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

Should you visit Columbia or Berkeley?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Berkeley? 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.

Columbia

Columbia is a welcoming, suburban, and friendly city. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Berkeley

Berkeley is a progressive, diverse, and quirky city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Columbia and Berkeley: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable


Is there more to do in Columbia or Berkeley?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Berkeley. Although Columbia and Berkeley are both popular with visitors, Berkeley has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Berkeley is more touristy than Columbia and is known for its progressive and liberal mindset as well as its farmer's markets and local boutiques. It is also home to University of California Botanical Garden. Columbia is popular for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from Berkeley?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley 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.

Berkeley offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. There are a wide range of museums around town, many of which are affiliated with the university. There are natural history museums, art museums, cultural museums, as well as historical and science museums.

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 Columbia or Berkeley? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Berkeley. There's a huge diversity of restaurants that range from international to California flavors. There are also eateries that cater to the student population, as well as fine dining and everything in between. You'll also find many farmer's markets, vegan options, and restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients.

Columbia may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. 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.

Is Columbia or Berkeley Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a well-known place for nightlife and partying. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

Berkeley offers plenty to do in the evening. With its large student population, you'll find no shortage of nightlife activities around town. There are bars and pubs as well as live music venues and plenty of unique experiences.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or Berkeley?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a well-known place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

Berkeley is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Quirky and local is what shopping in Berkeley is all about. There are also plenty of thrift stores and farmer's markets. Head to Fourth Street or Telegraph Avenue for some of the most interesting shopping opportunities.

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 Columbia or Berkeley Better for Families?

Columbia
Berkeley

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Columbia or Berkeley.

Columbia is a family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Berkeley is a family-friendly city. There are many outdoor places to explore with kids like Tilden Park or UC Botanical Garden. There are also science museums, nature centers, and plenty of kid-friendly restaurants.

Is Columbia or Berkeley Better for Couples?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a popular place for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

Berkeley makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There's a wonderful mix of cultural activities and outdoor parks that you can explore. There's the Berkeley Rose Garden, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and many charming restaurants.

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 Columbia or Berkeley Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a well-known place for backpackers. However, Columbia is not a good city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Berkeley is a great city to visit for backpackers. With its eclectic and alternative vibe, backpackers will find their place in this city. There's also a huge student population and a couple of hostels in the area.

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 Columbia or Berkeley Better for Students?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is a well-known place for students. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Berkeley is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. University of California, Berkeley is a well reviewed university that attracts a progressive and motivated student population. The city is an expensive, but very rewarding place to study with many activities and opportunities for students.

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

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

Columbia
Berkeley

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

Berkeley has a great public transit system. It's located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has access to buses and several BART stations.

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 Columbia or Berkeley a more walkable city?

Columbia
Berkeley

Berkeley is renowned for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

It is easy to get around Berkeley on foot. Most of Berkeley is very walkable, particularly the parts around the university.

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 Columbia Worth Visiting? and Is Berkeley Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Berkeley or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Berkeley?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Columbia and Berkeley. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Berkeley than in Columbia. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbia, and 2-3 days is enough time in Berkeley.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Berkeley 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 Berkeley.


  • How many days in Columbia or Berkeley? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbia 1-2 
    Berkeley 2-3

One day in Columbia or Berkeley?

The city of Columbia 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.

The city of Berkeley offers food and shopping. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Columbia or Berkeley?

Columbia 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 Columbia, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Berkeley 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 Berkeley, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Columbia or Berkeley?

Columbia 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.

Berkeley 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.


A week in Columbia or Berkeley?

Columbia 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.

Berkeley 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, and The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Berkeley or Columbia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbia is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Berkeley is $190. 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 Columbia and Berkeley in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Berkeley $131
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Berkeley $262
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Berkeley

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Berkeley? 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 Columbia


Hotels in Berkeley


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: Columbia Hotel Prices and Berkeley Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Berkeley $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Berkeley

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Berkeley:

  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to San Francisco hotel/address - Private Arrival Transfer: $64
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport OAK: $81
  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to Oakland hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $89
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport (OAK) to Oakland: $93
  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Car Transfer: $129
  • Private Transfer: Oakland International Airport to Hotel: $200
  • Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport OAK to San Francisco by SUV: $232

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Berkeley?

Prices for flights to both Berkeley and Columbia 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
    Columbia $5.03
    Berkeley $36

Typical Food Prices in Berkeley

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


  • Chocolates at Sweet Dreams
    $4.46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Berkeley

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

  • Best of North Berkeley Food Tour: $130
  • Black Food Tour - Downtown Oakland: $130

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Berkeley $30

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Tours and Activities in Berkeley

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

  • Oakland Athletics Baseball Game Ticket at RingCentral Coliseum: $11
  • Ruth Bancroft Garden General Admission Ticket: $12
  • 2 Hours Private Walking Tour in Berkeley: $20
  • Self-Guided Oakland Tour in an Urban Excursion: $20
  • Comedy Oakland at The Washington Inn Show Tickets: $20
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Berkeley by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Antioch by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Redwoods of Marin and Mt. Tamalpais Walking Tour with Local Guide: $59
  • Historic Houseboat Tour: $65
  • Oakland's Temescal Tastes Tour: $120
  • Classic Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour: $135

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Berkeley $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Berkeley

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

  • Guided Wine Tasting at Berkeley Wineries with Local Sommelière : $175


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbia and Berkeley, we can see that Berkeley 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 Berkeley would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Berkeley 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 Columbia Expensive? and Is Berkeley Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Berkeley?

Columbia has a larger population, and is about 16% larger than the population of Berkeley. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Berkeley, 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 Columbia or Berkeley?

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 Columbia or Berkeley in the Summer?

Both Berkeley and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Columbia for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Berkeley in the summer for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Columbia is much warmer than Berkeley. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbia in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Berkeley averages at about 63°F (17°C).

It's quite rainy in Columbia. In July, Columbia usually receives more rain than Berkeley. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Berkeley receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    Berkeley 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Berkeley in the Autumn?

Both Berkeley and Columbia during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Columbia in the autumn for the shopping scene. Furthermore, most visitors come to Berkeley for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Columbia is generally around the same temperature as Berkeley. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and Berkeley fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

Columbia usually gets more rain in October than Berkeley. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Berkeley receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Berkeley 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Berkeley in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and Berkeley. Most visitors come to Columbia for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Berkeley because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Columbia is cooler than Berkeley in the winter. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 45°F (7°C) in January, and Berkeley fluctuates around 50°F (10°C).

In January, Columbia usually receives around the same amount of rain as Berkeley. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while Berkeley receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    Berkeley 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Berkeley in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Columbia as well as Berkeley. Additionally, the natural beauty are the main draw to Berkeley this time of year.

In the spring, Columbia is a little warmer than Berkeley. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbia in April average around 64°F (18°C), and Berkeley averages at about 58°F (14°C).

Columbia usually gets more rain in April than Berkeley. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Berkeley receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Berkeley 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Berkeley and Columbia

Columbia Berkeley
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)