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

Should you visit Columbia or Salt Lake City?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Salt Lake 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 welcoming, suburban, and friendly city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a architectural, notable, and religious city. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Columbia and Salt Lake City: 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
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to Temple Square
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Columbia or Salt Lake City?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Salt Lake City than Columbia, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Salt Lake City is more popular for its museums, food, scuba diving & snorkeling, and hiking, while Columbia is known for its nightlife. Salt Lake City is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its religious landmarks and its large Mormon population. It is also home to Temple Square. Columbia is popular for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from Salt Lake City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake City?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City 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.

Salt Lake City offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Many of the fascinating sights around town are influenced by the city's Mormon culture. Temple Square is a highlight for most visitors. It spans 35 acres and is beautifully landscaped with several fountains. There are also four main churches - The Temple, the Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and Assembly Hall. The city also has several museums such as the Natural History Museum and the historic Liberty Park.

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 Salt Lake City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City. In recent years the food scene has really improved and you'll find a variety of restaurants that serve everything from upscale dishes to more casual fare.

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 Salt Lake City Better for Nightlife?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Columbia is very good for its evening party scene. However, Salt Lake City is lacking in good options for nightlife.

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.

Salt Lake City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. Known for its large Mormon population, nightlife isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Salt Lake City. While it will likely never be a party city, there are a growing number of entertainment options around town.

Is Columbia or Salt Lake City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for its diving and snorkeling. However, Columbia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Salt Lake City has a few good snorkeling spots. There are a number of good ski resorts nearby, making this a good base or starting point for a ski vacation.

Columbia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Columbia or Salt Lake City Better for Hiking?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for the nearby hiking options. However, Columbia is not a hiking destination.

Salt Lake City is a good destination for hiking. The city offers easy access to many diverse trails, so if you're a nature enthusiasts, you'll appreciate this destination.

Columbia is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or Salt Lake City?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Both Columbia and Salt Lake City 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.

Salt Lake City has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The city has sprawling outlet malls as well as local stores and craft shops. City Creek Center is a favorite shopping destination, but there are also several large shopping malls that are worth visiting.

Is Columbia or Salt Lake City Better for Families?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Columbia or Salt Lake City.

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.

Salt Lake City is a family-friendly city. There are museums that kids will enjoy like the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Leonardo Museum. There are also fun-filled activities like a visit to Lagoon Amusement Park. You can learn about history at This Is the Place Heritage Park or learn about the undersea world at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.


Is Columbia or Salt Lake City Better for Couples?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

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

Salt Lake City makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city is filled with beautiful gardens like Red Butte Garden. There are also nice restaurants and romantic hotels that will make this a nice place for a couple's getaway.

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 Salt Lake City Better for Students?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Columbia is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Salt Lake City 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.

Salt Lake City is not popular with students.

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

Columbia
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for its public transit. However, Columbia is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

Salt Lake City has a few public transit options. There's a surprisingly good public transit system that includes light rail, buses, and commuter trains, but if you want to get out of town you'll need to have a car.

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 Salt Lake City a more walkable city?

Columbia
Salt Lake City

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

Salt Lake City is generally not very walkable. While some neighborhoods are walkable, like Temple Square, most visitors prefer to have a car.

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 Salt Lake City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Salt Lake City or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Salt Lake City?

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

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake City.


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

One day in Columbia or Salt Lake City?

In Columbia, you'll find nightlife and shopping. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

The city of Salt Lake City offers scuba diving and snorkeling 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 Salt Lake City?

Columbia is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

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


Five days in Columbia or Salt Lake City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Columbia. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the city of Columbia. Your budget might influence how long you stay. 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.

Salt Lake City 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, Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake City is $246. 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 Salt Lake City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Salt Lake City $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Salt Lake City $238
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Salt Lake City

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake 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 Salt Lake City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Salt Lake City $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salt Lake City

Also for Salt Lake City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer: Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) : $107
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Arrival Transfer: $115
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Salt Lake City : $120
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Salt Lake City : $120
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City UT - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $181
  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC): Transfer to Salt Lake City: $201
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Round-Trip Transfer: $229
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City hotel or address: $262
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Park City UT : $262

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Salt Lake City?

Prices for flights to both Salt Lake 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
    Salt Lake City $50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Salt Lake City $28

Tours and Activities in Salt Lake City

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

  • Mormon History - Salt Lake Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Mormon History Salt Lake Self-Guided Audio app Walking Tour: $7.75
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $12
  • Salt Lake City Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Salt Lake City & La Sal: Self-Guided Walking & Driving Tour: $20
  • Salt Lake City Ghost Tour: Outer Reaches Tour: $20
  • Salt Lake City Haunted Old Town Tour: $23
  • Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • 45 Minute Great Salt Lake Boat Tour: $37
  • History & Culture Guided Walking Day Tour: $50
  • Salt Lake City Walking Tour: $50
  • Guided City Tour by Car: $65

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Salt Lake City $17


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


Which is Bigger, Columbia or Salt Lake City?

Salt Lake City has a larger population, and is about 53% larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Salt Lake 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.