A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Orlando vs. Durham for Families, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Orlando or Durham?

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

Should I visit Orlando or Durham? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Orlando

Orlando is a active, family-friendly, and entertaining city. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Durham

Durham is a student-filled, sports oriented, and diverse city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Orlando and Durham: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Home to Disney World, Universal Studios, and the city's many amusement parks
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Orlando or Durham?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Orlando. Although Orlando and Durham are roughly the same size, Orlando has more sights and attractions for tourists. Orlando is better known for its theatre productions, food, resorts, and shopping, while Durham is more popular for its museums. Orlando is more touristy than Durham and is popular for being the home of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and many other theme parks and family-friendly activities. Also, Orlando is famous for Disney World, Universal Studios, and the city's many amusement parks. Durham is well known for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Orlando different from Durham?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Orlando or Durham?

Orlando
Durham

Durham is great for its historical sights. However, Orlando does not have museums and landmarks.

Durham offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

Orlando does not have museums and landmarks.


Is Orlando or Durham Better for Theater?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is very good for its shows and theatre. However, Durham is not a theatre destination.

Orlando offers a number of shows and performances. The city has a number of local theaters that are fun to explore. As home to Disney World and Universal Studios, there are also a number of shows available that are affiliated with the parks.

Durham is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Orlando or Durham? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Dining out in Orlando is an experience not to be missed. There are a diversity of restaurants on the Disney grounds and nearby. You'll also find many restaurants at Universal CityWalk and Disney Springs. Food can be expensive, and the quality can vary dramatically. Many people enjoy going to dinner shows as well. Restaurants can be challenging also, as reservations must be made months in advance.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Durham. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

Is Orlando or Durham Better for Nightlife?

Orlando
Durham

The vibe at night is notable in both Orlando and Durham.

If you're looking for night time activities Orlando has a few options to choose from. If you need a break from the kids, you'll find some of the best nightlife around Orlando at Disney Springs, Wall Street Plaza and Universal CityWalk.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.


Is Orlando or Durham Better for Resorts?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is an amazing city to visit for its resorts. However, Durham is not a resort destination.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Orlando is a perfect choice. Disney World is famous for its many iconic resorts. Some of the most popular are the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Port Orleans Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort. There are also many resorts that aren't affiliated with the major theme parks. These tend to be more affordable, but transportation options to and from the park are limited. You'll also miss out on the perks that come with staying at a theme park resort.

Durham is not a resort destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Orlando or Durham?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is a well-known place for its shopping areas. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Orlando. Shopping is a dream for any Disney enthusiast. There are countless malls and shops, both on and off the Disney grounds, that sell all of the Disney paraphernalia. Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk are the most famous areas. During the evenings, these areas can be very crowded, but during the day they're less popular as most people are at the theme parks.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Durham. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Is Orlando or Durham Better for Christmas?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is an amazing city to visit for its Christmas activities. However, Durham does not offer Christmas activities.

Orlando is a world class destination during the Christmas season. Christmas at Disney World is lots of fun. There are decorations and all kinds of seasonal activities around town.

Durham does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Orlando or Durham Better for Families?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando is an amazing city to visit for its family-friendly activities. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Orlando is one of the most popular family destinations. Known as a theme park capital, here you'll find the iconic Disney World, as well as Universal Studios, SeaWorld and many more. While most people spend their vacation at the Disney or Universal resorts, there is also an endless supply of less mainstream parks and activities in the area.

Durham is a family-friendly city. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.

Is Orlando or Durham Better for Couples?

Orlando
Durham

With fun activities for couples, both Orlando and Durham make for a notable place to visit.

Orlando is a nice destination for couples. While most people visit the area with family, there is a niche crowd that enjoys honeymooning or vacationing here as a couple. There are many beautiful restaurants and interesting activities that couples can enjoy together. This is the perfect trip for fun loving couples who don't take themselves to seriously.

Durham makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Is Orlando or Durham Better for Students?

Orlando
Durham

Durham is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Orlando is not as popular, but is still a nice city for students.

Durham is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

Orlando is a good city to visit for students. Most people don't think about education when they think about Orlando, but there are actually a diversity of internships and opportunities for students to learn in a fun setting.


Is Orlando or Durham Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Orlando
Durham

Orlando and Durham both offer respectable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Orlando. If you're staying at a Disney Property, there is excellent transportation around the complex, but otherwise, a car is essential.

Public transit is generally limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Is Orlando or Durham a more walkable city?

Orlando
Durham

Durham is adequate for its walkability. However, Orlando is not a good destination for its high level of walkability.

Durham is generally not a very walkable city. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

Orlando is not a walkable city. The city is sprawling, so unless you stay on the Disney grounds, it's best to rent a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Orlando Worth Visiting? and Is Durham Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Durham or Orlando?

How long in Orlando or Durham?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Orlando and Durham. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Durham than in Orlando. Usually, 7 days is a good amount of time for Orlando, and 1-3 days is enough time in Durham.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Orlando 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 Durham.


  • How many days in Orlando or Durham? Ideal Length of Stay
    Orlando 7 
    Durham 1-3

One day in Orlando or Durham?

Many travelers enjoy the theater and nightlife when visiting the destination of Orlando. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Durham, 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 Orlando or Durham?

Orlando is a great place to explore. A weekend may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

In Durham, 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 Durham has to offer.

Five days in Orlando or Durham?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Orlando. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Durham 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 Orlando or Durham?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and theater when visiting the active destination of Orlando. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durham. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Durham. 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 in United States of America, The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Durham or Orlando?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Orlando is $321, while the average daily cost in Durham is $162. 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 Orlando and Durham in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Orlando $154
    Durham $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Orlando $308
    Durham $184
Compare Hotels in Orlando and Durham

Looking for a hotel in Orlando or Durham? 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 Orlando


Hotels in Durham


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: Orlando Hotel Prices and Durham Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Orlando $66
    Durham $33
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Orlando

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Orlando are as follows:


  • Parking
    $14
  • Taxi Ride
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Orlando

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

  • Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal Transfers: $34
  • Train Transfer to Miami: $44
  • Private transfer Orlando Airport - Hotels in Disney and Universal: $47
  • Private Transfer to Disney Area Hotels from MCO airport: $48
  • Lakeland / Winter Haven to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $53
  • Hotel near Universal to Sanford Intl. Airport (SFB) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Transfer in private minivan Orlando downtown -Orlando Airport (MCO): $60
  • Private Transfer Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral or Cocoa: $60
  • Orlando Airport: Private Transfer From Airport to Orlando: $63
  • Private Transfer between MCO Airport and Downtown Orlando: $66
  • Orlando MCO Airport: 1-Way Private Transfer to Kissimmee: $67
  • MCO Airport Private Transfer to/from Disney Hotels: $71

Is it cheaper to fly into Orlando or Durham?

Prices for flights to both Durham and Orlando 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
    Orlando $65
    Durham $44
Typical Food Prices in Orlando

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Orlando:


  • Lunch for Two at Epcot
    $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Orlando

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

  • The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show: $38
  • Tastes of the World Food Tour in Winter Haven : $50
  • Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe with Live Music: $58
  • Downtown Murder Mystery Walking Dinner Tour: $66
  • Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Show, Orlando: $69
  • Polynesian Fire Luau with Dinner and Live Show: $75
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure - Top Orlando Dinner Attraction: $78
  • Teatro Martini Dinner Show in Orlando: $79
  • Food Tour of Local Orlando's Ivanhoe Village : $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Orlando $204
    Durham $26
Typical Entertainment Prices in Orlando

For Orlando, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Universal Studios for Two
    $110

Tours and Activities in Orlando

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

  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour around Lake Eola in Orlando: $6.65
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure City Game on Your Phone: $10
  • Orlando Icon Park Adventure Room Ticket: $12
  • 7-D Dark Ride Entry Ticket: $12
  • 25 Minutes Adventure Rooms in Max Action Arena ICON Park: $12
  • Skip the Line: Museum of Military History Ticket: $12
  • Lonely Dog Immersive Art Storytelling Experience: $15
  • Old Town Entertainment District Attraction Tickets: $15
  • Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf Entry Ticket: $18
  • West Orange Trail 10 Mile Private Bike Tour & Scavenger Hunt: $20
  • Experience Zero Latency Virtual Reality in Max Action Arena: $20
  • Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour: $22

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • Downtown Durham Historian-Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20
  • True Crime Tour: $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Orlando $30
    Durham $34

Sample the Local Flavors in Orlando

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Orlando:

  • Orlando Virtual Bar Crawl & Scavenger Hunt: $12
  • Orlando Haunts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Happy Hour Downtown Pub Crawl: $170
  • Chef's Table and Wine Tasting Tour: $300


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

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


Which is Bigger, Orlando or Durham?

Orlando has a larger population, and is about 2% larger than the population of Durham. When comparing the sizes of Orlando and Durham, 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 Orlando or Durham?

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 Orlando or Durham in the Summer?

Both Durham and Orlando during the summer are popular places to visit. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Orlando this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Orlando is generally around the same temperature as Durham. Daily temperatures in Orlando average around 82°F (28°C), and Durham fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

Durham gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Orlando. Orlando usually gets more rain in July than Durham. Orlando gets 8.3 inches (211 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Orlando 82°F (28°C) 
    Durham 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Durham in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Orlando and Durham. Many travelers come to Orlando for the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Durham in the autumn for the shopping scene.

Orlando is a little warmer than Durham in the autumn. The daily temperature in Orlando averages around 75°F (24°C) in October, and Durham fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

Orlando gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Orlando usually receives more rain than Durham. Orlando gets 4.1 inches (103 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Orlando 75°F (24°C) 
    Durham 61°F (16°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Durham in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Orlando as well as Durham. Many visitors come to Orlando in the winter for the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Durham for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Durham can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Orlando is much warmer than Durham. Typically, the winter temperatures in Orlando in January average around 59°F (15°C), and Durham averages at about 40°F (5°C).

Orlando usually gets less rain in January than Durham. Orlando gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Orlando 59°F (15°C) 
    Durham 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Orlando or Durham in the Spring?

Both Durham and Orlando are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In April, Orlando is generally a little warmer than Durham. Daily temperatures in Orlando average around 72°F (22°C), and Durham fluctuates around 60°F (16°C).

In April, Orlando usually receives less rain than Durham. Orlando gets 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Orlando 72°F (22°C) 
    Durham 60°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Durham and Orlando

Orlando Durham
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 62°F (16°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 72°F (22°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.3 inches (211 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 6.7 inches (171 mm) 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 7.2 inches (183 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm) 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)