A Travel Price Comparison for Pennsylvania Lancaster vs. Pittsburgh for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Lancaster or Pittsburgh, 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.

Lancaster

Lancaster is a picturesque, scenic, and traditional town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, food, and shopping.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a under-rated, industrial, and authentic city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Lancaster and Pittsburgh: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • 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 Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Pittsburgh than Lancaster. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Pittsburgh is very popular for its nightlife and big city activities, while Lancaster attracts visitors for its shopping and impressive beauty. Lancaster is more touristy than Pittsburgh and is known for its history and long running Amish community. Pittsburgh is famous for its many bridges, its steel industry, and being the home of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood". It is also well known for Mount Washington.

How is Lancaster different from Pittsburgh?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

You'll find a number of superb museums and attractions in both Pittsburgh and Lancaster.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Lancaster can be an interesting and educational experience. Filled with history and local culture, there are many educational opportunities in the area where you can learn about Amish traditions. The Amish Village has tours and unique experiences. The town also has James Buchanan's Wheatland, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Museum, the Ephrata Cloister, and the National Watch & Clock Museum, among many others.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Pittsburgh. The museums range from science and nature focused, like the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, to quirky and artsy, like the Mattress Factory. The Warhol Museum is dedicated to the works of Andy Warhol and it's not to be missed. Also worth a visit is the Heinz History Center, Randyland, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.


Is the Food Better in Lancaster or Pittsburgh? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

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

Lancaster is becoming an appealing option for foodies. You can sample authentic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes at one of the Amish restaurants in the area. Many places serve food family-style and dishes include chicken pot pie, ham balls, and pork and sauerkraut. Whoopie pies also originated in the area.

Pittsburgh offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city is known for its working class roots, and the food is hearty and filling, which is great for those on a budget. Popular local dishes include pierogis, deli sandwiches, Pittsburgh salads (complete with French fries), and hotcakes.

Is Lancaster or Pittsburgh Better for Nightlife?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a great city for its evening party scene. However, Lancaster is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Pittsburgh has something for everybody. There's an active music and dance scene in town. For the best bars and clubs, head to the Strip and South Side and for live entertainment and casinos check out the North Shore.

Most people don't head to Lancaster specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. It's a small town, but you'll still find local pubs and cozy bars where you can enjoy a drink in a laid back atmosphere.

Is the Shopping Better in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Lancaster is great for its shopping areas. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Lancaster. Many visitors pick up hand-crafted Amish items while they're in town. Furniture and Amish quilts are particularly popular. Farmers markets and antique shopping are both unique in the area and there are also art galleries and several outlet stores that you can visit.

Pittsburgh is a great destination for shopping. You'll find local fashion boutiques and shopping centers in the city's downtown. Other great shopping neighborhoods include Shadyside, Station Square, and Fifth Avenue Place.


Is Lancaster or Pittsburgh Better for Families?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Lancaster is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Pittsburgh 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 Lancaster. In you area you'll find farms and petting zoos, amusement parks, and train rides. They can learn about a unique lifestyle at the Amish Experience or soak up the local beauty and farmland in the surrounding countryside.

Pittsburgh is a family-friendly place to visit. There's a surprising number of kid-friendly activities packed into this city. Check out the National Aviary or visit the popular Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. There are also kid-focused museums and science centers as well as parks and playgrounds. Also make sure you take the cable car up Duquesne Incline or enjoy a boat ride on one of the rivers as well.

Is Lancaster or Pittsburgh Better for Couples?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Lancaster is great for couples. However, Pittsburgh is not a good destination for romance.

Lancaster is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. This region is known for it's local beauty and serene farmland, making it a relaxing and peaceful destination for couples. There are walking trails, outdoor activities, buggy rides, and a variety of dining experiences. You can also stay at a bed and breakfast or local inn.

Pittsburgh is not the best destination for a couple to visit. There are a few good date night activities like taking river cruises, enjoying dinner and show, or going to a Pirate's game.

Is Lancaster or Pittsburgh Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Lancaster is not known for its public transit.

While Pittsburgh offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are bus and lightrail options through the city's downtown. There's also the unique incline, which is an experience worth doing.

Public transit is generally limited in Lancaster. The city has buses and several transportation options, but once you're outside of the urban core, your options are limited.


Is Lancaster or Pittsburgh a more walkable city?

Lancaster
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a nice place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Lancaster is not known for its walkability.

Pittsburgh is a somewhat walkable city. Some of the attractions are spread out, but if you're willing to do a bit of walking, it's possible to get around on foot.

Lancaster is generally not very walkable. While the city itself has walkable areas, most visitors want to get out and explore the countryside, which requires a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Lancaster Worth Visiting? and Is Pittsburgh Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pittsburgh or Lancaster?

How long in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Lancaster and Pittsburgh. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pittsburgh than Lancaster 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 Pittsburgh.


  • How many days in Lancaster or Pittsburgh? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lancaster 2-3 
    Pittsburgh 2-3

One day in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

With museums and food around the traditional town of Lancaster, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Pittsburgh. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

With food and shopping around the destination of Lancaster, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the industrial destination of Pittsburgh. 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.


Five days in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Lancaster, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the under-rated city of Pittsburgh. 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.

A week in Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Lancaster is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Pittsburgh 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Pittsburgh or Lancaster?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lancaster is $183, while the average daily cost in Pittsburgh is $181. 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 Lancaster and Pittsburgh in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lancaster $91
    Pittsburgh $106
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lancaster $182
    Pittsburgh $212
Compare Hotels in Lancaster and Pittsburgh

Looking for a hotel in Lancaster or Pittsburgh? 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 Lancaster


Hotels in Pittsburgh


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: Lancaster Hotel Prices and Pittsburgh Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lancaster $69
    Pittsburgh $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $95
  • Pittsburgh City to Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) - Departure Private Transfer: $48
  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $48

Is it cheaper to fly into Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Prices for flights to both Pittsburgh and Lancaster 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
    Lancaster $53
    Pittsburgh $54

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lancaster

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

  • International Food Tour Lancaster, Pennsylvania: $62
  • Red Rose Walking Food Tour in Lancaster: $65

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh's Strip District Food Tour: $70
  • Pittsburgh's Strip District Food Tour: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lancaster $19
    Pittsburgh $38

Tours and Activities in Lancaster

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

  • 45-Minute Private Guided Historic Walking Tour in Lititz: $12
  • Amish Experience SuperSaver Package: $47
  • Authentic Tour & Meal with the Amish!: $89
  • From Philadelphia: Lancaster County Amish Community Tour: $179
  • Guided Ghost Tour of Lititz: $12
  • Guided Tour of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House: $12
  • Historic Columbia, PA: Guided Tour of the Bank Museum: $14
  • Historic Lancaster Photo Shoot Tour: $100
  • Lancaster County: Amish Farmlands, Museum Tour, Farm Visit: $36
  • Lancaster County: Tour and Meal with an Amish Family: $79
  • Lancaster Electric Bicycle Tour: $130
  • Lancaster History and Breakfast Walking Tour: $57

Tours and Activities in Pittsburgh

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

  • Best of the Burgh Walking Tour: $30
  • Bike the Burgh Tour: $50
  • Black & Ghost Tour: $30
  • Discover Oakland Tour: $30
  • Eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $6.22
  • Entrance Ticket to AT BLAQK House Collections: $7.00
  • Essential Pittsburgh Experience - The One Tour to Take: $75
  • HOP ON-HOP OFF TOUR PASS- All Day Sightseeing Tour Pass: $40
  • New! Art & Artists Tour: $30
  • New! Bikes & Brews Tour: $75
  • Pittsburg 101 Tour: $30
  • Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Hockey Game Ticket at PPG Paints Arena: $51

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lancaster $11
    Pittsburgh $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Lancaster

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

  • Guided Brewery Walking Tour in Lancaster City: $79
  • Lancaster City: The Ultimate Walking Craft Brewery Tour: $79

Sample the Local Flavors in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Bar Hunt: Party Through Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: $13
  • Wigle Whiskey Rebellion Distillery Tour: $22
  • New! Bites & Brews: Pittsburgh Brewery Walk: $40
  • Bike and Brewery Tour: $69
  • Pittsburgh Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105


When comparing the travel costs between Lancaster and Pittsburgh, we can see that Lancaster 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 Lancaster Expensive? and Is Pittsburgh Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Lancaster or Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Lancaster. When comparing the sizes of Lancaster and Pittsburgh, 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.