Which city is cheaper, Chicago or Washington?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
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 Chicago can help you decide which place is right for you.
Washington is a active, monument-filled, and international 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. Other popular activities here include food, shopping, and museums.
Chicago is a diverse, vibrant, and multicultural city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include live music, food, and beaches.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Chicago and Washington. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Spend time exploring the sights and museums in either Washington or Chicago.
Travelers visit Washington from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. 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.
The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Chicago are among the most recognizable in the world. Some of the most famous are the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Notable landmarks include the famous Willis Tower - formerly the Sears Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the iconic Cloud Gate (the bean).
There are theater venues available in both Washington and Chicago.
Washington has a number of performance venues where you can see a variety of shows. 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.
Famous for its theaters and plays, you'll find world-renowned shows in Chicago. Theater is big here with many of the major Broadway productions visiting the city. There is also an endless list of smaller, local theaters to choose from.
Foodies will find both Washington and Chicago both to be unique destinations.
Washington has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. You can find restaurants from almost any cuisine here, so it's worth exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Chicago is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.
The vibe at night is comparable in Washington and Chicago.
Many people head to Washington for the nightlife scene. Head into Dupont Circle, U Street, and even Arlington to enjoy some of the area's best nightlife.
The nightlife in Chicago is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.
Chicago generally offers more live music options than Washington.
Chicago is known as a music capital around the world. The city is the birthplace of such interesting styles as modern gospel and the Chicago style blues.
The music scene helps keep Washington active and fun. Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.
If you're looking to go shopping, Washington and Chicago both offer plenty of spots.
Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Washington. Head to Georgetown and Dupont Circle for some of the city's best local shopping.
The abundance of shops in Chicago make it a world-class shopping destination. The most famous shopping area is Michigan Avenue and the famous Magnificent Mile.
With various activities, both Washington and Chicago are good places to visit during Christmas.
With so many activities, Washington is a top place to visit during Christmas. With it's beautiful lights and holiday shows, Christmas is beautiful in the capital of the United States.
Chicago is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. There's a number of seasonal celebrations, ice skating, and excellent shopping.
You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Washington or Chicago.
Washington is a very family-friendly destination. It is a fun and educational destination where kids can explore world class museums and try unique foods from all around the world.
Chicago is a very kid-friendly city. 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.
Both Washington and Chicago are good destinations to visit as a couple.
Washington is a nice destination for couples. The city lights up at night, so couples will enjoy wandering by the monuments in the evening or taking in a dinner and show.
Chicago makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods.
For students, both Washington and Chicago are fairly comparable places to visit.
Students come from all over the world to visit Washington. International students come from around the world to study, learn, intern, and work in the capital of the United States.
Chicago is a great destination for students. The city has a large number of universities that bring in students from around the country and around the globe.
Washington and Chicago both offer 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 Chicago can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.
Washington and Chicago are similar when it comes to walkability.
Washington is a very easy city to get around on foot. 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.
Chicago is a very walkable city. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.
In either Washington or Chicago, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Washington than Chicago because of the overall number of sights and activities.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Washington is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days.
Because Washington is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
With theater and nightlife around the edgey city of Chicago, 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.
Because Washington is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.
With nightlife and live music around the big city destination of Chicago, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.
Washington is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Washington has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Chicago, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Washington. Because Washington is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.
Chicago 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.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Washington is $155, 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 Washington and Chicago in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Washington or Chicago? 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.
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.
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Washington are as follows:
Also for Washington, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:
Prices for flights to both Chicago 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.
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Washington:
For Washington, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chicago.
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Washington.
Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Chicago for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Washington:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chicago:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Washington and Chicago, we can see that Chicago 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 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 Washington.
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.
The summer brings many poeple to Washington as well as Chicago. The summer months attract visitors to Washington because of the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Chicago this time of year.
In July, Washington is generally around the same temperature as Chicago. Temperatures in Washington average around 79°F (26°C), and Chicago stays around 77°F (25°C).
The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chicago. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Washington this time of the year. In the summer, Washington often gets less sunshine than Chicago. Washington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 326 hours of full sun.
It's quite rainy in Chicago. Washington usually gets less rain in July than Chicago. Washington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain this time of the year.
Both Chicago and Washington are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Washington this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Chicago for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.
Washington is a little warmer than Chicago in the autumn. The temperature in Washington is usually 60°F (15°C) in October, and Chicago stays around 56°F (14°C).
Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Chicago during autumn. Washington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 195 hours of full sun in the autumn.
In October, Washington usually receives more rain than Chicago. Washington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.
Both Chicago and Washington during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Washington for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to Chicago in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.
Chicago can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Washington. In the winter, Washington is much warmer than Chicago. Typically, the winter temperatures in Washington in January are around 35°F (1°C), and Chicago is about 25°F (-4°C).
In the winter, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Chicago. Washington gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 134 hours of full sun.
Washington usually gets more rain in January than Chicago. Washington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 1.9 inches (47 mm) of rain this time of the year.
The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Washington and Chicago. Many visitors come to Washington in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Furthermore, most visitors come to Chicago for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty during these months.
In April, Washington is generally a little warmer than Chicago. Temperatures in Washington average around 56°F (14°C), and Chicago stays around 52°F (11°C).
People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Chicago 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 Chicago during spring. Washington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 218 hours of full sun in the spring.
Chicago receives a lot of rain in the spring. In April, Washington usually receives less rain than Chicago. Washington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 4.3 inches (108 mm) of rain each month for the spring.
|Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)||Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)|
|Jan||35°F (1°C)||2.7 inches (68 mm)||25°F (-4°C)||1.9 inches (47 mm)|
|Feb||37°F (3°C)||2.7 inches (69 mm)||29°F (-2°C)||1.4 inches (35 mm)|
|Mar||47°F (8°C)||3.2 inches (82 mm)||41°F (5°C)||3.7 inches (93 mm)|
|Apr||56°F (14°C)||2.8 inches (72 mm)||52°F (11°C)||4.3 inches (108 mm)|
|May||66°F (19°C)||3.5 inches (89 mm)||63°F (17°C)||3 inches (75 mm)|
|Jun||75°F (24°C)||3.3 inches (83 mm)||73°F (23°C)||3.9 inches (100 mm)|
|Jul||79°F (26°C)||3.5 inches (88 mm)||77°F (25°C)||3.9 inches (100 mm)|
|Aug||78°F (26°C)||3.9 inches (98 mm)||76°F (24°C)||3.5 inches (90 mm)|
|Sep||71°F (22°C)||3.3 inches (85 mm)||68°F (20°C)||3.8 inches (96 mm)|
|Oct||60°F (15°C)||2.9 inches (73 mm)||56°F (14°C)||2.2 inches (56 mm)|
|Nov||50°F (10°C)||3.2 inches (82 mm)||44°F (7°C)||2.2 inches (56 mm)|
|Dec||39°F (4°C)||3.2 inches (82 mm)||31°F (-1°C)||2.8 inches (71 mm)|
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