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

Should you visit Washington or Norfolk?

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

Washington

Washington is a active, monument-filled, and international city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. It's also known for nightlife, live music, and food.

Norfolk

Norfolk is a blue collar, maritime, and authentic city. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Washington and Norfolk: 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 for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Washington or Norfolk?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Washington than Norfolk, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Washington is more touristy than Norfolk 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 home to The Washington Monument and the White House. Norfolk is popular for its naval base and military presence.

How is Washington different from Norfolk?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Washington that are not to be missed. 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.

Norfolk offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting museums in town like the Chrysler Museum, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the Norfolk Police and Fire Museum. You should also check out the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.


Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Theater?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a great destination for theatre. However, Norfolk is not a theatre destination.

While in town, many visitors enjoy seeing a show in 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.

Norfolk is not a theatre destination.

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

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

For foodies, Washington is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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.

Norfolk has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Nightlife?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a great destination for nightlife. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

The people in Washington know how to have a good time. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Norfolk has a few options to choose from. Downtown is where you'll find the most busy nightlife venues. The city has great breweries, and the live music scene has taken off. There are also lounges, dance clubs, and wine bars to choose from.


Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Music?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a popular place for live music. However, Norfolk is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Washington is active and vibrant. Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.

Norfolk is not a live music destination.

Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Hiking?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a city with a few options for its hiking experiences. However, Norfolk is not a hiking destination.

Washington has hiking trails if you want to get outside. 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.

Norfolk is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Washington or Norfolk?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a great destination for shopping. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping opportunities.

Washington is an extremely popular place for shoppers. 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.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Norfolk. There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.


Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Christmas?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for its Christmas activities. However, Norfolk does not offer Christmas activities.

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

Norfolk does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Families?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Washington is 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.

Norfolk offers lots of family activities. The Norfolk Zoo is always a hit with kids. You should also visit the USS Wisconsin which offers tours, as well as the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Couples?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a great destination for romance. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Washington frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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.

Most people don't think of Norfolk as a couple's destination. There are some nice hotels and several great parks and outdoor activities.


Is Washington or Norfolk Better for Students?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for students. However, Norfolk is not popular with students.

Many students frequent 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.

Norfolk is not popular with students.

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

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for its public transit. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Washington has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The metro system and the bus system are reliable and efficient ways to explore the city.

Public transit is mostly limited in Norfolk. While there are buses, ferries, and even lightrail in the area, you really want to have a car to get around.

Is Washington or Norfolk a more walkable city?

Washington
Norfolk

Washington is a must-visit destination for its walkability. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its high level of walkability.

Getting around Washington on foot is easy. 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.

Norfolk is a somewhat walkable place. Downtown is the most walkable part of the city.


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

Should I spend more time in Norfolk or Washington?

How long in Washington or Norfolk?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Washington or Norfolk to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Washington than Norfolk because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Washington, and 1-2 days is enough time in Norfolk.

Families should spend more time in Washington than Norfolk. 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 Norfolk. 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 Norfolk 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 Norfolk? Ideal Length of Stay
    Washington 3-7 
    Norfolk 1-2

One day in Washington or Norfolk?

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

A weekend in Washington or Norfolk?

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 food around the destination of Norfolk, 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 Norfolk?

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.

Norfolk, 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 Norfolk?

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.

Norfolk 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, Norfolk 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 Norfolk is $166. 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 Norfolk in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $113
    Norfolk $84
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $226
    Norfolk $168
Compare Hotels in Washington and Norfolk

Looking for a hotel in Washington or Norfolk? 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 Norfolk


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 Norfolk Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $47
    Norfolk $54
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:

  • Airport Transfer DCA to/from Washington DC Downtown Area only: $147
  • Arrival Private Transfer Dulles Airport IAD to Washington DC by Business Car: $125
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Dulles Airport IAD to Washington DC by SUV: $146
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Washington Airport BWI to Washington DC by SUV: $154
  • Arrival Private Transfer: National Airport DCA to Washington in Business Car: $142
  • Arrival Private Transfer: National Airport DCA to Washington in Luxury Car: $186
  • Arrival Private Transfer: National Airport DCA to Washington in Luxury SUV: $172
  • Arrival Private Transfer: National Airport DCA to Washington in Luxury Van: $172
  • Departure Private Transfer Washington DC to Dulles Airport IAD by Business Car: $117
  • Departure Private Transfer Washington DC to Ronald Reagan Airport DCA by SUV: $98
  • Departure Private Transfer Washington DC to Washington Airp BWI by Business Car: $121
  • Departure Private Transfer Washington DC to Washington Airport BWI by SUV: $145

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Norfolk

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Norfolk:

  • Bamville Transportation (Private & Airport Transfers): $275

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Norfolk?

Prices for flights to both Norfolk 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
    Norfolk $49
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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Norfolk

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

  • Buffet Dinner Cruise: $101
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Mother's Day Signature Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Buffet Dinner Cruise : $140
  • Norfolk 4th of July Buffet Dinner Cruise: $182

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $24
    Norfolk $14

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: $5.50
  • The Kennedy Homes: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • The Kennedy Homes of Georgetown: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • DC's Presidents, Pubs, and Parties: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Washington, DC: Lincoln Assassination Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Secrets on Embassy Row: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Washington DC: $5.99
  • Lincoln's Assassination: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Scandals & Secrets on Embassy Row: 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
  • Private DC Civil Rights Audio Guide App Walking Tour: $8.00

Tours and Activities in Norfolk

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

  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour) : $60
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Mother's Day Signature Brunch Cruise Norfolk: $103
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise : $84
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $103
  • Elizabeth River Candlelit Buffet Lunch Cruise: $84
  • Elizabeth River Sunday Buffet Brunch Cruise: $84
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $19
    Norfolk $10

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 Norfolk, we can see that Washington is more expensive. And not only is Norfolk much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Norfolk would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Norfolk 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 Norfolk.

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


Which is Bigger, Washington or Norfolk?

Washington has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Norfolk. When comparing the sizes of Washington and Norfolk, 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 Norfolk?

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 Norfolk in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Washington as well as Norfolk. Most visitors come to Washington for the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Norfolk because of the family-friendly experiences.

Washington is around the same temperature as Norfolk in the summer. The daily temperature in Washington averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Norfolk fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Norfolk. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Washington this time of the year. In the summer, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk. Washington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 279 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Norfolk. Washington usually gets less rain in July than Norfolk. Washington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Washington or Norfolk in the Autumn?

Both Norfolk and Washington are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Washington because of the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the shopping scene are the main draw to Norfolk this time of year.

In the autumn, Washington is around the same temperature as Norfolk. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Washington in October average around 60°F (15°C), and Norfolk averages at about 62°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Norfolk. Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk during autumn. Washington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Washington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Washington 60°F (15°C) 
    Norfolk 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Washington or Norfolk in the Winter?

Both Norfolk and Washington during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine are the main draw to Washington this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Norfolk for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Norfolk. It's quite cold in Washington in the winter. In January, Washington is generally much colder than Norfolk. Daily temperatures in Washington average around 35°F (1°C), and Norfolk fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

In the winter, Washington often gets less sunshine than Norfolk. Washington gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 168 hours of full sun.

Washington usually gets less rain in January than Norfolk. Washington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Washington 35°F (1°C) 
    Norfolk 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Washington or Norfolk in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Washington and Norfolk. Many travelers come to Washington for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Washington is around the same temperature as Norfolk in the spring. The daily temperature in Washington averages around 56°F (14°C) in April, and Norfolk fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Norfolk this time of the year. In Washington, it's very sunny this time of the year. Washington usually receives less sunshine than Norfolk during spring. Washington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 253 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Washington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Washington 56°F (14°C) 
    Norfolk 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Norfolk and Washington

Washington Norfolk
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)