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-   -   Which city would be cheaper for family of four? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/which-city-would-be-cheaper-for-family-of-four-693566/)

Heavens Apr 3rd, 2007 06:22 AM

Which city would be cheaper for family of four?
 
Two of them big teens (19 and 16), New York, Chicago or Boston, or Washington DC? Or are they all about the same. If cost isn't so much a factor, how to choose? Any suggestions?

What do we like to do? Baseball, history, eating, sipping wine, a few museums, a day trip maybe...sight seeing light...

GoTravel Apr 3rd, 2007 06:29 AM

If cost isn't a factor, NYC.

If it is Chicago.

Are the teens boys? If so, Washington DC.

Wayne Apr 3rd, 2007 06:30 AM

Really, I believe a city can't be called "cheap" or low cost as a whole entity. Cities you named have everything in tourism from the lowest to the highest cost, so to answer your title question, they are all OK -- or not.

How to choose? Honestly, can you tell me that with the interests you named, you can't make a decision? If I had my choice, I'd choose Boston for its variety and its character -- more appealing than NYC or Chicago, and as much or more history than DC.

JJ5 Apr 3rd, 2007 06:50 AM

I've been to all of them including Boston. All BUT Washington D.C. have been with a 18 year old son.

Absolutely the cheapest to do the things you mention would be D.C. because nearly everything you do is free: Smithsonians- art, museum etc. Also zoo, all the monuments, mall, tours inside the public buildings are free. Arlington and everything there is free. Alexandria and the Torpedo Factory - free to roam and great restaurant choices, bargain and not bargain. Also all transport in D.C. is phenomenal. I spent $22 for the entire week on the pass and went everywhere in literate minutes, except for Mt. Vernon.

D.C. lodging is the only killer cost if you within the city. NYC is absolutely sticker shock in nearly every venue you do.

Boston is Fenway and some not cheap Museums, good shopping and lots of college age stuff but rooms are miniscule for the costs and that is the city with son that I spent the MOST money in, believe it or not. Nothing on tour is free, and transit adds up.

Chicago CAN be the cheapest on Priceline or special deal lodging, or can be very expensive, depending on what you do and how you do it. There are a few free entry days at the biggest venues, but places like the Field (which just opened the new Dinosaur section which is supposed to be awesome) can run you a lot with all the special collection fees etc. if you do those kinds of things. Chicago you CAN get cheap, good eats, even downton, but you have to know where to look and research. Parking is a real factor too. $40 a day in the hotels here right now. $18 to $28 at sites outside the hotels or underground etc.

My guy when he was 16-18 was expecting to like Boston the most and NYC the least. It was exactly the other way around, and we still talk about it. We took the subway to the Yankee game twice and he loved Becco. It is still his favorite scoop out of the pan place in the world.

That's us.

missypie Apr 3rd, 2007 07:03 AM

Assuming you are flying, I'd check out plane fares first....if one city is $150 more per person to get there, that is $600 right there.

missypie Apr 3rd, 2007 07:04 AM

Also note that in cities, you can often get hotels less expensively over the weekend than during the week.

patg Apr 3rd, 2007 07:19 AM

Your costs will also depend on the time of year. Chicago has plenty of cheap hotel rooms in November-March, but not many during the warm weather. Summer convention business can make the rates triple, so don't buy an air ticket to Chicago without a cancellable hotel reservation.

Washington D.C. can be very reasonable, but the summer heat may make or break your vacation. However, if you haven't been there with your teens, I'd recommend it highly. It's a wonderful time with teens. Look into one of the suite hotels near Foggy Bottom Metro stop - Doubletree, Washington Suites, River Inn, Embassy Suites on 22nd, etc.

nytraveler Apr 3rd, 2007 09:42 AM

Agree that time of year matters a lot - not just interms of cost - but interms of what you can see/do.

NYC will be most expensive - but also has the most to see/do,

DC hotels aren't supercheap - but a lot of sights are.

Boston also has a lot to see/do and hotels can be reasonable - but it's a smaller city.

Chicago is pleasant - but to me- not that much to do.

BUT - the biggest questions. If they're 16 and 19 don;t they know where THEY want to go? (Where does the 19 year old go to school - a small town campus? And isn;t it time to be looking at schools for the 16 year old?)


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