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

Should you visit Columbus or Columbia?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Columbia? 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 authentic, friendly, and welcoming city. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Columbia

Columbia is a suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Columbus and Columbia: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Columbus or Columbia?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Columbus than Columbia. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Columbus is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene. It is also well known for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbus different from Columbia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Columbus
Columbia

Spend time exploring the nice sights and museums in either Columbus or Columbia.

Columbus is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.

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.


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

Columbus
Columbia

Foodies will find both Columbus and Columbia both to be reasonable 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 Columbia. 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 Columbus or Columbia Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Columbia

The nice nightlife scene is relatively similar in Columbus and Columbia.

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.

Columbia has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Columbia?

Columbus
Columbia

Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Columbus and Columbia.

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.

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.


Is Columbus or Columbia Better for Families?

Columbus
Columbia

Columbus is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Columbus is a very kid-friendly city. 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.

Columbia is a family-friendly city. 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.

Is Columbus or Columbia Better for Couples?

Columbus
Columbia

Neither Columbus or Columbia 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 Columbia as a couple's destination. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Columbus or Columbia Better for Students?

Columbus
Columbia

Columbia is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Columbus 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.

Columbus is not popular with students.


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

Columbus
Columbia

Visitors will find reasonable public transit in both Columbus and Columbia.

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 Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Is Columbus or Columbia a more walkable city?

Columbus
Columbia

Columbus is a popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

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.

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 Columbus Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Columbia?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Columbus or Columbia to fill your time. In our opinion, Columbus has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Columbus than Columbia. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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


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

One day in Columbus or Columbia?

The city of Columbus offers nightlife and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The city of Columbia offers nightlife 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 Columbia?

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

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

Five days in Columbus or Columbia?

Columbus 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.

Columbia 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 Columbia?

Columbus 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.

Columbia 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, Columbia 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 Columbia 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 Columbia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Columbia? 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 Columbia


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 Columbia Hotel Prices.

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

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 to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $66
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $133
  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia 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
    Columbia $5.03

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

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • 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
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $28
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45

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

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $20
    Columbia $88


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbus and Columbia, we can see that Columbus 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 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 Columbia.

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


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Columbia?

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

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 Columbia in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Columbus as well as Columbia. The summer months attract visitors to Columbus because of the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Columbia this time of year.

In the summer, Columbus is cooler than Columbia. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbus in July average around 77°F (25°C), and Columbia averages at about 82°F (28°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbus this time of the year. In the summer, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Columbia. Columbus gets 254 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 293 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Columbia. Columbus receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbus usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Columbia. Columbus gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbus 77°F (25°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Columbia in the Autumn?

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

In October, Columbus is generally cooler than Columbia. Daily temperatures in Columbus average around 57°F (14°C), and Columbia fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

It's quite sunny in Columbia. Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Columbia during autumn. Columbus gets 179 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 230 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Columbus usually receives less rain than Columbia. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (55 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbus 57°F (14°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Columbia in the Winter?

Both Columbia and Columbus during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Columbus for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Columbia in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Columbus. Columbus is much colder than Columbia in the winter. The daily temperature in Columbus averages around 30°F (-1°C) in January, and Columbia fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

In the winter, Columbus often gets less sunshine than Columbia. Columbus gets 105 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 171 hours of full sun.

Columbus usually gets less rain in January than Columbia. Columbus gets 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbus 30°F (-1°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Columbus or Columbia in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbus and Columbia.

In the spring, Columbus is cooler than Columbia. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbus in April average around 54°F (12°C), and Columbia averages at about 64°F (18°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. Columbus usually receives less sunshine than Columbia during spring. Columbus gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 273 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Columbus usually receives more rain than Columbia. Columbus gets 3.2 inches (81 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbus 54°F (12°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and Columbus

Columbus Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 30°F (-1°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 33°F (1°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 45°F (7°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 4.1 inches (105 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 73°F (23°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 69°F (20°C) 3 inches (76 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 57°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (55 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 35°F (2°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)