A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America New Orleans vs. Columbia for Food, Nightlife, Families, and Couples

Should you visit New Orleans or Columbia?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between New Orleans and Columbia can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant, energetic, and fun-filled city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the live music, food, and nightlife.

Columbia

Columbia is a suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.

New Orleans and Columbia: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in New Orleans or Columbia?

Tourists will generally find more to do in New Orleans than Columbia. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. New Orleans is very popular for its food, nightlife, music, historical sights, big city activities, and quaint atmosphere, while Columbia attracts visitors for its museums and shopping. New Orleans is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its jazz festivals, local cuisine, quaint balconies, and world class Mardi Gras parties. It is also well known for The French Quarter. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

The French Quarter
The French Quarter

How is New Orleans different from Columbia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans
Columbia

Columbia is a city with good options for its museums and history. However, New Orleans does not have museums and landmarks.

Columbia is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.

New Orleans does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in New Orleans or Columbia? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

For foodies, New Orleans is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. It has rapidly grown into one of the United State's most well known foodie destinations. It's the birthplace of bananas foster and popular for it's gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice. While there are a number of celebrity chefs from New Orleans, you'll also find many local restaurants that aren't as well known but are equally worth visiting.

Columbia may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Nightlife?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is renowned for nightlife and partying. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

New Orleans is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. The nightlife scene is at its best during Mardi Gras. But year-round you'll find Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, spring breakers, and anyone who wants to enjoy a crazy time heads to New Orleans. New Orleans is a destination that attracts partiers any time of the year, and the French Quarter is the place to be if you're looking for a party.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Music?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is renowned for its live music scene. However, Columbia is not a live music destination.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in New Orleans The city is known for its music festivals that feature jazz, blues, and many other types of live music. The Jazz Festival is a great time to visit.

Columbia is not a live music destination.


Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for its Old Town?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is a well-known place for its old town. However, Columbia does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting New Orleans. The French Quarter is filled with old architecture and beautiful historic landmarks.

Columbia does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans
Columbia

Columbia is a city with good options for shopping. However, New Orleans is lacking in options for its shopping opportunities.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Columbia. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.

If you're looking to go shopping, New Orleans has some nice offerings. New Orleans shopping is mostly centered around shopping malls and chain stores.

Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Families?

New Orleans
Columbia

Columbia is a city with good options for its kid-friendly activities. However, New Orleans is lacking in options for its family-friendly activities.

Columbia is a family-friendly city. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

New Orleans doesn't usually come to mind when thinking about kid-friendly destinations. While there are some family-friendly activities in New Orleans like a zoo and several great parks, the city is more known for its parties and nightlife scene. Particularly during certain seasons, most people choose to visit New Orleans without kids.


Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Couples?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is a popular place for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

New Orleans makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy a lively evening, fun festivals, and exploring absolutely amazing restaurants will enjoy a visit to New Orleans. It has a festive and unique atmosphere any time of the year. There are also nice hotels and beautiful parks.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Students?

New Orleans
Columbia

Both New Orleans and Columbia are nice destinations for students.

Plenty of students visit New Orleans. Students head to New Orleans to enjoy spring break and Mardi Gras.

Columbia is popular with students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Is New Orleans or Columbia Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

New Orleans
Columbia

Visitors will find reasonable public transit in both New Orleans and Columbia.

Public transit is mostly limited in New Orleans. The city has streetcar lines and bus lines that you can use, but you'll want to have a car if you want to venture outside of these main areas.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.


Is New Orleans or Columbia a more walkable city?

New Orleans
Columbia

New Orleans is a popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

New Orleans is a somewhat walkable place. If you stick to the French Quarter and downtown areas, most things are walkable in New Orleans.

Columbia is not a very walkable city. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.

For even more information, also check out Is New Orleans Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia or New Orleans?

How long in New Orleans or Columbia?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in New Orleans or Columbia to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in New Orleans than Columbia because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for New Orleans, and 1-2 days is enough time in Columbia.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in New Orleans than Columbia 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 New Orleans.


  • How many days in New Orleans or Columbia? Ideal Length of Stay
    New Orleans 2-3 
    Columbia 1-2

One day in New Orleans or Columbia?

The city of New Orleans offers nightlife and live music. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the friendly city of Columbia. 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 New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in New Orleans, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the suburban destination of Columbia. 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 New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The suburban city of Columbia offers museums and nightlife. 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 New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting Columbia. 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, Columbia or New Orleans?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in New Orleans is $239, while the average daily cost in Columbia is $0.00. 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 New Orleans and Columbia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    New Orleans $125
    Columbia -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    New Orleans $250
    Columbia $0.00
Compare Hotels in New Orleans and Columbia

Looking for a hotel in New Orleans or Columbia? 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 New Orleans


Hotels in Columbia


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: New Orleans Hotel Prices and Columbia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    New Orleans $51
    Columbia -
Typical Local Transportation Prices in New Orleans

Some typical examples of transportation costs in New Orleans are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New Orleans

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

  • Private Transfer to/from Louis Armstrong Intl Airport and NOLA: $42
  • Private Hotel & Airport Transfers in New Orleans Area One Way: $45
  • Private Transfer in New Orleans (MSY) Airport/Home/Hotel/Work : $49
  • Private Transfer from Louis Armstrong Airport: $50
  • 1-Way Private Airport Transfer: $50
  • Private Airport Transfer From New Orleans: $60
  • Airboat or Pontoon Boat Cruise with Transfers: $68
  • Private Transfer in a Luxury Sedan from Louis Armstrong Airport: $69
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport MSY: $72
  • Private Departure Transfer to Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport MSY: $72
  • New Orleans hotels to NOLA Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $75
  • New Orleans to New Orleans L.Armstrong Airport(MSY) - Departure Private Transfer: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into New Orleans or Columbia?

Prices for flights to both Columbia and New Orleans 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
    New Orleans $45
    Columbia $5.03

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New Orleans

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

  • New Orleans Food Tour: $37
  • New Orleans Lunch & Lesson: Demonstration Cooking Class: $38
  • French Quarter Food Tour: $42
  • New Orleans Demonstration Cooking Class & Meal: $42
  • Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with Optional Dinner: $55
  • Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option: $55
  • Signature Flavors of New Orleans Food Tour of the French Quarter: $59
  • New Orleans Signature Tastes of the French Quarter Food Tour: $66
  • The Finest Taste and Flavors of the French Quarter Food Tour: $70
  • French Quarter Food Tour with a Local: $76
  • The Premier New Orleans Food Tour: $77
  • New Orleans Original Seafood Tour of the French Quarter: $80

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    New Orleans $55
    Columbia -
Typical Entertainment Prices in New Orleans

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for New Orleans's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Zoo & Aquarium Tickets (2)
    $75
  • Riverboat Cruise
    $70
  • French Quarter City Tour
    $100

Tours and Activities in New Orleans

For New Orleans, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Self Guided Walking Tour of New Orleans' Historic Garden District: $4.99
  • Beyond the French Quarter: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.00
  • Bywater Stroll: Explore the Evolving Neighbourhood on a self-guided audio tour: $5.00
  • Self Guided Audio Ghost Tour in New Orleans in 6 Languages: $5.00
  • Self Guided Audio Ghost Tour in New Orleans in 6 Languages: $5.83
  • New Orleans Esplanade Ridge: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Walking the Tremé: A Self-guided Audio Tour of New Orleans: $5.99
  • Self-Guided Walking Tour French Quarter In New Orleans: $6.75
  • Ghosts of Self-Guided Haunted Audio/App Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Stories of Faith and Courage: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • Struttin' Down Royal Street Walking Audio Tour: $6.99
  • A Walk in the Park: City Park New Orleans Audio Tour: $6.99

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    New Orleans $60
    Columbia $88

Sample the Local Flavors in New Orleans

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in New Orleans:

  • Hop on, Hop off Craft Brewery Bus in New Orleans: $10
  • Discovering the Flavors of Louisiana: Rum & Gin Distillery Tour: $11
  • Haunted Pub Crawl In-App Audio Tour (ENG): $13
  • Guided Distillery Tour & Rum Tasting: $15
  • Guided Rum Distillery Tour and Tasting: $15
  • Private New Orleans Seafood Bar Crawl: $15
  • New Orleans Distillery Tour and Rum Tasting with Guide: $15
  • Spooky Ghost and Haunted Pub Crawl Tour: $17
  • Haunted Pub Crawl: $21
  • Ghost Tour and Haunted Pub Crawl Party: $25
  • Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans: $26
  • Adults Only True Crime Pub Crawl: $27


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

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


Which is Bigger, New Orleans or Columbia?

New Orleans has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of New Orleans and Columbia, 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 New Orleans or Columbia?

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 New Orleans or Columbia in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to New Orleans as well as Columbia. Many travelers come to New Orleans for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Columbia in the summer for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, New Orleans is around the same temperature as Columbia. Typically, the summer temperatures in New Orleans in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Columbia averages at about 82°F (28°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in New Orleans this time of the year. In the summer, New Orleans often gets less sunshine than Columbia. New Orleans gets 264 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 293 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Columbia. New Orleans receives a lot of rain in the summer. New Orleans usually gets more rain in July than Columbia. New Orleans gets 5.9 inches (149 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    New Orleans 82°F (28°C) 
    Columbia 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit New Orleans or Columbia in the Autumn?

Both Columbia and New Orleans are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to New Orleans in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene. Also, most visitors come to Columbia for the shopping scene during these months.

In October, New Orleans is generally a little warmer than Columbia. Daily temperatures in New Orleans average around 69°F (21°C), and Columbia fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

It's quite sunny in Columbia. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in New Orleans. New Orleans usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia during autumn. New Orleans gets 240 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 230 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, New Orleans usually receives around the same amount of rain as Columbia. New Orleans gets 3 inches (77 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    New Orleans 69°F (21°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit New Orleans or Columbia in the Winter?

Both Columbia and New Orleans during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to New Orleans for the shopping scene and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Columbia because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

New Orleans is much warmer than Columbia in the winter. The daily temperature in New Orleans averages around 51°F (11°C) in January, and Columbia fluctuates around 45°F (7°C).

In the winter, New Orleans often gets less sunshine than Columbia. New Orleans gets 158 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia receives 171 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in New Orleans. New Orleans usually gets more rain in January than Columbia. New Orleans gets 5.2 inches (131 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    New Orleans 51°F (11°C) 
    Columbia 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit New Orleans or Columbia in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both New Orleans and Columbia. The spring months attract visitors to New Orleans because of the activities around the city.

In the spring, New Orleans is a little warmer than Columbia. Typically, the spring temperatures in New Orleans in April average around 68°F (20°C), and Columbia averages at about 64°F (18°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia this time of the year. In New Orleans, it's very sunny this time of the year. New Orleans usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia during spring. New Orleans gets 254 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia receives 273 hours of full sun in the spring.

New Orleans gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, New Orleans usually receives more rain than Columbia. New Orleans gets 4.5 inches (114 mm) of rain, while Columbia receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    New Orleans 68°F (20°C) 
    Columbia 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia and New Orleans

New Orleans Columbia
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 5.2 inches (131 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Mar 62°F (16°C) 5 inches (126 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Apr 68°F (20°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 75°F (24°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 80°F (27°C) 5.9 inches (151 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.9 inches (149 mm) 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 6.2 inches (157 mm) 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm)
Sep 78°F (26°C) 5.5 inches (140 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Oct 69°F (21°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 61°F (16°C) 4.8 inches (122 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Dec 55°F (13°C) 5.7 inches (146 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)