A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Washington vs. Arlington for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Washington or Arlington?

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 Washington and Arlington can help you decide which place is right for you.

Washington

Washington is a diverse, active, and monument-filled city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the theater, nightlife, and live music.

Arlington

Arlington is a international, historical, and educational city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Washington and Arlington: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Washington or Arlington?

You'll generally find more things to do in Washington than Arlington. Washington is bigger than Arlington, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Washington is well known for its reputation as the capital of the United States, but it's also known for its many monuments, memorials, and museums. Also, Washington is famous for The Washington Monument and the White House. Arlington is well known for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon.

How is Washington different from Arlington?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Washington or Arlington?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is terrific for its museums and history. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Washington has many famous sights for visitors. The city has world class museums that are often free. The Smithsonian Museums are arguably some of the most impressive museums in the United States. The city also has a large collection of monuments that are dedicated to past presidents or historical events. Many are best experienced at night when the sun sets and the lights come on.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Arlington. Arlington National Cemetery is where you'll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the tomb of John F. Kennedy Jr. There are many memorials around town, with the most famous being the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. There are also several museums like the DEA Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Is Washington or Arlington Better for Theater?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is an excellent place to visit for its shows and theatre. However, Arlington is not a theatre destination.

Many visitors plan to see a show while visiting Washington. Theater is popular in the city. From major theaters like the Kennedy Center and Ford's Theater, to lesser known smaller venues, there are options for everyone.

Arlington is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Washington or Arlington? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is terrific for its restaurants. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Washington is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. This city is among the most diverse in the country, so you can find restaurants from almost any cuisine here. It's worth exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone. There are popular neighborhoods for Ethiopian, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese food, among many others.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Arlington makes for a great culinary experience. It's a global city, and the restaurants reflect that. You'll find amazing Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants. There are also less common cuisines to choose from such as Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Peruvian.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Nightlife?

Washington
Arlington

The vibe at night is excellent in both Washington and Arlington.

Many people head to Washington for the nightlife scene. Many visitors head straight to the museums and the National Mall, and don't realize what a livable and fun city this is. Some of the best nightlife is found in Dupont Circle, U Street, and even Arlington, VA. The city's young population ensures that there's never a dull moment.

Arlington has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The city has a huge young population that drives the nightlife scene. There are clubs, bars, and lounges in many neighborhoods. There are also comedy clubs and plenty of live music.


Is Washington or Arlington Better for Music?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is a nice place to visit for its music scene. However, Arlington is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Washington active and fun. Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.

Arlington is not a live music destination.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Hiking?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is a decent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Arlington is not a hiking destination.

Hiking is a fun activity while in Washington. Just outside of Washington DC you'll find plenty of places to go hiking. There's also an elaborate bike and walking trail system in the city. To enjoy a bit of nature, head to Teddy Roosevelt Island.

Arlington is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Washington or Arlington?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is an excellent place to visit for its shopping areas. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Washington. Head to Georgetown and Dupont Circle for some of the city's best local shopping. There are name brand chains mixed in with local boutiques. You'll also find plenty of souvenir shops in the more touristy areas if you're looking to pick up some trinkets.

Arlington is a great destination for shopping. Many neighborhoods have local shops or farmer's markets. There are also shopping centers and malls such as Ballston Quarter, The Crossing Clarendon, and The Village at Shirlington.


Is Washington or Arlington Better for Christmas?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is terrific for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Arlington does not offer Christmas activities.

Known for its popular Christmas activities, Washington draws large crowds. With it's beautiful lights and holiday shows, Christmas is beautiful in the capital of the United States.

Arlington does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Families?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is an excellent place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Washington. It is a fun and educational destination where kids can explore world class museums and try unique foods from all around the world. The city has nationally recognized landmarks, monuments, and memorials and it's also home to some of the best (free) museums in the United States including the world class Smithsonian Institutions. Many schools visit Washington DC as a field trip, particularly during the Spring months, so you'll kids groups in colorful t-shirts running around the National Mall.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Arlington. Kids will enjoy seeing the planes talk off from Gravelly Point park. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces and educational opportunities in the area, including world class museums.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Couples?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is an excellent place to visit for couples. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Washington makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city lights up at night, so couples will enjoy wandering by the monuments in the evening or taking in a dinner and show. During the Spring months you'll find couples wandering through the Cherry Blossoms or along the waterfront.

Arlington is a nice destination for couples. There's a vibrant cultural scene and many international restaurants that couples can enjoy. It's also a great place to take in a show or concert.


Is Washington or Arlington Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Washington
Arlington

Arlington is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Washington is not a good destination for backpackers.

Arlington is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a couple of hostels and many free activities nearby. There's also great public transportation that makes for a convenient backpacker destination.

Washington is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it is an international travel destination, the city often isn't at the top of most backpacker's lists. There are some affordable accommodation options available though if you know where to look.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Students?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is terrific for its student-friendly activities. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for students.

Washington is a great destination for students. International students come from around the world to study, learn, intern, and work in the capital of the United States. There are many internships available through the federal government as well as NGOs and nonprofits.

Students come from all over to stay in Arlington. There are a huge number of colleges and museums in the area as well as many great internship and educational opportunities.

Is Washington or Arlington Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Washington
Arlington

Washington and Arlington both offer terrific public transit to get you around.

With a huge network, the transit system in Washington can get you around easily. The metro system and the bus system are reliable and efficient ways to explore the city.

Visitors in Arlington can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.


Is Washington or Arlington a more walkable city?

Washington
Arlington

Washington is terrific for its ease of walking around. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its walkability.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Washington. Many neighborhoods around the city are easy to explore on foot. Most tourists spend a lot of time in the Mall area, which is very pedestrian friendly.

Arlington is very walkable. There are many pedestrian-friendly areas around town, particularly in the neighborhoods that are concentrated around metro stations.

For even more information, also check out Is Washington Worth Visiting? and Is Arlington Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arlington or Washington?

How long in Washington or Arlington?

It's fun to spend time in either Washington or Arlington. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Washington due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Washington, and 2-4 days is enough time in Arlington.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Washington than Arlington 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 Washington.


  • How many days in Washington or Arlington? Ideal Length of Stay
    Washington 3-7 
    Arlington 2-4

One day in Washington or Arlington?

People visit Washington because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

With museums and nightlife around the educational city of Arlington, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Washington or Arlington?

People visit Washington because there is so much to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Arlington, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.


Five days in Washington or Arlington?

People visit Washington because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

Arlington, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Washington or Arlington?

Washington is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Washington, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Arlington is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Which place is cheaper, Arlington or Washington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Washington is $198, while the average daily cost in Arlington is $264. 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 Washington and Arlington in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $113
    Arlington $131
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $226
    Arlington $262
Compare Hotels in Washington and Arlington

Looking for a hotel in Washington or Arlington? 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 Washington


Hotels in Arlington


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: Washington Hotel Prices and Arlington Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $47
    Arlington $49
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Washington

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


  • Metro Day Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Washington

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

  • private Ronald Reagan, Washington National Airport transfer: $150
  • Washington to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) - Departure Private Transfer: $58
  • Washington to Washington Airport (IAD) Departure Private Transfer: $65
  • Washington to Washington Airport (DCA) Departure Private Transfer: $58
  • Washington to Newark Airport Departure Private Transfer: $189
  • Washington to NY Kennedy Airport(JFK)- Departure Private Transfer: $201
  • Washington to Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI) - Departure Private Transfer: $68
  • Washington to Baltimore Airport (BWI) Departure Private Transfer: $76
  • Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA): Transfer to Washington: $175
  • Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA) to Washington - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $106
  • Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA) to Washington - Arrival Private Transfer: $53
  • Washington DC: Private Transfer to Airports or Baltimore: $160

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arlington

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

  • Ronald Reagan DCA Airport Transfers: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Arlington?

Prices for flights to both Arlington and Washington 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
    Washington $38
    Arlington $81
Typical Food Prices in Washington

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


  • Water
    $2.00
  • Snacks on Monuments Tour
    $6.15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Washington

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

  • Little Ethiopia Food Tour: $67
  • Adams Morgan Food Tour: $74
  • Capitol Hill Food Tour: $75
  • Gastronomic Georgetown Food Tour: $80
  • Dupont Circle Food Tour: $80
  • Washington D.C.: Georgetown Guided Secret Food Tour: $84
  • Acquired Taste Food Tour in Georgetown: $85
  • Washington DC: Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit: $86
  • Washington DC Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $95
  • Washington, DC: African American History Tour with Dinner: $108
  • Washington DC Signature Dinner Cruise: $121
  • Washington,DC: Union Market Private Food Tour: $125

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $24
    Arlington $11

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • 1.5 Hour Arlington Cemetery Guided Walking Tour with Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: $40
  • 2 For 1! DC Highlights & Arlington Cemetery Tour Bundle: $84
  • 2 Hour Guided Bike Tour of Capitol Hill: $55
  • 2 Hours Book Store Tour in Capitol Hill: $80
  • 2-Hour African American Heritage Tour in Washington DC: $25
  • 2-Hour Arlington Cemetery Guided Walking Tour : $75
  • 2-Hour National Mall Walking Tour from Washington DC: $25
  • 3 Hour Group Walking Tour of Arlington National Cemetery: $100
  • 3-Hour Private Customizable Washington DC City Tour by Luxury Van: $124
  • 3-Hour Small Group Memorial Tour in Washington, D.C.: $59
  • 4-Hour Small Group Guided National Mall Tour with 10 Top Attractions: $99
  • 90-Minute Walking Tour of the Ghosts of Washington DC: $25

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $19
    Arlington $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Washington

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Washington:

  • Epic Washington DC Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • DC Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl By US Ghost Adventures: $35
  • Washington DC: Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • DC Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl By US Ghost Adventures: $42
  • Small-Group History Tour Pub Crawl of Washington, D.C.: $59
  • Washington, D.C.: History Tour Pub Crawl: $59
  • DC Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105
  • DC: Guided Craft Brewery Tours with a Snack: $105
  • Full-Day Private Virginia Wine Tour Experience from Washington : $245
  • Private Washington DC Virginia Winery Wine Tasting Tour -Spirited: $255


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

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


Which is Bigger, Washington or Arlington?

Washington has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Arlington. When comparing the sizes of Washington and Arlington, 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 Washington or Arlington?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Washington or Arlington in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Washington and Arlington. The hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Washington this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Arlington for the family-friendly experiences.

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

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Arlington this time of the year. In Washington, it's very sunny this time of the year. Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington during summer. Washington gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Arlington receives 278 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Arlington. Washington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Washington 79°F (26°C) 
    Arlington 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Washington or Arlington in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Washington as well as Arlington. Many travelers come to Washington for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Arlington in the autumn for the shopping scene.

Washington is around the same temperature as Arlington in the autumn. The daily temperature in Washington averages around 60°F (15°C) in October, and Arlington fluctuates around 60°F (15°C).

In the autumn, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington. Washington gets 197 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Arlington receives 197 hours of full sun.

Washington usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Arlington. Washington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Washington 60°F (15°C) 
    Arlington 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Washington or Arlington in the Winter?

Both Arlington and Washington are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Washington in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Arlington for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Arlington can be very cold during winter. Washington can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Washington is around the same temperature as Arlington. Typically, the winter temperatures in Washington in January average around 35°F (1°C), and Arlington averages at about 35°F (1°C).

Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington during winter. Washington gets 139 hours of sunny skies, while Arlington receives 139 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Arlington. Washington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Washington 35°F (1°C) 
    Arlington 35°F (1°C)

Should I visit Washington or Arlington in the Spring?

Both Arlington and Washington during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Washington for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Washington is generally around the same temperature as Arlington. Daily temperatures in Washington average around 56°F (14°C), and Arlington fluctuates around 56°F (14°C).

In Arlington, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Washington. In the spring, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington. Washington gets 228 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Arlington receives 228 hours of full sun.

Washington usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Arlington. Washington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Washington 56°F (14°C) 
    Arlington 56°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Arlington and Washington

Washington Arlington
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)