A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbia vs. Chicago for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Columbia or Chicago?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Chicago? 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.

Where Should I go: Columbia or Chicago?

Columbia

Both the largest and capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is literally the center of everything. Geographically it is located in the middle of the state, and it is the home to the University of South Carolina, the Army's Fort Jackson, as well as a variety of museums that celebrate the city's art, history, and culture.

Chicago

Located in the Midwest, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It has a population of almost 3 million and a metropolitan area that covers more than 10,000 square kilometers. It is also a hub for music, comedy and theater. It's skyline is beautiful with modern skyscrapers and Lake Michigan as a backdrop. It is easy to stay entertained in Chicago for weeks. There are world class museums, upscale or eclectic shopping opportunities, and impressive architecture.

Which city is cheaper, Chicago 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 Chicago is $221. 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 Columbia and Chicago in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Chicago $152
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Chicago $304
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Chicago

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Chicago? 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 Chicago


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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 Chicago Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Chicago $29

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Chicago?

Prices for flights to both Chicago 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 $4.02
    Chicago $37

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Chicago $34

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Savannah: History & Ghosts Guided Tour with Beverage Stops: $20
  • Cascade Locks: 1-Hour Columbia River Sightseeing Cruise: $50
  • Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour: $85
  • Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise: $94
  • Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour: $99
  • Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour: $199

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

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
    Columbia $70
    Chicago $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Columbia

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

  • Savannah: Pub Crawl and Ghost Tour: $30

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


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbia and Chicago, we can see that Chicago 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 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 Columbia.


When is the best time to visit Columbia or Chicago?

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 Chicago in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and Chicago. Furthermore, many travelers come to Chicago for the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Columbia is around the same temperature as Chicago. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbia in July are around 82°F (28°C), and Chicago is about 77°F (25°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Chicago this time of the year. In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. Columbia usually receives less sunshine than Chicago during summer. Columbia gets 293 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 326 hours of full sun in the summer.

Chicago receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbia gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Columbia usually receives more rain than Chicago. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    Chicago 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Chicago in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Columbia as well as Chicago. Additionally, many visitors come to Chicago in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Columbia is generally a little warmer than Chicago. Temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and Chicago stays around 56°F (14°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In the autumn, Columbia often gets more sunshine than Chicago. Columbia gets 230 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 195 hours of full sun.

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


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Chicago 56°F (14°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Chicago in the Winter?

Both Chicago and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Also, most visitors come to Chicago for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months.

Chicago can be very cold during winter. Columbia is much warmer than Chicago in the winter. The temperature in Columbia is usually 45°F (7°C) in January, and Chicago stays around 25°F (-4°C).

Columbia usually receives more sunshine than Chicago during winter. Columbia gets 171 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 134 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Columbia usually receives more rain than Chicago. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 1.9 inches (47 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    Chicago 25°F (-4°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Chicago in the Spring?

Both Chicago and Columbia during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Chicago because of the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Columbia is much warmer than Chicago. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbia in April are around 64°F (18°C), and Chicago is about 52°F (11°C).

In Chicago, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Columbia. In the spring, Columbia often gets more sunshine than Chicago. Columbia gets 273 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 218 hours of full sun.

Chicago gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Columbia usually gets less rain in April than Chicago. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 4.3 inches (108 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Chicago 52°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Chicago and Columbia

Columbia Chicago
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 25°F (-4°C) 1.9 inches (47 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 29°F (-2°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 52°F (11°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 44°F (7°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)


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Columbia vs. Chicago Travel Comparison

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