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

Should you visit Columbia or Milwaukee?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Milwaukee? 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 friendly, welcoming, and suburban city. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Milwaukee

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

Columbia and Milwaukee: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Columbia or Milwaukee?

You'll generally find more things to do in Milwaukee than Columbia. Milwaukee is bigger than Columbia, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Milwaukee is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its many breweries and its baseball culture. Also, Milwaukee is famous for the Lakefront area. Columbia is well known for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from Milwaukee?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Milwaukee 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 Milwaukee?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Plenty of people visit the notable sights and museums in both Columbia and Milwaukee.

Columbia offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. 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.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Milwaukee. There are several unique museums like the Harley-Davidson Museum, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. There's also the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Grohmann Museum as well as outdoor sculpture parks and other cultural and historic museums.


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

Columbia
Milwaukee

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at respectable restaurants in both Columbia and Milwaukee.

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.

Milwaukee may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. The Midwest is known for its artery clogging comfort foods, and Milwaukee is no exception. Cheese curds, fried fish, fruit dumplings, and frozen custard are all popular.

Is Columbia or Milwaukee Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Both Columbia and Milwaukee are notable when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Milwaukee. You'll find a decent number of breweries around town. There are also wine bars, nightclubs, and live music venues that are worth checking out.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or Milwaukee?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Both Columbia and Milwaukee are notable shopping destinations.

Columbia offers some nice shopping areas. 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.

Milwaukee has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find the standard shopping centers and shopping malls around town, but if you want some more local vendors, check out the areas around the Historic Third Ward and The Village in Wauwatosa.


Is Columbia or Milwaukee Better for Families?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Columbia or Milwaukee.

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.

Milwaukee is a family-friendly city. Kids will enjoy a visit to Discovery World, which is a science center with hands-on exhibits. There's also the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Milwaukee Public Museum. Younger kids will also enjoy a stop at Betty Brinn Children's Museum.

Is Columbia or Milwaukee Better for Couples?

Columbia
Milwaukee

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

Most people don't think of Columbia as a couple's destination. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Milwaukee is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Take a walk or visit a local restaurant. There are also museums and performances that make for a nice outing.

Is Columbia or Milwaukee Better for Students?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Columbia and Milwaukee are both notable destinations for students and younger travelers.

Columbia is a good city to visit for students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Plenty of students visit Milwaukee. It's home to a number of colleges and universities, so there is a bit of a college town vibe.


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

Columbia
Milwaukee

Both Columbia and Milwaukee offer respectable public transit options.

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

Public transit is mostly limited in Milwaukee. There are buses that travel around town.

Is Columbia or Milwaukee a more walkable city?

Columbia
Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

Milwaukee is a somewhat walkable place. Parts of the city are relatively compact and walkable. The most walkable neighborhoods are East Side, Riverwest, Brewers Hill, Downtown, Avenues West/Marquette, Third Ward, Walker's Point, and Bay View.

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 Milwaukee Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Milwaukee or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Milwaukee?

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

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

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

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


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

One day in Columbia or Milwaukee?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Columbia. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Columbia has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The city of Milwaukee 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.


A weekend in Columbia or Milwaukee?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the welcoming destination of Columbia. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

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

Five days in Columbia or Milwaukee?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the suburban city of Columbia. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Milwaukee 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 Milwaukee?

Columbia is a popular choice for travelers. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Milwaukee 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 One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Milwaukee 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 Milwaukee is $176. 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 Milwaukee in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Milwaukee $99
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Milwaukee $198
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Milwaukee

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Milwaukee? 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 Milwaukee


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 Milwaukee Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Milwaukee $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Milwaukee

Also for Milwaukee, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Departure Transfer from Milwaukee to Milwaukee Airport MKE by SUV: $81
  • Arrival Transfer from Milwaukee Airport MKE to Milwaukee by SUV: $81

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Milwaukee?

Prices for flights to both Milwaukee 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
    Milwaukee $52

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Milwaukee

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

  • Family Fun Food Tour: $80
  • Milwaukee Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • Original Milwaukee Guided Brewery Tour with Lunch or Dinner: $139

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

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 Milwaukee

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

  • Skip the Line: Museum Admission Ticket - Grohmann Museum: $5.00
  • The Grand Walk: A Self-Guided Audio Tour through Milwaukee: $6.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Milwaukee by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Geneva Lake Shore Path: Uncover 21 miles of stories on a self-guided audio tour: $10
  • Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Game Ticket at American Family Field: $12
  • Skip The Line: Harley-Davidson Museum Admission Ticket with Audio Guided Option: $22
  • Shakers Original Historical Ghost Tour: $27
  • Milwaukee Downtown Ghost Tour - The Shadow of City Hall: $29
  • Downtown Kenosha Urban Art and Photography Walking Tour: $30
  • Brew City Ghosts: Macabre Milwaukee By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Milwaukee Private or Public Pedal Tavern Tour : $36
  • Private Metal Detecting Tour to Simmons Island Beach of Kenosha: $40

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Milwaukee $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Milwaukee

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

  • Sip of Milwaukee Guided Brewery Tour with Snack: $99


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


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Milwaukee?

Milwaukee has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Milwaukee, 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 Milwaukee?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Columbia or Milwaukee in the Summer?

Both Milwaukee and Columbia during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Columbia in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Milwaukee for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Columbia is a little warmer than Milwaukee in the summer. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Milwaukee fluctuates around 74°F (23°C).

In Milwaukee, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Columbia. In the summer, Columbia often gets less sunshine than Milwaukee. Columbia gets 293 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Milwaukee receives 321 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbia. Columbia usually gets more rain in July than Milwaukee. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    Milwaukee 74°F (23°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Milwaukee in the Autumn?

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

In the autumn, Columbia is much warmer than Milwaukee. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Columbia in October average around 64°F (18°C), and Milwaukee averages at about 53°F (12°C).

In Columbia, it's very sunny this time of the year. Columbia usually receives more sunshine than Milwaukee during autumn. Columbia gets 230 hours of sunny skies, while Milwaukee receives 174 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Columbia usually receives more rain than Milwaukee. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 2 inches (50 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Milwaukee 53°F (12°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Milwaukee in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Columbia as well as Milwaukee. The winter months attract visitors to Columbia because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Milwaukee this time of year.

It's quite cold in Milwaukee in the winter. In January, Columbia is generally much warmer than Milwaukee. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 45°F (7°C), and Milwaukee fluctuates around 21°F (-6°C).

In the winter, Columbia often gets more sunshine than Milwaukee. Columbia gets 171 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Milwaukee receives 138 hours of full sun.

Columbia usually gets more rain in January than Milwaukee. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 1.6 inches (41 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    Milwaukee 21°F (-6°C)

Should I visit Columbia or Milwaukee in the Spring?

Both Milwaukee and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

Columbia is much warmer than Milwaukee in the spring. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 64°F (18°C) in April, and Milwaukee fluctuates around 47°F (8°C).

It's quite sunny in Milwaukee. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. Columbia usually receives more sunshine than Milwaukee during spring. Columbia gets 273 hours of sunny skies, while Milwaukee receives 211 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Columbia usually receives around the same amount of rain as Milwaukee. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Milwaukee receives 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    Milwaukee 47°F (8°C)

Typical Weather for Milwaukee and Columbia

Columbia Milwaukee
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 21°F (-6°C) 1.6 inches (41 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 26°F (-4°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 36°F (2°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 47°F (8°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 72°F (22°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 65°F (18°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 41°F (5°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 27°F (-3°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)