A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Chattanooga vs. Santa Fe for Food, Hiking, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

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

Should I visit Chattanooga or Santa Fe? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga is a bustling, outdoorsy, and thriving city. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, 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.

Chattanooga and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
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
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Santa Fe than Chattanooga. While Chattanooga is larger than Santa Fe, Santa Fe has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Fe is very popular for its skiing, food, music, historical sights, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Chattanooga attracts visitors for its nightlife and hiking. Chattanooga is famous for it's hikes, railways, and nearby natural areas. Santa Fe is famous for its strong arts scene, its Pueblo-style architecture, and its unique local cuisine. It is also well known for The Museum of New Mexico Complex.

How is Chattanooga different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for winter skiing. However, Chattanooga is not a skiing destination.

Head to Santa Fe for some great skiing and other winter activities. 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.

Chattanooga is not a skiing destination.


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

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Chattanooga or Santa Fe.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Chattanooga. It's a thriving city and there are a number of museums to explore. The Hunter Museum of American Art is great for art enthusiasts. There's also the Creative Discovery Museum, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and the 6th Cavalry Museum, as well as several smaller museums that you can visit.

Santa Fe is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.

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

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Chattanooga is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Santa Fe is an experience not to be missed. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Chattanooga. There are a growing number of restaurants that range from local dives to fine dining. Fried food is common, but you'll also find Mexican and classic hamburgers. Popular dishes that are local to the area include catfish, southern barbecue, and hush puppies.

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Chattanooga is very good for its evening party scene. However, Santa Fe is not known for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Chattanooga has a few options to choose from. You'll find plenty of bars and clubs around town. There are also a number of comedy and improv clubs that are fun to check out.

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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its music scene. However, Chattanooga is not a live music destination.

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

Chattanooga is not a live music destination.

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

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

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting 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.

Chattanooga does not have a historic old town.

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Chattanooga is a great city 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 Chattanooga for the hiking trails. It's proximity to the mountains means that you don't have to go far to find good hiking. Within a half hour of town there are more than 50 trailheads. Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain are both hiking destinations. Several trails have swimming spots and many pass through nice forests or head to impressive viewpoints.

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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a great destination for its shopping areas. Also, Chattanooga is still popular, but not quite as popular for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Santa Fe. There are many unique shops and art galleries that feature local artists and craftsmen.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Chattanooga. Head downtown for local shops or to the larger malls if you want mainstream stores. Many visitors enjoy antiquing while they're in town, but there are also farmer's markets and thrift stores.

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Chattanooga or Santa Fe.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Chattanooga. Many people enjoy a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium, which has a touch tank and a butterfly exhibit, among other things. Near downtown, Coolidge Park is a great place for kids to get their energy out. There's also the popular Lookout Mountain Incline Railway as well as many hiking trails in the area.

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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

With fun activities for couples, both Chattanooga and Santa Fe make for a nice place to visit.

Chattanooga is a good city for couples to visit. Many couples enjoy staying at a local inn and then dining in a nice restaurant or visiting a winery. There's an eclectic art district to explore as well as horse drawn carriages and plenty of nearby hiking trails.

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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for students. However, Chattanooga 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.

Chattanooga is not popular with students.

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

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Chattanooga is a great city for times when you don't have a car. However, Santa Fe is not known for its public transit.

Chattanooga offers a very effecient public transportation network. The city has a convenient and free electric shuttle service. It travels through the downtown and has stops at many points of interest such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium.

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

Is Chattanooga or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Chattanooga
Santa Fe

Chattanooga and Santa Fe both are great when exploring on foot.

Chattanooga is a very walkable destination. The city has put a lot of effort into improving its walkability. In particular, the downtown is nice to explore on foot.

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 Chattanooga Worth Visiting? and Is Santa Fe Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Chattanooga?

How long in Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

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

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

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

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


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

One day in Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

The city of Chattanooga offers food and shopping. 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.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the artsy 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 region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Chattanooga is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city 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 Chattanooga, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

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 in the area 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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Chattanooga 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.

Visitors enjoy the museums and skiing when visiting the charming 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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Chattanooga 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 city 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, and The Best Camping Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Chattanooga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chattanooga is $182, 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 Chattanooga and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chattanooga $92
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chattanooga $184
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Chattanooga and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga


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: Chattanooga Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chattanooga $35
    Santa Fe $61
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chattanooga

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chattanooga:


  • Chattanooga Zoo (for 2)
    $16

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 Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Chattanooga 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
    Chattanooga $59
    Santa Fe $43

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chattanooga

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

  • MLK Walking Art History & Food Tour: $65
  • Historic Southside Food Tour in Chattanooga: $99
  • ChattaBrunch Food Tour: $99
  • Downtown Chattanooga Food Tour: $119

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.
    Chattanooga $52
    Santa Fe $17

Tours and Activities in Chattanooga

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

  • 2 Virtual Reality Simulator Bundle for Outdoor Experiences: $27
  • ChattaBOOga Ghost Walk Tour in Chattanooga: $23
  • Chattanooga "C-Block Prison Break" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga "Locker Room Lockdown: Mascot Rescue" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $34
  • Chattanooga "Secret Agent" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $34
  • Chattanooga "The Inheritance Mystery Room" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga "Vaccine: Search For The Zombie Cure" Escape Room Admission Ticket: $36
  • Chattanooga Ghosts of the Misty Mountains Walking Tour: $26
  • Chattanooga Guided Walking Tour: $23
  • A Spooky and Family-Friendly Walking Tour: $25
  • Adults-Only Haunted City Walking Tour: $35
  • City Trolley Tour with Coker Automotive Museum visit: $44

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
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour of Historic Santa Fe: $15
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Santa Fe, NM: $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
  • Canyon Road Arts District Walking Tour: $69
  • Santa Fe Deep Dive History Walking Tour: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chattanooga $24
    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 comparing the travel costs between Chattanooga and Santa Fe, we can see that Chattanooga is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Chattanooga or Santa Fe?

Chattanooga has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Santa Fe. When comparing the sizes of Chattanooga 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.