in Roanoke is $164. 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 Chattanooga and Roanoke in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chattanooga $92
    Roanoke $96
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chattanooga $184
    Roanoke $192
Compare Hotels in Chattanooga and Roanoke

Looking for a hotel in Chattanooga or Roanoke? 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 Chattanooga


Hotels in Roanoke


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: Chattanooga Hotel Prices and Roanoke Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chattanooga $35
    Roanoke $23
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chattanooga

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chattanooga:


  • Chattanooga Zoo (for 2)
    $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Prices for flights to both Roanoke and Chattanooga 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
    Chattanooga $59
    Roanoke $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chattanooga

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chattanooga.

  • MLK Walking Art History & Food Tour: $65
  • Historic Southside Food Tour in Chattanooga: $99
  • ChattaBrunch Food Tour: $99
  • Downtown Chattanooga Food Tour: $119

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Roanoke

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

  • Roanoke Ebike Food Tour: $150

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chattanooga $52
    Roanoke $35

Tours and Activities in Chattanooga

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

  • 2 Virtual Reality Simulator Bundle for Outdoor Experiences: $27
  • ChattaBOOga Ghost Walk Tour in Chattanooga: $23
  • Chattanooga "C-Block Prison Break" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga "Locker Room Lockdown: Mascot Rescue" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $34
  • Chattanooga "Secret Agent" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $34
  • Chattanooga "The Inheritance Mystery Room" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga "Vaccine: Search For The Zombie Cure" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga Guided Walking Tour: $23
  • A Spooky and Family-Friendly Walking Tour: $25
  • Adults-Only Haunted City Walking Tour: $35
  • City Trolley Tour with Coker Automotive Museum visit: $44
  • City Trolley Tour with Coker Museum visit: $44

Tours and Activities in Roanoke

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

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia) Driving Tour with Audio Guide: $9.99
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia Audio Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Driving Audio Tour (Roanoke ↔ Afton): $12
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Roanoke to Afton) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Roanoke Downtown Food and Cultural Tour: $78
  • 3-Hour E-Bike Sightseeing and Breweries Tour in Roanoke: $109
  • Mountain Bike Tour from The Roanoke Star: $139

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chattanooga $24
    Roanoke $30


When comparing the travel costs between Chattanooga and Roanoke, we can see that Chattanooga is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Chattanooga has a larger population, and is about 71% larger than the population of Roanoke. When comparing the sizes of Chattanooga and Roanoke, 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.


When is the best time to visit Chattanooga or Roanoke?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Chattanooga or Roanoke in the Summer?

Both Roanoke and Chattanooga during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Chattanooga because of the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Roanoke this time of year.

Chattanooga is around the same temperature as Roanoke in the summer. The daily temperature in Chattanooga averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Roanoke fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

In Roanoke, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Chattanooga. In the summer, Chattanooga often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 265 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 273 hours of full sun.

Roanoke gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Chattanooga. Chattanooga usually gets more rain in July than Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 5.2 inches (131 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Chattanooga 81°F (27°C) 
    Roanoke 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Chattanooga or Roanoke in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Chattanooga and Roanoke. The hiking trails and the shopping scene are the main draw to Chattanooga this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Roanoke for the hiking trails and the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Chattanooga is around the same temperature as Roanoke. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Chattanooga in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Roanoke averages at about 60°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Roanoke this time of the year. In Chattanooga, it's very sunny this time of the year. Chattanooga usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke during autumn. Chattanooga gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 210 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Chattanooga usually receives less rain than Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.7 inches (94 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Chattanooga 63°F (17°C) 
    Roanoke 60°F (16°C)

Should I visit Chattanooga or Roanoke in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Chattanooga as well as Roanoke. Many travelers come to Chattanooga for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Roanoke in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Roanoke can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Chattanooga. In January, Chattanooga is generally a little warmer than Roanoke. Daily temperatures in Chattanooga average around 40°F (5°C), and Roanoke fluctuates around 38°F (3°C).

In the winter, Chattanooga often gets less sunshine than Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 145 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 165 hours of full sun.

Chattanooga receives a lot of rain in the winter. Chattanooga usually gets more rain in January than Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Chattanooga 40°F (5°C) 
    Roanoke 38°F (3°C)

Should I visit Chattanooga or Roanoke in the Spring?

Both Roanoke and Chattanooga are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

Chattanooga is a little warmer than Roanoke in the spring. The daily temperature in Chattanooga averages around 62°F (17°C) in April, and Roanoke fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

It's quite sunny in Roanoke. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chattanooga. Chattanooga usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke during spring. Chattanooga gets 243 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 246 hours of full sun in the spring.

It's quite rainy in Chattanooga. In April, Chattanooga usually receives more rain than Roanoke. Chattanooga gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.1 inches (79 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Chattanooga 62°F (17°C) 
    Roanoke 59°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Roanoke and Chattanooga

Chattanooga Roanoke
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 38°F (3°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Feb 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Mar 53°F (12°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
May 70°F (21°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 5.2 inches (131 mm) 79°F (26°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 51°F (11°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (133 mm) 42°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)