Should you visit Columbus or Pittsburgh?
Should I visit Columbus or Pittsburgh? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
The capital city of Ohio, Columbus sits at the meeting point of America's Rust Belt, Bible Belt, Appalachia, and the Plains. It is also home of Ohio State University, which is a major financial and economic force in the city. You'll likely need a car to navigate the city, although there is a bus system, COTA, which can take you to some of Columbus' highlights.
Pittsburgh is a city in western Pennsylvania at the junction of 3 rivers. Set between the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, and a mountain ridge called Mt Washington, Pittsburgh has a unique character that is evident from the moment you arrive. Juxtaposed with the rumbling freight trains and the iconic bridges are the Bladerunner-esque self-driving Uber vehicles, scanning the roads with spinning Lidar scanners. Its Gilded Age sites, including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, speak to its history as an early-20th-century industrial capital. In the North Shore neighborhood are the modern Andy Warhol Museum, Heinz Field football stadium, and PNC Park baseball stadium. Experiencing periods of boom and bust since its founding, the city is in a boom now, and it's a fun place to visit, with top-notch museums, great gardens and parks, and amazing food.
Which city is cheaper, Pittsburgh or Columbus?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Columbus is $126, while the average daily cost in Pittsburgh is $145. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Columbus and Pittsburgh in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $116 in Columbus For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
The prices for places to stay in Pittsburgh can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $85, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $170.
The average traveler spends about $39 per day in Columbus for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Pittsburgh food costs typically run travelers around $43 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Meals for one day
To get around in Columbus, the average visitor spends $40 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Pittsburgh's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $18 per person, per day on transportation in Pittsburgh.
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 - Round-Trip Private Transfer:
Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer:
Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pittsburgh
Also for Pittsburgh, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Pittsburgh International Airport One Way Transfer:
Pittsburgh Departure Private Transfer to Airport:
Pittsburgh City to Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) - Departure Private Transfer:
Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer:
Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh City - Round-Trip Private Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Pittsburgh?
Prices for flights to both Pittsburgh 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.
In Columbus, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $37 per person, per day.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Pittsburgh can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $30 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Columbus
For Columbus, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Central Park Bike Tour:
Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket:
Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus:
Tours and Activities in Pittsburgh
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Pittsburgh.
2-Hr Pittsburgh Walking Tour:
Bike the Burgh Tour:
Black & Ghost Tour:
Entrance Ticket to AT BLAQK House Collections:
Essential Pittsburgh Experience - The One Tour to Take:
Pittsburgh Private Tours:
Pittsburgh Scavenger Hunt Experience:
Pittsburgh to Logstown: Discover the area's settler history on an audio tour:
Architecture and History Tour:
Evening Ghost Tour:
Sip of Pittsburgh Brew Tour:
Typically, people visiting Columbus spend on average $16 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Pittsburgh, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $26.
Sample the Local Flavors in Pittsburgh
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Pittsburgh:
Wacky Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam:
Pittsburgh Bar Hunt: Party Through Pittsburgh Bar Crawl:
When comparing the travel costs between Columbus and Pittsburgh, we can see that Pittsburgh 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.
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