A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Gainesville vs. Arlington for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Gainesville or Arlington?

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

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

Gainesville

Gainesville is a high energy, active, and vibrant city. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Arlington

Arlington is a international, historical, and educational city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Gainesville and Arlington: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit


Is there more to do in Gainesville or Arlington?

You'll generally find more things to do in Arlington than Gainesville. Arlington is bigger than Gainesville, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Arlington is more touristy than Gainesville and is popular for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon. Also, Arlington is famous for Arlington National Cemetery. Gainesville is well known for being the home of the University of Florida

How is Gainesville different from Arlington?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Gainesville or Arlington?

Gainesville
Arlington

Both Gainesville and Arlington have superb landmarks and museums for visitors.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Gainesville can be an interesting and educational experience. There's a surprising number of museums around town such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Also fascinating is the Historic Haile Homestead, the Butterfly Rainforest, and the city's planetarium.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Arlington. Arlington National Cemetery is where you'll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the tomb of John F. Kennedy Jr. There are many memorials around town, with the most famous being the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. There are also several museums like the DEA Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Is the Food Better in Gainesville or Arlington? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Gainesville
Arlington

Arlington is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Arlington makes for a great culinary experience. It's a global city, and the restaurants reflect that. You'll find amazing Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants. There are also less common cuisines to choose from such as Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Peruvian.

Gainesville has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Casual eateries are popular around town, particularly with the student population. There are grills, diners, and bistros that serve local dishes at affordable prices.

Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Arlington

Evening events are superb in both Gainesville and Arlington.

Gainesville has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The nightlife centers around the student population. The two main party areas are Midtown and Downtown. Midtown is between Northwest 17th Street and Northwest 18th Street and it's convenient for students who live on campus. The area has a great stretch of bars and clubs. The Downtown area has many of the city's top clubs, and it's popular with upperclassmen and students who live off campus.

Arlington has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The city has a huge young population that drives the nightlife scene. There are clubs, bars, and lounges in many neighborhoods. There are also comedy clubs and plenty of live music.

Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Arlington?

Gainesville
Arlington

Both Gainesville and Arlington are notable shopping destinations.

Gainesville is a great destination for shopping. You'll find all of the standard shopping options around town such as malls, shopping centers, and retail outlets. Two popular areas are the Neighborhoods at Butler and Celebration Pointe.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Arlington. Many neighborhoods have local shops or farmer's markets. There are also shopping centers and malls such as Ballston Quarter, The Crossing Clarendon, and The Village at Shirlington.


Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Families?

Gainesville
Arlington

Gainesville and Arlington are both notable destinations for the whole family.

Gainesville is a family-friendly place to visit. You'll find outdoor activities, nature parks, and a couple of museums that will appeal to all ages. Highlights for families include A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, the Adventure Outpost, and Alfred A. Ring Park.

Arlington is a family-friendly city. Kids will enjoy seeing the planes talk off from Gravelly Point park. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces and educational opportunities in the area, including world class museums.

Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Arlington

Gainesville and Arlington are both notable to visit as a couple.

Gainesville is a nice destination for couples. Couples can enjoy wine tasting and fine dining or enjoying the city's many outdoor activities. Go on a picnic or explore one of the museums in Downtown Gainesville.

Arlington makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There's a vibrant cultural scene and many international restaurants that couples can enjoy. It's also a great place to take in a show or concert.

Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Gainesville
Arlington

Arlington is notable for backpackers. However, Gainesville is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Arlington. There are a couple of hostels and many free activities nearby. There's also great public transportation that makes for a convenient backpacker destination.

Gainesville is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not high on the list for many travelers, but there are some cheap motels where budget travelers can stay.


Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Students?

Gainesville
Arlington

Gainesville and Arlington are both superb destinations for students and younger travelers.

Gainesville is a great city to visit as a student. As the location of the University of Florida, you'll find many students around town. This keeps the energy high with plenty of evening activities and affordable entertainment options.

Students come from all over to stay in Arlington. There are a huge number of colleges and museums in the area as well as many great internship and educational opportunities.

Is Gainesville or Arlington Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Gainesville
Arlington

Arlington is very popular for its public transit. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Arlington has an effecient and thorough public transportation system which can take you anywhere in the city. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.

Gainesville has some public transit options. There's a decent bus system that's free to students and employees of the university.

Is Gainesville or Arlington a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Arlington

Arlington is notable for its walkability. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its high level of walkability.

Arlington is very walkable. There are many pedestrian-friendly areas around town, particularly in the neighborhoods that are concentrated around metro stations.

Gainesville is a somewhat walkable place. Biking is actually a popular way to get around town and some areas are pedestrian-friendly.


For even more information, also check out Is Gainesville Worth Visiting? and Is Arlington Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arlington or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Arlington?

It's fun to spend time in either Gainesville or Arlington. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Arlington due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Gainesville, and 2-4 days is enough time in Arlington.

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

Couples should spend more time in Arlington than Gainesville. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Arlington that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arlington than Gainesville 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 Arlington.


  • How many days in Gainesville or Arlington? Ideal Length of Stay
    Gainesville 1-2 
    Arlington 2-4

One day in Gainesville or Arlington?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Gainesville. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Gainesville has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the historical city of Arlington. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Gainesville or Arlington?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the high energy destination of Gainesville. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the historical destination of Arlington. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Gainesville or Arlington?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the high energy city of Gainesville. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

The historical city of Arlington offers shopping and museums. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.


A week in Gainesville or Arlington?

Gainesville is a popular choice for travelers. 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Arlington. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


Which place is cheaper, Arlington or Gainesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gainesville is $221, while the average daily cost in Arlington is $264. 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 Gainesville and Arlington in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Arlington $131
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Arlington $262
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Arlington

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville or Arlington? 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 Gainesville


Hotels in Arlington


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: Gainesville Hotel Prices and Arlington Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    Arlington $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arlington

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

  • Ronald Reagan DCA Airport Transfers: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Arlington?

Prices for flights to both Arlington and Gainesville 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
    Gainesville $70
    Arlington $81
Typical Food Prices in Gainesville

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


  • Diner Breakfast for Two
    $17
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)
    $24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $44
    Arlington $11
Typical Entertainment Prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Gainesville are as follows:


  • Manatee Tour for Two
    $98
  • Tour Guide Tip
    $5.00

Tours and Activities in Gainesville

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

  • Butterfly Rainforest at Florida Museum of Natural History Ticket: $15
  • Private Snorkeling Tour in Florida Springs: $250
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    Arlington $17


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

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


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Arlington?

Arlington has a larger population, and is about 47% larger than the population of Gainesville. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville and Arlington, 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 Gainesville or Arlington?

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 Gainesville or Arlington in the Summer?

Both Arlington and Gainesville during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Gainesville because of the family-friendly experiences. Also, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Arlington this time of year.

In July, Gainesville is generally around the same temperature as Arlington. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 81°F (27°C), and Arlington fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Gainesville. Gainesville usually gets more rain in July than Arlington. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C) 
    Arlington 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Arlington in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Gainesville and Arlington. The shopping scene are the main draw to Gainesville this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Arlington for the shopping scene.

Gainesville is a little warmer than Arlington in the autumn. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 71°F (22°C) in October, and Arlington fluctuates around 60°F (15°C).

In October, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Arlington. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. The hurricane season in Gainesville is June to November.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Arlington 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Arlington in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Gainesville as well as Arlington. Many travelers come to Gainesville for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Arlington in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Arlington can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Gainesville is much warmer than Arlington. Typically, the winter temperatures in Gainesville in January average around 54°F (12°C), and Arlington averages at about 35°F (1°C).

Gainesville usually gets more rain in January than Arlington. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Arlington 35°F (1°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Arlington in the Spring?

Both Arlington and Gainesville are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In April, Gainesville is generally much warmer than Arlington. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 69°F (20°C), and Arlington fluctuates around 56°F (14°C).

In April, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Arlington. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November is the hurricane season in Gainesville.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Arlington 56°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Arlington and Gainesville

Gainesville Arlington
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)