A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Chicago vs. New York City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Chicago or New York City?

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 New York City can help you decide which place is right for you.

Chicago

Chicago is a edgey, cosmopolitan, and diverse city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

New York City

New York City is a vibrant, energetic, and cosmopolitan 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. Other popular activities here include food, shopping, and museums.

Chicago and New York City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities


How is Chicago different from New York City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Chicago
New York City

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Chicago or New York City.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Chicago on the map. 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).

Travelers visit New York City from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The sights and museums around the city are too numerous to list, but some of the most famous include the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.


Is Chicago or New York City Better for Theater?

Chicago
New York City

With a variety of venues, both Chicago and New York City provide options for theater-goers.

The theater scene in Chicago is world-class. 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.

Famous for its theaters and plays, you'll find world-renowned shows in New York City. Visiting Broadway is a quintessential NYC experience. Whether you enjoy the theater or simply want to experience something new, seeing a Broadway show is a true bucket list activity.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Food?

Chicago
New York City

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Chicago and New York City.

Chicago has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, New York City is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. The city has a diverse variety of restaurants, from local dives to Michelin star options. Quintessential NYC dishes include NYC pizza, NYC hot dogs, bagels, and Chinese dim sum.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Nightlife?

Chicago
New York City

It's hard to distinguish whether Chicago or New York City has a better nightlife scene.

Chicago is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.

New York City has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. Known as the city that never sleeps, you can be assured that NYC has some of the best nightlife in the world. Several famous clubs include Paul's Cocktail Lounge, Le Bain, and Avant Gardner.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Music?

Chicago
New York City

Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Chicago or New York City.

In Chicago you'll find nightly musicians performing at a variety of venues. The city is the birthplace of such interesting styles as modern gospel and the Chicago style blues.

New York City is known as a music capital around the world. Popular music venues include Music Hall of Williamsburg, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre, and Forest Hills Stadium.


Is Chicago or New York City Better for Shopping?

Chicago
New York City

Shopping is a popular activity in both New York City and Chicago.

Chicago is a world class destination for shoppers. The most famous shopping area is Michigan Avenue and the famous Magnificent Mile.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in New York City. The shopping is as diverse as the city itself. Head for Fifth Avenue for high end shopping or check out any of the many street markets for local items.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Christmas?

Chicago
New York City

The Christmas season is a nice time to visit both Chicago and New York City.

Visitors come from all around to experience the Christmas activities in Chicago. There's a number of seasonal celebrations, ice skating, and excellent shopping.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in New York City. Christmas in the city is a quintessential experience. From the Christmas tree and ice skating at Rockefeller Center to seeing a live performance of the Nutcracker, everyone enjoys the holidays in New York.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Christmas Markets?

Chicago
New York City

If you're looking for Christmas markets, Chicago and New York City both offer plenty of nice places.

Chicago offers some nice Christmas markets. Shopping is a highlight of a trip to the city, and the Christkindlmarkt is not to be missed.

The Christmas markets in New York City offer plenty to see during the holidays. There are a number of Christmas markets that pop up around town during the holiday season. Nothing will get you more in the holiday spirit than wandering these unique venues.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Families?

Chicago
New York City

You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Chicago or New York City.

Chicago is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.

New York City is a very family-friendly destination. The city has many activities for kids of all ages including world class museums, beautifully designed playgrounds, and theater shows designed just for young ones.


Is Chicago or New York City Better for Couples?

Chicago
New York City

Both Chicago and New York City are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Chicago is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods.

New York City is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. From a beautiful carriage ride through Central Park, to a romantic river cruise at night, there is an endless list of unique activities that couples can enjoy in the city.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chicago
New York City

Chicago and New York City are comparable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Chicago is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. The city doesn't have a huge backpacker vibe, but it does have a number of hostels that help keep costs in check.

New York City is very popular with the backpacker crowd. It isn't a particularly budget friendly destination, but it does get its share of backpackers, so you'll find a nice list of hostels and affordable hangouts that are perfect for the backpacker crowd.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Students?

Chicago
New York City

Chicago and New York City are comparable places to visit for students.

Students come from all over the world to visit Chicago. The city has a large number of universities that bring in students from around the country and around the globe.

New York City is a great destination for students. The city has a diverse population, and international students will feel right at home here exploring the city. There are also plenty of major universities including NYU, Columbia University, and Cornell University.

Is Chicago or New York City Better for Public Transit?

Chicago
New York City

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Chicago and New York City.

Chicago has a great public transit system. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.

Public transit in New York City is top-notch. The city has one of the largest subway systems in the world. There's also an elaborate bus system, ferry system, and yellow taxis all around town.


Is Chicago or New York City a more walkable city?

Chicago
New York City

Chicago and New York City both are comparable when exploring on foot.

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

New York City is a very easy city to get around on foot. The majority of the neighborhoods in Manhattan are very walkable and easy to explore on foot. Most people prefer not to drive here as it can be overwhelming and chaotic.

Should I spend more time in New York City or Chicago?

How long in Chicago or New York City?

Both Chicago and New York City have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in New York City than Chicago.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to New York City is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Chicago or New York City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chicago 3-5 
    New York City 3-7

One day in Chicago or New York City?

Chicago is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

In New York City, you'll find food and shopping. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Chicago or New York City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In New York City, you'll find shopping and museums. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Five days in Chicago or New York City?

Chicago is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

New York City is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that New York City has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Chicago or New York City?

You'll find theater and nightlife around the city of Chicago. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in New York City. In New York City, you'll find theater and nightlife. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

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 $221, while the average daily cost in New York City is $238. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chicago and New York City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    New York City $137
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    New York City $274
Compare Hotels in Chicago and New York City

Looking for a hotel in Chicago or New York City? 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 New York City


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 New York City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    New York City $39
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:

  • Transfers in Chicago: $107
  • Transfer to Chicago Premium Outlets: $288
  • Transfer from O'Hare International Airport to Chicago: $93
  • Private transfer: Chicago to Chicago International Airport (MDW): $105
  • Private transfer: Chicago International Airport (MDW) to Chicago: $105
  • Private Transfer: O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Chicago: $133
  • Private Transfer: Chicago to O'Hare International Airport (ORD): $133
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (ORD) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (MDW) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (ORD) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (MDW) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Sedan Transfer from Chicago Downtown to O`Hare airport: $100

Typical Local Transportation prices in New York City

Some typical examples of transportation costs in New York City are as follows:


  • 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:

  • Airport Limousine Transfer one-way - John F Kennedy Airport - Lincoln MKT: $239
  • Airport Limousine Transfer one-way - LaGuardia Airport - Lincoln MKT: $194
  • Airport Limousine Transfer one-way - Newark Liberty International Airport - MKT: $256
  • JFK - Executive Class Airport Sedan/SUV/Van Transfer: $119
  • Manhattan Private Luxury Transfer to NYC Airports: $98
  • New York Airport Luxury Departure Transfer via Stretch Limousine, SUV, Sedan: $100
  • New York Airport Luxury Transfer : New York City to Newark Airport: $181
  • New York Airport Private Luxury Departure transfer via Sedan, Limousine or SUV: $159
  • New York Airport Transfers: New York to J.F. Kennedy Airport JFK in Business Car: $124
  • New York City Shared Shuttle Departure Transfer: Hotel to NYC Airports: $30
  • New York JFK Airport Departure Transfer (Brooklyn Hotels to JFK Airport): $216
  • Private Airport Transfer in New York: $180

Is it cheaper to fly into Chicago or New York City?

Prices for flights to both New York City 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 $37
    New York City $37
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: $27
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Skip the Line: Tommy Gun's Garage Dinner and Show Ticket: $67
  • Small-Group Chicago Food Tour: Gold Coast and Old Town: $75
  • Best of Chicago Tour Including a Deep-Dish Pizza: $75
  • River North Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Chicago's Wicker Park Food Tour: $75
  • Private Indian-Mexican Fusion Cooking Class with a Modern Cook: $78

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:

  • New York Pizza, Beer, and History Tour: $69
  • Greenwich Village History, Culture, and Food Tour with Local Expert: $129
  • Private New York City Food Tour of East Village and Greenwich Village: $147
  • 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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $34
    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:

  • 2 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Stretch Limo / 8 Passengers: $250
  • 2-Hour Chicago City Lights and Skyline Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Fireworks Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour: $73
  • 2-Hour Haunted Segway Tour of Chicago: $76
  • 2-Hour History of Chicago Architecture and Art Segway Tour: $75
  • 3 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $392
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $220
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Sedan: $215
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Stretch Limousine/8 passengers: $728
  • A Most Magnificent Mile Shopping and Sightseeing Tour: $40
  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00

Typical Entertainment prices in New York City

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


  • 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

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

  • New York: Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • 9/11 Tribute Museum Admission Ticket: $12
  • Central Park Zoo General Admission Ticket: $14
  • New York Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Brooklyn Museum General Admission Ticket: $14
  • New York: The Rubin Museum of Art Admission Ticket: $19
  • New York Aquarium Admission Tickets: $20
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ticket: $21
  • American Dream: TiLT Interactive Museum Admission Ticket: $21
  • American Museum of Natural History Ticket: $23
  • New York Botanical Garden Admission Ticket: $23
  • American Museum of Natural History Admission Ticket: $23

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, The Best Museums in Chicago, The Best Things to do in New York City with Kids, Things to Do in Central Park in NYC, and The Best Museums in New York City.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $20
    New York City $23

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers 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 New York City

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in New York City:

  • Pub Crawl Tour of Historic Stone Street: $40


When comparing the travel costs between Chicago and New York City, we can see that New York City 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.


When is the best time to visit Chicago or New York City?

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 Chicago or New York City in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Chicago as well as New York City. Many visitors come to Chicago in the summer for the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, most visitors come to New York City for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Chicago is around the same temperature as New York City. Typically, the summer temperatures in Chicago in July are around 77°F (25°C), and New York City is about 77°F (25°C).

It's quite rainy in New York City. Chicago receives a lot of rain in the summer. Chicago usually gets less rain in July than New York City. Chicago gets 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 4.5 inches (114 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Chicago 77°F (25°C) 
    New York City 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Chicago or New York City in the Autumn?

Both New York City and Chicago are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Chicago for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to New York City because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Chicago is generally around the same temperature as New York City. Temperatures in Chicago average around 56°F (14°C), and New York City stays around 57°F (14°C).

In October, Chicago usually receives less rain than New York City. Chicago gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Chicago 56°F (14°C) 
    New York City 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Chicago or New York City in the Winter?

Both New York City and Chicago during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Chicago because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine are the main draw to New York City this time of year.

It's quite cold in New York City in the winter. The weather in Chicago can be very cold. Chicago is much colder than New York City in the winter. The temperature in Chicago is usually 25°F (-4°C) in January, and New York City stays around 31°F (-1°C).

Chicago usually gets less rain in January than New York City. Chicago gets 1.9 inches (47 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Chicago 25°F (-4°C) 
    New York City 31°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Chicago or New York City in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Chicago and New York City. The beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to Chicago this time of year. Also, many travelers come to New York City for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Chicago is around the same temperature as New York City. Typically, the spring temperatures in Chicago in April are around 52°F (11°C), and New York City is about 52°F (11°C).

Chicago gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Chicago usually receives more rain than New York City. Chicago gets 4.3 inches (108 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.8 inches (98 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Chicago 52°F (11°C) 
    New York City 52°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for New York City and Chicago

Chicago New York City
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 25°F (-4°C) 1.9 inches (47 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Feb 29°F (-2°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm) 33°F (1°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Mar 41°F (5°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Apr 52°F (11°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.8 inches (98 mm)
May 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)
Aug 76°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Sep 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Oct 56°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 57°F (14°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 44°F (7°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Dec 31°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 36°F (2°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)


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Chicago vs. New York City Travel Comparison

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