A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Asheville vs. Santa Fe for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Old Town

Should you visit Asheville 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 Asheville 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.

Asheville

Asheville is a open-minded, eclectic, and outdoorsy mountain town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a historic, charming, and artsy historic town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and skiing.

Asheville and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular old town
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Asheville or Santa Fe?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Santa Fe. Although Asheville and Santa Fe are roughly the same size, Santa Fe has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Fe is more popular for its skiing, museums, food, and historical sights, while Asheville is known for its nightlife, music, resorts, hiking, and christmas markets. Asheville is popular for its fall foliage, artsy downtown, local North Carolina barbecue, and being home to the Biltmore Estate. Santa Fe is popular for its strong arts scene, its Pueblo-style architecture, and its unique local cuisine. It is also home to The Museum of New Mexico Complex.

How is Asheville different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Santa Fe and Asheville. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a good destination for winter skiing. However, Asheville is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Santa Fe is a great destination to visit. There are a few good ski resorts not far from Santa Fe. Popular options include Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, and Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort.

Asheville is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Asheville or Santa Fe?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a good destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Santa Fe offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Head to the Museum of New Mexico Complex, which has four museums that give a great overview of the history of the area. Also make sure you visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Asheville or Santa Fe? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Santa Fe. There are many local restaurants that use regional ingredients and offer great flavors. There are also cafes and bistros where you can enjoy breakfast or brunch. Local dishes include sopaipillas made with Native American fry bread, slow-cooked beans, and anything made with red and green chili peppers.

Asheville is becoming an appealing option for foodies. Downtown Asheville is filled with local restaurants that serve everything from brunch to late night snacks. There are many vegan and vegetarian options as well as a number of international restaurants. Popular local dishes include North Carolina barbeque and country ham biscuits.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for its evening party scene. However, Santa Fe is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Asheville has something for everybody. The city has a fun and eclectic nightlife scene that centers around the city's breweries and live music venues.

Most people don't head to Santa Fe specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. While most of the town quiets down at night, the city has a few areas that stay active late into the night. Live music is popular and diverse. It often includes different genres such as the blues, country, salsa or bluegrass.


Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for its music scene. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for live music.

Asheville has a thriving music scene. The city has grown into a world famous music destination that holds true to its mountain roots and independent artists.

The music scene helps keep Santa Fe active and fun. The town has an eclectic music scene that includes a mix of the blues, country, Latin American music, and bluegrass.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Resorts?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is very good for its luxury resorts. However, Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Asheville has a few great resort options. The most famous resorts in the area are the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn. Both offer luxury restaurants and beautiful grounds that are particularly nice during the holidays.

Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its old town. However, Asheville is not particularly known for its historic old town charm.

There are many historical things to see 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.

The old town area in Asheville is worth visiting. Downtown Asheville maintains much of its historic vibe, but it's smaller than some of the more notable old cities around the country.


Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for hiking. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Asheville for the hiking trails. Just outside of town are many great hikes to waterfalls or through the mountains. The hikes range in skill level and length but many pass through local forests or along the beautiful skyline.

Santa Fe has hiking trails worth exploring. Because it's located right by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, there are many beautiful hikes right outside of town. Popular trails include the Picacho Peak Trail and the Nambe Lake Trail. Bandelier National also has many places to hike.

Is the Shopping Better in Asheville or Santa Fe?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Shopping is a popular activity in both Santa Fe and Asheville.

Asheville is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. The city has many local shops that sell local crafts and independent art. The downtown area is filled with art vendors and you'll find the greatest concentration of shopping along the pedestrian-friendly Lexington Avenue.

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

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Christmas?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.

Asheville is a very popular destination during Christmas. Head to the Biltmore Estate to see it fully decorated for the Christmas season. It's also worth going to see the winning Gingerbread Houses on display at the Grove Park Inn.

Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Christmas Markets?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is adequate for visiting Christmas markets. However, Santa Fe does not offer Christmas markets.

During the holidays, visitors often browse through the Christmas markets in Asheville. There are a handful of local Christmas shops around town where you can buy personalized gifts.

Santa Fe does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Asheville. With its beautiful hiking, interesting nature centers, and outdoor adventure activities, this mountain town makes a great kid-friendly destination. There are outdoor adventure parks where kids can zipline or climb. There are also hands on farms and orchards for fruit-picking.

Santa Fe is a family-friendly place to visit. 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 Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for couples. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for romance.

Asheville is a great mountain town if you're traveling as a couple. Couples enjoy exploring the beautiful Biltmore Estates or visiting the spa at the Grove Park Inn. The quaint town makes a great honeymoon destination or a nice romantic getaway. There are luxury hotels or intimate bed and breakfasts that offer different options for couples on a romantic trip.

Santa Fe is a nice destination for couples. 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 Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Santa Fe is not known for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Asheville. The town has an eclectic vibe that backpackers appreciate. There are a few good hostels around town as well as nearby campgrounds that are perfect for budget travelers or hikers.

Santa Fe is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There's a hostel in town as well as several campgrounds.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Asheville is a great mountain town for its student-friendly activities. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for students.

Asheville is very popular with students. With its progressive personality and charming downtown, students enjoy spending time in this great town.

Santa Fe is a good mountain town to visit for students. There are a few colleges and universities in town and students will appreciate the reasonable cost of living and outdoor activities nearby.

Is Asheville or Santa Fe Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Asheville
Santa Fe

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Asheville and Santa Fe.

Public transit is generally limited in Asheville. There are buses around town, but almost everyone gets around town with their own vehicle.

Public transit is mostly limited in Santa Fe. There is a bus system - the Santa Fe Trails Bus Service.


Is Asheville or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Asheville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its high level of walkability. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

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

Asheville is a somewhat walkable mountain town. If you stay downtown and don't plan to explore the outlying areas, then it's possible to walk around town. Otherwise, you'll need a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Asheville Worth Visiting? and Is Santa Fe Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Asheville?

How long in Asheville or Santa Fe?

In either Asheville or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Santa Fe than Asheville because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Asheville, and 2-5 days is enough time in Santa Fe.

Families should spend more time in Asheville than Santa Fe. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Asheville, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Asheville than Santa Fe. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Asheville that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Asheville than Santa Fe 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 Asheville.


  • How many days in Asheville or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    Asheville 2-3 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in Asheville or Santa Fe?

The mountain town of Asheville offers live music and food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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.

You'll find skiing and live music around the historic town of Santa Fe. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Asheville or Santa Fe?

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

You'll find live music and food around the artsy destination of Santa Fe. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this historic town has to offer. This historic town offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Asheville or Santa Fe?

Asheville 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 region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the artsy historic town of Santa Fe. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this historic town makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this historic town has to offer.

A week in Asheville or Santa Fe?

Asheville is a great place to explore. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This mountain town offers something for everyone.

Santa Fe is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Asheville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Asheville is $133, while the average daily cost in Santa Fe is $159. 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 Asheville and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Asheville $89
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Asheville $178
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Asheville and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Asheville or Santa Fe? 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 Asheville


Hotels in Santa Fe


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: Asheville Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Asheville $14
    Santa Fe $61

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Fe

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Asheville or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Asheville 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
    Asheville $33
    Santa Fe $43
Typical Food Prices in Asheville

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Asheville:


  • Biltmore Estate Entrance Fee
    $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Asheville

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

  • Electric Bike Tour of Asheville's Best Pizza: $98
  • Best Pizza E-bike Tour: $111
  • 3-Hour Hands on Cooking Class: $120

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:

  • Wander NM Food Tour - Tuesday Farmers' Market: $149
  • New Mexican Flavors Food Tour of the Santa Fe Plaza: $184
  • Santa Fe Farmers Market & Railyard Food Tour: $184
  • Wander New Mexico Food Tour - Railyard Arts District: $189
  • Wander New Mexico Food Tour - Downtown Plaza 'Sip & Savor': $209
  • Downtown Plaza "Sip and Savor" Half-day Food Tour: $209
  • Savor Wine Pairing Dinner: $228

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Asheville $16
    Santa Fe $17
Typical Entertainment Prices in Asheville

Here are a few typical costs in Asheville for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Massage
    $40

Tours and Activities in Asheville

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

  • 2.5-Hour Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Jeep Tour: $99
  • 3 HR SAFARI JEEP ECO, ELK Wilderness Adventure : $149
  • 4 Hr. Guided ECO, ELK Off-Road UTV/SxS Wilderness Adventure : $250
  • A Taste of West Asheville Tip-Based Guided Walking Tour: $5.00
  • Amazing Asheville Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • An afternoon with the artist, private art gallery tour: $60
  • Asheville Coffee Tours: $65
  • Asheville Ghost Tour: A Walk Through Riverside Cemetery & Montford Neighborhood: $27
  • Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views: $75
  • Asheville Historic Highlights: Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Asheville Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley Tour (2-Day Pass): $37
  • Asheville Insider Guided Walking Tour: $30

Tours and Activities in Santa Fe

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

  • The Town Too High To Die: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in New Mexico: $5.13
  • Historic Downtown Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Santa Fe Historic Downtown Smart Phone Audio App Self Guided GPS Walking Tour : $7.75
  • Santa Fe's Historic Gems: A Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Santa Fe by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Santa Fe by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Crime Solving Detective Experience Santa Fe: $15
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour of Historic Santa Fe: $15
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Santa Fe Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $49

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Asheville $16
    Santa Fe $9.68

Sample the Local Flavors in Asheville

Also in Asheville, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Skip the Line: Copper Barrel's Premium Distillery Tour & Tasting: $10
  • Terrors, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Ultimate Late Night Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Asheville Terrors Boos and Brews Haunted Pub Crawl: $39
  • Expert-Led Brewery Walking Tour with Beer Samples: $65
  • 3-Hour Guided Walking Brewery Tour Through Downtown Asheville: $69
  • Downtown Asheville Guided Brewery Walking Tour: $69
  • "Beer Flight" Drag Queen Bar Crawl Tour + VIP After Party Seating: $77
  • Guided Craft Brewery Tour with a Snack: $99
  • Asheville Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Fe

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

  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery Tour and Tasting: $18
  • White Water Rafting and Wine Tour: $217


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Asheville and Santa Fe, we can see that Santa Fe is more expensive. And not only is Asheville much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Asheville would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Asheville 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 Asheville.

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


Which is Bigger, Asheville or Santa Fe?

Santa Fe has a larger population, and is about 1% larger than the population of Asheville. When comparing the sizes of Asheville and Santa Fe, 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.