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

Should you visit Columbia or Reno?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Reno? 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. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Reno

Reno is a vibrant, energetic, and growing city. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Columbia and Reno: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Columbia or Reno?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Reno than Columbia, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Reno is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its casinos and nightlife scene. It is also home to the National Automobile Museum. Columbia is popular for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from Reno?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Columbia
Reno

Plenty of people visit the good sights and museums in both Columbia and Reno.

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 Reno. Museums in town range from art and history to local or quirky. The National Automobile Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, Fleischmann Planetarium, and the Anthropology Museum are some of the favorites.


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

Columbia
Reno

Reno is a popular place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Reno. The food scene has been growing in recent years and you'll find plenty of casual restaurants that serve hearty and filling comfort foods.

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 Reno Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
Reno

Reno 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.

Reno offers plenty to do in the evening. There's a big nightlife scene with a huge number of bars and entertainment options. There are also a growing number of breweries in town.

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 Reno?

Columbia
Reno

Both Columbia and Reno are good 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.

Reno has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. In addition to your standard suburban shopping malls and strip malls, there's the Midtown District, which has local retail shops and an eclectic and alternative vibe. The area has thrift shops, music vendors, and more.


Is Columbia or Reno Better for Families?

Columbia
Reno

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Columbia or Reno.

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.

Reno is a family-friendly city. You'll find some arcades and entertainment options for kids in some of the casinos. There's also the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, which has kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits, and the largest zoo in Nevado, the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park.

Is Columbia or Reno Better for Couples?

Columbia
Reno

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

Reno makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are outdoor parks and scenic walks like the Truckee River Walk or the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. There's also several great museums and some interesting 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 Reno Better for Students?

Columbia
Reno

Columbia is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Reno is not popular with students.

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

Reno is not popular with students.


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

Columbia
Reno

Both Columbia and Reno offer decent 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 Reno. There's a public bus system with routes around town.

Is Columbia or Reno a more walkable city?

Columbia
Reno

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

Reno is generally not very walkable. While there are some reasonably walkable neighborhoods, you really need a car to get around town.

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 Reno Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Reno or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Reno?

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

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

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

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


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

One day in Columbia or Reno?

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Columbia. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

The city of Reno offers food 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 Reno?

Columbia is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

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

Five days in Columbia or Reno?

You'll find shopping and museums around the suburban destination of Columbia. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Reno 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 Reno?

The friendly city of Columbia offers museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. 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.

Reno 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 2-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Reno 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 Reno is $144. 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 Reno in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Reno $55
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Reno $110
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Reno

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Reno? 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 Reno


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 Reno Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Reno $23

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Reno

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Reno:


  • Car Wash
    $5.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Reno

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

  • Reno to Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) - Departure Private Transfer: $67
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) to Reno – Private Arrival Transfer : $67
  • Reno Tahoe Airport (RNO) to Heavenly Mountain - Arrival Transfer: $111
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO) to Reno – Round-Trip Private Transfer: $135
  • Reno Tahoe Airport to Northstar/Squaw Valley - Arrival Transfer: $166
  • Reno Tahoe Airport (RNO) to Mammoth Mountain: Arrival Transfer: $188
  • Reno Tahoe Airport to Heavenly Mountain - Round-Trip Transfer: $221

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Reno?

Prices for flights to both Reno 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
    Reno $54

Typical Food Prices in Reno

For Reno, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dennys for Breakfast
    $22
  • Sushi DInner (for 2)
    $40
  • In-n-Out Burger (for 3)
    $19

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Reno $88

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 Reno

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

  • Downtown Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • From Reno Arch to Truckee River: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Reno by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Discover Reno's Heart: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Reno Scavenger Hunt: Reno Adventure: $12
  • Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided GPS Audio Tour: $14
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Carson City, NV: $15
  • Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Zero Latency Extreme Virtual Reality Experience Ticket: $25
  • Gangs and Gamblers Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Reno Ghosts Tour: $30

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Reno

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

  • 1 Hour Distillery Tour and Tasting Flight: $25


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


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Reno?

Reno has a larger population, and is about 74% larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Reno, 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.