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

Should you visit Washington or Durham?

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

Washington

Washington is a international, diverse, and active 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.

Durham

Durham is a student-filled, sports oriented, and diverse city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Washington and Durham: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • 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
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Washington or Durham?

You'll generally find more things to do in Washington than Durham. Washington is bigger than Durham, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Washington is more touristy than Durham 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. Also, Washington is famous for The Washington Monument and the White House. Durham is well known for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Washington different from Durham?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Durham 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 Durham?

Washington
Durham

Washington is an amazing city to visit for its sights and museums. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Washington on the map. 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.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Durham can be an interesting and educational experience. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.


Is Washington or Durham Better for Theater?

Washington
Durham

Washington is a well-known place for its shows and theatre. However, Durham is not a theatre destination.

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.

Durham is not a theatre destination.

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

Washington
Durham

Washington is an amazing city to visit for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Washington has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Durham. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

Is Washington or Durham Better for Nightlife?

Washington
Durham

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

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 Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.


Is Washington or Durham Better for Music?

Washington
Durham

Washington is very good for its music scene. However, Durham is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Washington. Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.

Durham is not a live music destination.

Is Washington or Durham Better for Hiking?

Washington
Durham

Washington is a moderate city for the nearby hiking options. However, Durham 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.

Durham is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Washington or Durham?

Washington
Durham

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

Browsing through shops is a popular activity 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Durham. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.


Is Washington or Durham Better for Christmas?

Washington
Durham

Washington is an amazing city to visit for its Christmas activities. However, Durham 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.

Durham does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Washington or Durham Better for Families?

Washington
Durham

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

Washington is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Durham is a family-friendly city. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.

Is Washington or Durham Better for Couples?

Washington
Durham

Washington is a well-known place for couples. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

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.

Durham is a nice destination for couples. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.


Is Washington or Durham Better for Students?

Washington
Durham

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

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. There are many internships available through the federal government as well as NGOs and nonprofits.

Durham is a great city to visit as a student. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

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

Washington
Durham

Washington is an amazing city to visit for its public transit. However, Durham is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit in Washington is top-notch. The metro system and the bus system are reliable and efficient ways to explore the city.

Public transit is mostly limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Is Washington or Durham a more walkable city?

Washington
Durham

Washington is an amazing city to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Durham is not a good city for its walkability.

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.

Durham is generally not a very walkable city. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.


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

Should I spend more time in Durham or Washington?

How long in Washington or Durham?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Washington and Durham. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Washington than in Durham. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Washington, and 1-3 days is enough time in Durham.

Families should spend more time in Washington than Durham. 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 Durham. 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 Durham 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 Durham? Ideal Length of Stay
    Washington 3-7 
    Durham 1-3

One day in Washington or Durham?

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 museums and nightlife around the diverse city of Durham, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Durham, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Washington or Durham?

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 nightlife and food around the destination of Durham, 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 Durham?

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.

Durham, 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 Durham?

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.

Durham 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, Durham 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 Durham is $162. 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 Durham in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $113
    Durham $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $226
    Durham $184
Compare Hotels in Washington and Durham

Looking for a hotel in Washington or Durham? 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 Durham


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 Durham Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $47
    Durham $33
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
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Washington Reagan Airport DCA: $43
  • Private Departure Transfer to Washington Reagan Airport DCA: $43
  • Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA) to Washington - Arrival Private Transfer: $53
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Washington to Ronald Reagan Airport: $53
  • Transfer in private car from Washington Ronald Reagan Airport to Washington City: $53
  • Private Departure Transfer to Baltimore Washington Airport BWI: $56
  • Washington to Washington Airport (DCA) Departure Private Transfer: $58
  • Washington Airport (DCA) to Washington - Arrival Private Transfer: $58
  • Washington to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) - Departure Private Transfer: $58
  • Washington City to Baltimore City - Private Car Transfer: $63
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Washington Dulles Airport IAD: $64

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Durham?

Prices for flights to both Durham 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
    Durham $44
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
  • Acquired Taste Food Tour in Georgetown: $70
  • 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: $83
  • 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:Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey: $112
  • Washington DC Signature Dinner Cruise: $121

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $24
    Durham $26

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • Private Audio Guided Walking Tour in Washington: $5.47
  • Washington, DC: Lincoln Assassination Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Lincoln's Assassination: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Scandals & Secrets on Embassy Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • The Kennedy Homes: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Secrets on Embassy Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Washington DC: $5.99
  • DC's Presidents, Pubs, and Parties: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • The Kennedy Homes of Georgetown: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Lincoln's Assassination: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Blossoming Friendship: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin: $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

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • Downtown Durham Historic Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20
  • True Crime Tour: $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $19
    Durham $34

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 : $243
  • Private Washington DC Virginia Winery Wine Tasting Tour -Spirited: $255


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

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


Which is Bigger, Washington or Durham?

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

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 Washington or Durham in the Summer?

Both Durham and Washington during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Washington because of the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Durham this time of year.

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

In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Washington. In the summer, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Durham. Washington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 259 hours of full sun.

Durham gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Washington usually gets less rain in July than Durham. Washington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Washington or Durham in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Washington and Durham. 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. Furthermore, many travelers come to Durham for the shopping scene.

Washington is around the same temperature as Durham in the autumn. The daily temperature in Washington averages around 60°F (15°C) in October, and Durham fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Durham this time of the year. Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Durham during autumn. Washington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Durham. Washington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Washington 60°F (15°C) 
    Durham 61°F (16°C)

Should I visit Washington or Durham in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Washington as well as Durham. Many travelers come to Washington for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Durham in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Durham can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Washington. In the winter, Washington is much colder than Durham. Typically, the winter temperatures in Washington in January average around 35°F (1°C), and Durham averages at about 40°F (5°C).

In the winter, Washington often gets less sunshine than Durham. Washington gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 162 hours of full sun.

Washington usually gets less rain in January than Durham. Washington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Washington 35°F (1°C) 
    Durham 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Washington or Durham in the Spring?

Both Durham and Washington are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Washington in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In April, Washington is generally cooler than Durham. Daily temperatures in Washington average around 56°F (14°C), and Durham fluctuates around 60°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Durham. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Washington. Washington usually receives less sunshine than Durham during spring. Washington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 251 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Washington usually receives less rain than Durham. Washington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Washington 56°F (14°C) 
    Durham 60°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Durham and Washington

Washington Durham
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)