A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Chicago vs. Boise for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Chicago or Boise?

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 Chicago and Boise can help you decide which place is right for you.

Chicago

Chicago is a cosmopolitan, diverse, and vibrant city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Boise

Boise is a authentic, friendly, and welcoming city. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Is there more to do in Chicago or Boise?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Chicago than Boise. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Chicago is more touristy than Boise and is popular for its thriving sports scene, its iconic local cuisine, and its world class shopping at the Magnificent Mile. It is also well known for The Willis Tower (previously the Sears Tower). Boise is famous for its many outdoor and recreational activities.

How is Chicago different from Boise?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chicago or Boise?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its museums and history. Also, Boise is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Chicago has many famous sights for visitors. There are countless landmarks, museums, and iconic sights in the area. Some of the most famous are the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Notable landmarks include the famous Willis Tower - formerly the Sears Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the iconic Cloud Gate (the bean).

Boise is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. As the state capital, there's a nice selection of local museums around town. Favorites include the Boise Art Museum, the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, the Idaho Black History Museum, and Discovery Center.


Is Chicago or Boise Better for Theater?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its shows and theatre. However, Boise is not a theatre destination.

The theater and performance venues in Chicago draw crowds from around the world. Theater is big here with many of the major Broadway productions visiting the city. There is also an endless list of smaller, local theaters to choose from.

Boise is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Chicago or Boise? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its restaurants. However, Boise is lacking in options for its restaurant scene.

For foodies, Chicago is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. With everything from award-winning luxury restaurants to local dives, this city has something for everyone. It also has very distinct local flavors and dishes that create an identity and bring great pride to the locals. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.

Boise offers some easy restaurants to choose from. While Idaho has long been associated with the potato, the locals usually think of "finger steaks" when describing local food. These are deep-friend beef strips that are as good as they sound.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Nightlife?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its evening party scene. Also, Boise is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife.

Chicago is a world class party destination. It has a wide range of activities at night, with everything from theater and comedy clubs to dance venues, sporting events, and local bars. It's easy to fill many evenings with whatever activity appeals to you. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.

Boise has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. In downtown Boise you'll find a selection of bars, lounges, and breweries. There's enough around town to keep the nightlife scene interesting.


Is Chicago or Boise Better for Music?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its music scene. However, Boise is not a live music destination.

Chicago has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. The city is the birthplace of such interesting styles as modern gospel and the Chicago style blues.

Boise is not a live music destination.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Beaches?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a popular place for the beach. However, Boise is not a beach destination.

Chicago is a good option for a beach vacation. While you don't immediately think of beaches when you think of Chicago, there are some nice beaches by the lake. If the weather is nice, it's a great area to spend some time.

Boise is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Chicago or Boise?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its shopping areas. Also, Boise is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for shopping.

Many people travel to Chicago specifically to go shopping. There are countless neighborhoods that are filled with boutiques, local vendors, and art galleries. The city has some of the country's best shopping opportunities, and the most notable area is the famous Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile.

Boise is a great destination for shopping. You'll find a mix of local boutiques, independent vendors, and suburban shopping centers where you'll find anything that you might need.


Is Chicago or Boise Better for Christmas?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is an excellent place to visit for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Boise does not offer Christmas activities.

Since it has plenty to do, Chicago is a very popular place to visit during Christmas. There's a number of seasonal celebrations, ice skating, and excellent shopping.

Boise does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Christmas Markets?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a popular place for visiting Christmas markets. However, Boise does not offer Christmas markets.

Many visitors go to the Christmas markets in Chicago. Shopping is a highlight of a trip to the city, and the Christkindlmarkt is not to be missed.

Boise does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Families?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. However, Boise is lacking in options for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Chicago is a very family-friendly destination. The city has a large number of activities for kids, including zoos, Shedd Aquarium, impressive children's museums, and large and elaborate playgrounds in Millennium Park. It's easy to keep kids entertained in this very kid-focused city.

Boise doesn't usually come to mind when thinking about kid-friendly destinations. You'll find parks, playgrounds, and the Discovery Center which will help keep kids entertained.


Is Chicago or Boise Better for Couples?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a popular place for couples. However, Boise is lacking in options for romance.

Chicago is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods. There are many varied restaurants and entertainment options that make for a great date night. There are also sporting events, parks, and gardens where couples can explore.

Boise is not the best destination for a couple to visit. Date night activities include dining at a nice restaurants and seeing a show at the theater.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Boise is lacking in options for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Chicago. The city doesn't have a huge backpacker vibe, but it does have a number of hostels that help keep costs in check.

Boise is not the best destination for backpackers and budget travelers due to its high prices. Backpackers rarely make their way to this town.

Is Chicago or Boise Better for Students?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Boise is not popular with students.

Many students frequent Chicago. The city has a large number of universities that bring in students from around the country and around the globe. It's a huge international city with economic ties and many opportunities connected to the universities.

Boise is not popular with students.


Is Chicago or Boise Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is a must-visit destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Boise is lacking in options for its public transit.

Chicago has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.

Public transit is generally limited in Boise. There are infrequent buses around town, but visitors usually have a car to get around town efficiently.

Is Chicago or Boise a more walkable city?

Chicago
Boise

Chicago is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Boise is lacking in options for its walkability.

Chicago is a very walkable destination. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.

Boise is generally not very walkable. There are a couple of walkable neighborhoods but, in general, the town isn't very walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Chicago Worth Visiting? and Is Boise Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Boise or Chicago?

How long in Chicago or Boise?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Chicago or Boise to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Chicago than Boise because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Chicago, and 1-2 days is enough time in Boise.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chicago than Boise 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 Chicago.


  • How many days in Chicago or Boise? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chicago 3-5 
    Boise 1-2

One day in Chicago or Boise?

Each neighborhood in Chicago has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. This city 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.

In Boise, you'll find museums and nightlife. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.


A weekend in Chicago or Boise?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

In Boise, you'll find nightlife and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Boise has to offer.

Five days in Chicago or Boise?

Chicago is a fun place to experience. Each neighborhood in Chicago has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Boise is a great place to explore. 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.

A week in Chicago or Boise?

You'll find shopping and museums around the vibrant big city of Chicago. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

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


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Historical Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Boise or Chicago?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chicago is $288, while the average daily cost in Boise is $146. 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 Chicago and Boise in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $198
    Boise $75
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $396
    Boise $150
Compare Hotels in Chicago and Boise

Looking for a hotel in Chicago or Boise? 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 Chicago


Hotels in Boise


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: Chicago Hotel Prices and Boise Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $37
    Boise $34
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chicago

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


  • Parking
    $19
  • Taxi Ride
    $10
  • Taxi from Airport
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in Chicago APT-HTL (ORD) , (MDW): $128
  • RoundTrip transfer in private car from-to Chicago Airport (ORD)- Chicago City: $276
  • Private Transfer: Midway Airport MDW to Chicago by Luxury SUV: $175
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (MDW) Airport: $146
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (MDW) Airport to Chicago City: $146
  • Private Transfer Chicago to Chicago Airport by Luxury Car or SUV: $87
  • Private Transfer Chicago Airport to Chicago by Luxury Car or SUV: $115
  • Private Sedan Transfer from Chicago Downtown to O'Hare airport: $220
  • Private SUV Transfer from Chicago Downtown to O'Hare airport: $240
  • Private SUV Transfer from Chicago Downtown to Midway airport: $240
  • Private Round trip Transfer - Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD): $189
  • Private Departure Transfer to Chicago Airports (ORD)(MDW): $90

Is it cheaper to fly into Chicago or Boise?

Prices for flights to both Boise and Chicago 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
    Chicago $49
    Boise $45
Typical Food Prices in Chicago

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:


  • Dinner for 1
    $24
  • Dinner for 3
    $118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chicago

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

  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class : $40
  • Chicago Small Group Food Tour: $69
  • Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise: $72
  • Downtown Pizza Guided Walking Tour with Tastings: $73
  • Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Self-Guided Tour: $75
  • Chicago Bucktown-Wicker Park Pizza Crawl: $79
  • Chicago West Loop Pizza Crawl: $79
  • Downtown Family Food Tour by Bike with Sightseeing: $80
  • Nitti's Supper Club Dinner and Show: $80
  • Lake Michigan Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner Cruise: $86
  • Secret Food Tour: $88
  • Chicago Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89

Typical Food Prices in Boise

For Boise, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Hotel
    $59
  • Cracker Barrel Lunch (for 4)
    $55

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $47
    Boise $30
Typical Entertainment Prices in Chicago

Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Sears Tower (family of 4)
    $102
  • Aquarium for 4
    $118
  • Water Taxi (family of 4)
    $22
  • IMAX Movie for Two
    $35
  • Shakespeare Play (2)
    $116
  • Art Institute (2)
    $36
  • U-Boat Tour (2)
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Chicago

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

  • Chicagoland Sightseeing in Style Luxury Private Sedan: $190
  • Field Museum of Natural History Early Access Ticket : $73
  • Windy City Ghosts: Hauntings of Chicago Walking Tour: $28
  • 2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago: $78
  • 2 Hour Private Chicago Soul House Tour: $65
  • 2-Hour Chicago Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour: $75
  • 2-Hour Guided Segway Tour of Chicago: $65
  • 2-Hour Haunted Segway Tour of Chicago: $78
  • Adults Party Art Experience: $66
  • Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour of Chicago: $79
  • App Chicago self-guided tours with multilingual audioguides: $9.79
  • Architectural and Historical Private Tour in Downtown Chicago: $199

Typical Entertainment Prices in Boise

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Boise's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Edwards Boise Imax
    $27

Tours and Activities in Boise

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

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Boise by 3Quest Challenge: $10
  • Boise Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $13
  • Boise Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • A Macabre History of Boise Walking Tour: $25
  • Hells Canyon Kirkwood Jet Boat Tour near Boise, Idaho: $218

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Free Things to Do in Chicago, Chicago Bucket List: The Best Places to See, and The Best Museums in Chicago.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $25
    Boise $24

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

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

  • Chicago Walking Brewery Tour in Malt Row: $15
  • Malt Row Walking Brewery Tour: $30
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $100
  • Craft Brewery Tour by Barrel Bus: $100


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

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


Which is Bigger, Chicago or Boise?

Chicago has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Boise. When comparing the sizes of Chicago and Boise, 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.