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

Should you visit Gainesville or Norfolk?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Norfolk, 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 active, vibrant, and high energy city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Norfolk

Norfolk is a blue collar, maritime, and authentic city. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Gainesville and Norfolk: 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
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Gainesville or Norfolk?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Gainesville than Norfolk. While Norfolk is larger than Gainesville, Gainesville has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Norfolk is more touristy than Gainesville and is known for its naval base and military presence. Gainesville is popular for being the home of the University of Florida It is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

How is Gainesville different from Norfolk?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Norfolk 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.

Norfolk offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting museums in town like the Chrysler Museum, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the Norfolk Police and Fire Museum. You should also check out the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.


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

Gainesville
Norfolk

Both Gainesville and Norfolk offer good 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.

Norfolk has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Is Gainesville or Norfolk Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville is a great destination for nightlife. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

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 Norfolk has a few options to choose from. Downtown is where you'll find the most busy nightlife venues. The city has great breweries, and the live music scene has taken off. There are also lounges, dance clubs, and wine bars to choose from.

Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Norfolk?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Both Gainesville and Norfolk are good 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 Norfolk. There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.


Is Gainesville or Norfolk Better for Families?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville and Norfolk are both good 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.

Norfolk is a family-friendly city. The Norfolk Zoo is always a hit with kids. You should also visit the USS Wisconsin which offers tours, as well as the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Is Gainesville or Norfolk Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville is a popular place for romance. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for its romantic activities.

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.

Most people don't think of Norfolk as a couple's destination. There are some nice hotels and several great parks and outdoor activities.

Is Gainesville or Norfolk Better for Students?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville is a great destination for students. However, Norfolk 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.

Norfolk is not popular with students.


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

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville is a popular place for its public transit. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Gainesville, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There's a decent bus system that's free to students and employees of the university.

Public transit is mostly limited in Norfolk. While there are buses, ferries, and even lightrail in the area, you really want to have a car to get around.

Is Gainesville or Norfolk a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Norfolk

Gainesville and Norfolk both are good when exploring on foot.

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

Norfolk is a somewhat walkable place. Downtown is the most walkable part of the city.

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

Should I spend more time in Norfolk or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Norfolk?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Gainesville or Norfolk to fill your time. In our opinion, Gainesville has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Gainesville than Norfolk. However, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

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


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

One day in Gainesville or Norfolk?

In Gainesville, 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.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the blue collar city of Norfolk. 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.


A weekend in Gainesville or Norfolk?

In Gainesville, 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 Gainesville has to offer.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the maritime destination of Norfolk. 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 Norfolk?

Gainesville 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.

The authentic city of Norfolk 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 Norfolk?

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

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Norfolk. 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, Norfolk 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 Norfolk is $166. 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 Norfolk in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Norfolk $84
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Norfolk $168
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Norfolk

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville or Norfolk? 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 Norfolk


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 Norfolk Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    Norfolk $54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Norfolk

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Norfolk:

  • Bamville Transportation (Private & Airport Transfers): $275

Is it cheaper to fly into Gainesville or Norfolk?

Prices for flights to both Norfolk 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
    Norfolk $49
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 Norfolk

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

  • Buffet Dinner Cruise: $101
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Mother's Day Signature Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Buffet Dinner Cruise : $140
  • Norfolk 4th of July Buffet Dinner Cruise: $182

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gainesville $44
    Norfolk $14
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 Norfolk

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

  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38
  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour) : $60
  • Elizabeth River Sunday Buffet Brunch Cruise: $84
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise : $84
  • Elizabeth River Candlelit Buffet Lunch Cruise: $84
  • Mother's Day Signature Brunch Cruise Norfolk: $103
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $103

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    Norfolk $10

Sample the Local Flavors in Norfolk

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Norfolk:

  • Party Bike Pub Crawl in Downtown Norfolk: $30
  • Guided Party Bike and Local Pub Crawl Tour: $30


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Gainesville and Norfolk, we can see that Gainesville is more expensive. And not only is Norfolk much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Norfolk would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Norfolk 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 Norfolk.

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


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Norfolk?

Norfolk has a larger population, and is about 87% larger than the population of Gainesville. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville and Norfolk, 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 Norfolk?

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 Norfolk in the Summer?

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

Gainesville is around the same temperature as Norfolk in the summer. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Norfolk fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

Norfolk 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 Norfolk. Gainesville gets 6.8 inches (174 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


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

Should I visit Gainesville or Norfolk in the Autumn?

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

In the autumn, Gainesville is a little warmer than Norfolk. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Gainesville in October average around 71°F (22°C), and Norfolk averages at about 62°F (16°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in October than Norfolk. Gainesville gets 2 inches (51 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, the hurricane season in Gainesville is June to November.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Gainesville 71°F (22°C) 
    Norfolk 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Norfolk in the Winter?

Both Norfolk 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 Norfolk this time of year.

It's quite cold in Norfolk in the winter. In January, Gainesville is generally much warmer than Norfolk. Daily temperatures in Gainesville average around 54°F (12°C), and Norfolk fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

In January, Gainesville usually receives less rain than Norfolk. Gainesville gets 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Gainesville 54°F (12°C) 
    Norfolk 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Gainesville or Norfolk in the Spring?

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

Gainesville is a little warmer than Norfolk in the spring. The daily temperature in Gainesville averages around 69°F (20°C) in April, and Norfolk fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

Gainesville usually gets less rain in April than Norfolk. Gainesville gets 2 inches (50 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain this time of the year. Keep in mind that June to November is the hurricane season in Gainesville.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Gainesville 69°F (20°C) 
    Norfolk 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Norfolk and Gainesville

Gainesville Norfolk
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 54°F (12°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 57°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 69°F (20°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 6.8 inches (174 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (139 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 56°F (14°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)