A Travel Price Comparison for New Mexico Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe for Old Town, Food, Families, and Nightlife

Should you visit Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Albuquerque

Albuquerque is a traditional, colonial, and desert town. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the shopping, nightlife, and food.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a charming, artsy, and cultural historic town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. Other reasons to visit include live music, food, and shopping.

How is Albuquerque different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for Food?

Both Albuquerque and Santa Fe offer a number of unique restaurants to choose from.

The food selection is excellent in Albuquerque. The city's local cuisine combines Native American and Spanish flavors to make a variety of unique specialties. You should try the green chili stew, breakfast burrito, sopaipillas, and blue corn pancakes.

Santa Fe has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Local dishes include sopaipillas made with Native American fry bread, slow-cooked beans, and anything made with red and green chile peppers.


Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for Nightlife?

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

If you're looking for night time activities Albuquerque has a few options to choose from. Head downtown and to the Nob Hill neighborhood for wine bars, breweries, and billiard halls.

Santa Fe doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. While most of the town quiets down at night, the city has a few areas that stay active late into the night.

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for its Old Town?

Visitors enjoy the old town areas in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The rich history of Albuquerque can be explored in its historical center. The city has a wonderful old town where the city's first neighborhood was established. It dates back to the early 1700's and has its roots in Spanish colonial history. The area has many adobe houses, great local restaurants, and artisan shops.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Santa Fe. As the 2nd oldest city in the United States, the old town historic district is filled with charm. The Pueblo-style buildings are brightly colored and there are churches throughout.

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for Shopping?

If you're looking to go shopping, Albuquerque and Santa Fe both offer plenty of spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Albuquerque. The city's old town has many cultural artisan shops where you can buy local items.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Santa Fe. There are many unique shops and art galleries that feature local artists and craftsmen.

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for Families?

Both Albuquerque and Santa Fe are family-friendly destinations.

Albuquerque is a very family-friendly destination. The city has a number of nature centers as well as the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. Outside of town there are many parks and natural areas to explore.

Santa Fe offers lots of family activities. There are a few kids' museums in Santa Fe including the Santa Fe Children's Museum and the Meow Wolf Art Complex. Kids also enjoy the botanical gardens at Museum Hill and Bandelier National Monument just outside of the city.


Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe better for Couples?

Albuquerque and Santa Fe both fun destinations for a couple.

Albuquerque is a nice destination for couples. Surrounded by natural beauty, and filled with culture and charm, this city makes a great romantic getaway. It's particularly wonderful during the famous International Balloon Fiesta.

Santa Fe is a good town for couples to visit. There are many romantic inns around town, each with a lot of character. The town also has a lot of atmosphere that makes for a romantic getaway.

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Albuquerque and Santa Fe are similar when it comes to walkability.

Albuquerque is somewhat walkable. Walkable areas include the old town, the area around the University of New Mexico, and the uptown area.

Santa Fe is a very walkable destination. The historic district is walkable and it's easy to visit most of the tourist sights in this area on foot.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance


Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Albuquerque?

How long in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

In either Albuquerque or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Santa Fe than Albuquerque because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Albuquerque is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Santa Fe is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Albuquerque or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    Albuquerque 2-4 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

The town of Albuquerque offers nightlife and food. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the historic historic town of Santa Fe. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire area has lots to do.

A weekend in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Albuquerque is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Albuquerque, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the historic destination of Santa Fe. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. This historic town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend here when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Albuquerque is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire area has lots to do.

Visitors enjoy the museums and skiing when visiting the cultural historic town of Santa Fe. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Albuquerque is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the skiing and live music when visiting Santa Fe. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Fe or Albuquerque?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Albuquerque is $108, while the average daily cost in Santa Fe is $127. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Albuquerque and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Albuquerque $55
    Santa Fe $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Albuquerque $110
    Santa Fe $128

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Albuquerque $29
    Santa Fe $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Albuquerque

Also for Albuquerque, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer: Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) to Albuquerque: $622
  • Private Transfer: Albuquerque to Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ): $622
  • Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) to Albuquerque - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $177
  • Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) to Albuquerque - Arrival Private Transfer: $88
  • Albuquerque to Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) - Departure Private Transfer: $88
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Albuquerque Airport (ABQ): $81
  • Private Departure Transfer To Albuquerque Airport ABQ: $49
  • Albuquerque International Airport One Way Transfer: $48

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Fe

Also for Santa Fe, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer to Santa Fe Airport SAF: $125
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Santa Fe Airport (SAF): $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Albuquerque 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
    Albuquerque $33
    Santa Fe $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Albuquerque

For Albuquerque, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Albuquerque: $71

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Fe

For Santa Fe, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Dinner at the Coffee Farm: $55
  • Santa Fe Railyard Arts District Food Tour: $102
  • New Mexican Flavors Food Tour of the Santa Fe Plaza: $138

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Albuquerque $20
    Santa Fe $13

Tours and Activities in Albuquerque

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

  • 12pm - Public High Noon History, Legends & Lore Tour - Guided Old Town Stroll: $35
  • ABQ NM Film locations Tour, tour your favorite movies/shows filmed in ABQ: $45
  • Albuquerque Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Guided Family Walking Tour: $599
  • Turquoise Museum Admission Ticket: $20
  • Breaking Bad RV Tour, visiting locations from Breaking Bad and Better call Saul: $80
  • Breaking Bad RV Virtural Tour: $13
  • Georgia on My Mind: Georgia O'keeffe and Ghost Ranch Country Tour: $395
  • Guided Bicycle Nature Tour of Albuquerque - Daily: $69
  • Mezcla de Culturas A Walking Tour of ABQ Sawmill District & Historic Old Town: $75
  • New Mexico Flavors Tour Of Old Town Albuquerque: $124
  • New Mexico Mines, Wild West Towns and Turquoise Trail Tour from Albuquerque: $295

Tours and Activities in Santa Fe

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

  • Bantayan Island Day Tour From Cebu: $173
  • Beer and Art Tour: $40
  • Guided Tour: 'Love Stories of Santa Fe": $498
  • Land Tour | Bantayan Island - Sightseeing - Guided Tour: $46
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Private Walking Tour of Santa Fe: $170
  • Santa Fe Architectural Walking Tour: $115
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Canyon Road Curated Art Walking Tour: $52
  • Search for The Story-Documentary Film School Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $52
  • Small-Group Canyon Road Art Tour: $37
  • Small-Group E-Bike Adventure Tour through Hidden Santa Fe: $155
  • The Best of Santa Fe Walking Tour: $498

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Albuquerque $16
    Santa Fe $7.74

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Fe

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Santa Fe:

  • Join-In Wine Tours: $152
  • White Water Rafting and Wine Tour: $217


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

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Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe Travel Comparison

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