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

Should you visit Houston or Phoenix?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Houston and Phoenix. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Houston

Houston is a diverse, sprawling, and southern city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. It's also popular because of the nightlife, live music, and food.

Phoenix

Phoenix is a desert, laid back, and sprawling city. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and shopping.

Houston and Phoenix: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Houston or Phoenix?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Houston than Phoenix, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Houston is more popular for its museums, nightlife, music, and big city activities, while Phoenix is known for its hiking. Houston is popular for its sprawling size, its local Texas restaurants, and being the home to NASA. It is also home to The Space Center Houston. Phoenix is popular for its desert landscapes, high number of golf courses, and year round warm weather.

How is Houston different from Phoenix?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Houston
Phoenix

Houston 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 Houston. Head to Houston's Museum District to explore 19 different museums in a walkable area. A highlight of a trip to the city is a visit to the Space Center, but other popular museums include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Houston Children's Museum.

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 Houston or Phoenix? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Houston
Phoenix

Foodies will find both Houston and Phoenix both to be good destinations.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Houston. The city is famous for its Texas barbecue, Mexican food, and a wide diversity of other different ethnic foods. It's a surprisingly diverse city and this is reflected in the restaurant selection around town.

Phoenix is becoming an appealing option for foodies. 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 Houston or Phoenix Better for Nightlife?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston is a great city for its evening party scene. Also, Phoenix is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife.

The nightlife in Houston has something for everybody. The nightlife is at its best on weekends when bars, dance clubs, and concert halls come to life. There are a diversity of venues around town including dance clubs, Honky Tonks, and cocktail bars. Some of the most active nightlife areas are Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue, and Rice Village.

There's a variety of activities in the evening 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 Houston or Phoenix Better for Music?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston is a city with good options for its music scene. However, Phoenix is not a live music destination.

You'll find some good live music in Houston. Popular music venues include Fitzgerald's, Walter's Downtown, and The Continental Club.

Phoenix is not a live music destination.


Is Houston or Phoenix Better for Hiking?

Houston
Phoenix

Phoenix is a good destination for its hiking experiences. However, Houston is not a hiking destination.

Phoenix offers some nice hiking trails. 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.

Houston is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Houston or Phoenix?

Houston
Phoenix

Shopping is a popular activity in both Phoenix and Houston.

Houston offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of upscale malls and shopping centers that have brand names, chain stores, and the occasional local shop where you can pick up items.

Phoenix has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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 Houston or Phoenix Better for Families?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston is a great city for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Phoenix is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Houston. It is a large city with plenty of things that kids can enjoy including museums, theaters, a zoo, and even the Space Center. The Children's Museum of Houston is perfect for a rainy day. For science loving kids there's the Health Museum and the Museum of Natural Science. Houston also has a Six Flags nearby which the whole family can enjoy.

Phoenix is a family-friendly place to visit. 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 Houston or Phoenix Better for Couples?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston and Phoenix both good destinations for a couple.

Houston makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There's a surprising diversity of restaurants around the city. There are also performing arts productions and many outdoor parks and gardens.

Phoenix is a good city for couples to visit. 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 Houston or Phoenix Better for Students?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston is a city with good options for its student-friendly activities. However, Phoenix is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Houston. It's a large city with a number of universities and a large student population.

Phoenix is not popular with students.

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

Houston
Phoenix

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Houston and Phoenix.

Public transit is generally limited in Houston. The system includes buses and a limited light rail. Houston is known as a car-centric city and you really need a car to fully experience it.

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 Houston or Phoenix a more walkable city?

Houston
Phoenix

Houston and Phoenix both are decent when exploring on foot.

Houston is generally not very walkable. The most walkable neighborhood is the historic Houston Heights, but most parts of the city aren't very walkable.

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 Houston Worth Visiting? and Is Phoenix Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Phoenix or Houston?

How long in Houston or Phoenix?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Houston and Phoenix. In our opinion, Houston has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Houston than Phoenix. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Houston, and 1-3 days is enough time in Phoenix.

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

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

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


  • How many days in Houston or Phoenix? Ideal Length of Stay
    Houston 2-3 
    Phoenix 1-3

One day in Houston or Phoenix?

Because Houston is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Phoenix, 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.

A weekend in Houston or Phoenix?

Because Houston is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. 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 Houston has to offer.

In Phoenix, 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 Phoenix has to offer.


Five days in Houston or Phoenix?

Houston 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.

Phoenix 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.

A week in Houston or Phoenix?

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

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


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage.


Which place is cheaper, Phoenix or Houston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Houston is $262, 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 Houston and Phoenix in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Houston $142
    Phoenix $144
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Houston $284
    Phoenix $288
Compare Hotels in Houston and Phoenix

Looking for a hotel in Houston 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 Houston


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: Houston Hotel Prices and Phoenix Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Houston $72
    Phoenix $39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Houston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Houston:

  • William P.Hobby Airport (HOU): Transfer to Port of Galveston: $546
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH): Transfer to Houston: $350
  • SUV Airport Transfer in Houston: $200
  • Privat Transfer from Houston Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port: $197
  • George Bush Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port - Arrival Transfer: $195
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $195
  • RoundTrip transfer in private minivan from-to HoustonAirport in Houston Downtown: $176
  • William P. Hobby Airport to Galveston Port Arrival Transfer: $170
  • Houston Airport (HOU) to Galveston Arrival Private Transfer: $170
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Port of Galveston - Arrival Private Transfer: $170
  • Sedan Airport Transfer in Houston: $165
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Houston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $163

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phoenix

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

  • Arrival Private Transfer Phoenix Airport PHX to Phoenix City : $116
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Business Car: $96
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Luxury SUV: $110
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sky Harbor Airport PHX to Phoenix in Luxury Van: $149
  • Departure Private Transfer Phoenix City to Phoenix Airport PHX : $109
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Business Car: $96
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury SUV: $110
  • Departure Private Transfer: Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport PHX in Luxury Van: $149
  • One Way SUV Transfer from Phoenix Int'l Airport to Phoenix Metro: $95
  • Phoenix International Airport (PHX) - Private transfer From/to Hotels: $118
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) to Phoenix - Arrival Private Transfer: $58
  • One-Way Transfer Sky Harbor Airport to Phoenix: $104

Is it cheaper to fly into Houston or Phoenix?

Prices for flights to both Phoenix and Houston 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
    Houston $35
    Phoenix $52

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Houston

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

  • Seasonal Pizza From Scratch Experience in Houston: $55
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $70
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $72
  • The Heights Food Tour in Houston: $76
  • Downtown Houston Food Tour: $76
  • Houston Downtown: Secret Food Tours: $80
  • Houston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $85
  • Howdy H-Town EADO Food Tour: $90
  • East Downtown Food Tour: $90
  • Houston Heights Culture and Food Tour: $95
  • Montrose Food Tour: $97

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
  • Quiche Lorraine French Cooking Class in Scottsdale: $129

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Houston $14
    Phoenix $40

Tours and Activities in Houston

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

  • Houston Ghosts and Hauntings By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • The Art of Fufu Cookbook Experience: West African Soup & Fufu : $100
  • 2 Hours H- Town Tour with 15ft Open Air Party Truck On Wheels: $46
  • 2-Hour Houston Skyline Tour: $69
  • 2-Hour Private Sightseeing Cart Tour of Houston and Galveston: $256
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Driving Tour & NASA Space Center Admission and Shuttle: $80
  • Astroville Private Best of Houston City Driving Tour: $370
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour & NASA Space Center Admission with Shuttle: $80
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour of Downtown Houston (Air-Conditioned): $30
  • Austin & Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17

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
  • Ultimate Dead of Night Walking Ghost Tour: $23
  • Phoenix Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Ghosts & Poltergeists Guided Haunted Walking Tour: $26
  • Drunk Shakespeare Ticket: Phoenix, AZ: $29
  • The Scottsdale Selfie Experience: $32
  • Phoenix Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Scottsdale Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket: $38

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Houston $13
    Phoenix $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Houston

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

  • Brewery Pass with Beer Tastings: $50
  • Private Houston Brewery Tour by Cart: $57
  • 2-Hour Downtown Brewery Tour by Electric Cart: $70
  • Downtown Houston Brewery Bike Tour : $71
  • Private 3-in-1 Sightseeing, Brewery, and Mural Tour of Houston by Cart: $115

Sample the Local Flavors in Phoenix

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

  • Scottsdale Bar Hunt: Scorching Scottsdale Bar Crawl: $12
  • Pedal Bar Crawl of Old Town Scottsdale: $55
  • Pedal Bar Crawl Tour of Downtown Phoenix: $70
  • Stretch Limo Party Cart - Custom Bar Crawls, Wine Tastings, Night Clubs & More: $155
  • Custom Arizona Brewery / Vineyard Tour: $245


When comparing the travel costs between Houston and Phoenix, we can see that Houston is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Houston or Phoenix?

Houston has a larger population, and is about 53% larger than the population of Phoenix. When comparing the sizes of Houston 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 Houston 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 Houston or Phoenix in the Summer?

Both Phoenix and Houston during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Houston for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Phoenix because of the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

Phoenix can become quite hot in the summer. In the summer, Houston is cooler than Phoenix. Typically, the summer temperatures in Houston in July average around 84°F (29°C), and Phoenix averages at about 98°F (36°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Houston. Houston usually gets more rain in July than Phoenix. Houston gets 4.8 inches (122 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.8 inches (21 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Houston 84°F (29°C) 
    Phoenix 98°F (36°C)

Should I visit Houston or Phoenix in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Houston and Phoenix. The autumn months attract visitors to Houston because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene. Furthermore, the hiking trails and the shopping scene are the main draw to Phoenix this time of year.

In October, Houston is generally cooler than Phoenix. Daily temperatures in Houston average around 71°F (22°C), and Phoenix fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

Houston gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Houston usually receives more rain than Phoenix. Houston gets 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Houston 71°F (22°C) 
    Phoenix 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Houston or Phoenix in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Houston as well as Phoenix. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Houston this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Phoenix for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Houston is cooler than Phoenix in the winter. The daily temperature in Houston averages around 52°F (11°C) in January, and Phoenix fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

Houston usually gets more rain in January than Phoenix. Houston gets 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain, while Phoenix receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Houston 52°F (11°C) 
    Phoenix 58°F (14°C)

Should I visit Houston or Phoenix in the Spring?

Both Phoenix and Houston are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Houston for the activities around the city.

In the spring, Houston is around the same temperature as Phoenix. Typically, the spring temperatures in Houston in April average around 70°F (21°C), and Phoenix averages at about 74°F (23°C).

In April, Houston usually receives more rain than Phoenix. Houston 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
    Houston 70°F (21°C) 
    Phoenix 74°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for Phoenix and Houston

Houston Phoenix
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.9 inches (22 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 74°F (23°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
May 76°F (25°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm) 83°F (28°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 92°F (34°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 84°F (29°C) 4.8 inches (122 mm) 98°F (36°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
Aug 83°F (29°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm) 96°F (35°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm)
Sep 80°F (27°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 90°F (32°C) 0.9 inches (22 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 79°F (26°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Dec 55°F (13°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 58°F (15°C) 1 inches (25 mm)