A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbia vs. New York City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Columbia or New York City?

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

Should I visit Columbia or New York City? 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 suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.

New York City

New York City is a cosmopolitan, one-of-a-kind, and vibrant city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the museums, theater, and nightlife.

Columbia and New York City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less popular for students
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Home to the Statue of Liberty


Is there more to do in Columbia or New York City?

Tourists will generally find more to do in New York City than Columbia. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. New York City is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its high-reaching skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, world-class theater scene, and endless energy. It is also well known for The Statue of Liberty. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from New York City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between New York City 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 New York City?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its sights and museums. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in New York City are among the most recognizable in the world. The sights and museums around the city are too numerous to list, but some of the most famous include the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, and the Empire State Building. This is a city that is filled with iconic landmarks and you could spend weeks here and still not see it all.

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 Columbia or New York City Better for Theater?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its theatre productions. However, Columbia is not a theatre destination.

The theater and performance venues in New York City draw crowds from around the world. Visiting Broadway is a quintessential NYC experience. Whether you enjoy the theater or simply want to experience something new, seeing a Broadway show is a true bucket list activity.

Columbia is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Columbia or New York City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

For foodies, New York City is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city has a diverse variety of restaurants, with everything from local dives to Michelin star options. There are many neighborhoods that are notable for their ethnic cuisine, particularly Little Italy and Chinatown. Quintessential NYC dishes include NYC pizza, NYC hot dogs, bagels, and Chinese dim sum.

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 New York City Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for nightlife and partying. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

New York City is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Known as the city that never sleeps, you can be assured that NYC has some of the best nightlife in the world. There are world class bars and clubs, but also local venues that have a more relaxed atmosphere. Several famous clubs include Paul's Cocktail Lounge, Le Bain, and Avant Gardner.

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 Columbia or New York City Better for Music?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its live music scene. However, Columbia is not a live music destination.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in New York City Popular music venues include Music Hall of Williamsburg, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre, and Forest Hills Stadium.

Columbia is not a live music destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or New York City?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its shopping opportunities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in New York City make it a world-class shopping destination. The shopping is as diverse as the city itself. Head for Fifth Avenue for high end shopping or check out any of the many street markets for local items. New York is known for its many flea markets where you can find vintage items at a good price. And if you're looking to pick up a souvenir shirt or knick knack, there are plenty of souvenir shops around town as well.

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 New York City Better for Christmas?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its Christmas activities. However, Columbia does not offer Christmas activities.

New York City is a world class destination during the Christmas season. Christmas in the city is a quintessential experience. From the Christmas tree and ice skating at Rockefeller Center to seeing a live performance of the Nutcracker, everyone enjoys the holidays in New York.

Columbia does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Columbia or New York City Better for Christmas Markets?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is a well-known place for its Christmas markets. However, Columbia does not offer Christmas markets.

New York City has a lively atmosphere around its Christmas markets. There are a number of Christmas markets that pop up around town during the holiday season. Nothing will get you more in the holiday spirit than wandering these unique venues.

Columbia does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Columbia or New York City Better for Families?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

New York City is a very kid-friendly city. The city has many activities for kids of all ages including world class museums, beautifully designed playgrounds, and theater shows designed just for young ones. There are many kid-friendly restaurants as well and older kids will enjoy visiting the iconic landmarks in this world-class city.

Columbia is a family-friendly city. 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 Columbia or New York City Better for Couples?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

New York City makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. From a beautiful carriage ride through Central Park, to a romantic river cruise at night, there is an endless list of unique activities that couples can enjoy in the city. Whether you're interested in theater, the arts, music, or nightlife, this city has it all.

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 New York City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Columbia
New York City

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

New York City is a great city to visit for backpackers. It isn't a particularly budget-friendly destination, but it does get its share of backpackers, so you'll find a nice list of hostels and affordable hangouts that are perfect for the backpacker crowd. This is probably one of the most popular cities for backpackers in the entire United States.

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 New York City Better for Students?

Columbia
New York City

New York City is renowned for students. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Many students frequent New York City. The city has a diverse population, and international students will feel right at home here exploring the city. There are also plenty of major universities including NYU, Columbia University, and Cornell University.

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

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

Columbia
New York City

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

New York City has a great public transit system. The city has one of the largest subway systems in the world. There's also an elaborate bus system, ferry system, and yellow taxis all around town.

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 New York City a more walkable city?

Columbia
New York City

New York City 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 New York City on foot. The majority of the neighborhoods in Manhattan are very walkable and easy to explore on foot. Most people prefer not to drive here as it can be overwhelming and chaotic.

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 New York City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in New York City or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or New York City?

Both Columbia and New York City have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in New York City than in Columbia. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbia, and 3-7 days is enough time in New York City.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in New York City 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 New York City.


  • How many days in Columbia or New York City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbia 1-2 
    New York City 3-7

One day in Columbia or New York City?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the suburban destination of Columbia. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

New York City is a big city with plenty to do. 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 New York City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Columbia. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

New York City is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Columbia or New York City?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the welcoming destination of Columbia. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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.

New York City is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in New York City, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Columbia or New York City?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the city of Columbia. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

New York City is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that New York City has to offer. 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, New York City 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 New York City is $326. 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 New York City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    New York City $175
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    New York City $350
Compare Hotels in Columbia and New York City

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or New York 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 Columbia


Hotels in New York 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: Columbia Hotel Prices and New York City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    New York City $49

Typical Local Transportation Prices in New York City

Some typical examples of transportation costs in New York City are as follows:


  • Subway
    $4.50
  • Taxi Ride
    $8.00
  • Subway
    $2.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New York City

Also for New York City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Manhattan: Bus Transfer from/to Newark Airport: $21
  • New York: 1-Way Transfer to/from JFK & Grand Central Station: $27
  • Midtown/Lower Manhattan -JFK: Private Airport Departure Transfers: $29
  • Newark Liberty International Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to / from NYC: $34
  • EWR to Manhattan: One Way Shared Arrival Transfer: $34
  • Manhattan to JFK: One Way Shared Departure Transfer : $34
  • Manhattan to LGA: One Way Shared Departure Transfer: $34
  • JFK to Manhattan: One Way Shared Arrival Transfer : $34
  • NYC: One-Way Shared Transfer to or from Newark Airport: $36
  • NYC: One-Way Transfer to/from JFK Airport and Manhattan: $36
  • Manhattan: Shared Transfer to or from LaGuardia Airport: $36
  • New York City Airport Departure Transfer Manhattan to LGA JFK EWR: $37

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or New York City?

Prices for flights to both New York City 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
    New York City $50

Typical Food Prices in New York City

For New York City, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Gelato
    $7.50
  • Snacks for Two at Yankees Game
    $34
  • Coffee
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $6.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New York City

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

  • Lower East Side and Essex Market Multicultural Food Tour: $39
  • Half-Day Private Pizza Crawl in Manhattan: $40
  • Shared Food Tour Bohemian Greenwichvillage: $45
  • NYC: Greenwich Village Guided Food Tour: $63
  • Pizza Walking Tour of Downtown Brooklyn: $65
  • Downtown Brooklyn Pizza Walking Tour: $65
  • East Village Pizza Walk: $65
  • Greenwich Village NYC Pizza Walking Tour: $65
  • East Village NYC Pizza Walking Tour: $65
  • Gastro Pub Pre/Post Theater Dinner in Times Square: $67
  • NYC: Guided Food Tour of the West Village: $70
  • Chinatown New York Walking Food Tour: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    New York City $180

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

Typical Entertainment Prices in New York City

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for New York City's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Comedy Show Tickets
    $56
  • City Map
    $8.00
  • Broadway Musical
    $111
  • Broadway Show Program
    $10
  • Magazine
    $6.99

Tours and Activities in New York City

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

  • Central Park NYC: First Discovery Walk and Reading Tour: $3.25
  • Central Park: Self-guided Bike Tour App - Audio + Written: $5.00
  • Marvel Universe in New York In-app Audio Tour in English: $5.00
  • Self Guided Central Park Bike or Walking Tour Application: $5.00
  • Brooklyn Bridge Self-Guided Bike or Walking Tour Application: $5.00
  • Private Audio Guided Walking Tour in New York: $5.45
  • Central Park Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.55
  • Self Guided "Central Park Movie Tour" Solo Walking Tour in New York City: $6.75
  • NYC: Central Park Exploration Game and Tour: $7.05
  • Self-Guided Tour of the Museum at Eldridge Street: $7.50
  • Docent-Led Tour of the Museum at Eldridge Street: $7.50
  • New York City's Financial District: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Things to do in New York City with Kids, Things to Do in Central Park in NYC, and The Best Museums in New York City.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    New York City $29

Sample the Local Flavors in New York City

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in New York City:

  • NYC West Village Pub Crawl: $21
  • NYC: Brooklyn Nightlife Pub Crawl: $34
  • New York: Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • NYC: Manhattan's Only Whiskey Distillery Tour & Tasting: $42
  • Brooklyn Literary Pub Crawl: $49
  • Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl: $49
  • Little Italy Prohibition Pub Crawl: $64
  • New York Rooftop Pub Crawl: $69
  • Guided Brooklyn Craft Brewery Tour: $99
  • 1920s Schooner Sail with Wine Tasting: $139
  • Hudson Valley Craft Brewery Bike Tour: $145
  • Snow Tubing and Brewery Day Trip From NYC: $159


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


Which is Bigger, Columbia or New York City?

New York City has a larger population, and is about 70 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and New York 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.


When is the best time to visit Columbia or New York City?

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 New York City in the Summer?

Both New York City and Columbia during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Columbia for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to New York City because of the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Columbia is generally around the same temperature as New York City. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 82°F (28°C), and New York City fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

New York City gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbia. Columbia usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as New York City. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 4.5 inches (114 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    New York City 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Columbia or New York City in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and New York City. The autumn months attract visitors to Columbia because of the shopping scene. Furthermore, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to New York City this time of year.

Columbia is a little warmer than New York City in the autumn. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 64°F (18°C) in October, and New York City fluctuates around 57°F (14°C).

In October, Columbia usually receives around the same amount of rain as New York City. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    New York City 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Columbia or New York City in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Columbia as well as New York City. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Columbia this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to New York City for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in New York City. In the winter, Columbia is much warmer than New York City. Typically, the winter temperatures in Columbia in January average around 45°F (7°C), and New York City averages at about 31°F (-1°C).

Columbia usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as New York City. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    New York City 31°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Columbia or New York City in the Spring?

Both New York City and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Also, many visitors come to New York City in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In April, Columbia is generally much warmer than New York City. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and New York City fluctuates around 52°F (11°C).

In April, Columbia usually receives less rain than New York City. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while New York City receives 3.8 inches (98 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    New York City 52°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for New York City and Columbia

Columbia New York City
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 33°F (1°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.8 inches (98 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 57°F (14°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 36°F (2°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)