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

Should you visit Columbus or Austin?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Austin? 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 welcoming, down-to-earth, and authentic city. It's also known for nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Austin

Austin is a unconventional, lively, and entrepreneurial city. It's also a big city with many activities. This is beautiful destination to visit. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

Columbus and Austin: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Columbus or Austin?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Austin. Although Columbus and Austin are both popular with visitors, Austin has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Austin is more touristy than Columbus and is popular for its live music scene, excellent Texas barbecue, authentic Mexican food, and vibrant student population. It is also home to The Texas Capital. Columbus is popular for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Columbus different from Austin?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Columbus
Austin

Austin 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.

Austin offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Austin has a number of great museums and sights including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. There's also a huge supply of local art galleries. Perhaps the most notable landmark in town is the beautiful Texas Capital Building

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 Austin? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbus
Austin

Austin is a world-class destination for its restaurants. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

For foodies, Austin is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. It is credited with being the original food truck city and you'll find many diverse food truck options around town. There is also amazing Mexican food, world renowned Texas barbecue, and many modern restaurants that reflect the city's culinary influence.

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 Austin Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Austin

Austin is a world-class destination for nightlife. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

People head to Austin just to party. It's nightlife is centered around its thriving live music scene. Head for Sixth Street for some of the most popular bars and clubs. There are also many music festivals and outdoor concerts, particularly during the summer months. Popular bars and clubs around town include the White Horse, the Rose Room, and Antone's Nightclub.

Columbus has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The live music scene is growing. There are also a growing number of breweries around town.

Is Columbus or Austin Better for Music?

Columbus
Austin

Austin is a world-class destination for live music. However, Columbus is not a live music destination.

Austin is known as a music capital around the world. Music is what gives this city its character. There are many live music venues, concerts, and music festivals to experience. Austin has influenced many music genres such as rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, punk, and country.

Columbus is not a live music destination.


Is Columbus or Austin Better for Hiking?

Columbus
Austin

Austin is a decent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Columbus is not a hiking destination.

Austin has hiking trails if you want to get outside. Head just outside of town to explore a few great hiking spots right near town.

Columbus is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Austin?

Columbus
Austin

Shoppers can find a variety of good stores in both Columbus and Austin.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Columbus. 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.

Austin offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of local boutiques around town where you can enjoy shopping.

Is Columbus or Austin Better for Families?

Columbus
Austin

Columbus is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Austin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Columbus is a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Austin offers lots of family activities. The city is a popular destination for young travelers, but there are also some family-friendly activities like Barton Springs, Zilker Park, and several natural swimming holes. There's a number of nice parks around town that are great for kids of all ages.


Is Columbus or Austin Better for Couples?

Columbus
Austin

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

Austin is a nice destination for couples. Young couples will enjoy the city for its lively nightlife, fun music scene, and youthful vibe. There are also many outdoor areas where you can hike or explore. The restaurant scene is among the best as well.

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 Austin Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Columbus
Austin

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

Austin is very popular with the backpacker crowd. Although the city is relatively small, it does see a disproportionate number of backpackers. There are a couple of hostels in town as well.

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 Austin Better for Students?

Columbus
Austin

Austin is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Columbus is not popular with students.

Austin is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city has a huge university, the University of Texas at Austin, and it is a young city with tons for international students. There is a great nightlife scene and plenty for students to see and do.

Columbus is not popular with students.


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

Columbus
Austin

Visitors will find decent public transit in both Columbus and Austin.

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

Public transit is generally limited in Austin. There are city buses and a very limited lightrail system, but you really need a car to explore the city.

Is Columbus or Austin a more walkable city?

Columbus
Austin

Columbus is a nice place to visit for its walkability. However, Austin is a city with minimal options for its high level of walkability.

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

Austin is generally not a very walkable city. The city, like most southern cities, isn't very walkable and it's important to have a car to get around. There are some downtown areas that are pedestrian-friendly.

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

Should I spend more time in Austin or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Austin?

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

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

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

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


  • How many days in Columbus or Austin? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbus 1-2 
    Austin 2-3

One day in Columbus or Austin?

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Columbus. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

The city of Austin offers museums and nightlife. 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 Austin?

Columbus is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

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

Five days in Columbus or Austin?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Columbus. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Austin 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 Austin?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the welcoming destination of Columbus. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Austin 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.


Which place is cheaper, Austin 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 Austin is $142. 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 Austin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Austin $56
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Austin $112
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Austin

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Austin? 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 Austin


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 Austin Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Austin $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Austin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Austin:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer Austin Airport AUS to Austin: $150
  • Private Airport and Hotel Transfer Services in Austin: $86
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport One Way Transfer : $69
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $97
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Arrival Private Transfer: $48
  • Austin Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Sedan: $150
  • Austin International Airport (AUS) - Private Round trip transfer: $215
  • Austin International Airport (AUS) - Private Arrival transfer: $110
  • Austin City to Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) - Departure Private Transfer: $48
  • Austin Arrival Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive SUV: $83

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Austin?

Prices for flights to both Austin 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
    Austin $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Austin

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Austin.

  • East Austin Food Tour: $44
  • Secret Food Tour: $84
  • Austin Downtown Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $88
  • Famous Texas BBQ & Food Tour in Austin: $89
  • Famous Texas BBQ & Food Tour in Austin: $89
  • The Brunch Bus: Food Tour with a Live Band on Board the Bus!: $125
  • Private Guided Food Tour of Austin Neighborhoods: $150
  • Taste of Austin Food Tour by Pedicab: $165

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $46
    Austin $28

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

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

Typical Entertainment Prices in Austin

Here are a few typical costs in Austin for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Austin Duck Tour
    $31

Tours and Activities in Austin

Here are a few actual costs in Austin for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Austin Glass Bottom Kayak Tour with Olympian: $50
  • 12 person Pedal Boat cruise in Texas: $55
  • 90-Minute Date Night Sunset Cruise on Lake Austin: $199
  • Afternoon in Austin Segway Tour: $99
  • Austin Art & Architecture Bicycle Tour: $56
  • Austin Art and Architecture Bicycle Tour: $56
  • Austin Biker Gang E-Bike Tour: $90
  • Austin Boat Tour with Full Sun Shading Available: $84
  • Austin Breakfast Taco Tour: $85
  • Austin E-Bike Brunch Tour : $118
  • Austin E-Bike Foodie Tour : $128
  • Austin E-Bike Tour: $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $20
    Austin $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Austin

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Austin:

  • Austin Bar Hunt: Sixth Street Spree: Austin Bar Crawl: $12
  • Austin Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Downtown Austin Live Music Pub Crawl: $35
  • Downtown Live Music Pub Crawl: $35
  • Austin Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Public Pedal Pub Tour in Austin: $39
  • Austin Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $45
  • From Texas Hill Country Brewery & Distillery Shuttle: $60
  • Half-Day Hill Country Brewery and Distillery Shuttle from Austin: $60
  • Private Austin Brewery Tour by Pedicab with All-Inclusive Beer Flight Option: $70
  • Metro Rail Brewery Tour Across Austin: $90


When comparing the travel costs between Columbus and Austin, we can see that Columbus is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Austin?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 9% larger than the population of Austin. When comparing the sizes of Columbus and Austin, 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 Austin?

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 Columbus or Austin in the Summer?

Both Austin and Columbus during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Columbus for the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Austin in the summer for the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

Columbus is cooler than Austin in the summer. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 77°F (25°C) in July, and Austin fluctuates around 87°F (30°C).

In Austin, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Columbus. In the summer, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Austin. Columbus gets 254 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Austin receives 318 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Columbus. Columbus usually gets more rain in July than Austin. Columbus gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbus 77°F (25°C) 
    Austin 87°F (30°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Austin in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbus and Austin. Many visitors come to Columbus in the autumn for the shopping scene. Furthermore, most visitors come to Austin for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In the autumn, Columbus is much colder than Austin. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Columbus in October average around 57°F (14°C), and Austin averages at about 73°F (23°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Austin this time of the year. Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Austin during autumn. Columbus gets 179 hours of sunny skies, while Austin receives 214 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Columbus usually receives less rain than Austin. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 3 inches (77 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbus 57°F (14°C) 
    Austin 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Austin in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Columbus as well as Austin. Most visitors come to Columbus for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Additionally, the winter months attract visitors to Austin because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Columbus can be very cold during winter. In January, Columbus is generally much colder than Austin. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 30°F (-1°C), and Austin fluctuates around 51°F (11°C).

In the winter, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Austin. Columbus gets 105 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Austin receives 163 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets more rain in January than Austin. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C) 
    Austin 51°F (11°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Austin in the Spring?

Both Austin and Columbus are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Also, the activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Austin this time of year.

Columbus is much colder than Austin in the spring. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 54°F (12°C) in April, and Austin fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

It's quite sunny in Austin. Columbus usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Austin during spring. Columbus gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while Austin receives 209 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Columbus usually receives less rain than Austin. Columbus gets 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbus 54°F (12°C) 
    Austin 71°F (22°C)

Typical Weather for Austin and Columbus

Columbus Austin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 51°F (11°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Feb 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Mar 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4 inches (101 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 83°F (29°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 87°F (30°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 87°F (31°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Sep 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 82°F (28°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Oct 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2 inches (52 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)