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

Should you visit Chicago or Reno?

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 Reno 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 museums, theater, and nightlife.

Reno

Reno is a energetic, growing, and vibrant city. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Chicago and Reno: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Home to the Willis Tower (previously the Sears Tower)
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Chicago or Reno?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Chicago than Reno. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Chicago is more touristy than Reno 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). Reno is famous for its casinos and nightlife scene.

How is Chicago different from Reno?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Reno 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 Reno?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its museums and history. Also, Reno 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).

Reno is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Museums in town range from art and history to local or quirky. The National Automobile Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, Fleischmann Planetarium, and the Anthropology Museum are some of the favorites.


Is Chicago or Reno Better for Theater?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its shows and theatre. However, Reno 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.

Reno is not a theatre destination.

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

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its restaurants. Also, Reno is not quite as popular, but is fairly good 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.

Reno offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The food scene has been growing in recent years and you'll find plenty of casual restaurants that serve hearty and filling comfort foods.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Nightlife?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its evening party scene. Also, Reno is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife.

Chicago is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. 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.

The people in Reno know how to have a good time. There's a big nightlife scene with a huge number of bars and entertainment options. There are also a growing number of breweries in town.


Is Chicago or Reno Better for Music?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its music scene. However, Reno 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.

Reno is not a live music destination.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Beaches?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is a popular place for the beach. However, Reno 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.

Reno is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Chicago or Reno?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its shopping areas. Also, Reno 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.

Reno is a great destination for shopping. In addition to your standard suburban shopping malls and strip malls, there's the Midtown District, which has local retail shops and an eclectic and alternative vibe. The area has thrift shops, music vendors, and more.


Is Chicago or Reno Better for Christmas?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is an excellent place to visit for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Reno 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.

Reno does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Christmas Markets?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is a popular place for visiting Christmas markets. However, Reno 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.

Reno does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Families?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Reno is not quite as popular, but is fairly good 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Reno. You'll find some arcades and entertainment options for kids in some of the casinos. There's also the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, which has kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits, and the largest zoo in Nevado, the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park.


Is Chicago or Reno Better for Couples?

Chicago
Reno

Both Chicago and Reno are nice 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. 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.

Reno is a nice destination for couples. There are outdoor parks and scenic walks like the Truckee River Walk or the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. There's also several great museums and some interesting restaurants.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is a popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Reno 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.

Reno is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not really on the backpacker circuit so you won't find any real hostels in town.

Is Chicago or Reno Better for Students?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for its student-friendly activities. However, Reno 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.

Reno is not popular with students.


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

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is renowned for times when you don't have a car. However, Reno is lacking in options for its public transit.

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 is generally limited in Reno. There's a public bus system with routes around town.

Is Chicago or Reno a more walkable city?

Chicago
Reno

Chicago is an excellent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Reno 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.

Reno is generally not very walkable. While there are some reasonably walkable neighborhoods, you really need a car to get around town.

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

Should I spend more time in Reno or Chicago?

How long in Chicago or Reno?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chicago and Reno. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than in Reno. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Chicago, and 1-3 days is enough time in Reno.

Families should spend more time in Chicago than Reno. 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 Reno. 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 Reno 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 Reno? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chicago 3-5 
    Reno 1-3

One day in Chicago or Reno?

Chicago is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

In Reno, you'll find nightlife and food. 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 Reno?

Chicago is a fun place to experience. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Reno, you'll find food 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 Reno has to offer.

Five days in Chicago or Reno?

Chicago is a diverse big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

Reno 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 Reno?

The edgey city of Chicago offers food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Reno. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Reno. 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, Reno 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 Reno is $144. 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 Reno in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $198
    Reno $55
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $396
    Reno $110
Compare Hotels in Chicago and Reno

Looking for a hotel in Chicago or Reno? 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 Reno


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 Reno Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $37
    Reno $23
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): $126
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Chicago City - Chicago Airport (ORD): $138
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Chicago Airport (ORD) -Chicago City: $138
  • RoundTrip transfer in private car from-to Chicago Airport (ORD)- Chicago City: $276
  • Private one-way airport transfer O'Hare Airport to/from Chicago : $86
  • Private Transfer: Midway Airport MDW to Chicago by Luxury SUV: $163
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (MDW) Airport: $144
  • Private Transfer Chicago to Chicago Airport by Luxury Car or SUV: $87
  • 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

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Reno

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


  • Car Wash
    $5.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Reno

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

  • Reno Tahoe Airport (RNO) to Heavenly Mountain - Arrival Transfer: $109
  • Reno Tahoe Airport (RNO) to Mammoth Mountain: Arrival Transfer: $185
  • Reno Tahoe Airport to Heavenly Mountain - Round-Trip Transfer: $217
  • Reno Tahoe Airport to Northstar/Squaw Valley - Arrival Transfer: $163
  • Reno to Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) - Departure Private Transfer: $66
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) to Reno – Private Arrival Transfer : $66
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) to Reno – Round-Trip Private Transfer: $133

Is it cheaper to fly into Chicago or Reno?

Prices for flights to both Reno 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
    Reno $54
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 : Hands-on Cooking Classes With Local Chef: $55
  • Downtown Pizza Guided Walking Tour with Tastings: $58
  • Chicago's Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $63
  • Fulton Market Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $63
  • Chicago Small Group Food Tour: $69
  • Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise: $72
  • Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Self-Guided Tour: $75
  • Chicago Pizza Tour: $75
  • Chicago Bucktown-Wicker Park Pizza Crawl: $79
  • Chicago West Loop Pizza Crawl: $79
  • Downtown Family Food Tour by Bike with Sightseeing: $80

Typical Food Prices in Reno

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


  • Dennys for Breakfast
    $22
  • Sushi DInner (for 2)
    $40
  • In-n-Out Burger (for 3)
    $19

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $47
    Reno $88
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 Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago: $78
  • 2-Hour Chicago Fireworks Segway Tour: $80
  • 2-Hour Chicago Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour: $70
  • 2-Hour Guided Segway Tour of Chicago: $65
  • 2-Hour Haunted Segway Tour of Chicago: $78
  • 3 Hours Chicago Architecture Tour - Skyscrapers and Photo Ops: $135
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck Sip and View Ticket: $44
  • Adults Party Art Experience: $66
  • Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour of Chicago: $79
  • App Chicago self-guided tours with multilingual audioguides: $9.60
  • Art Institute of Chicago Skip-the-Line Guided Museum Tour : $126
  • Art of a City, Downtown Chicago - Exclusive Guided Walking Tour: $292

Tours and Activities in Reno

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

  • From Reno Arch to Truckee River: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Downtown Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Reno by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Reno Scavenger Hunt: Reno Adventure: $12
  • Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided GPS Audio Tour: $14
  • Lake Tahoe Audio Driving Tour: $14
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Carson City, NV: $15
  • Zero Latency Extreme Virtual Reality Experience Ticket: $25
  • Gangs and Gamblers Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Reno Ghosts Tour: $30
  • Reno Puzzling Adventure: $35

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
    Reno $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

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

  • Malt Row Walking Brewery Tour: $30
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Walking Brewery Tour in Malt Row: $85
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $100
  • Craft Brewery Tour by Barrel Bus: $100

Sample the Local Flavors in Reno

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

  • 1 Hour Distillery Tour and Tasting Flight: $25


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

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


Which is Bigger, Chicago or Reno?

Chicago has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Reno. When comparing the sizes of Chicago and Reno, 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.