A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Colorado Springs vs. Rapid City for Attractions, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Colorado Springs or Rapid 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 Colorado Springs and Rapid City can help you decide which place is right for you.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a friendly, outdoorsy, and healthy mountain town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, hiking, and museums.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a fascinating, activity-filled, and friendly city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and food.

Colorado Springs and Rapid City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Pikes Peak
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Mount Rushmore
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Rapid City than Colorado Springs. While Colorado Springs is larger than Rapid City, Rapid City has more sights and attractions for tourists. Rapid City is very popular for its museums and shopping, while Colorado Springs attracts visitors for its skiing, nightlife, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Rapid City is more touristy than Colorado Springs and is popular for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. It is also well known for Mount Rushmore. Colorado Springs is famous for its many outdoor recreation areas, world-class parks, striking red sandstone formations, and beautiful mountain views.

How is Colorado Springs different from Rapid City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Skiing?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Colorado Springs is a decent place to visit for skiing and snowboarding. However, Rapid City is not a skiing destination.

Colorado Springs is a fun local destination for snow skiers. The town isn't as accessible to skiing as Denver is, but there are still options, like Breckenridge, within a few hours drive.

Rapid City is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is terrific for its museums and landmarks. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Rapid City that are not to be missed. You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

Colorado Springs offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Most people visit this area for the outdoor recreation, not the museums, but in town you'll find the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, the Peterson Air and Space Museum, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The U.S. Olympic Complex Training Center is also a unique place to visit and well worth some time.

Is the Food Better in Colorado Springs or Rapid City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Colorado Springs and Rapid City.

Colorado Springs offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There's a combination of local restaurants that serve local items such as trout and bison, as well as your standard chain restaurants and more predictable American classics like burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers.

Rapid City has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Nightlife?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Colorado Springs is very good for nightlife and partying. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Colorado Springs. The town has a number of breweries and a great craft beer selection. There are local bars along Tejon Street, or head through Downtown Colorado Springs for some of the most active nightlife.

Rapid City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.


Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Hiking?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Colorado Springs is an unbeatable place for its hiking trails. Also, Rapid City is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

Many people visit Colorado Springs specifically for its hiking. There are both world-famous hiking areas, as well as lesser known hikes that the locals often prefer. Some of the more famous places include Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs. For families, check out Seven Bridges Trail or Mount Muscoco Trail. Loud's Cabin is a longer trail that also includes Seven Bridges Trail.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Rapid City. The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

Is the Shopping Better in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is very good for shopping. However, Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Rapid City is a great destination for shopping. Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Families?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is terrific for its family-friendly activities. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Rapid City is one of the most popular family destinations. Nearby national parks and outdoor activities, this is the perfect base for exploring the area with kids. Nearby you'll find the Big Thunder Gold Mine, which has tours and lets you pan for gold, and Custer State Park, which is filled with wildlife. Wall Drug is worth a stopoff, as is Dinosaur Park.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Colorado Springs is very family-friendly. The town is conveniently located near many outdoor adventures that are family-friendly. There are many parks, hiking trails, and wildlife centers in the area that make for a fun outing. Popular activities include the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Dinosaur Resource Center, and Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.


Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Couples?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is a great destination for romance. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Rapid City frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples will enjoy the amazing national parks in the area and the easy access to iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore. There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as great hiking trails and unique landscapes.

Colorado Springs makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy hiking and exploring nature together will love visiting this town and the areas nearby. There are many hiking trails in easy reach of the town. Hot air balloon rides are also popular and offer an amazing view over the beautiful landscape.

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Rapid City. Backpackers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty and the nearby national parks.

It's common for backpackers to visit Colorado Springs. Just outside of town you'll find campgrounds with all of the amenities that you might need. In town, there's also a hostel and several affordable accommodation options.

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Students?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Colorado Springs is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Rapid City is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Colorado Springs. It's a relatively affordable town with easy access to plenty of free activities like hiking, rock climbing, and more.

Rapid City is not popular with students.


Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Rapid City is a city with a few options for its public transit. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Rapid City. While there are a few buses, this isn't a realistic option for traveling through the region.

Public transit is quite limited in Colorado Springs. While there are buses, many people come to the area to visit Pikes Peak or several of the other nearby parks, all of which require a car.

Is Colorado Springs or Rapid City a more walkable city?

Colorado Springs
Rapid City

Colorado Springs and Rapid City both are reasonable when exploring on foot.

Colorado Springs is generally not very walkable. While the downtown area is walkable, you'll really want to have a car so you can explore the areas outside of town.

Rapid City is generally not a very walkable mountain town. While the downtown is walkable, most visitors use the city as a base for exploring the surrounding areas, and this requires a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Colorado Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Rapid City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Rapid City or Colorado Springs?

How long in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

It's fun to spend time in either Colorado Springs or Rapid City. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Rapid City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Colorado Springs, and 2-4 days is enough time in Rapid City.

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

Couples should spend more time in Rapid City than Colorado Springs. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Rapid City that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Rapid City than Colorado Springs 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 Rapid City.


  • How many days in Colorado Springs or Rapid City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Colorado Springs 2-3 
    Rapid City 2-4

One day in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

With museums and nightlife around the healthy mountain town of Colorado Springs, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find museums and food around the friendly destination of Rapid City. Hikers are also drawn to this area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


A weekend in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Colorado Springs, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this mountain town.

You'll find food and shopping around the activity-filled city of Rapid City. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Most people head to the area for the museums. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Five days in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Colorado Springs, a popular mountain town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Rapid City is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

A week in Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Colorado Springs is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. 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.

Rapid City is a great place to explore. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people head to the area for the museums. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, and The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Rapid City or Colorado Springs?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Colorado Springs is $165, while the average daily cost in Rapid City is $116. 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 Colorado Springs and Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Colorado Springs $81
    Rapid City $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Colorado Springs $162
    Rapid City $120
Compare Hotels in Colorado Springs and Rapid City

Looking for a hotel in Colorado Springs or Rapid 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 Colorado Springs


Hotels in Rapid 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: Colorado Springs Hotel Prices and Rapid City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Colorado Springs $36
    Rapid City $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Colorado Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Colorado Springs:

  • Snowmass/Aspen to Eagle County Reg. Airport - Departure Transfer: $132
  • Snowmass Ski Resort to BJC Airport - Departure Transfer: $297
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan (BJC) to Steamboat-Arrival Transfer: $231
  • Private Transfer from Beaver Creek Ski Resort to Denver Airport: $220
  • Keystone resort to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $176
  • Denver Centennial Airport to Steamboat - Private Arrival Transfer: $286
  • Denver Centennial Airport to Snowmass/Aspen - Arrival Transfer: $297
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Winter Park - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $264

Is it cheaper to fly into Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City and Colorado Springs 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
    Colorado Springs $55
    Rapid City $23
Typical Food Prices in Colorado Springs

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Colorado Springs:


  • Cold Stone Ice Cream (family of 4)
    $22
  • Snacks at the Zoo (family of 4)
    $18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Colorado Springs

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

  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - Colorado Springs, CO: $86
  • Classic 3-Hour Food Tour in Colorado Springs: $88
  • Private Cowboy Wood Fired Dinner for Your Mountain Experience : $225

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rapid City

For Rapid City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Roller Coaster Tickets with Dinner and Show in Rapid City: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Colorado Springs $38
    Rapid City $26

Tours and Activities in Colorado Springs

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

  • 1-Hour Broadmoor History Segway Tour: $72
  • 1-Hour Segway Tour of Cheyenne Cañon Art, History and Nature: $72
  • 2 Hour 15 Minute Aerial Adventure Park in Bailey: $69
  • 2 Hour Segway Tour in Cheyenne Cañon and Broadmoor Area: $108
  • 2-Hour E-Bike Tour of Trail of the Silver Kings (Old Mine Tour): $69
  • 2-Hour Mineral Belt Guided E-Bike Tour in Leadville: $69
  • Astronomy Tour: $45
  • Bike Tour in the Garden of The Gods: $245
  • Broadmoor Hotel History Segway Tour: $78
  • Cheyenne Cañon Art and Nature Segway Tour: $78
  • Cocktails & Tastes Tour in Colorado Springs: $94
  • Colorado Springs - Guided Walking Ghost / History Tour: $28

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

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

  • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Rapid City SD: $15
  • Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours: $20
  • Pinnacle Zipline Tour in Keystone: $109
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
  • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239
  • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
  • From Private Spearfish Canyon Tour: $650
  • From Private Devils Tower Tour and Hike: $650
  • Private Black Hills Monuments Full-Day Tour: $650
  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $650

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Colorado Springs $24
    Rapid City $6.93

Sample the Local Flavors in Colorado Springs

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Colorado Springs:

  • Downtown Colorado Springs 2.5-Hour Brewery Tour: $94


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

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


Which is Bigger, Colorado Springs or Rapid City?

Colorado Springs has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Rapid City. When comparing the sizes of Colorado Springs and Rapid City, 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.