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

Should you visit Chicago or Seattle?

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

Chicago

Chicago is a vibrant, multicultural, and edgey 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 museums, theater, and nightlife.

Seattle

Seattle is a cultural, outdoorsy, and bustling city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include museums, theater, and nightlife.

How is Chicago different from Seattle?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Museums and Historical Sights?

People who enjoy wandering through museums and other attractions will appreciate a visit to Chicago a bit more than Seattle.

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).

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Seattle. The city's most famous landmark is the Space Needle. There's also a zoo, aquarium, and a handful of nice museums.


Is Chicago or Seattle better for Theater?

Overall, Chicago is considered to be a more popular choice 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.

Seattle offers a number of shows and performances. There are a handful of theaters where you can enjoy traveling Broadway shows or smaller productions.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Food?

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine in both Chicago and Seattle.

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

Dining out in Seattle is an experience not to be missed. The city is famous for its seafood. Salmon, oysters, and Starbucks coffee are favorites here. Also check out the donuts at Pike's Place Market.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Nightlife?

Chicago has the better options when it comes to nightlife.

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.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Seattle. The city is known for its breweries and eclectic nightlife scene. The best neighborhoods for nightlife include Capitol Hill, Belltown, and Downtown.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Music?

Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Chicago or Seattle.

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.

If you love music, you'll find something to enjoy in Seattle. The city has developed its own music culture around several genres including alternative rock and grunge.


Is Chicago or Seattle better for Beaches?

Chicago and Seattle are good choices for a beach vacation.

Many people head to Chicago to enjoy the beach. While you don't immediately think of beaches when you think of Chicago, there are some nice beaches by the lake.

Seattle has a beach worth visiting. The city is surrounded by water so there are a number of rocky and sandy beaches nearby. Some beaches are more popular with locals while others attract a large amount of tourists.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Shopping?

Most people pick Chicago for the shopping over Seattle.

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

Many visitors go to Seattle to go shopping. Shopping in town has an eclectic mix of high end brands, local vendors, and vintage shops.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Families?

You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Chicago or Seattle.

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.

Seattle is a family-friendly place to visit. There are several good museums as well as outdoor activities, parks, and a zoo. Make sure you check out the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Volunteer Park, and Artists at Play Playground.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Couples?

Both Chicago and Seattle 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.

Seattle is a good city for couples to visit. The city has a laid back vibe, a nice downtown area, and plenty of outdoor activities.


Is Chicago or Seattle better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chicago and Seattle 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.

Seattle is a good city to visit for backpackers. Although it's not the most popular city for backpackers in America, the city's chill vibe, fun breweries, and lively setting make it a great spot for young backpackers.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Students?

Chicago and Seattle 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.

Seattle is a great city to visit as a student. It is a major IT center with a large university, so international students will have plenty of opportunities here.

Is Chicago or Seattle better for Public Transit?

Chicago provides more public transit options than Seattle.

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

Seattle has a few public transit options. There is a light rail system, a monorail, a street car, and buses.

Is Chicago or Seattle a more walkable city?

Chicago and Seattle 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.

Seattle is a somewhat walkable city. Many neighborhoods are very walkable, particularly in the downtown and major tourist areas.


Chicago and Seattle: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Good nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less theater options
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable


Should I spend more time in Seattle or Chicago?

How long in Chicago or Seattle?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chicago and Seattle. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than Seattle.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Seattle is 2-3 days.


  • How many days in Chicago or Seattle? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chicago 3-5 
    Seattle 2-3

One day in Chicago or Seattle?

Because Chicago is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Seattle, 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 Seattle?

Because Chicago is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. 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.

In Seattle, you'll find shopping and museums. 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 Seattle has to offer.

Five days in Chicago or Seattle?

Chicago 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 Chicago has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Seattle 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 Seattle?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. One week may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Seattle. One week may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Which city is cheaper, Seattle 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 Seattle is $156. 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 Seattle in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    Seattle $94
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    Seattle $188

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    Seattle $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 Airport Transfer: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Chicago: $43
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD): $43
  • Private Airport Transfer: Midway International Airport (MDW) to Chicago: $55
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Chicago to Midway International Airport (MDW): $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago Midway Airport to Chicago City: $66
  • Private Departure Transfer from Chicago City to Midway International Airport: $66
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago O'Hare Airport to Chicago City: $78
  • Private Departure Transfer from Chicago City to O'Hare International Airport: $78
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago by Sedan Car: $79
  • Departure Private Transfer Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD by Sedan Car: $79
  • Private Departure Transfer to Chicago Airports (ORD)(MDW): $80
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago Airports (ORD) (MDW): $80

Typical Local Transportation prices in Seattle

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


  • Lightrail from Airport (for 2)
    $5.50
  • Roundtrip Ferry to Bainbridge Island (for 2)
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seattle

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seattle:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Seattle Airport SEA to Seattle or Cruise Port - Minibus: $195
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Seattle Airport SEA to Seattle by Business Car: $108
  • Chauffeured Airport Transfer to/from or Sea-Tac International Airport - One Way: $91
  • Cruise Port to Seattle Tacoma Airport (SEA) - Departure Private Transfer: $71
  • Departure Private Transfer Seattle or Cruise Port to Seattle Airport SEA Minibus: $195
  • Departure Private Transfer from Seattle to Seattle Airport SEA by Business Car: $108
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Seattle Tacoma International Airport to Kent City - One Way: $62
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Seattle Tacoma International Airport to Seattle City - One Way: $149
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Seattle Tacoma International Airport to Tacoma City - One Way: $139
  • One-Way Seattle Private Transfer up to 12 Pax: Cruises, Sea-Tac, Hotels: $319
  • Private Airport Transfer: Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): $40
  • Private Departure Transfer from Seattle City to SEA Seattle Airport: $46

Is it cheaper to fly into Chicago or Seattle?

Prices for flights to both Seattle 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
    Seattle $38
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 Seattle

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


  • Expresso & cookie at Pier 70
    $7.00
  • Cashews at Pike Place Market
    $6.00
  • 6 Mini Donuts at Pike Place Market
    $3.25
  • Chinese Lunch in International District (for 2)
    $21
  • Breakfast at Lowel's in Pike Place Market (for 2)
    $32
  • Breakfast at French Cafe (for 2)
    $37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seattle

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Seattle.

  • Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 1 Hour: $34
  • Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours: $58
  • Pacific Northwest-Style Dinner and Pairing in Seattle: $61
  • Exclusive: Early-Access Food Tour of Pike Place Market: $73
  • Street Theater and Dinner in Seattle's Fremont District: $86
  • Seattle Dinner Cruise: $115

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $34
    Seattle $12
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:

  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Discovering Vintage The Loop Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Millennium Park Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Chicago Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Skip the Line: American Writers Museum Admission Ticket: $14
  • Pilsen Walking Tour of Local Publicly Displayed Art: $15
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Historic Chicago Theatre: $18
  • Chicago Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Windy City Ghost Tour: $24
  • Street Art & Mural Tours By Native 312- Wabash Arts Corridor: $25
  • In the Streets: Milwaukee Ave Guided Bike Tour: $25

Tours and Activities in Seattle

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Seattle are as follows:

  • Private Auto-guided Tour of Seattle: $4.96
  • Historic Ballard audio tour: A slice of Seattle's quirky history: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Sky View Observatory Admission Tickets: $10
  • Smith Tower Straight Up Observatory Access Ticket: $12
  • Seattle Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Seattle Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Seattle Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Seattle Walking Ghost Tour: $23
  • The Museum of Flight Admission Ticket: $25
  • Underground Walking Tour: $29
  • Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour: $29
  • Seattle Harbor Cruise: $36

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 $20
    Seattle $13

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 Seattle

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

  • Seattle Bar Hunt: Sleepless in Seattle Bar Crawl: $12
  • Haunted Seattle Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Georgetown Brewery Tour: $72
  • Bon Vivant Woodinville Wine Tasting Tour: $98
  • Seattle Coffee, Chocolate and Wine Tour: $112
  • Seattle Wine Tour (Hourly): $135


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

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Chicago vs. Seattle Travel Comparison

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