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

Should you visit Columbus or Santa Fe?

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

Should I visit Columbus 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.

Columbus

Columbus is a down-to-earth, authentic, and friendly city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Santa Fe

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

Columbus and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • 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


Is there more to do in Columbus or Santa Fe?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Santa Fe than Columbus. While Columbus is larger than Santa Fe, Santa Fe has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Santa Fe is better known for its skiing, food, music, historical sights, hiking, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Columbus is more popular for its nightlife. Santa Fe is more touristy than Columbus and is known for its strong arts scene, its Pueblo-style architecture, and its unique local cuisine. Also, Santa Fe is famous for The Museum of New Mexico Complex. Columbus is well known for its youthful energy and its growing arts scene.

How is Columbus different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for skiing and snowboarding. However, Columbus is not a skiing destination.

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.

Columbus is not a skiing destination.


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

Columbus
Santa Fe

Spend time exploring the notable sights and museums in either Columbus or Santa Fe.

Columbus is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Popular museums around town include the Center of Science and Technology, the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Ohio History Center.

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.

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

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a very popular place for its restaurants. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in 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.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Columbus. Hearty and heavy comfort food is the mainstay in this town. There's pizza, casseroles, sausage, and milkshakes around town.

Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Columbus
Santa Fe

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

If you're looking for night time activities Columbus has a few options to choose from. The live music scene is growing. There are also a growing number of breweries around town.

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 Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for live music. However, Columbus 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.

Columbus is not a live music destination.

Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a very popular place for its historic old town. However, Columbus 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.

Columbus does not have a historic old town.

Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its hiking trails. However, Columbus is not a hiking destination.

Santa Fe is a good destination for hiking. 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.

Columbus is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Columbus or Santa Fe?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

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

Columbus offers some nice shopping areas. In addition to the standard shopping malls and retail outlets, there are some interesting shops in the Short North Arts District, German Village, and Easton Town Center.

Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Columbus is a great city 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 Columbus. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a highlight for many families. Right by it is the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark. For hands-on science-based activities check out the Center of Science and Industry. Kids will also love the Legoland Discovery Center or the Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory. There are also many outdoor parks, greenways, and playgrounds to visit.

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 Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for romance. However, Columbus is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

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.

Most people don't think of Columbus as a couple's destination. You'll find restaurants and music venues that make for a nice date night. There are also wine tours and other entertainment options.


Is Columbus or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Columbus is not popular with students.

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

Columbus is not popular with students.

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

Columbus
Santa Fe

Visitors will find respectable public transit in both Columbus and Santa Fe.

Public transit is mostly limited in Columbus. While there's a bus system, you'll really want to have a vehicle to get around town efficiently.

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

Is Columbus or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Columbus
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a very popular place for its walkability. Also, Columbus is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

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.

Columbus is a somewhat walkable place. The older neighborhoods are the most walkable, but if you want to get around town, you'll need to have a car.


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

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Columbus?

How long in Columbus or Santa Fe?

In either Columbus or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Santa Fe than Columbus because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Columbus, and 2-5 days is enough time in Santa Fe.

Couples should spend more time in Santa Fe than Columbus. 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 Columbus 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 Columbus or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    Columbus 1-2 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in Columbus or Santa Fe?

The city of Columbus offers nightlife and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The historic town of Santa Fe offers museums and skiing. 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 Columbus or Santa Fe?

Columbus 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. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Columbus, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

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

Five days in Columbus or Santa Fe?

Columbus 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.

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


A week in Columbus or Santa Fe?

Columbus is a great place to explore. 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.

Santa Fe 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 historic town offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Columbus?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbus is $158, 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 Columbus and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbus $72
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbus $144
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Columbus and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Columbus 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 Columbus


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: Columbus Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbus $50
    Santa Fe $61

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Columbus

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

  • Columbus Ohio (CMH) Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $180
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $130
  • Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) to Columbus - Arrival Private Transfer: $65
  • Columbus to Columbus John Glen Airport (CMH) - Departure Private Transfer: $65

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 Columbus or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Columbus 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
    Columbus $49
    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:

  • 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.
    Columbus $46
    Santa Fe $17

Tours and Activities in Columbus

For Columbus, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Columbus Blue Jackets Ice Hockey Game Ticket at Nationwide Arena: $24
  • Columbus Scavenger Hunt Adventure : $21
  • 1-Hour Themed Escape Room Adventure & Narrative: $41
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Columbus with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus Ticket: $28
  • The Escape Game Epic 60-Minute Adventures: $41
  • Trolley Pub Holiday Lights Tour in Columbus: $45
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Columbus by Crazy Dash: $10

Tours and Activities in Santa Fe

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

  • 2 Hours Historic E Bike Tour of Santa Fe: $169
  • Adventurers Ready To Jump Into the Void Santa Fe Style Wanted: $39
  • 2 Hour Pottery Experience (Wheel or Hand-Building): $160
  • 2-Hour Photography Class While Touring Downtown Santa Fe, Smart Phones Welcome!: $85
  • A Walking Tour of Santa Fe's Most Beautiful and Historic Sites: $213
  • Canyon Road Arts District Tour: $70
  • Downtown Santa Fe Walking Wine & Tapas Tour: $119
  • Enchanted Eats of Santa Fe Half-Day Tour: $959
  • Explore Santa Fe's Old Town & the Museum of Art: Private Tour: $195
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Santa Fe, NM: $15
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $70
  • Plaza Sip, Savor, & History Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $105

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Columbus $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


When comparing the travel costs between Columbus and Santa Fe, we can see that Santa Fe 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 Columbus Expensive? and Is Santa Fe Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Columbus or Santa Fe?

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