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

Should you visit Chicago or Pittsburgh?

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 Pittsburgh can help you decide which place is right for you.

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.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a city in western Pennsylvania at the junction of 3 rivers. Set between the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, and a mountain ridge called Mt Washington, Pittsburgh has a unique character that is evident from the moment you arrive. Juxtaposed with the rumbling freight trains and the iconic bridges are the Bladerunner-esque self-driving Uber vehicles, scanning the roads with spinning Lidar scanners. Its Gilded Age sites, including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, speak to its history as an early-20th-century industrial capital. In the North Shore neighborhood are the modern Andy Warhol Museum, Heinz Field football stadium, and PNC Park baseball stadium. Experiencing periods of boom and bust since its founding, the city is in a boom now, and it's a fun place to visit, with top-notch museums, great gardens and parks, and amazing food.

Which city is cheaper, Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh is $145. 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 Pittsburgh in more detail.




Accommodation

Chicago's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $304. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $152.

The prices for places to stay in Pittsburgh can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $85, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $170.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    Pittsburgh $85
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    Pittsburgh $170


Food

The price of a meal in Chicago can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $37 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $15 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

Pittsburgh food costs typically run travelers around $43 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chicago $37
    Pittsburgh $43
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
  • Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour: $46
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Chicago Crime & Pizza Walk: $50
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Chicago History and Food Tour: $59
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $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


Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $29 per day to get around in Chicago.

Pittsburgh's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $18 per person, per day on transportation in Pittsburgh.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    Pittsburgh $18
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:

  • Private Sedan Transfer between ORD and Indianapolis IN: $587
  • Private SUV Transfer Between O'Hare airport & Downtown Madison WI: $427
  • Private Sedan Transfer Between O'Hare airport & Downtown Madison WI: $426
  • Departure Private Transfer Chicago to O'Hare Airport ORD in a Minibus: $333
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport to Chicago City by Minibus: $333
  • Private SUV Transfer Between O'Hare airport & Downtown Milwaukee WI: $298
  • Transfer to Chicago Premium Outlets: $288
  • Private Sedan Transfer Between O'Hare airport & Downtown Milwaukee WI: $266
  • Chicago Midway Airport/Hotel Round Trip Private Ground Transfer: $256
  • Chicago O'Hare Private Ground Airport/Hotel Transfer - Round-Trip: $256
  • Private One-Way Midway Airport Transfer: $225
  • Chicago O'Hare Airport Private Transfers: $195

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $187
  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $93
  • Pittsburgh City to Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) - Departure Private Transfer: $93
  • Pittsburgh Departure Private Transfer to Airport: $69
  • Pittsburgh International Airport One Way Transfer: $80


Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $34 per person, per day in Chicago. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Pittsburgh can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $30 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


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

  • 2 Hour Chicago Art and Architecture Segway Tour: $71
  • 2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago: $65
  • 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
  • 3-Hour Segway Tour of Chicago: $76
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck Admission: Skip the Ticket Desk: $25
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $220

Tours and Activities in Pittsburgh

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

  • Entrance Ticket to AT BLAQK House Collections: $5.60
  • Pittsburgh to Logstown: Discover the area's settler history on an audio tour: $5.99
  • Pittsburgh Scavenger Hunt Experience: $11
  • 2-Hr Pittsburgh Walking Tour: $15
  • Evening Ghost Tour: $27
  • Architecture and History Tour: $29
  • Black & Ghost Tour: $30
  • Beauty of the Burgh Bike Tour: $49
  • Bike the Burgh Tour: $49
  • Essential Pittsburgh Experience - The One Tour to Take: $75
  • Sip of Pittsburgh Brew Tour: $90
  • Pittsburgh Private Tours: $94


Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Chicago may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $20 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Pittsburgh, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $26.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $20
    Pittsburgh $26

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 Pittsburgh

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

  • Wacky Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • Pittsburgh Bar Hunt: Party Through Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: $13



When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chicago and Pittsburgh, we can see that Chicago is more expensive. And not only is Pittsburgh much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Pittsburgh would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh.

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Chicago vs. Pittsburgh Travel Comparison

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