A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Cincinnati vs. Columbia for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit Cincinnati or Columbia?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Cincinnati or Columbia? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a blue collar, authentic, and hard-working city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Columbia

Columbia is a friendly, welcoming, and suburban city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Cincinnati and Columbia: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Both Columbia and Cincinnati have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Cincinnati is better known for its museums, while Columbia is more popular for its food. Cincinnati is more touristy than Columbia and is known for its breweries and down-to-earth personality. Columbia is well known for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Cincinnati different from Columbia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Cincinnati is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Cincinnati offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. You'll find both traditional and quirky museums around town. For outside-the-box, check out the American Sign Museum or the Behringer-Crawford Museum. Art museums include the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Taft Museum of Art. Other popular museums include the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Columbia. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.


Is the Food Better in Cincinnati or Columbia? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Columbia is a city with a few options for its restaurant scene. However, Cincinnati is not a culinary destination.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbia. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Cincinnati is not a culinary destination.

Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Nightlife?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Party-goers will find similar levels of energy in Cincinnati and Columbia.

Cincinnati has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The nightlife scene is diverse and includes music venues, breweries, and nightclubs. In addition to the city's downtown, you'll find trendy places to hang out in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Breweries are popular in the city, in part because of its German roots.

If you're looking for night time activities Columbia has a few options to choose from. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is the Shopping Better in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Shopping is a popular activity in both Columbia and Cincinnati.

Cincinnati offers some nice shopping areas. There are large shopping malls and retail outlets. You'll also find local boutiques in the Montgomery or Mariemont areas.

Columbia has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.


Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Families?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Cincinnati or Columbia.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Cincinnati. There's a surprising number of kid-friendly activities around town like the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Museum Center, Newport Aquarium, and Smale Riverfront Park.

Columbia offers lots of family activities. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Couples?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Most people don't think of either Cincinnati or Columbia as a couple's destination.

Most people don't think of Cincinnati as a couple's destination. If you do find yourself in town for a few days, there are several good restaurants and a number of music venues that can keep the visit fun and entertaining.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Cincinnati is a popular place for backpackers. However, Columbia is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Cincinnati. There are actually a couple of hostels in town for backpackers or students.

Columbia is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's not an expensive place to visit, there is little in the area to attract backpackers.


Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Students?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Columbia is a popular place for students. However, Cincinnati is not popular with students.

Columbia is popular with students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Cincinnati is not popular with students.

Is Cincinnati or Columbia Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Cincinnati is a popular place for its public transit. However, Columbia is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

Cincinnati has a few public transit options. There are two bus systems around town - the METRO and TANK bus systems. There's also a streetcar that travels through the downtown.

Public transit is mostly limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Is Cincinnati or Columbia a more walkable city?

Cincinnati
Columbia

Cincinnati is a well-known place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

Cincinnati is a very walkable city. There are several surprisingly walkable areas, particularly downtown and the nearby neighborhoods.

Columbia is not a very walkable city. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.


For even more information, also check out Is Cincinnati Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia or Cincinnati?

How long in Cincinnati or Columbia?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Cincinnati or Columbia to fill your time. In our opinion, Cincinnati has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Cincinnati than Columbia. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Cincinnati than Columbia. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cincinnati, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cincinnati than Columbia. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cincinnati that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cincinnati than Columbia 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 Cincinnati.


  • How many days in Cincinnati or Columbia? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cincinnati 1-2 
    Columbia 1-2

One day in Cincinnati or Columbia?

The city of Cincinnati offers nightlife and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

With museums and nightlife around the suburban city of Columbia, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Columbia, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Cincinnati, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

With nightlife and shopping around the destination of Columbia, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Five days in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Columbia, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Columbia is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Columbia or Cincinnati?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cincinnati is $183, while the average daily cost in Columbia is $0.00. 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 Cincinnati and Columbia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cincinnati $102
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cincinnati $204
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in Cincinnati and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in Cincinnati or Columbia? 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 Cincinnati


Hotels in Columbia


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: Cincinnati Hotel Prices and Columbia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cincinnati $25
    Columbia -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cincinnati

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cincinnati:

  • Cincinnati to Cincinnati Airport (CVG) - Departure Private Transfer: $35

Is it cheaper to fly into Cincinnati or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia and Cincinnati 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
    Cincinnati $55
    Columbia $5.03

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cincinnati

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

  • Ohio River Cruise with Buffet Dinner: $61
  • Mainstrasse Village Food Tour in Covington KY: $79
  • Cincinnati Court Street Food Tour with Vegan Options: $85
  • Cincinnati Streetcar Food Tour With Findlay Market : $85
  • Cincinnati Walking Sightseeing Tour with Pizza and Ice-cream: $120

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cincinnati $26
    Columbia -

Tours and Activities in Cincinnati

Here are a few actual costs in Cincinnati for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Self-Guided Haunted Walking Audio Tour: $6.75
  • Mt Adams Historic, Cincinnati, App/GPS Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Mount Adams Historic Smartphone Guided App GPS Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Self Guided Cincinnati Ghost Haunted Walking Tour Audio Tour Music Hall OTR: $7.75
  • Self Guided Walking Tour of Cincinnati: $12
  • Queen of the West's Best - An Audio Tour: $12
  • Reds Hall of Fame and Museum Entry Ticket: $12
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Cincinnati's Hidden Gems: $13
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Cincinnati's Gems: $13
  • Cincinnati Reds Baseball Game Ticket: $16
  • Cincinnati Reds Baseball Game Ticket at Great American Ballpark: $16
  • Cincinnati Bengals Football Game Ticket at Paul Brown Stadium: $18

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cincinnati $11
    Columbia $88

Sample the Local Flavors in Cincinnati

Also in Cincinnati, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Cincinnati Bar Hunt: Cin-sational Cincinnati Bar Crawl: $12
  • Hidden Brewery Caverns Tour in Cincinnati with Beer Tasting: $49
  • Craft Brewery 3 Stop Hop: $64
  • Cincinnati Original Craft Brewery Small-Group Tour: $68


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

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


Which is Bigger, Cincinnati or Columbia?

Cincinnati has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Cincinnati and Columbia, 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.


When is the best time to visit Cincinnati or Columbia?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Cincinnati or Columbia in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Cincinnati and Columbia. The summer months attract visitors to Cincinnati because of the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Columbia this time of year.

Cincinnati is around the same temperature as Columbia in the summer. The daily temperature in Cincinnati averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Columbia fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In Cincinnati, it's very sunny this time of the year. Cincinnati usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia during summer. Cincinnati gets 298 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 293 hours of full sun in the summer.

Columbia receives a lot of rain in the summer. In July, Cincinnati usually receives less rain than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 3.5 inches (90 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cincinnati 79°F (26°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Cincinnati or Columbia in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Cincinnati as well as Columbia. The shopping scene are the main draw to Cincinnati this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Columbia for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Cincinnati is cooler than Columbia. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Cincinnati in October average around 58°F (15°C), and Columbia averages at about 64°F (18°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. In the autumn, Cincinnati often gets less sunshine than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 188 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 230 hours of full sun.

Cincinnati usually gets less rain in October than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cincinnati 58°F (15°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Cincinnati or Columbia in the Winter?

Both Columbia and Cincinnati are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Cincinnati for the museums and the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Columbia in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Cincinnati. In January, Cincinnati is generally much colder than Columbia. Daily temperatures in Cincinnati average around 31°F (-0°C), and Columbia fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

Cincinnati usually receives less sunshine than Columbia during winter. Cincinnati gets 129 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 171 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Cincinnati usually receives less rain than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 2.2 inches (57 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cincinnati 31°F (-0°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Cincinnati or Columbia in the Spring?

Both Columbia and Cincinnati during the spring are popular places to visit.

Cincinnati is cooler than Columbia in the spring. The daily temperature in Cincinnati averages around 56°F (14°C) in April, and Columbia fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Cincinnati. In the spring, Cincinnati often gets less sunshine than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 215 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 273 hours of full sun.

Cincinnati usually gets more rain in April than Columbia. Cincinnati gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cincinnati 56°F (14°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and Cincinnati

Cincinnati Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 31°F (-0°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 35°F (2°C) 2.5 inches (64 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 46°F (8°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 74°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 77°F (25°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 71°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 58°F (15°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 48°F (9°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)