A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Columbia vs. Albuquerque for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Nightlife

Should you visit Columbia or Albuquerque?

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

Should I visit Columbia or Albuquerque? 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.


Columbia is a suburban, friendly, and welcoming city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.


Albuquerque is a cosmopolitan, cultural, and outdoorsy town. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Columbia and Albuquerque: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers

Is there more to do in Columbia or Albuquerque?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Albuquerque than Columbia. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Albuquerque is more touristy than Columbia and is popular for its adobe architecture, artisan shops, fascinating cultural venues, and surrounding desert landscapes. It is also well known for The Old Town. Columbia is famous for its southern hospitality and friendly people.

How is Columbia different from Albuquerque?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Columbia or Albuquerque?


Albuquerque is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Albuquerque offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The old town has a lot of history including the San Felipe de Neri Church. Also worth visiting is the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Unser Racing Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Columbia. As the state capital, there are some decent museums around town like the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Military Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.

Is the Food Better in Columbia or Albuquerque? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Albuquerque is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Columbia is not a good city for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit 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.

Columbia may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Barbecue and other southern favorites are among the more local dishes, but the city is also filled with fast food joints and other major chain restaurants.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Nightlife?


Both Columbia and Albuquerque are nice when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Columbia. You'll find live music venues as well as low key bars and more trendy cocktail lounges.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Albuquerque. Head downtown and to the Nob Hill neighborhood for wine bars, breweries, and billiard halls. These areas have the best nightlife scene and they're also compact enough to explore on foot.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for its Old Town?


Albuquerque is renowned for its old town. However, Columbia does not have a historic old town.

The old town of Albuquerque is one of the most recognized in the world. There is 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.

Columbia does not have a historic old town.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Hiking?


Albuquerque is a popular place for the nearby hiking options. However, Columbia is not a hiking destination.

Albuquerque is a good destination for hiking. The desert landscape is varied and beautiful. Popular trails in the area include Tree Spring Trail, Birdhouse Ridge, and West Ridge.

Columbia is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Columbia or Albuquerque?


Albuquerque is a well-known place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Columbia is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

Albuquerque is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. The city's old town has many cultural artisan shops where you can buy local items. It's a fun and unique shopping experience, and though it sometimes feels a bit touristy, there are many local shops that offer an authentic experience.

Columbia has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find independent and locally owned shops along Devine Street and in the Five Points area. Also interesting are the Vista, which is a warehouse district, and Trenholm Plaza.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Families?


Kids will enjoy a visit to either Columbia or Albuquerque.

Columbia is a family-friendly place to visit. Around town you'll find parks, playgrounds, and kid-friendly restaurants. There's a zoo in the area as well as a nice state park - Sesquicentennial State Park. There's also EdVenture Children's Museum, which is filled with hands-on exhibits.

Albuquerque is a family-friendly city. 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.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Couples?


Albuquerque is a well-known place for its romantic activities. However, Columbia is not a good city for couples.

Albuquerque is a very popular place to visit 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.

Columbia is not always the best place to visit for a couple. You'll find parks to explore and some nice restaurants that make for a good date night.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Students?


Columbia and Albuquerque are both nice destinations for students and younger travelers.

Columbia is a good city to visit for students. The University of South Carolina, and other nearby colleges all bring in a decent student population.

Plenty of students visit Albuquerque. It offers a unique cultural environment that students can appreciate. There are also many outdoor recreational opportunities.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


Both Columbia and Albuquerque offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbia. The COMET is the bus system through town, but you really must have your own car to enjoy the city.

Public transit is mostly limited in Albuquerque. ABQ Ride is the bus system around town, but most visitors prefer to have their own car.

Is Columbia or Albuquerque a more walkable city?


Albuquerque is a popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Columbia is not a good city for its ease of walking around.

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

Columbia is not a very walkable city. It's filled with suburban-style development and is generally very car dependent.

For even more information, also check out Is Columbia Worth Visiting? and Is Albuquerque Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Albuquerque or Columbia?

How long in Columbia or Albuquerque?

It's fun to spend time in either Columbia or Albuquerque. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Albuquerque due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbia, and 2-4 days is enough time in Albuquerque.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Albuquerque than Columbia 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 Albuquerque.

  • How many days in Columbia or Albuquerque? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbia 1-2 
    Albuquerque 2-4

One day in Columbia or Albuquerque?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting the suburban city of Columbia. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The town of Albuquerque offers food and shopping. 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.

A weekend in Columbia or Albuquerque?

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the suburban destination of Columbia. This city 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.

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 here.

Five days in Columbia or Albuquerque?

The welcoming city of Columbia offers museums and nightlife. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

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

A week in Columbia or Albuquerque?

Many people enjoy the nightlife and shopping when visiting Columbia. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, and The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America.

Which place is cheaper, Albuquerque or Columbia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbia is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Albuquerque is $135. 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 Columbia and Albuquerque in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    Albuquerque $69
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    Albuquerque $138
Compare Hotels in Columbia and Albuquerque

Looking for a hotel in Columbia or Albuquerque? 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 Columbia

Hotels in Albuquerque

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: Columbia Hotel Prices and Albuquerque Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    Albuquerque $37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Albuquerque

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

  • Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) to Albuquerque - Arrival Private Transfer: $40
  • Albuquerque to Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) - Departure Private Transfer: $40
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Albuquerque Airport (ABQ): $40
  • Private Departure Transfer To Albuquerque Airport ABQ: $40
  • Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) to Albuquerque - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $80
  • Albuquerque Airport to Truth or Consequences Private Transfer: $127
  • Albuquerque Airport (ABQ) to Pagosa Springs Private Transfer: $177

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or Albuquerque?

Prices for flights to both Albuquerque and Columbia 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 Meals for one day
    Columbia $5.03
    Albuquerque $41

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, NM: $79

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    Albuquerque $24

Tours and Activities in Columbia

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Columbia are as follows:

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Tours and Activities in Albuquerque

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

  • Old Town Self-Guided Walking Tour by App: $6.50
  • Historic Old Town Albuquerque smart phone App/Audio Walking Tour: $7.75
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Albuquerque by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Turquoise Museum Admission Ticket: $20
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Albuquerque by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • The Turquoise Museum Curator's Tour: $20
  • Albuquerque Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Albuquerque Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Old Town Hauntings of the West Ghost Tour: $26
  • The Ghost Tour of Old Town - New Mexico's oldest Ghost Walk - Since 2001: $35
  • 12pm - Public High Noon History, Legends & Lore Tour - Guided Old Town Stroll: $35
  • ABQ City Guided History Tour: $35

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    Albuquerque $20

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

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

Which is Bigger, Columbia or Albuquerque?

Albuquerque has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the sizes of Columbia and Albuquerque, 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.