A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Aspen vs. Santa Fe for Skiing, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Aspen or Santa Fe?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Aspen and Santa Fe can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Aspen

Aspen is a outdoorsy, authentic, and charming ski town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the shopping, skiing, and nightlife.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a historic, charming, and artsy historic town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, hiking, and shopping.

Aspen and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Aspen or Santa Fe?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Aspen. Although Aspen and Santa Fe are popular destinations, Aspen has more sights and attractions for tourists. Aspen is very popular for its skiing, food, nightlife, music, resorts, hiking, christmas markets, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Santa Fe attracts visitors for its museums and historical sights. Aspen is more touristy than Santa Fe and is popular for its world-class skiing, many food, film, and music festivals, and its stunning mountain hikes. It is also well known for The Maroon Bells. Santa Fe is famous for its strong arts scene, its Pueblo-style architecture, and its unique local cuisine.

How is Aspen different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is an unbeatable place for skiing. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for snow skiing.

Aspen is among the world's best ski destinations. Near the town, there are 4 separate ski resorts. In town you'll find Aspen Mountain, which is known for it's black-diamond runs. Aspen Highlands, a couple miles away, has a mix of slopes and is less crowded. Buttermilk attracts many freestyle skiers and Aspen Snowmass is considered one of the best family-friendly ski areas.

Santa Fe is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. 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.


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

Aspen
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a historic town with good options for its museums and landmarks. However, Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Santa Fe. 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.

Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

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

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Aspen has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants. In town you'll find cafes and restaurants that cater to both the local crowd and the travelers who flock to the area during peak seasons.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Santa Fe makes for a great culinary experience. 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.

Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Aspen
Santa Fe

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

The nightlife in Aspen has something for everybody. The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene includes craft beer, live music, and dancing. There's a local vibe, particularly during the off-season times when the tourist crowds are less.

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 Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Aspen
Santa Fe

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

Aspen has a thriving music scene. Popular music venues in town include Silver City Mountain Saloon and Belly Up Aspen.

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 Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Resorts?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is a great ski town for its luxury resorts. However, Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Aspen. Popular resorts in the area include The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, and St. Regis Aspen.

Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a great destination for its historic old town charm. However, Aspen does not have a historic old town.

Santa Fe is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. 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.

Aspen does not have a historic old town.


Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is a great ski 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 Aspen for the hiking trails. During the summer and fall seasons, hiking is a great way to explore Aspen's nearby beauty. Popular trails include the Ute Trail, the Lost Man Trail, and the famous Maroon Bells Scenic Trail.

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 Aspen or Santa Fe?

Aspen
Santa Fe

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

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Aspen. There are many great local shops and art galleries where you can pick interesting items or fine art.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Santa Fe. There are many unique shops and art galleries that feature local artists and craftsmen.

Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Christmas?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is an unbeatable place for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in Aspen. There are a number of beautiful activities that will bring the holiday season to life in the town.

Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Christmas Markets?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is a great ski town for visiting Christmas markets. However, Santa Fe does not offer Christmas markets.

Aspen has a large number of Christmas markets. The town has a charming Christmas market that is fun to explore and has around 40 vendors.

Santa Fe does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Both Aspen and Santa Fe are nice to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Aspen. Families that enjoy skiing together, hiking, rock climbing, and having adventures will enjoy a visit to this town. Aspen Mountain is not a great option for beginning skiers, but further away, Aspen Snowmass offers good beginner slopes.

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 Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Aspen
Santa Fe

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

Aspen is a great ski town if you're traveling as a couple. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy and the setting is cute and very scenic, making it a beautiful and romantic destination.

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 Aspen or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a historic town with good options for students. However, Aspen is not popular with students.

Santa Fe is popular with students. There are a few colleges and universities in town and students will appreciate the reasonable cost of living and outdoor activities nearby.

Aspen is not popular with students.

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

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen is very good for times when you don't have a car. However, Santa Fe is not known for its public transit.

While Aspen offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are several shuttle buses around the town.

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

Is Aspen or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Aspen
Santa Fe

Aspen and Santa Fe both are superb when exploring on foot.

Aspen is a very walkable destination. The town is compact enough that it can be explored on foot. If you're planning to head into the mountains to hike, you'll likely need a car.

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


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

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Aspen?

How long in Aspen or Santa Fe?

In either Aspen or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Aspen has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Aspen than Santa Fe. In general, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Aspen, and 2-5 days is enough time in Santa Fe.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Aspen 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 Aspen.


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

One day in Aspen or Santa Fe?

Aspen is a small town where visitors enjoy the shopping and skiing. 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.

In Santa Fe, many people enjoy the live music and food that this artsy destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. This historic town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Aspen or Santa Fe?

Aspen is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Fe. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Aspen or Santa Fe?

Aspen is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Aspen, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Santa Fe is a fun place to experience. In Santa Fe, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this destination offers. Visiting the old town is also a must. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.


A week in Aspen or Santa Fe?

Aspen 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 ski town offers something for everyone.

You'll find museums and skiing around the artsy destination of Santa Fe. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Aspen?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Aspen is $293, 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 Aspen and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Aspen $170
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Aspen $340
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Aspen and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Aspen 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 Aspen


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: Aspen Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Aspen $56
    Santa Fe $61

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) - Private Transfer Arrival or Departure: $269
  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $222

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 Aspen or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Aspen 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
    Aspen $85
    Santa Fe $43

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:

  • 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.
    Aspen $45
    Santa Fe $17

Tours and Activities in Aspen

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

  • Aspen Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Scenic Walking Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • City Highlights Walking Tour: $40
  • Dark History Ghost-Themed Guided Walking Tour: $40
  • From Past to Present History Walking Tour: $40
  • Highlights of Aspen Tour: $40

Tours and Activities in Santa Fe

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

  • Historic Downtown Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Santa Fe Historic Downtown Smart Phone Audio App Self Guided GPS Walking Tour : $7.80
  • Santa Fe's Historic Gems: A Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Santa Fe by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Santa Fe, NM: $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 Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $49
  • Canyon Road Arts District Walking Tour: $69
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $70
  • Canyon Road Art & History Walking Tour: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Aspen $20
    Santa Fe $9.68

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
  • Architectural Walking Tour & Wine Tasting: $135


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

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


Which is Bigger, Aspen or Santa Fe?

Santa Fe has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Aspen. When comparing the sizes of Aspen 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.