A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Chicago vs. New York City

Should you visit Chicago or New York City?

Should I visit Chicago or New York City? 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.

New York City

The most populated city in the United States, New York City, sits at the mouth of the Hudson River and encompasses both the island of Manhattan as well as the surrounding land on Long Island, most of which is known as Brooklyn. It's a cultural, culinary, theatrical, and art center that has much to offer domestic and international travelers alike. The city covers an area of 305 square miles and has a population of about 8.2 million people in the city proper with 18.7 million in the metropolitan area.

Which city is cheaper, New York City 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 New York City is $239. 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 New York City 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.

Travelers usually pay around $274 for a double occupancy room in New York City If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $113
    New York City $137
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $225
    New York City $275


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 $38 per day in New York City 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
    New York City $38
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 New York City

For New York City, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Gelato
    $7.50
  • Snacks for Two at Yankees Game
    $34
  • Coffee
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $6.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New York City

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

  • Greenwich Village History, Culture, and Food Tour with Local Expert: $129
  • JAPANESE guided tour! Bateaux Dinner Cruise tour with hotel transportation. The best way to enjoy the Manhattan night view from the river & sea. Full course French dinner, live band music included.: $333
  • Limo trip Hotel to Dinner round trip in NEW MKT Limousine: $481


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 New York City than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $40 on transportation in New York City on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $34
    New York City $40
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 New York City

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in New York City:


  • Subway
    $4.50
  • Taxi Ride
    $8.00
  • Subway
    $2.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New York City

Also for New York City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer Manhattan to NYC Airports JFK EWR LGA: $22
  • New York City Shared Shuttle Departure Transfer: Hotel to NYC Airports: $30
  • Private All Inclusive New York Transfer: Airport or Manhattan to Cruise Port: $71
  • Private New York airport transfer: New York airport to Manhattan and Brooklyn: $83
  • Private Transfer from New York City to LaGuardia Airport: $85
  • Private All Inclusive New York City Airport Arrival Transfer: $90
  • Private All Inclusive New York City Airport Departure Transfer: $90
  • Manhattan Private Luxury Transfer to NYC Airports: $98
  • New York Airport Luxury Departure Transfer via Stretch Limousine, SUV, Sedan: $100
  • Private Transfer from Manhattan to John F Kennedy Airport JFK by Luxury Car: $111


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 New York City, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $77 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $32
    New York City $77
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 New York City

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in New York City are as follows:


  • Comedy Show Tickets
    $56
  • City Map
    $8.00
  • Broadway Musical
    $111
  • Broadway Show Program
    $10
  • Magazine
    $6.99

Tours and Activities in New York City

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for New York City are as follows:

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry: $21
  • New York City Lights Schooner Cruise: $54
  • New York City Sunset Cruise: Sail Schooner Adirondack: $76
  • Full-Day Boston and Woodbury Shopping Tour: $128
  • Boston by Rail from New York: Full-Day Round Trip Tour: $329
  • Lower Manhattan Tour: Wall Street & 9/11 Memorial: $35
  • From Boston in One Day Tour: $130
  • NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Timed-Entry Ticket: $41
  • Niagara Falls, Toronto and 1000 Islands 3-Day Tour from NYC: $460
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour and Times Square Meal: $75


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 $23 on alcoholic beverages in New York City 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
    New York City $23

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



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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Chicago vs. New York City Travel Comparison

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