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

Should you visit Tampa or Houston?

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

Should I visit Tampa or Houston? 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 laid-back, easy-going, and low-key city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the food and beaches.

Houston

Houston is a southern, one-of-a-kind, and diverse city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Tampa and Houston: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Tampa or Houston?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Houston than Tampa, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Houston is more popular for its museums, nightlife, music, shopping, and big city activities, while Tampa is known for its scuba diving & snorkeling and beaches. Tampa is popular for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port. Houston is popular for its sprawling size, its local Texas restaurants, and being the home to NASA. It is also home to The Space Center Houston.

How is Tampa different from Houston?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Tampa or Houston?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.

Houston offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Head to Houston's Museum District to explore 19 different museums in a walkable area. A highlight of a trip to the city is a visit to the Space Center, but other popular museums include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Houston Children's Museum.

Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Tampa or Houston? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tampa
Houston

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Tampa and Houston can be difficult as they are each good in their own way.

Tampa is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are a surprising number of great local restaurants around town as well as a good food truck scene. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.

Houston offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city is famous for its Texas barbecue, Mexican food, and a wide diversity of other different ethnic foods. It's a surprisingly diverse city and this is reflected in the restaurant selection around town.

Is Tampa or Houston Better for Nightlife?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is an excellent place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Tampa is lacking in options for nightlife.

Houston has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The nightlife is at its best on weekends when bars, dance clubs, and concert halls come to life. There are a diversity of venues around town including dance clubs, Honky Tonks, and cocktail bars. Some of the most active nightlife areas are Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue, and Rice Village.

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 Houston Better for Music?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is a popular place for its music scene. However, Tampa is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Houston is active and vibrant. Popular music venues include Fitzgerald's, Walter's Downtown, and The Continental Club.

Tampa is not a live music destination.


Is Tampa or Houston Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Tampa
Houston

Tampa is a city with a few options for its diving and snorkeling. However, Houston is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Tampa has a few snorkeling spots. While the water isn't always the clearest, there are some nice snorkeling and diving spots in the area. Options include Shell Key and Egmont Key, Crystal River, and Fort De Soto.

Houston is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Tampa or Houston Better for Beaches?

Tampa
Houston

Tampa is well known for the beache. However, Houston is not a beach destination.

Many people visit Tampa for it's beautiful beaches. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Houston is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Tampa or Houston?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is a popular place for its shopping areas. However, Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Houston has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are a number of upscale malls and shopping centers that have brand names, chain stores, and the occasional local shop where you can pick up items.

Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Tampa or Houston Better for Families?

Tampa
Houston

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Tampa or Houston.

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.

Houston is a very family-friendly place to visit. It is a large city with plenty of things that kids can enjoy including museums, theaters, a zoo, and even the Space Center. The Children's Museum of Houston is perfect for a rainy day. For science loving kids there's the Health Museum and the Museum of Natural Science. Houston also has a Six Flags nearby which the whole family can enjoy.

Is Tampa or Houston Better for Couples?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is a popular place for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

Houston is a good city for couples to visit. There's a surprising diversity of restaurants around the city. There are also performing arts productions and many outdoor parks and gardens.

Tampa is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore, but the downtown area has room for improvement and much of the city is suburban.

Is Tampa or Houston Better for Students?

Tampa
Houston

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

Plenty of students visit Houston. It's a large city with a number of universities and a large student population.

Tampa is not popular with students.


Is Tampa or Houston Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tampa
Houston

Houston is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Houston. The system includes buses and a limited light rail. Houston is known as a car-centric city and you really need a car to fully experience it.

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 Houston a more walkable city?

Tampa
Houston

Tampa and Houston are decent when it comes to walkability.

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

Houston is generally not very walkable. The most walkable neighborhood is the historic Houston Heights, but most parts of the city aren't very walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Tampa Worth Visiting? and Is Houston Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Houston or Tampa?

How long in Tampa or Houston?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Tampa and Houston. In our opinion, Houston has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Houston than Tampa. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Houston than Tampa 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 Houston.


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

One day in Tampa or Houston?

In Tampa, you'll find food. 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 Houston 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 Houston?

In Tampa, you'll find food. 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 Houston. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Tampa or Houston?

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.

Houston is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the big city destination of Houston. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Tampa or Houston?

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

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


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, Houston or Tampa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tampa is $179, while the average daily cost in Houston is $262. 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 Tampa and Houston in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tampa $85
    Houston $142
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tampa $170
    Houston $284
Compare Hotels in Tampa and Houston

Looking for a hotel in Tampa or Houston? 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 Tampa


Hotels in Houston


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: Tampa Hotel Prices and Houston Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tampa $69
    Houston $72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Arrival Private Transfer: Tampa Airport TPA to Tampa City in Business Car: $73
  • Departure Private Transfer: Tampa City to Tampa Airport TPA in Business Car: $73
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $36
  • Private One Way Transfer From Tampa to Tampa Airport : $46
  • Private Transfer from TPA to Lakeland and Winter Haven: $159
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach: $190
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa hotel or address : $190
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport TPA to Lakeland/Winter Haven: $190
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Clearwater: $120
  • Private transfer Tampa airport To Ruskin, FL: $135
  • Private transfer from Tampa airport To Zephyrhills, FL: $155
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $178

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Houston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Houston:

  • William P.Hobby Airport (HOU): Transfer to Port of Galveston: $549
  • William P. Hobby Airport to Galveston Port Arrival Transfer: $170
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Houston APT-HTL (IAH): $151
  • Transfer in private minivan from Houston George Bush Airport to Houston Downtown: $88
  • RoundTrip transfer in private minivan from-to HoustonAirport in Houston Downtown: $176
  • Round trip transfer in private car from-to Houston Airport in Houston Downtown: $120
  • Private Departure Transfer to Houston George Bush Airport IAH: $51
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Houston William P. Hobby Airport HOU: $48
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Houston George Bush Airport (IAH): $51
  • Privat Transfer from Houston Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port: $196
  • Privat Transfer from Houston Airport (HOU) to Port of Galveston: $170
  • Round-Trip Shuttle Transfer to NASA Space Center: $54

Is it cheaper to fly into Tampa or Houston?

Prices for flights to both Houston 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 $53
    Houston $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

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

  • Cooking Class near Disney in Tampa Florida: $88

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Houston

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

  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $72
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $72
  • The Heights Food Tour in Houston: $76
  • Downtown Houston Food Tour: $76
  • Houston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $85
  • Houston Downtown: Secret Food Tours: $89
  • East Downtown Food Tour: $90
  • Houston Heights Culture and Food Tour: $95
  • Montrose Food Tour: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tampa $20
    Houston $14

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Ybor City Immigrant influence Smart Phone guided App (GPS) walking tour: $6.50
  • Tampa Riverwalk: A Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.34
  • Smartphone Audio Private Walking Tour in Tampa Riverwalk: $8.99
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour: $26
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • Shared Ybor City Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • The Official Downtown Tampa Ghost Tour: $30
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $31
  • Tampa History Cruise: $31
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31

Tours and Activities in Houston

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

  • Houston Ghosts and Hauntings By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • 2 Hours H- Town Tour with 15ft Open Air Party Truck On Wheels: $46
  • 2-Hour Private Sightseeing Cart Tour of Houston and Galveston: $256
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Driving Tour & NASA Space Center Admission and Shuttle: $80
  • Astroville Private Best of Houston City Driving Tour: $370
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour & NASA Space Center Admission with Shuttle: $80
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour of Downtown Houston (Air-Conditioned): $33
  • Austin & Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Downtown In App Audio Walking Tour: $9.00
  • Driving City Tour & NASA Space Center Admission with Shuttle: $85

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tampa $26
    Houston $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Terrors: Boos & Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $38
  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $180

Sample the Local Flavors in Houston

Also in Houston, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Brewery Pass with Beer Tastings: $50
  • Private Houston Brewery Tour by Cart: $57
  • 2-Hour Downtown Brewery Tour by Electric Cart: $70
  • Downtown Houston Brewery Bike Tour : $71


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tampa and Houston, we can see that Houston 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 Houston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Houston than you might in Tampa.

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


Which is Bigger, Tampa or Houston?

Houston has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Tampa. When comparing the sizes of Tampa and Houston, 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 Tampa or Houston?

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 Tampa or Houston in the Summer?

Both Houston and Tampa during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Tampa for the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Houston because of the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Tampa is generally around the same temperature as Houston. Daily temperatures in Tampa average around 82°F (28°C), and Houston fluctuates around 84°F (29°C).

Houston gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Tampa. Tampa usually gets more rain in July than Houston. Tampa gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 4.8 inches (122 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tampa 82°F (28°C) 
    Houston 84°F (29°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Houston in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Tampa and Houston. The autumn months attract visitors to Tampa because of the city's sights and attractions. Furthermore, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene are the main draw to Houston this time of year.

Tampa is around the same temperature as Houston in the autumn. The daily temperature in Tampa averages around 75°F (24°C) in October, and Houston fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

Houston receives a lot of rain in the autumn. In October, Tampa usually receives less rain than Houston. Tampa gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tampa 75°F (24°C) 
    Houston 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Houston in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Tampa as well as Houston. The cuisine are the main draw to Tampa this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Houston for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Tampa is a little warmer than Houston. Typically, the winter temperatures in Tampa in January average around 60°F (15°C), and Houston averages at about 52°F (11°C).

Tampa usually gets less rain in January than Houston. Tampa gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tampa 60°F (15°C) 
    Houston 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Houston in the Spring?

Both Houston and Tampa are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Tampa for the beaches and the activities around the city. Also, many visitors come to Houston in the spring for the activities around the city.

In April, Tampa is generally around the same temperature as Houston. Daily temperatures in Tampa average around 71°F (22°C), and Houston fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

In April, Tampa usually receives less rain than Houston. Tampa gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tampa 71°F (22°C) 
    Houston 70°F (21°C)

Typical Weather for Houston and Tampa

Tampa Houston
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 76°F (25°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 84°F (29°C) 4.8 inches (122 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 83°F (29°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 71°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)