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

Should you visit Gainesville or Santa Fe?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Gainesville or Santa Fe, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Gainesville

Gainesville is a high energy, active, and vibrant city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a artsy, cultural, and historic historic town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. It's also known for skiing, live music, and food.

Gainesville and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Santa Fe than Gainesville. While Gainesville is larger than Santa Fe, Santa Fe has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Fe is better known for its skiing, food, music, historical sights, hiking, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Gainesville is more popular for its museums and nightlife. Santa Fe is more touristy than Gainesville and is popular 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. Gainesville is well known for being the home of the University of Florida

How is Gainesville different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a nice place to visit for snow skiing. However, Gainesville 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.

Gainesville is not a skiing destination.


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

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Gainesville is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for its sights and museums.

Many visitors head to Gainesville specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There's a surprising number of museums around town such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Also fascinating is the Historic Haile Homestead, the Butterfly Rainforest, and the city's planetarium.

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 Gainesville or Santa Fe? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

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.

Gainesville has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Casual eateries are popular around town, particularly with the student population. There are grills, diners, and bistros that serve local dishes at affordable prices.

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Gainesville is a great city for its evening party scene. However, Santa Fe is not known for nightlife.

The nightlife in Gainesville has something for everybody. The nightlife centers around the student population. The two main party areas are Midtown and Downtown. Midtown is between Northwest 17th Street and Northwest 18th Street and it's convenient for students who live on campus. The area has a great stretch of bars and clubs. The Downtown area has many of the city's top clubs, and it's popular with upperclassmen and students who live off campus.

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 Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a nice place to visit for live music. However, Gainesville is not a live music destination.

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.

Gainesville is not a live music destination.

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is notable for its historic old town. However, Gainesville does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors go to Santa Fe to see the historical old town. 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.

Gainesville does not have a historic old town.

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a nice place to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Gainesville is not a hiking destination.

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.

Gainesville is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is notable for shopping. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.

Santa Fe is an extremely popular place for shoppers. There are many unique shops and art galleries that feature local artists and craftsmen.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Gainesville. You'll find all of the standard shopping options around town such as malls, shopping centers, and retail outlets. Two popular areas are the Neighborhoods at Butler and Celebration Pointe.

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Gainesville and Santa Fe are both notable destinations for the whole family.

Gainesville is a family-friendly place to visit. You'll find outdoor activities, nature parks, and a couple of museums that will appeal to all ages. Highlights for families include A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, the Adventure Outpost, and Alfred A. Ring Park.

Santa Fe is a family-friendly city. 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Gainesville and Santa Fe are both notable to visit as a couple.

Gainesville is a nice destination for couples. Couples can enjoy wine tasting and fine dining or enjoying the city's many outdoor activities. Go on a picnic or explore one of the museums in Downtown Gainesville.

Santa Fe makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

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

Gainesville is very popular with students. As the location of the University of Florida, you'll find many students around town. This keeps the energy high with plenty of evening activities and affordable entertainment options.

Santa Fe is a good city 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

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

While Gainesville offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a decent bus system that's free to students and employees of the university.

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

Is Gainesville or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Gainesville
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is notable for its walkability. Also, Gainesville is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit 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.

Gainesville is a somewhat walkable place. Biking is actually a popular way to get around town and some areas are pedestrian-friendly.


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

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Gainesville?

How long in Gainesville or Santa Fe?

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

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

One day in Gainesville or Santa Fe?

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

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the cultural 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Gainesville 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 Gainesville, 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Gainesville 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 cultural 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 Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Gainesville 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.

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 Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, and The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Gainesville?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Gainesville is $221, 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 Gainesville and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gainesville $119
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gainesville $238
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Gainesville and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Gainesville 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 Gainesville


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: Gainesville Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gainesville $40
    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 Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Gainesville 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
    Gainesville $70
    Santa Fe $43
Typical Food Prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of dining costs in Gainesville are as follows:


  • Diner Breakfast for Two
    $17
  • Lunch at Chop Stix (for 2)
    $24

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
  • 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.
    Gainesville $44
    Santa Fe $17
Typical Entertainment Prices in Gainesville

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Gainesville are as follows:


  • Manatee Tour for Two
    $98
  • Tour Guide Tip
    $5.00

Tours and Activities in Gainesville

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

  • Butterfly Rainforest at Florida Museum of Natural History Ticket: $15
  • Private Snorkeling Tour in Florida Springs: $250
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Gainesville by Operation City Quest: $10

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 : $9.75
  • Santa Fe's Historic Gems: A Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Santa Fe by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Santa Fe by Operation City Quest: $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 Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Adventurers Ready To Jump Into the Void Santa Fe Style Wanted: $39
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $49

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gainesville $49
    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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Gainesville and Santa Fe, we can see that Gainesville 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 Gainesville would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Gainesville 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 Gainesville Expensive? and Is Santa Fe Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Gainesville or Santa Fe?

Gainesville has a larger population, and is about 82% larger than the population of Santa Fe. When comparing the sizes of Gainesville 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.