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

Should you visit Columbus or Salt Lake City?

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

Should I visit Columbus or Salt Lake City? 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. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a religious, architectural, and notable city. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Columbus and Salt Lake City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to Temple Square
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Columbus or Salt Lake City?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Salt Lake City than Columbus. While Columbus is larger than Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Salt Lake City is better known for its museums, food, scuba diving & snorkeling, and hiking, while Columbus is more popular for its nightlife. Salt Lake City is more touristy than Columbus and is known for its religious landmarks and its large Mormon population. Also, Salt Lake City is famous for Temple Square. Columbus is well known for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Columbus different from Salt Lake City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City 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.

Salt Lake City offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Many of the fascinating sights around town are influenced by the city's Mormon culture. Temple Square is a highlight for most visitors. It spans 35 acres and is beautifully landscaped with several fountains. There are also four main churches - The Temple, the Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and Assembly Hall. The city also has several museums such as the Natural History Museum and the historic Liberty Park.

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 Salt Lake City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City. In recent years the food scene has really improved and you'll find a variety of restaurants that serve everything from upscale dishes to more casual fare.

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 Salt Lake City Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Columbus is very good for its evening party scene. However, Salt Lake City is lacking in good options for nightlife.

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.

Salt Lake City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. Known for its large Mormon population, nightlife isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Salt Lake City. While it will likely never be a party city, there are a growing number of entertainment options around town.

Is Columbus or Salt Lake City Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling. However, Columbus is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Salt Lake City has a few good snorkeling spots. There are a number of good ski resorts nearby, making this a good base or starting point for a ski vacation.

Columbus is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Columbus or Salt Lake City Better for Hiking?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for its hiking trails. However, Columbus is not a hiking destination.

Salt Lake City is a good destination for hiking. The city offers easy access to many diverse trails, so if you're a nature enthusiasts, you'll appreciate this destination.

Columbus is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Salt Lake City?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Columbus and Salt Lake City.

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.

Salt Lake City offers some nice shopping areas. The city has sprawling outlet malls as well as local stores and craft shops. City Creek Center is a favorite shopping destination, but there are also several large shopping malls that are worth visiting.

Is Columbus or Salt Lake City Better for Families?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

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

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Salt Lake City. There are museums that kids will enjoy like the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Leonardo Museum. There are also fun-filled activities like a visit to Lagoon Amusement Park. You can learn about history at This Is the Place Heritage Park or learn about the undersea world at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.


Is Columbus or Salt Lake City Better for Couples?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

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

Salt Lake City is a nice destination for couples. The city is filled with beautiful gardens like Red Butte Garden. There are also nice restaurants and romantic hotels that will make this a nice place for a couple's getaway.

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 Salt Lake City Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a popular place for times when you don't have a car. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Salt Lake City has some public transit options. There's a surprisingly good public transit system that includes light rail, buses, and commuter trains, but if you want to get out of town you'll need to have a car.

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 Salt Lake City a more walkable city?

Columbus
Salt Lake City

Columbus is very good for its ease of walking around. However, Salt Lake City is lacking in good options for its walkability.

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

Salt Lake City is generally not very walkable. While some neighborhoods are walkable, like Temple Square, most visitors prefer to have a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Columbus Worth Visiting? and Is Salt Lake City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Salt Lake City or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Salt Lake City?

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City.


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

One day in Columbus or Salt Lake City?

In Columbus, you'll find nightlife and shopping. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

The city of Salt Lake City offers scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping. 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 Salt Lake City?

Columbus is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

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

Five days in Columbus or Salt Lake City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Columbus. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the city of Columbus. Your budget might influence how long you stay. 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.

Salt Lake City 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 One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Salt Lake City 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 Salt Lake City is $246. 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 Salt Lake City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Salt Lake City $119
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Salt Lake City $238
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Salt Lake City

Looking for a hotel in Columbus or Salt Lake City? 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 Salt Lake City


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 Salt Lake City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Salt Lake City $45

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: $131
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $65

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salt Lake City

Also for Salt Lake City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Salt Lake City Airport (SLC): Transfer to Salt Lake City: $201
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Round-Trip Transfer: $229
  • Salt Lake Airport (SLC) to Canyons Village - Arrival Transfer: $115
  • Private Transfer: Salt Lake City to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) : $107
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Salt Lake City : $120
  • Private Transfer from Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to Park City hotel or address: $261
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Salt Lake City : $120
  • Private Transfer from SLC to Park City UT : $261

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbus or Salt Lake City?

Prices for flights to both Salt Lake City 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
    Salt Lake City $50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbus $46
    Salt Lake City $28

Tours and Activities in Columbus

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

  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure : $21
  • 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
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Columbus Gems: $13
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Columbus Gems: $13
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Columbus' Gems: $13
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Hidden Gems of Columbus: $13
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Yoga & Coffee Tour On The Trolley Pub: $36

Tours and Activities in Salt Lake City

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

  • 2 Hour Salt Lake Boat Tour with Swimming on the Lake: $79
  • 4-Day Winter Yellowstone Tour: $2,499
  • 45 Minute Great Salt Lake Boat Tour: $37
  • 5-day Tour Yellowstone Park Los Angeles-Salt Lake City: $1,558
  • From 3-Day Yellowstone Wildlife Adventure: $999
  • From Private Bryce Canyon National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Canyonlands National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Capitol Reef National Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Goblin Valley State Park Tour: $1,475
  • From Private Tour of Arches National Park: $1,475
  • Grand Teton,Yellowstone National Park 3-Day Tour from SLC: $1,070
  • Grand Teton,Yellowstone National Park 3-Day Tour from SLC: $1,070

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $20
    Salt Lake City $17


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

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


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Salt Lake City?

Columbus has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Salt Lake City. When comparing the sizes of Columbus and Salt Lake City, 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.