November 28, 2022

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Berlin vs Chicago: How Does It Compare?

Both Berlin and Chicago are ambitious cities that reward travelers and locals with a huge range of experiences — from cutting-edge art galleries to fabulous shopping and some of the best dining and nightlife in the world. Plus, unrivaled attractions and a robust lineup of accommodation options make these bustling metropolis worth visiting at least once.

So, whether it’s food, drink, arts, or music festivals, you’re sure to find it in Berlin and Chicago. For that reason, it can be challenging to decide which one to visit first. To help you make up your mind, we’ve created a thoughtful guide breaking down the main difference between these two lively cities. Here, we compare overall costs, attractions, nightlife, and weather, so you can choose the one that suits you the best.

Have a look and take your pick!

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Berlin vs Chicago – Comparison Guide

Population

People in front of The Bean, in Chicago, Illinois.

Berlin is among the world’s most international cities. Out of its 3.7 million residents, almost 790,000 are foreigners and represent more than 190 nations, with the majority of immigrants coming from Turkey and Eastern Europe. The average age of Germany’s capital population is 42, making it one of the world’s youngest cities.

Boasting a young and diverse population, it’s no wonder that Berlin is such a fun place to visit. The city is home to a plethora of restaurants representing an array of cuisines — from Lebanese to Vietnamese —, as well as a vibrant lineup of events that celebrates Berlin’s diversity.

With a population of 2,746,388 in the 2020 census, Chicago is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the fifth-most populous city in North America. Among the city’s population, 1.7 million are immigrants — 56.3% come from Latin America, 23.1% from Europe, 18.0% from Asia, and 2.6% from other parts of the world. 

Chicago is also home to a collection of vibrant neighborhoods — from Greektown to Little Italy — that represent a melting pot of cultures.

So, when it comes to population, both of these big cities are quite similar.

Trip Costs

Young woman holding her wallet and counting dollar bills.

When it comes to travel prices, Berlin is cheaper than Chicago. A vacation in the German capital for one week usually costs around €768 for one person, while a trip to Chicago is around $1,547 for one person. 

The average price for one person for accommodation in Berlin is €60, while in Chicago the accommodation prices rise to €160. In both Berlin and Chicago, expect to spend an average of €41 per day on food. However, in Chicago, leaving a tip of 10% to 20% is expected, which raises the prices when eating out.

Taxi rides are also more expensive in Chicago, as well as prices for attractions. 

To save money while visiting any of these cities, we recommend opting for free attractions, such as urban parks, street art, walking tours, and free museums. Whether you are a visitor or a local, it will help your economy.

Curious fact: the cost of living in Chicago is also higher than in Berlin. In Chicago, A family of four estimated monthly costs is 3,708$ without rent, and a single person’s estimated monthly cost is 1,031$ without rent. In an apartment in Downtown Chicago, the utility bill for one person, including electricity, heating, water, etc is at least $134!

Public Transportation System

U-Bahn in Berlin, Germany.

The public transport in Berlin is hard to beat. Extensive and well-developed, the network comprises U-Bahn Trains, S-Bahn, and buses, which take both locals and travelers to all corners of the city and beyond. Aside from covering the entire German capital, Berlin’s extensive network of public transport is comfortable, safe, and punctual, making it fairly easy to navigate around the city center and reach the suburbs.

Luckily, Chicago is not far beyond Berlin when it comes to public transportation. The city is home to one of the world’s best public transportation networks, which comprises the Chicago Transit Authority, the Metra Commuter Rail, bike lanes, and taxis, which make getting to the city easy and convenient, even if you don’t have a car. Plus, Chicago’s streets are organized on a grid system, meaning you won’t have a hard time exploring the city on foot (perfect option for avoiding the traffic!)

Tip: be sure to get internet with unlimited data to use the GPS and navigate around the cities smoothly.

Recommended Read: A Complete Guide To Public Transport in Berlin

Nightlife

People dancing at a party

Berlin is praised for its unrivaled nightlife, which is often considered one of the best in the world. The city is home to a dazzling wealth of clubs where visitors can experience life-changing techno parties that go on for literal days. Not to mention that Germany’s capital boasts irresistible bars that suit every taste: from laid-back beer gardens to intimate speakeasies and modern rooftop terraces. So whether you’re in search of some alcohol-fix or raucous parties, you’re sure to find it in Berlin.

Chicago is a thriving metropolis that also has a vibrant nightlife, which offers endless choices for all tastes and profiles. The city has an array of nightclubs (most of them located in River North), as well as sleek modern rooftops, stylish speakeasies, and sophisticated jazz bars. Not to mention that Chicago also hosts a variety of fun-filled music festivals that keep locals and visitors on their toes all year round!

Attractions & Things to Do

Ferries in front of the Berlin Cathedral

Both Berlin and Chicago excel when it comes to amazing attractions. These non-stop cities are filled with a plethora of museums, lush urban parks, shopping spots, street art, and landmarks that are guaranteed to keep visitors busy for days on end.

Known for its tumultuous past, Berlin is the perfect destination for history buffs seeking to learn more about major events such as World War II and the Cold War. Must-visit sites include the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag Building, East Side Gallery (former Berlin Wall), and the Holocaust Memorial. Are you a culture vulture? No worries! Berlin is home to a myriad of cutting-edge art galleries, as well as world-class museums, most of which are located within the Museum Island complex.

Chicago also flaunts an endless amount of things to see and experience. The city is famous for its urban parks, like the Millennium Park and Lincoln Park, tempting shopping spots such as the Magnificent Mile, and eye-popping street art murals. If you’re craving an extra dose of culture, good news: Chicago also boasts stellar museums catering to each and every interest. Must-visits include the Art Institute of Chicago, where you’ll see works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Matisse, and the Museum of Science and Industry, one of the largest science museums in the world.

Weather

Sanssouci Park, in Potsdam, Germany.

Berlin and Chicago are known for their freezing cold winters, so be sure to research the weather before visiting these cities.

In Berlin, the climate is moderately continental, characterized by cold winters, with average temperatures around (0 °C or 32 °F), and moderately warm summers with daytime temperatures hovering around 25 °C. Therefore, the best time to visit the German Capital is Berlin is May through September when the weather is ideal for sightseeing and staying outdoors.

Chicago’s climate is typically continental with extremely cold winters, and warm summers. With temperatures ranging from 25 to 30ºC, summer is a great season to visit Chicago, especially if you want to indulge in outdoor activities. Fall is also a good time to travel to Chicago, as the temperatures are milder and suitable for outdoor activities. And, if you think you can handle brutally cold temperatures, you can also go to Chicago in December, and enjoy the local famous seasonal attractions, such as the Christkindlmarket and the ice rink at the Maggie Daley Park (houses and hotels have heating, so you’ll be fine!)

Food

Deep dish pizza, in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Aside from plenty of entertainment, Berlin and Chicago have an unlimited variety of food and dining in every class, making them prime destinations for foodies.

Berlin has a diverse food scene, making it possible for visitors to enjoy culinary experiences from different countries. There, you’ll find not only traditional German eateries, but also restaurants conveying the flavors of places like Vietnam, Japan, Italy, France, Lebanon, and more. If you’re looking for an affordable food experience, be sure to read this guide to the best street food in Berlin.

Chicago is not behind Berlin when it comes to food. A new generation of chefs has returned from abroad, armed with international culinary savoir-faire, making the city well known for its string of new eateries. For a true Chicago experience, visit Lou Malnati’s: The best and most well-known deep-dish pizza in Chicago is the one served at Lou Malnati’s, and try the deep dish Chicago pizza, and Gene and Jude’s to sample the famous Chicago-style hot dog, an all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun.

FAQ Compare Cost Berlin vs Chicago

Which city is better Berlin or Chicago?

Both cities are actually quite similar. Vibrant, cosmopolitan, and filled with things to see and do, Berlin and Chicago are worth visiting.

Are Berlin and Chicago similar?

In many areas like art, urban development, sports, lifestyle, public transport, and job opportunities, Berlin and Chicago are similar.

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