A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Richmond vs. Roanoke for Attractions, Couples, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Richmond or Roanoke?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Richmond and Roanoke can help you decide which place is right for you.

Richmond

Richmond is a friendly, historical, and growing city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Roanoke

Roanoke is a scenic, outdoorsy, and laid back town. Other popular activities here include nightlife, hiking, and shopping.

Richmond and Roanoke: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Richmond or Roanoke?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Roanoke than Richmond. While Richmond is larger than Roanoke, Roanoke has more sights and attractions for tourists. Roanoke is very popular for its hiking, while Richmond attracts visitors for its museums and food. Richmond is famous for its cultural and historical sights. Roanoke is famous for its welcoming hospitality and convenient access to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is also well known for the Roanoke Star.

How is Richmond different from Roanoke?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Richmond or Roanoke?

Richmond
Roanoke

Richmond is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Roanoke is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its sights and museums.

Richmond offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city has a long history which you can learn about at one of the many museums. There's the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and the Black History Museum. There are also landmarks and historical homes.

Roanoke is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are several museums and sights around town such as the Living-Coral Reef Aquarium, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the Taubman Museum of Art. There's also the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.


Is the Food Better in Richmond or Roanoke? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Richmond
Roanoke

Richmond is a popular place for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Roanoke is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Richmond is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The food scene has been growing around town, and there are food halls and local restaurants that serve diverse and interesting dishes. You'll find Indian, Asian, and European restaurants in addition to local classics.

Roanoke offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are burger joints, pizza restaurants, and plenty of other casual eateries where you can grab a quick meal.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Nightlife?

Richmond
Roanoke

Evening events are nice in both Richmond and Roanoke.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Richmond. You'll find diverse bars and clubs around town. Pubs are usually laid back with a relaxed atmosphere. You'll also find live music that includes bluegrass, country, and jazz.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Roanoke. There are local venues in the area that have drinks and often live music. You'll find jazz, country, rock, and bluegrass, particularly along Crooked Road in Franklin County.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Hiking?

Richmond
Roanoke

Roanoke is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Richmond is not a hiking destination.

Roanoke is a popular spot for hiking. The surrounding countryside is filled with mountain hikes. The Blue Ridge Mountains are crossed by trails that take you to waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and through serene forest. McAfee Knob, Sharp Top Mountain, and Roaring Run Trail some of the best hikes in the area.

Richmond is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Richmond or Roanoke?

Richmond
Roanoke

Both Richmond and Roanoke are nice shopping destinations.

Many visitors go to Richmond to go shopping. You'll find shopping malls and shopping centers around town, but there are also eclectic shopping streets and boutique outlets.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Roanoke. Market Street in Downtown Roanoke is lined with local vendors, particularly at the Historic Roanoke City Market. The town also has a mall and several shopping centers.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Families?

Richmond
Roanoke

You'll find nice kid-friendly activities in either Richmond or Roanoke.

Richmond is a family-friendly place to visit. The Children's Museum of Richmond offers hands-on exhibits that will keep young ones entertained. Another fun option is the Science Museum of Virginia. The city also has parks and outdoor places to explore as well as playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants.

Roanoke is a family-friendly city. The Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with kid-friendly hiking trails and fun outdoor activities. You can visit the Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum or Smith Mountain Lake Farm. There's also Virginia Children's Theater.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Couples?

Richmond
Roanoke

Roanoke is notable for couples. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Roanoke is a very popular place to visit for couples. Staying at a quaint bed and breakfast, tucked into the beautiful mountain setting is the perfect romantic getaway. Nearby there are vineyards and wine cellars, as well as gardens, hikes, and other outdoor activities.

Richmond is a nice destination for couples. Kayaking or tubing on the James River is a great activity for couples. There are also museums and many restaurants that are perfect for a date night.


Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Richmond
Roanoke

Roanoke is very good for backpackers. However, Richmond is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Roanoke is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are several campgrounds in the area as well as great hiking trails.

Richmond is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not a popular backpacker destination, and most people breeze through town.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Students?

Richmond
Roanoke

Richmond is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Roanoke is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Richmond. There are a couple of colleges and universities in town such as Virginia Commonwealth University.

Roanoke is not popular with students.

Is Richmond or Roanoke Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Richmond
Roanoke

Both Richmond and Roanoke offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Richmond. There are buses around town, but the availability and reliability is limited.

Public transit is mostly limited in Roanoke. There are buses as well as a free trolley service through the downtown, but you really do need a car to get most places.


Is Richmond or Roanoke a more walkable city?

Richmond
Roanoke

Richmond is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Roanoke is not known for its walkability.

Richmond is a somewhat walkable city. There are some walkable neighborhoods such as the Fan and Museum District, but most people prefer to get around by car.

Roanoke is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, with sidewalks and more dense development styles.

For even more information, also check out Is Richmond Worth Visiting? and Is Roanoke Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Roanoke or Richmond?

How long in Richmond or Roanoke?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Richmond and Roanoke. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Roanoke than in Richmond. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Richmond, and 1-3 days is enough time in Roanoke.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Roanoke than Richmond 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 Roanoke.


  • How many days in Richmond or Roanoke? Ideal Length of Stay
    Richmond 1-2 
    Roanoke 1-3

One day in Richmond or Roanoke?

In Richmond, 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.

The town of Roanoke offers nightlife and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Richmond or Roanoke?

In Richmond, 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 Richmond has to offer.

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


Five days in Richmond or Roanoke?

Richmond 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.

Roanoke 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.

A week in Richmond or Roanoke?

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

Roanoke is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, and The Best Photography Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Roanoke or Richmond?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Richmond is $161, while the average daily cost in Roanoke is $164. 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 Richmond and Roanoke in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Richmond $101
    Roanoke $96
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Richmond $202
    Roanoke $192
Compare Hotels in Richmond and Roanoke

Looking for a hotel in Richmond or Roanoke? 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 Richmond


Hotels in Roanoke


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: Richmond Hotel Prices and Roanoke Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Richmond $72
    Roanoke $23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Richmond

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Richmond:

  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $120
  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond city - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Richmond City to Richmond Airport (RIC) - Departure Private Transfer: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Richmond or Roanoke?

Prices for flights to both Roanoke and Richmond 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
    Richmond $21
    Roanoke $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Richmond

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

  • Church Hill Food Tour in Richmond, VA: $80
  • Church Hill Food Tour: $80
  • Trendy Carytown Food Tour: $80
  • The Carytown Food Tour in Richmond: $85
  • Arts District Walking Food Tour: $85
  • Delicious Pizza & Ice Cream Tour of Richmond: $90
  • Arts District Food Tour in Richmond: $90
  • Pizza & Ice Cream Tour: $90

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Roanoke

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

  • Roanoke Ebike Food Tour: $150

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Richmond $13
    Roanoke $35

Tours and Activities in Richmond

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

  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Richmond: $44
  • Church Hill Chillers Ghost Tour: $30
  • Church Hill Segway Tour in Richmond: $80
  • Creepy Tales on Campus Ghost Tour: $30
  • Discover Downtown Richmond Bike Tour: $125
  • Guided Walking Tour of Richmond: $38
  • Haunted Capitol Hill Ghost Tour: $30
  • Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour: $30
  • Historic Trolley Tour: $38
  • Hollywood Cemetery Segway Tour in Richmond: $76
  • Hollywood Cemetery Tour Richmond Lore and Civil War: $24
  • Phantoms of Franklin Ghost Tour: $30

Tours and Activities in Roanoke

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

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia Audio Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia) Driving Tour with Audio Guide: $9.99
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Roanoke to Afton) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Driving Audio Tour (Roanoke ↔ Afton): $15
  • Complete Blue Ridge Parkway Tour Bundle: $24
  • Downtown Roanoke Food, History & Cultural Tour: $78
  • 3-Hour E-Bike Sightseeing and Breweries Tour in Roanoke: $109
  • Mountain Bike Tour from The Roanoke Star: $139

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Richmond -
    Roanoke $30

Sample the Local Flavors in Richmond

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

  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $29
  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $34
  • Drink Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl: $74
  • Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl By Junket: $74
  • Brewery Tour of Richmond, VA: $90


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


Which is Bigger, Richmond or Roanoke?

Richmond has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Roanoke. When comparing the sizes of Richmond and Roanoke, 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 Richmond or Roanoke?

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 Richmond or Roanoke in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Richmond as well as Roanoke. Most visitors come to Richmond for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Roanoke because of the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

Richmond is around the same temperature as Roanoke in the summer. The daily temperature in Richmond averages around 78°F (26°C) in July, and Roanoke fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Roanoke. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Richmond this time of the year. In the summer, Richmond often gets more sunshine than Roanoke. Richmond gets 305 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 273 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Roanoke. Richmond receives a lot of rain in the summer. Richmond usually gets more rain in July than Roanoke. Richmond gets 5 inches (128 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Richmond 78°F (26°C) 
    Roanoke 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Roanoke in the Autumn?

Both Roanoke and Richmond are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Richmond because of the shopping scene. Also, the hiking trails and the shopping scene are the main draw to Roanoke this time of year.

In the autumn, Richmond is around the same temperature as Roanoke. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Richmond in October average around 59°F (15°C), and Roanoke averages at about 60°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Roanoke. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Richmond. Richmond usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke during autumn. Richmond gets 221 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 210 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Richmond usually receives around the same amount of rain as Roanoke. Richmond gets 3.5 inches (90 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.7 inches (94 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Richmond 59°F (15°C) 
    Roanoke 60°F (16°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Roanoke in the Winter?

Both Roanoke and Richmond during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Richmond this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Roanoke for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Roanoke. It's quite cold in Richmond in the winter. In January, Richmond is generally cooler than Roanoke. Daily temperatures in Richmond average around 36°F (2°C), and Roanoke fluctuates around 38°F (3°C).

In the winter, Richmond often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke. Richmond gets 169 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 165 hours of full sun.

Richmond usually gets more rain in January than Roanoke. Richmond gets 3.2 inches (83 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Richmond 36°F (2°C) 
    Roanoke 38°F (3°C)

Should I visit Richmond or Roanoke in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Richmond and Roanoke.

Richmond is around the same temperature as Roanoke in the spring. The daily temperature in Richmond averages around 58°F (14°C) in April, and Roanoke fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Roanoke this time of the year. In Richmond, it's very sunny this time of the year. Richmond usually receives more sunshine than Roanoke during spring. Richmond gets 265 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 246 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Richmond usually receives around the same amount of rain as Roanoke. Richmond gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.1 inches (79 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Richmond 58°F (14°C) 
    Roanoke 59°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Roanoke and Richmond

Richmond Roanoke
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (83 mm) 38°F (3°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Feb 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (80 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Mar 49°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
May 67°F (19°C) 3.8 inches (98 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jun 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)
Jul 78°F (26°C) 5 inches (128 mm) 79°F (26°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Aug 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Sep 71°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Oct 59°F (15°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 51°F (11°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Dec 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 42°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)