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

Should you visit Washington or Denver?

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 Denver can help you decide which place is right for you.

Washington

Washington is a international, diverse, and active city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the museums, theater, and nightlife.

Denver

Denver is a accessible, sprawling, and park-filled city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include shopping, skiing, and nightlife.

Washington and Denver: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Washington Monument and the White House
Things to Consider
  • Less hiking options
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less popular for students
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Washington or Denver?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Washington. Although Washington and Denver are popular destinations, Washington has more sights and attractions for tourists. Washington is very popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, nightlife, music, shopping, big city activities, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Denver attracts visitors for its skiing and hiking. Washington is more touristy than Denver and is popular for its reputation as the capital of the United States, but it's also known for its many monuments, memorials, and museums. It is also well known for The Washington Monument and the White House. Denver is famous for serving as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains and the many national parks that are in the area.

How is Washington different from Denver?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Washington or Denver Better for Skiing?

Washington
Denver

Denver is very good for skiing. However, Washington is not a skiing destination.

Denver is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. Although there's no skiing in the immediate area, there is a huge list of world class ski resorts within an hour or two of town. Two of the closest are Echo Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area.

Washington is not a skiing destination.


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

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for its sights and museums. However, Denver is not a good city for its museums and history.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Washington are among the most recognizable in the world. 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.

While most people don't head to Denver specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Many people use Denver as a starting or ending point for their mountain and national park trip, but those who linger can visit some of the city's museums and sights. Popular museums include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the History Colorado Center, and the Forney Museum of Transportation.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Theater?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a well-known place for its theatre productions. However, Denver 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.

Denver is not a theatre destination.

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

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Denver is not a good city for its restaurants.

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.

Denver may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. It's a pretty large city, so you'll find some nice local restaurants, but the foodie scene is still emerging in many neighborhoods. A number of restaurants offer outdoor seating, which is nice. You'll also find a growing selection of international restaurants. For something uniquely local, you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.


Is Washington or Denver Better for Nightlife?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a well-known place for nightlife and partying. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its evening party scene.

Washington offers plenty to do in the evening. 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.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Denver. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. There's a great craft beer scene and the downtown area has really come to life. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Music?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a nice place to visit for its live music scene. However, Denver 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.

Denver is not a live music destination.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Hiking?

Washington
Denver

Denver is very good for hiking. However, Washington is not a good destination for the nearby hiking options.

Many people include a hike when visiting Denver. The city is very close to many beautiful parks and hiking areas in the Rocky Mountains. It's not hard to make a day trip from town and enjoy some great hiking. Nice options include the Trading Post Trail in Red Rocks Mountain Park, Bergen Peak near Evergreen, and Chimney Gulch Trail near the town of Golden.

Many visitors include a hike while visiting 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.


Is the Shopping Better in Washington or Denver?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a well-known place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

Washington is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Denver has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The city has many outlet malls that budget shoppers appreciate. There are also weekend farmer's markets, boutique shopping areas, and all of the major chains that you'll find in most larger cities.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Christmas?

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for its Christmas activities. However, Denver does not offer Christmas activities.

Washington is a world class destination during the Christmas season. With it's beautiful lights and holiday shows, Christmas is beautiful in the capital of the United States.

Denver does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Families?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Washington is a very kid-friendly city. 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.

Denver is a family-friendly city. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Popular activities include the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.


Is Washington or Denver Better for Couples?

Washington
Denver

Washington is a well-known place for its romantic activities. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for couples.

Washington is a very popular place to visit 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. During the Spring months you'll find couples wandering through the Cherry Blossoms or along the waterfront.

Denver is a good city for couples to visit. There are many beautiful and romantic outdoor activities in the area such as parks and botanical gardens. There are also spas, including the impressive Spa at the Brown Palace, as well as upscale restaurants and fun bars and clubs to explore.

Is Washington or Denver Better for Students?

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for students. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

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.

Plenty of students visit Denver. There are a few students in the city, but there isn't a college town vibe that you'd get at other nearby university areas.

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

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for its public transit. Also, Denver is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Washington has a great public transit system. The metro system and the bus system are reliable and efficient ways to explore the city.

Denver has some public transit options. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offer good access to much of Denver.


Is Washington or Denver a more walkable city?

Washington
Denver

Washington is renowned for its high level of walkability. However, Denver is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

It is easy to get around Washington 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.

Denver is not a very walkable city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.

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

Should I spend more time in Denver or Washington?

How long in Washington or Denver?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Washington and Denver. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Washington than in Denver. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Washington, and 2-3 days is enough time in Denver.

Families should spend more time in Washington than Denver. 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 Denver. 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 Denver 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 Denver? Ideal Length of Stay
    Washington 3-7 
    Denver 2-3

One day in Washington or Denver?

Washington is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With shopping and skiing around the suburban city of Denver, 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 Denver?

Washington is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

With skiing and nightlife around the destination of Denver, 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 Denver?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Washington. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Denver, 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 Denver?

Washington is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Denver 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, and The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Denver 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 Denver is $218. 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 Denver in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $113
    Denver $87
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $226
    Denver $174
Compare Hotels in Washington and Denver

Looking for a hotel in Washington or Denver? 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 Denver


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 Denver Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $47
    Denver $101
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:

  • Washington DC: Bus transfer from/to Philadelphia: $5.74
  • Transfer in private car from Washington Ronald Reagan Airport to Washington City: $53
  • Washington Airport (DCA) to Washington - Arrival Private Transfer: $58
  • Private Departure Transfer to Baltimore Washington Airport BWI: $60
  • Washington City to Baltimore City - Private Car Transfer: $63
  • Washington to Washington Airport (IAD) Departure Private Transfer: $64
  • Private Transfer in Washington DC: $70
  • Private Transfer- Dulles Airport (IAD) to Washington City Center: $80
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Washington City to Dulles Airport: $88
  • Private One-Way Washington Airport Transfer To/From Washington: $91
  • Transfer from Ronald Reagan Airport DCA to Washington DC by SUV: $93
  • Arrival Transfer Dulles Airport IAD to Washington DC by Sedan: $106

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Denver Airport Transfer To/From Aspen for 6-14 Sprinter Van: $1,950
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Snowmass/Aspen - Arrival Private Transfer: $293
  • Arrival Private Transfer Denver Airport DEN to Denver City by SUV: $290
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Steamboat - Arrival Private Transfer: $282
  • Denver Airport (DEN): Private Transfer to Denver hotels: $252
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Vail/Beaver Creek/Avon - Arrival Transfer: $217
  • Denver Airport (BJC) to Beaver Creek Ski Resort -Arrival Transfer: $217
  • Denver Airport to Breckenridge/Keystone/Copper - Arrival Transfer: $195
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Denver Int. Airport (DEN) to Downtown: $144
  • Departure Private Transfer: Denver to Denver Airport DEN in Luxury SUV: $135
  • Departure Private Transfer: Denver to Denver Airport DEN in Luxury Van: $135
  • Private Transfer from Denver Airport DEN to Denver in Luxury Van: $135

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Denver?

Prices for flights to both Denver 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
    Denver $42
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:

  • DC: Buffet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit: $60
  • Little Ethiopia Food Tour: $67
  • Washington DC Holiday Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $70
  • DC: Gourmet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey: $74
  • Dupont Circle Food Tour: $80
  • Washington D.C.: Georgetown Guided Secret Food Tour: $96
  • Washington, DC: African American History Tour with Dinner: $108
  • Washington,DC: Union Market Private Food Tour: $125
  • Washington D.C.: Taste of Georgetown Walking Food Tour: $129
  • Washington DC: Christmas Eve Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise: $140
  • Washington DC: Personalized & Private Food Tour with a Local: $150
  • Washington DC Christmas Eve Plated Dinner Cruise: $206

Typical Food Prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

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

  • RiNo Arts District Food Tour: $79
  • Downtown Denver Food Tour: $79
  • Arts District Walking Food Tour: $79
  • Mystery Puzzle Food Tour in Golden, CO: $80
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver, CO: $86

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $24
    Denver $52

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • The Kennedy Homes: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • DC's Presidents, Pubs, and Parties: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Washington, DC: Lincoln Assassination Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • The Kennedy Homes of Georgetown: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Scandals & Secrets on Embassy Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Washington DC: National Mall Self Guided App Walking Tour: $6.50
  • Lincoln Memorial to the Cap Hill D.C. Smart Phone App/GPS Tour: $6.75
  • Washington DC Outdoor Escape Game Tour: FBI vs. Bank Robbers: $7.06
  • The National Mall: Walking In App Audio Tour (ENG): $9.00
  • Washington, DC: National Air and Space Museum Audio Tour: $9.00
  • D.C: White House Museum & President's Park Audio Tour (EN): $9.00

Tours and Activities in Denver

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

  • Shared Golden's History Wagon Ride Tour in Colorado: $65
  • Small-Group Cocktail Tour in Denver: $99
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour: $69
  • 2 Hour LoDo Historic Walking Tour in Denver: $28
  • 3 Hour Private Walking Tour in Denver with Professional Guide: $227
  • Archery Dodgeball - 75 Minute Indoor Experience: $31
  • Beginner Rock Climbing Tour: $200
  • Best of Denver Tour: $64
  • Best of Denver Tour: $30
  • Bicycle Tour of Downtown Denver.: $93
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $98
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $139

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $19
    Denver $5.31

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
  • Washington, D.C.: History Tour Pub Crawl: $59
  • DC Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105
  • DC: Guided Craft Brewery Tours with a Snack: $105
  • From Washington DC: Seneca Creek Region Wine Tour with Lunch: $175
  • Private Washington DC Virginia Winery Wine Tasting Tour -Spirited: $255

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

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

  • Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Vintner's Personalized Wine Tasting Experience: $60
  • Wine Tasting with Cheese, Charcuterie, and Dessert : $74
  • Denver Pedicab Brewery Tour: $130


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


Which is Bigger, Washington or Denver?

Denver has a larger population, and is about 0% larger than the population of Washington. When comparing the sizes of Washington and Denver, 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.