A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Tampa vs. Chicago for Food, Nightlife, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Tampa or Chicago?

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

Should I visit Tampa or Chicago? 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.

Tampa

Tampa is a easy-going, low-key, and laid-back city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include beaches.

Chicago

Chicago is a cosmopolitan, diverse, and vibrant city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the theater, nightlife, and live music.

How is Tampa different from Chicago?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Tampa or Chicago better for Food?

For a nice culinary experience, head to Chicago, which is well known for it's local dishes.

For foodies, Chicago is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.

Tampa may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.


Is Tampa or Chicago better for Nightlife?

Most visitors prefer the nightlife in Chicago.

Chicago has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.

Tampa is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

Is Tampa or Chicago better for Beaches?

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Tampa and Chicago are good choices.

Tampa is considered a top beach destination. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Many people head to Chicago to enjoy the beach. While you don't immediately think of beaches when you think of Chicago, there are some nice beaches by the lake.

Is Tampa or Chicago better for Families?

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Tampa or Chicago.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Tampa. The city has a number of kid-oriented attractions including Busch Gardens Amusement Park, several kid-friendly museums, and a number of animal centers, aquariums, and wildlife rescue facilities.

Chicago is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a large number of activities for kids, including zoos, Shedd Aquarium, impressive children's museums, and large and elaborate playgrounds in Millennium Park.

Is Tampa or Chicago better for Couples?

With fun activities for couples, both Tampa and Chicago make for a good place to visit.

Tampa is not always the best place to visit for a couple. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore.

Chicago is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods.


Is Tampa or Chicago better for Public Transit?

Chicago generally offers a better public transit system than Tampa.

Public transit in Chicago is top-notch. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Tampa. There is the street car that runs from downtown Tampa to Ybor City and stops at 11 stations.

Is Tampa or Chicago a more walkable city?

Chicago is more walkable than Tampa.

Chicago is a very walkable destination. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.

Tampa is generally not very walkable. While there are some neighborhoods that are considered walkable, you really need a car if you hope to explore Tampa in depth.

Tampa and Chicago: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities


Should I spend more time in Chicago or Tampa?

How long in Tampa or Chicago?

In either Tampa or Chicago, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than Tampa because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Tampa is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days.


  • How many days in Tampa or Chicago? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tampa 2-3 
    Chicago 3-5

One day in Tampa or Chicago?

In Tampa, you'll find . You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Each neighborhood in Chicago has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Tampa or Chicago?

In Tampa, you'll find . The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Most people come for the beaches. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Tampa has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Tampa or Chicago?

Tampa is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. 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.

Chicago is a fun place to experience. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Tampa or Chicago?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tampa. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find shopping and museums around the vibrant big city of Chicago. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Which city is cheaper, Chicago or Tampa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tampa is $119, while the average daily cost in Chicago is $221. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Tampa and Chicago in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tampa $60
    Chicago $152
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tampa $120
    Chicago $304

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tampa $38
    Chicago $29

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Tampa: $61
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tampa to Tampa International Airport (TPA): $44
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $32
  • Private Departure Transfer - to Tampa Airport (TPA): $28
  • Private Tampa Area to Orlando Area Transfer up to 11 One Price Mercedes Sprinter: $300
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $113
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $113
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Hotel to Airport or Cruise Port: $113
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Anna Maria Island: $120
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Bradenton: $110
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Land O' Lakes Florida: $60
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Sarasota: $120

Typical Local Transportation prices in Chicago

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:


  • Parking
    $19
  • Taxi Ride
    $10
  • Taxi from Airport
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Transfers in Chicago: $107
  • Transfer to Chicago Premium Outlets: $288
  • Transfer from O'Hare International Airport to Chicago: $93
  • Private transfer: Chicago to Chicago International Airport (MDW): $105
  • Private transfer: Chicago International Airport (MDW) to Chicago: $105
  • Private Transfer: O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Chicago: $133
  • Private Transfer: Chicago to O'Hare International Airport (ORD): $133
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (ORD) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (MDW) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (ORD) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (MDW) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Sedan Transfer from Chicago Downtown to O`Hare airport: $100

Is it cheaper to fly into Tampa or Chicago?

Prices for flights to both Chicago and Tampa 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
    Tampa $35
    Chicago $37

Typical Food prices in Chicago

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:


  • Dinner for 1
    $24
  • Dinner for 3
    $118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chicago

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

  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Skip the Line: Tommy Gun's Garage Dinner and Show Ticket: $67
  • Small-Group Chicago Food Tour: Gold Coast and Old Town: $75
  • Best of Chicago Tour Including a Deep-Dish Pizza: $75
  • River North Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Chicago's Wicker Park Food Tour: $75
  • Private Indian-Mexican Fusion Cooking Class with a Modern Cook: $78

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tampa $15
    Chicago $34

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • 1 Hour Haunted History Walking Tour: $23
  • Skip the Line: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay Ticket: $26
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $30
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • Tampa History Cruise: $31
  • VIP Ghost Hunters Tour Semi Private: $35
  • Skip the Line: ZooTampa at Lowry Park Admission Ticket: $45
  • Historic Ybor City Food and Drink Walking Tour: $59
  • 2-hour Tiki Boat BYOB Cruise in Tampa: $60
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $63
  • Tampa Indoor Skydiving Experience with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate: $70
  • ZooQuarium 1-Day Ticket: $79

Typical Entertainment prices in Chicago

Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Sears Tower (family of 4)
    $102
  • Aquarium for 4
    $118
  • Water Taxi (family of 4)
    $22
  • IMAX Movie for Two
    $35
  • Shakespeare Play (2)
    $116
  • Art Institute (2)
    $36
  • U-Boat Tour (2)
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Chicago

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

  • 2 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Stretch Limo / 8 Passengers: $250
  • 2-Hour Chicago City Lights and Skyline Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Fireworks Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour: $73
  • 2-Hour Haunted Segway Tour of Chicago: $76
  • 2-Hour History of Chicago Architecture and Art Segway Tour: $75
  • 3 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $392
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $220
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Sedan: $215
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Stretch Limousine/8 passengers: $728
  • A Most Magnificent Mile Shopping and Sightseeing Tour: $40
  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Free Things to Do in Chicago, Chicago Bucket List: The Best Places to See, and The Best Museums in Chicago.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tampa $20
    Chicago $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl: $12
  • Haunted Tampa Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - Ybor City: $26
  • Private Tampa Brewery Tour - Party Bus: $600

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

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

  • Haunted Chicago Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $25
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Barrel Bus Craft Distillery Tour: $90
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $90
  • Ultimate Girl's Night Out in Sparkling Wine, Photo Shoot, Burlesque: $900


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

Budget Your Trip

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Tampa vs. Chicago Travel Comparison

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