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

Should you visit Gainesville or Chattanooga?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Chattanooga, 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. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga is a outdoorsy, thriving, and bustling city. It's also known for museums, nightlife, and food.

Gainesville and Chattanooga: 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 Gainesville or Chattanooga?

You'll generally find more things to do in Chattanooga than Gainesville. Chattanooga is bigger than Gainesville, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Chattanooga is better known for its hiking, while Gainesville is more popular for its museums and nightlife. Chattanooga is more touristy than Gainesville and is known for it's hikes, railways, and nearby natural areas. Also, Chattanooga is famous for Rock City. Gainesville is well known for being the home of the University of Florida

How is Gainesville different from Chattanooga?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Gainesville is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Chattanooga is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Gainesville offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.

Chattanooga is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. It's a thriving city and there are a number of museums to explore. The Hunter Museum of American Art is great for art enthusiasts. There's also the Creative Discovery Museum, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and the 6th Cavalry Museum, as well as several smaller museums that you can visit.


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

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Both Gainesville and Chattanooga offer notable local cuisine and restaurants.

Gainesville offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Casual eateries are popular around town, particularly with the student population. There are grills, diners, and bistros that serve local dishes at affordable prices.

Chattanooga has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are a growing number of restaurants that range from local dives to fine dining. Fried food is common, but you'll also find Mexican and classic hamburgers. Popular dishes that are local to the area include catfish, southern barbecue, and hush puppies.

Is Gainesville or Chattanooga Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Gainesville is a great destination for its evening party scene. Also, Chattanooga is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife.

The people in Gainesville know how to have a good time. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Chattanooga has a few options to choose from. You'll find plenty of bars and clubs around town. There are also a number of comedy and improv clubs that are fun to check out.

Is Gainesville or Chattanooga Better for Hiking?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Chattanooga is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Gainesville is not a hiking destination.

Chattanooga is a popular spot for hiking. It's proximity to the mountains means that you don't have to go far to find good hiking. Within a half hour of town there are more than 50 trailheads. Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain are both hiking destinations. Several trails have swimming spots and many pass through nice forests or head to impressive viewpoints.

Gainesville is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Chattanooga?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Both Gainesville and Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga. Head downtown for local shops or to the larger malls if you want mainstream stores. Many visitors enjoy antiquing while they're in town, but there are also farmer's markets and thrift stores.

Is Gainesville or Chattanooga Better for Families?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Gainesville and Chattanooga 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.

Chattanooga is a family-friendly city. Many people enjoy a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium, which has a touch tank and a butterfly exhibit, among other things. Near downtown, Coolidge Park is a great place for kids to get their energy out. There's also the popular Lookout Mountain Incline Railway as well as many hiking trails in the area.

Is Gainesville or Chattanooga Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Gainesville and Chattanooga 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.

Chattanooga makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Many couples enjoy staying at a local inn and then dining in a nice restaurant or visiting a winery. There's an eclectic art district to explore as well as horse drawn carriages and plenty of nearby hiking trails.


Is Gainesville or Chattanooga Better for Students?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Gainesville is a great destination for students. However, Chattanooga is not popular with students.

Gainesville is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. 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.

Chattanooga is not popular with students.

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

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Chattanooga is notable 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.

Public transit in Chattanooga is fairly effecient and thorough. The city has a convenient and free electric shuttle service. It travels through the downtown and has stops at many points of interest such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium.

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 Chattanooga a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Chattanooga

Chattanooga 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.

Chattanooga is very walkable. The city has put a lot of effort into improving its walkability. In particular, the downtown is nice to explore on foot.

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 Chattanooga Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Chattanooga or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Chattanooga?

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

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


  • How many days in Gainesville or Chattanooga? Ideal Length of Stay
    Gainesville 1-2 
    Chattanooga 2-3

One day in Gainesville or Chattanooga?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the active city of Gainesville. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the outdoorsy city of Chattanooga. Hikers are also drawn to this area. 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 Chattanooga?

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the vibrant destination of Gainesville. 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.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the bustling destination of Chattanooga. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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 Chattanooga?

The active city of Gainesville 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.

The thriving city of Chattanooga offers shopping and museums. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Chattanooga?

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

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Chattanooga. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


Which place is cheaper, Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga is $182. 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 Chattanooga in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Chattanooga $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Chattanooga $184
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Chattanooga

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville or Chattanooga? 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 Chattanooga


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 Chattanooga Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    Chattanooga $35

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chattanooga

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chattanooga:


  • Chattanooga Zoo (for 2)
    $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Chattanooga?

Prices for flights to both Chattanooga 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
    Chattanooga $59
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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chattanooga

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

  • MLK Walking Art History & Food Tour: $65
  • ChattaBrunch Food Tour: $94
  • Historic Southside Food Tour in Chattanooga: $99
  • Downtown Chattanooga Food Tour: $119

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $44
    Chattanooga $52
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:

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

Tours and Activities in Chattanooga

Here are a few actual costs in Chattanooga for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • National Medal of Honor Heritage Museum Admission Ticket in Chattanooga: $14
  • Guided Ghost Walking Tour: $23
  • Chattanooga Guided Walking Tour: $23
  • Original Local Award-Winning Walking Ghost Tour: $25
  • Murder & Mayhem Haunted History Walking Tour: $25
  • Ghost & Booze Tour of Chattanooga - 21+ Over: $25
  • A Spooky and Family-Friendly Walking Tour: $25
  • ChattaBOOga Ghost Walk Tour in Chattanooga: $25
  • Family-Friendly Ghost Tour in Chattanooga: $25
  • Ghosts of the Misty Mountains Walking Tour: $26
  • Walking Tour of Chattanooga : $26

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    Chattanooga $24


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

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


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Chattanooga?

Chattanooga has a larger population, and is about 24% larger than the population of Gainesville. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville and Chattanooga, 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 Chattanooga?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Gainesville or Chattanooga in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Gainesville and Chattanooga. Many visitors come to Gainesville in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Chattanooga for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

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

Chattanooga receives a lot of rain in the summer. Gainesville gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Gainesville usually receives more rain than Chattanooga. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Chattanooga receives 5.2 inches (131 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Gainesville 81°F (27°C) 
    Chattanooga 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Chattanooga in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Gainesville as well as Chattanooga. Most visitors come to Gainesville for the shopping scene during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Chattanooga because of the hiking trails and the shopping scene.

Gainesville is a little warmer than Chattanooga in the autumn. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 71°F (22°C) in October, and Chattanooga fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in October than Chattanooga. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Chattanooga receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year. Keep in mind that June to November is the hurricane season in Gainesville.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Chattanooga 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Chattanooga in the Winter?

Both Chattanooga and Gainesville are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Gainesville because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Chattanooga this time of year.

It's quite cold in Chattanooga in the winter. In the winter, Gainesville is much warmer than Chattanooga. Typically, the winter temperatures in Gainesville in January average around 54°F (12°C), and Chattanooga averages at about 40°F (5°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Chattanooga. In January, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Chattanooga. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Chattanooga receives 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Chattanooga 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Chattanooga in the Spring?

Both Chattanooga and Gainesville during the spring are popular places to visit.

In April, Gainesville is generally a little warmer than Chattanooga. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 69°F (20°C), and Chattanooga fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

Chattanooga gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Gainesville usually gets less rain in April than Chattanooga. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Chattanooga receives 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, June to November in Gainesville is the hurricane season.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Chattanooga 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Chattanooga and Gainesville

Gainesville Chattanooga
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 40°F (5°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 53°F (12°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 62°F (17°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.2 inches (131 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (133 mm)