A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbus vs. Alexandria for Attractions, Families, Couples, and Food

Should you visit Columbus or Alexandria?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Alexandria? 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.

Columbus

Columbus is a down-to-earth, authentic, and friendly city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Alexandria

Alexandria is a quaint, historic, and charming city. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

Columbus and Alexandria: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly


Is there more to do in Columbus or Alexandria?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Alexandria than Columbus. While Columbus is larger than Alexandria, Alexandria has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Alexandria is more touristy than Columbus and is known for its long-running history, beautiful architecture, and small town atmosphere. Also, Alexandria is famous for Mount Vernon. Columbus is well known for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Columbus different from Alexandria?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Alexandria and Columbus. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Columbus or Alexandria?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Alexandria offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. George Washington's Mount Vernon home is an iconic destination in Alexandria. There are also many other museums in town that focus on the region's history. The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum and the Gadsby's Tavern Museum are both interesting. There's Gunston Hall and the Carlyle House, as well as an archeology museum and many historic landmarks around town.

Columbus offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Popular museums around town include the Center of Science and Technology, the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Ohio History Center.


Is the Food Better in Columbus or Alexandria? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a popular place for its restaurants. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Alexandria. The food, like the city itself, reflects the area's history. There are many southern classic dishes as well as a lot of seafood. You'll find lots of local restaurants that serve high quality dishes and a quaint atmosphere.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbus. Hearty and heavy comfort food is the mainstay in this town. There's pizza, casseroles, sausage, and milkshakes around town.

Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Alexandria

The notable nightlife scene is relatively similar in Columbus and Alexandria.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbus. The live music scene is growing. There are also a growing number of breweries around town.

Alexandria has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There's a great bar scene, as well as tons of restaurants that make for a relaxing night out.

Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for its Old Town?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a world-class destination for its historic old town. However, Columbus does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Alexandria is revered around the world. At the heart of the city is the historic old town. Its lined with townhomes that date back to the 18th century. There are many historic sights that have stories from the early days of the country. There are also cobblestone streets and a great waterfront.

Columbus does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Alexandria?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Alexandria. King Street is the main shopping street in town and it offers the largest concentration of independently owned boutiques in the Washington D.C. area. It's the perfectly place to spend an afternoon shopping.

Columbus offers some nice shopping areas. In addition to the standard shopping malls and retail outlets, there are some interesting shops in the Short North Arts District, German Village, and Easton Town Center.

Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for Families?

Columbus
Alexandria

Columbus is great for its kid-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Columbus. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a highlight for many families. Right by it is the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark. For hands-on science-based activities check out the Center of Science and Industry. Kids will also love the Legoland Discovery Center or the Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory. There are also many outdoor parks, greenways, and playgrounds to visit.

Alexandria is not the most family-friendly destination. The waterfront area is nice to walk around. You can break up the history with an ice cream shop and kids will also enjoy taking a boat tour.

Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for Couples?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a very popular place for romance. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Alexandria makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The charm of the old town makes this a quaint and romantic destination. There's a waterfront area and many historic buildings. There are also romantic restaurants and plenty of places to grab brunch.

Most people don't think of Columbus as a couple's destination. You'll find restaurants and music venues that make for a nice date night. There are also wine tours and other entertainment options.


Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Alexandria. There aren't any true hostels in town, but you will find some cheap motels.

Columbus is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Although it's often overlooked by tourists, there is a hostel in town for backpackers and budget travelers.

Is Columbus or Alexandria Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a world-class destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its public transit.

With a huge network, the transit system in Alexandria can get you around easily. DASH is the local bus system, but the city is also connected into the Washington DC metro system.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbus. While there's a bus system, you'll really want to have a vehicle to get around town efficiently.

Is Columbus or Alexandria a more walkable city?

Columbus
Alexandria

Alexandria is a world-class destination for its walkability. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Alexandria. It's a very easy city to walk around, particularly in the historic heart where most tourists spend their time.

Columbus is a somewhat walkable place. The older neighborhoods are the most walkable, but if you want to get around town, you'll need to have a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Columbus Worth Visiting? and Is Alexandria Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Alexandria or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Alexandria?

It's fun to spend time in either Columbus or Alexandria. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Alexandria due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbus, and 2-4 days is enough time in Alexandria.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Alexandria than Columbus 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 Alexandria.


  • How many days in Columbus or Alexandria? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbus 1-2 
    Alexandria 2-4

One day in Columbus or Alexandria?

With museums and nightlife around the friendly city of Columbus, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Columbus, one day is sufficent for most.

The beautiful city of Alexandria offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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 Columbus or Alexandria?

With nightlife and shopping around the destination of Columbus, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Alexandria 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. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Alexandria, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Columbus or Alexandria?

Columbus, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Alexandria 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 Columbus or Alexandria?

Columbus is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Alexandria is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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.


Which place is cheaper, Alexandria or Columbus?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbus is $158, while the average daily cost in Alexandria is $0.00. 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 Columbus and Alexandria in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Alexandria $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Alexandria $76
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Alexandria

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Alexandria? 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 Columbus


Hotels in Alexandria


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: Columbus Hotel Prices and Alexandria Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Alexandria -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $132
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $66
  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Alexandria?

Prices for flights to both Alexandria and Columbus 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
    Columbus $49
    Alexandria -

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $46
    Alexandria -

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • Columbus Blue Jackets Ice Hockey Game Ticket at Nationwide Arena: $23
  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure : $21
  • 1-Hour Themed Escape Room Adventure & Narrative: $41
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Columbus with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $29
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Columbus by 3Quest Challenge: $10
  • The Escape Game Epic 60-Minute Adventures: $41
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10

Tours and Activities in Alexandria

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Alexandria.

  • A Walk in Washington's Footsteps History Tour: $32
  • American Revolution Guided Walking Tour: $30
  • Full-Day Bike Tour to Mt Vernon w/ Optional Boat: $68
  • Phantoms of the Potomac Walking Tour: $26
  • Private Tour of George Washington's Mount Vernon: $165
  • Old Town Alexandria Tour: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Old Town Southern Comfort Food & History Tour: $127
  • Philadelphia Tour from Alexandria by Rail: $329

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $20
    Alexandria -

Sample the Local Flavors in Alexandria

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

  • Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbus and Alexandria, we can see that Columbus is more expensive. And not only is Alexandria much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Alexandria would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Alexandria 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 Columbus would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Columbus than you might in Alexandria.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Columbus Expensive? and Is Alexandria Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Alexandria?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Alexandria. When comparing the sizes of Columbus and Alexandria, 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 Columbus or Alexandria?

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 Columbus or Alexandria in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbus and Alexandria. Most visitors come to Columbus for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Alexandria because of the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Columbus is generally around the same temperature as Alexandria. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 77°F (25°C), and Alexandria fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Alexandria this time of the year. In Columbus, it's very sunny this time of the year. Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Alexandria during summer. Columbus gets 254 hours of sunny skies, while Alexandria receives 278 hours of full sun in the summer.

Columbus gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Columbus usually receives more rain than Alexandria. Columbus gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Alexandria receives 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbus 77°F (25°C) 
    Alexandria 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Alexandria in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Columbus as well as Alexandria. The autumn months attract visitors to Columbus because of the shopping scene. Also, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Alexandria this time of year.

Columbus is around the same temperature as Alexandria in the autumn. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 57°F (14°C) in October, and Alexandria fluctuates around 60°F (15°C).

In the autumn, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Alexandria. Columbus gets 179 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Alexandria receives 197 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets less rain in October than Alexandria. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Alexandria receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbus 57°F (14°C) 
    Alexandria 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Alexandria in the Winter?

Both Alexandria and Columbus are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Columbus this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Alexandria for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Alexandria. It's quite cold in Columbus in the winter. In the winter, Columbus is much colder than Alexandria. Typically, the winter temperatures in Columbus in January average around 30°F (-1°C), and Alexandria averages at about 35°F (1°C).

Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Alexandria during winter. Columbus gets 105 hours of sunny skies, while Alexandria receives 139 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Columbus usually receives less rain than Alexandria. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Alexandria receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C) 
    Alexandria 35°F (1°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Alexandria in the Spring?

Both Alexandria and Columbus during the spring are popular places to visit. Furthermore, many visitors come to Alexandria in the spring for the small town charm and the natural beauty.

In April, Columbus is generally cooler than Alexandria. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 54°F (12°C), and Alexandria fluctuates around 56°F (14°C).

In Alexandria, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the spring, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Alexandria. Columbus gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Alexandria receives 228 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets more rain in April than Alexandria. Columbus gets 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain, while Alexandria receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbus 54°F (12°C) 
    Alexandria 56°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Alexandria and Columbus

Columbus Alexandria
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Feb 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Oct 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)