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

Should you visit Durham or Phoenix?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Durham and Phoenix can help you decide which place is right for you.

Durham

Durham is a diverse, student-filled, and sports oriented city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Phoenix

Phoenix is a laid back, sprawling, and desert city. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Durham and Phoenix: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Durham or Phoenix?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Phoenix than Durham. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Phoenix is very popular for its hiking, while Durham attracts visitors for its museums. Durham is famous for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team. Phoenix is famous for its desert landscapes, high number of golf courses, and year round warm weather. It is also well known for Desert Botanical Garden.

How is Durham different from Phoenix?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Phoenix and Durham. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Durham or Phoenix?

Durham
Phoenix

Durham is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Phoenix is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Durham. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

Phoenix is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. You'll find art, science, and cultural museums around town. Favorites include the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, S'edav Va'aki Museum, and the Arizona Science Museum.


Is the Food Better in Durham or Phoenix? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Durham
Phoenix

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Durham and Phoenix can be difficult as they are each nice in their own way.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Durham area. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Phoenix. There are many mom-and-pop shops around town that serve everything from casual meals to quality steaks. There's also a huge selection of Mexican restaurants, as well as other international options such as sushi, dim sum, and Italian.

Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Nightlife?

Durham
Phoenix

Both Durham and Phoenix are nice when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Phoenix. The best nightlife scene is found in downtown and central Phoenix. There are bars, restaurants, and venues where you can catch a show. North Phoenix also has grown into a popular evening spot with cocktail bars and pubs.

Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Hiking?

Durham
Phoenix

Phoenix is very good for the nearby hiking options. However, Durham is not a hiking destination.

Many people include a hike when visiting Phoenix. You don't have to head far out of town for impressive hiking opportunities. You'll find trails that range from easy to challenging, and many pass through other-worldly landscapes. You'll find popular trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park, Papago Park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, South Mountain Park and many others.

Durham is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Durham or Phoenix?

Durham
Phoenix

Both Durham and Phoenix are nice shopping destinations.

Many visitors go to Durham to go shopping. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Phoenix. There are plenty of shopping centers, outlets, and malls where you'll find the standard chain stores. You'll also find farmer's markets around town.

Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Families?

Durham
Phoenix

You'll find nice kid-friendly activities in either Durham or Phoenix.

Durham is a family-friendly place to visit. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.

Phoenix is a family-friendly city. Kids will love the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, the SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, and the Bearizona Wildlife Park. There's also a number of parks and gardens as well as a children's museum and several other interactive museums for kids.

Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Couples?

Durham
Phoenix

Both Durham and Phoenix are nice destinations to visit as a couple.

Durham is a good city for couples to visit. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Phoenix is a nice destination for couples. There are many parks and gardens in town as well as beautiful hikes and outdoor activities that couples will enjoy. In the evening, there's theater, shows, and many romantic restaurants.


Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Students?

Durham
Phoenix

Durham is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Phoenix is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Durham. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

Phoenix is not popular with students.

Is Durham or Phoenix Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Durham
Phoenix

Both Durham and Phoenix offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Public transit is mostly limited in Phoenix. There's a bus and light rail system, but you really need your own vehicle to get around.

Is Durham or Phoenix a more walkable city?

Durham
Phoenix

Durham and Phoenix both are reasonable when exploring on foot.

Durham is generally not very walkable. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

Phoenix is generally not a very walkable city. It's a sprawling city and the only real area that's walkable is the downtown.


For even more information, also check out Is Durham Worth Visiting? and Is Phoenix Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Phoenix or Durham?

How long in Durham or Phoenix?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Durham and Phoenix. In our opinion, Durham has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Durham than Phoenix. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Durham than Phoenix. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Durham, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Phoenix 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 Durham.


  • How many days in Durham or Phoenix? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durham 1-3 
    Phoenix 1-3

One day in Durham or Phoenix?

In Durham, you'll find nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Phoenix. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Durham or Phoenix?

In Durham, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Durham has to offer.

Phoenix is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Durham or Phoenix?

Durham is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Phoenix. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Durham or Phoenix?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durham. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Durham. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the laid back destination of Phoenix. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Phoenix or Durham?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Durham is $162, while the average daily cost in Phoenix is $238. 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 Durham and Phoenix in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durham $92
    Phoenix $144
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durham $184
    Phoenix $288
Compare Hotels in Durham and Phoenix

Looking for a hotel in Durham or Phoenix? 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 Durham


Hotels in Phoenix


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: Durham Hotel Prices and Phoenix Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durham $33
    Phoenix $39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phoenix

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

  • Private Transfer From Hotels To Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport PHX : $41
  • Private Tesla Transfer from Phoenix Airport to all Hotels : $42
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) to Phoenix - Arrival Private Transfer: $58
  • Private Transfer from Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Business Car: $90
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Luxury SUV: $103
  • Private Transfer from Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury SUV: $103
  • Private Transfer from Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Luxury SUV: $103
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury SUV: $103
  • One-Way Transfer Sky Harbor Airport to Phoenix: $104
  • Departure Private Transfer Phoenix City to Phoenix Airport PHX : $110
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) to Phoenix - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $115
  • Arrival Private Transfer Phoenix Airport PHX to Phoenix City : $117

Is it cheaper to fly into Durham or Phoenix?

Prices for flights to both Phoenix and Durham 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
    Durham $44
    Phoenix $52

Typical Food Prices in Phoenix

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Phoenix:


  • Nice Lunch (for 2)
    $36
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phoenix

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

  • Awesome French Crêpes Cooking Class: $75
  • Old Town Scottsdale Food Tour: $92
  • Downtown Phoenix Food Tour: $92
  • Scottsdale Waterfront Food Tour: $95
  • Quiche Lorraine French Cooking Class in Scottsdale: $129

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durham $26
    Phoenix $40

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • Downtown Durham Historian-Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20
  • True Crime Tour: $13

Tours and Activities in Phoenix

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Phoenix.

  • Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting Entry Ticket: $17
  • SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona Admission Ticket: $19
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Mesa by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Phoenix Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Private Blackout Motel Escape Room Experience in Avondale: $24
  • The Scottsdale Selfie Experience: $25
  • Ghosts & Poltergeists Guided Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Game Ticket: $35
  • Phoenix Zoo Admission Ticket: $38
  • Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket: $38
  • Phoenix History, Mystery and Ghost Hunting Tour: $39
  • Phoenix History, Mystery and Ghost Hunting Tour : $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durham $34
    Phoenix $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Phoenix

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Phoenix:

  • Pedal Bar Crawl of Old Town Scottsdale: $55
  • Stretch Limo Party Cart - Custom Bar Crawls, Wine Tastings, Night Clubs & More: $156
  • Ghost town of Jerome, Brew and Wine Tour: $215


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

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


Which is Bigger, Durham or Phoenix?

Phoenix has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Durham. When comparing the sizes of Durham and Phoenix, 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 Durham or Phoenix?

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 Durham or Phoenix in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Durham as well as Phoenix. Many travelers come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, many visitors come to Phoenix in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

The heat can be very extreme in Phoenix. Durham is cooler than Phoenix in the summer. The daily temperature in Durham averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Phoenix fluctuates around 98°F (36°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Phoenix. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Durham this time of the year. In the summer, Durham often gets less sunshine than Phoenix. Durham gets 259 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Phoenix receives 380 hours of full sun.

Durham receives a lot of rain in the summer. Durham usually gets more rain in July than Phoenix. Durham gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Durham 79°F (26°C) 
    Phoenix 98°F (36°C)

Should I visit Durham or Phoenix in the Autumn?

Both Phoenix and Durham are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Durham in the autumn for the shopping scene. Also, most visitors come to Phoenix for the hiking trails and the shopping scene during these months.

In the autumn, Durham is much colder than Phoenix. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Durham in October average around 61°F (16°C), and Phoenix averages at about 79°F (26°C).

It's quite sunny in Phoenix. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. Durham usually receives less sunshine than Phoenix during autumn. Durham gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Phoenix receives 305 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Durham usually receives more rain than Phoenix. Durham gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Durham 61°F (16°C) 
    Phoenix 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Durham or Phoenix in the Winter?

Both Phoenix and Durham during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Durham for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Phoenix because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Durham can be very cold during winter. In January, Durham is generally much colder than Phoenix. Daily temperatures in Durham average around 40°F (5°C), and Phoenix fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

In Phoenix, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the winter, Durham often gets less sunshine than Phoenix. Durham gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Phoenix receives 254 hours of full sun.

Durham usually gets more rain in January than Phoenix. Durham gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Durham 40°F (5°C) 
    Phoenix 58°F (14°C)

Should I visit Durham or Phoenix in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Durham and Phoenix.

Durham is cooler than Phoenix in the spring. The daily temperature in Durham averages around 60°F (16°C) in April, and Phoenix fluctuates around 74°F (23°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Phoenix this time of the year. In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. Durham usually receives less sunshine than Phoenix during spring. Durham gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Phoenix receives 355 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Durham usually receives more rain than Phoenix. Durham gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.2 inches (6 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Durham 60°F (16°C) 
    Phoenix 74°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for Phoenix and Durham

Durham Phoenix
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Feb 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Mar 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.9 inches (22 mm)
Apr 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 74°F (23°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
May 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 83°F (28°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jun 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 92°F (34°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 98°F (36°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm) 96°F (35°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 90°F (32°C) 0.9 inches (22 mm)
Oct 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 79°F (26°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Nov 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 58°F (15°C) 1 inches (25 mm)