A Travel Price Comparison for Ohio Columbus vs. Cleveland for Attractions, Families, Nightlife, and Food

Should you visit Columbus or Cleveland?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Cleveland? 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 friendly, welcoming, and down-to-earth city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Cleveland

Cleveland is a under-rated, diverse, and authentic city. Other reasons to visit include live music, shopping, and museums.

Columbus and Cleveland: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Columbus or Cleveland?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Cleveland than Columbus. While Columbus is larger than Cleveland, Cleveland has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Columbus is popular for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene. Cleveland is popular for being the home to "rock 'n roll" as well as its friendly and hard working people. It is also home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

How is Columbus different from Cleveland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Columbus
Cleveland

Cleveland 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.

Cleveland offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. There are diverse museums around town such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa), and the Great Lakes Science Center. Music lovers will appreciate a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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 Cleveland? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbus
Cleveland

Foodies will find both Columbus and Cleveland both to be decent destinations.

Columbus offers some easy restaurants to choose from. Hearty and heavy comfort food is the mainstay in this town. There's pizza, casseroles, sausage, and milkshakes around town.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Cleveland. Casual dining with comfort food is the way most residents prefer to eat. There are local foods that have made a name for themselves such as gourmet hot dogs and deli sandwiches. The food is also influenced by the city's German, Irish, Polish, and Italian roots. Pierogis, bratwurst, and chicken paprikash are all common.

Is Columbus or Cleveland Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Cleveland

The good nightlife scene is relatively similar in Columbus and Cleveland.

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.

Cleveland has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Breweries have become a popular nighttime activity. There are also comedy clubs, music venues, and several theaters.

Is Columbus or Cleveland Better for Music?

Columbus
Cleveland

Cleveland is a very popular place for live music. However, Columbus is not a live music destination.

It's worth checking out the music scene in Cleveland while you're in town. Home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it has long been a destination for music enthusiasts. There are many independent music venues and it's the perfect place to catch a show.

Columbus is not a live music destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Cleveland?

Columbus
Cleveland

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

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.

Cleveland offers some nice shopping areas. Large shopping malls offer plenty of selection. There's also West Side Market, which is the oldest public market in the city. Other interesting shopping areas include Little Italy and the Cleveland Flea.

Is Columbus or Cleveland Better for Families?

Columbus
Cleveland

Columbus is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Cleveland is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Columbus is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Cleveland. Kid-friendly activities in the area include the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. There's also the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as well as the smaller Akron Zoo.

Is Columbus or Cleveland Better for Couples?

Columbus
Cleveland

Neither Columbus or Cleveland is generally regarded as a top spot for a couple to visit.

Columbus is not the best destination for a couple to visit. You'll find restaurants and music venues that make for a nice date night. There are also wine tours and other entertainment options.

Most people don't think of Cleveland as a couple's destination. There are several romantic date night activities like boat rides on Lake Erie or dining at a nice restaurant.


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

Columbus
Cleveland

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

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 Cleveland. There are bus, trolley, and train lines through the city, but a car is the most efficient way to get around.

Is Columbus or Cleveland a more walkable city?

Columbus
Cleveland

Columbus is a nice place to visit for its walkability. However, Cleveland is lacking in good 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.

Cleveland is generally not very walkable. While some neighborhoods are more walkable than others (Downtown, Ohio City and Buckeye - Shaker), most visitors need a car to easily access everything they wish to do.

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

Should I spend more time in Cleveland or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Cleveland?

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

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

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


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

One day in Columbus or Cleveland?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Columbus. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Columbus has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The city of Cleveland offers live music 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 Columbus or Cleveland?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the authentic destination of Columbus. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

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

Five days in Columbus or Cleveland?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the welcoming city of Columbus. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Cleveland 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 Cleveland?

Columbus is a popular choice for travelers. 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Cleveland 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 G Adventures Tours to United States of America, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Cleveland 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 Cleveland is $132. 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 Cleveland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Cleveland $75
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Cleveland $150
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Cleveland

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Cleveland? 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 Cleveland


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 Cleveland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Cleveland $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $65
  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $130
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $65

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cleveland

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Cleveland are as follows:


  • Taxi to Airport
    $36

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cleveland

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

  • Private Departure Transfer to Cleveland Airport (CLE): $64
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Cleveland Airprot (CLE): $64
  • Cleveland to Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) - Departure Private Transfer : $89
  • Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) to Cleveland - Round-Trip Private Transfer : $178
  • Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) to Cleveland - Arrival Private Transfer : $89
  • CLE Airport Transfer to Downtown Cleveland: $135

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Cleveland?

Prices for flights to both Cleveland 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
    Cleveland $36

Typical Food Prices in Cleveland

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


  • Coffee
    $1.79
  • Sandwich
    $9.75
  • Large Pizza
    $15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cleveland

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

  • West Side Market Food Tour: $49
  • Little Italy Neighborhood Food Tour of Cleveland: $74
  • Tremont Neighborhood Food Tour: $75
  • Ohio City Neighborhood Food Tour of Cleveland: $91

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $46
    Cleveland $40

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: $24
  • 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: $28
  • The Escape Game Epic 60-Minute Adventures: $41
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10

Tours and Activities in Cleveland

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

  • CLE Mini Bus Group Tour: $55
  • Cleveland Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Cleveland From the Inside Walking Tour: $24
  • Cleveland Ghosts Tour: $32
  • Cleveland Guardians Baseball Game Ticket at Progressive Field: $27
  • Cleveland Romance: A Walking Tour for Couples: $469
  • Cleveland Romance: A Walking Tour for Couples: $239
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball Game Ticket: $45
  • Cleveland History Center General Admission Ticket: $15
  • Eerie Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour: $24
  • Escape Room Game Entry Ticket with Host: $39
  • Downtown Cleveland Public Art Walking Tour : $24

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $20
    Cleveland $45

Typical Alcohol Prices in Cleveland

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Cleveland are as follows:


  • A Night of Shots
    $36


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbus and Cleveland, we can see that Columbus is more expensive. And not only is Cleveland much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cleveland would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cleveland 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 Cleveland.

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


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Cleveland?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 64% larger than the population of Cleveland. When comparing the sizes of Columbus and Cleveland, 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 Cleveland?

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 Cleveland in the Summer?

Both Cleveland and Columbus are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Columbus for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Cleveland in the summer for the music scene and the family-friendly experiences.

Columbus is around the same temperature as Cleveland in the summer. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 77°F (25°C) in July, and Cleveland fluctuates around 75°F (24°C).

It's quite sunny in Cleveland. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbus. Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Cleveland during summer. Columbus gets 254 hours of sunny skies, while Cleveland receives 307 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cleveland. It's quite rainy in Columbus. In July, Columbus usually receives more rain than Cleveland. Columbus gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Cleveland receives 4 inches (101 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbus 77°F (25°C) 
    Cleveland 75°F (24°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Cleveland in the Autumn?

Both Cleveland and Columbus during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Columbus in the autumn for the shopping scene. Also, most visitors come to Cleveland for the shopping scene and the music scene during these months.

In the autumn, Columbus is around the same temperature as Cleveland. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Columbus in October average around 57°F (14°C), and Cleveland averages at about 56°F (13°C).

In the autumn, Columbus often gets more sunshine than Cleveland. Columbus gets 179 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cleveland receives 165 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets more rain in October than Cleveland. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Cleveland receives 1.9 inches (49 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbus 57°F (14°C) 
    Cleveland 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Cleveland in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbus and Cleveland. Most visitors come to Columbus for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Cleveland because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Cleveland can be very cold. Columbus can be very cold during winter. In January, Columbus is generally much warmer than Cleveland. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 30°F (-1°C), and Cleveland fluctuates around 28°F (-2°C).

Columbus usually receives more sunshine than Cleveland during winter. Columbus gets 105 hours of sunny skies, while Cleveland receives 95 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Columbus usually receives more rain than Cleveland. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Cleveland receives 1.5 inches (39 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C) 
    Cleveland 28°F (-2°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Cleveland in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Columbus as well as Cleveland.

Columbus is a little warmer than Cleveland in the spring. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 54°F (12°C) in April, and Cleveland fluctuates around 51°F (10°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Cleveland. In the spring, Columbus often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Cleveland. Columbus gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cleveland receives 213 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets more rain in April than Cleveland. Columbus gets 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain, while Cleveland receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbus 54°F (12°C) 
    Cleveland 51°F (10°C)

Typical Weather for Cleveland and Columbus

Columbus Cleveland
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 28°F (-2°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Feb 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Mar 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 40°F (5°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 51°F (10°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 71°F (21°C) 2.5 inches (64 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 75°F (24°C) 4 inches (101 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.4 inches (60 mm)
Sep 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Oct 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 45°F (7°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 34°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm)