A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Chicago vs. Los Angeles

Should you visit Chicago or Los Angeles?

Should I visit Chicago or Los Angeles? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chicago

Located in the Midwest, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It has a population of almost 3 million and a metropolitan area that covers more than 10,000 square kilometers. It is also a hub for music, comedy and theater. It's skyline is beautiful with modern skyscrapers and Lake Michigan as a backdrop. It is easy to stay entertained in Chicago for weeks. There are world class museums, upscale or eclectic shopping opportunities, and impressive architecture.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California is probably one of the most well known cities in the United States. It is the second most populated metro area in the country with more than 17 million people. The city's diversity is wide reaching, giving it a character that is unique from any other place in the country. LA has many world famous sights and neighborhoods including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Santa Monica, but there is really so much more to this city.

Which city is cheaper, Los Angeles or Chicago?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chicago is $180, while the average daily cost in Los Angeles is $190. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Chicago and Los Angeles in more detail.


Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $226 for a double occupancy room in Chicago.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Los Angeles, $222 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Los Angeles, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $111, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $113
    Los Angeles $111
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $225
    Los Angeles $222


Food

Chicago food costs typically run travelers around $34 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

The average traveler spends about $35 per day in Los Angeles for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chicago $34
    Los Angeles $35
Typical Food prices in Chicago

Some typical examples of dining costs in Chicago are as follows:


  • 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.

  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Chicago History and Food Tour: $59
  • Chicago Fireworks Buffet Dinner Cruise: $136
  • Secret Food Tour: $240
  • Chicago Dinner Cruise on The Odyssey: $149
  • 3-Hour 3-Course Buffet Dinner Cruise: $109
  • Chicago Fireworks Dinner Cruise On The Odyssey: $160
  • Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour: $46
  • Chicago Crime & Pizza Walk: $50
  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49

Typical Food prices in Los Angeles

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


  • Mexican Dinner (family of 4)
    $32
  • Burritos for Two
    $15
  • Coffee and Danish
    $7.70

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Los Angeles

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

  • Downtown Food Tour: $75
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $209
  • How to Cook the Perfect Steak Virtual Cooking Class: $42
  • West Hollywood Food Tour: $75
  • Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour: $77
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Los Angeles Venice Beach: $96
  • Private Authentic Middle Eastern Cooking Class in Reseda, Los Angeles: $102
  • Luxury Vegan Food Tours of Los Angeles: $125
  • Secret Food Tour of Venice Beach, Los Angeles w/ Private Tour Option: $207


Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Chicago is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $34 per person, per day, on local transportation in Chicago.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Los Angeles than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $29 on transportation in Los Angeles on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $34
    Los Angeles $29
Typical Local Transportation prices in Chicago

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Chicago are as follows:


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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Chicago Airport Transfer by Private Sedan: $119
  • ORD to Chicago City Hotels: 1-Way Private Transfer: $122
  • O'Hare Airport Transfer by Private SUV: $134
  • Midway Airport Shared Transfers: $36
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport Shared Transfer: $44
  • Chicago Private Transfer to O’Hare Airport (ORD): $90
  • Chicago Private Transfer to Midway Airport (MDW): $90
  • From Chicago to O'Hare Airport Private Sedan Transfer: $99
  • MDW to Chicago City Hotels: 1-Way Private Transfer: $122
  • Chicago Airport: Private Transfer: $149

Typical Local Transportation prices in Los Angeles

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Los Angeles:


  • Hotel Parking for a Day
    $22
  • Taxi to Airport
    $55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Los Angeles

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

  • LA in a Day: City Highlights Tour with Transfer Options: $94
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Los Angeles Airport LAX: $30
  • Private Departure Transfer to Los Angeles Airport LAX: $30
  • Los Angeles Arrival Private Transfer: LAX Airport: $31
  • Small-Group Amazing Hollywood Sign Tour with Transfer: $32
  • Transfer to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): $39
  • Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to Santa Monica - Arrival Private Transfer: $41
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Los Angeles to Los Angeles Int. Airport (LAX): $52
  • Private Van Airport Arrival Transfer: LAX Airport to Anaheim Resort Area: $53
  • Private Departure Transfer from Los Angeles City to Los Angeles Airport: $53


Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Chicago typically cost an average of $32 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in Los Angeles, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $64 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $32
    Los Angeles $64
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:

  • Chicago River: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise: $23
  • Haunted Bar Tour: $25
  • Chicago's Modern Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour: $26
  • Downtown Architectural Interiors Tour: $30
  • Wicker Park Donut Tour: $35
  • Chicago 1893 World Fair Walking Tour with Bars: $42
  • Chicago Lakefront Bike Tour of Lincoln Park: $43
  • Bobby's Fright Hike: Halloween Edition Chicago Bike Tour: $50
  • Chicago Evening Segway Tour: $55
  • 2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago: $65

Typical Entertainment prices in Los Angeles

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


  • Santa Monica Pier Rides (family of 4)
    $37
  • Bowling
    $13
  • Hollywood Tour for Two
    $30
  • Six Flags for 2
    $96

Tours and Activities in Los Angeles

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

  • Hollywood Sign Comedy and Pictures Tour: $30
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Downtown Los Angeles Taco Tour: $55
  • Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions: $59
  • Los Angeles, Hollywood, & Beverly Hills Afternoon City Tour: $68
  • Make the Most of LA Small Group Tour: $119
  • Best of Los Angeles Day Tour with German-Speaking Guide: $149
  • California Coastline Helicopter Tour: $199
  • 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience: $240
  • 1 Hour Sightseeing Helicopter Tour: $445
  • Los Angeles Romantic Helicopter Tour with Mountain Landing: $499


Alcohol

The average person spends about $17 on alcoholic beverages in Chicago per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Los Angeles per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $17
    Los Angeles $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Chicago:

  • Haunted Chicago Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $25
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Barrel Bus Craft Distillery Tour: $90
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $90
  • Ultimate Girl's Night Out in Sparkling Wine, Photo Shoot, Burlesque: $900

Sample the Local Flavors in Los Angeles

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

  • Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting: $139
  • Malibu: Exclusive Wine Tasting and Falconry Experience: $109
  • Brews Cruise- DTLA Brewery tour by bike: $50
  • Brewery Walking Tour -- Downtown / Arts District: $81
  • Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Day Tour from Los Angeles: $249
  • Los Angeles Wine Tour: $250
  • The Private Malibu Wine Tour: $419
  • Food and Wine Tasting Party: $750
  • Private Tour: Malibu Wine Tasting for Two by Limousine from Los Angeles: $999



When comparing the travel costs between Chicago and Los Angeles, we can see that Los Angeles 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.

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Chicago vs. Los Angeles Travel Comparison

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