A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Denver vs. Rapid City

Should you visit Denver or Rapid City?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Denver or Rapid City, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Denver

The capital of Colorado, Denver is commonly referred to as "The Mile-High City" because it is at an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,600 meters) above sea level. It also sits where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, giving a beautiful backdrop for this metropolitan city. The city is the largest in the Rocky Mountains with a population of more than 600,000 and nearly 3 million in the metropolitan area. Denver is a cosmopolitan city with cowboy roots. It's cultural scene is thriving, and the outdoor recreation in the area is superb. Denver is a rapidly growing city but with change comes challenges. Urban sprawl is a problem and the city's infrastructure has reached its limits. Still, efforts are in place to maintain the character and personality that Denver is known for.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a large city in western South Dakota that is considered the gateway to the Black Hills National Forest. Rapid City is often used as a base for all types of outdoor activities, including tours to the infamous Mount Rushmore and surrounding parks. The city has a budding art scene and offers the perfect combination of a metropolitan city surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Rapid City experiences the best weather from June-September with temperatures in the 70's and 80's Fahrenheit. Temperatures drop to the low 20's F in the winter and the area receives the most rain pour in April and May.

Which city is cheaper, Rapid City or Denver?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Denver is $174, while the average daily cost in Rapid City is $93. 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 Denver and Rapid City in more detail.




Accommodation

A hotel room in Denver is about $138 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $96 in Rapid City For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Denver $69
    Rapid City $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Denver $138
    Rapid City $96


Food

The price of a meal in Denver can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $34 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

In Rapid City travelers spend around $19 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Denver $34
    Rapid City $19
Typical Food prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

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

  • Small-Group Food Tour in Denver: $69
  • Haunted Denver Walking Food Tour: $73
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver: $77
  • Walking Food Tour - Best of Union Station & LoDo: $79
  • Denver Cooking Classes-Local, seasonal, and hands on menus: $97


Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Denver is $81 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Rapid City than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $42 on transportation in Rapid City on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Denver $81
    Rapid City $42

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Vail: Private Transfer to or from Denver Airport: $557
  • Transfer in private minivan from Denver International Airport(DEN) to Downtown: $86
  • Transfer in private minivan from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vail city: $291
  • Transfer in private minivan from Denver Downtown to International Airport (DEN): $86
  • Transfer in Private Car from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Downtown: $72
  • Transfer in Private Car from Denver Downtown to International Airport (DEN): $72
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Denver Intl. Airport to Downtown: $173
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Denver Airport (DEN) to Vail city: $582
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Denver Int. Airport (DEN) to Downtown: $144
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vail: $576
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen: $1,321
  • Private Transfer from Denver City to Denver (DEN) Airport: $109


Entertainment

Denver's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $42 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing expenses in Rapid City, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $21 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Denver $42
    Rapid City $21

Tours and Activities in Denver

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Denver are as follows:

  • 1.5 Hour LoDo Walking Tour in Denver: $25
  • Astrophotography Experience in the Colorado Rockies: $200
  • Best of Denver Tour: $64
  • Best of Denver Tour: $22
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $60
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $115
  • Capitol Hill History & Ghost Tour: $22
  • Craft Beer Tour in Lower Downtown Denver: $53
  • Denver Ghost Hunt: Mile High Ghost Tour: $12
  • Denver Ghost Tour: $23
  • Denver Guided Sightseeing Tour on Motor Scooters: $112
  • Denver History and Highlights Small Group Tour: $35

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

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

  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Full-Day Tour: $84
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Bus Tour with Live Commentary: $84
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $123
  • Bike Adventure on the Mickelson Trail - Private: $267
  • Southern Black Hills Bicycle Tour - Private: $267
  • Private Black Hills Monuments Full-Day Tour: $299
  • Black Hills: Private Tour of Mt. Rushmore & Flume Trail Hike: $299
  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $299
  • Private Mickelson Trail Bicycling Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $299
  • Private Jeep Safari and Hiking Tour/ Two Person Minimum: $307
  • Private Badlands National Park Day Tour: $315
  • Private Mt Rushmore & Southern Black Hills Tour: $329


Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.25 on alcoholic beverages in Denver per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting Rapid City spend on average $5.54 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Denver $4.25
    Rapid City $5.54

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

Also in Denver, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour in Lower Downtown: $26
  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - South Broadway (SoBo): $27
  • 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour: $49
  • Craft Distillery Bus Tour: $71



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

Budget Your Trip

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Denver vs. Rapid City Travel Comparison

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