A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Portland, Maine vs. Santa Fe for Food, Nightlife, Hiking, and Families

Should you visit Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

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

Should I visit Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is a seaside, laid-back, and scenic coastal town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, 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.

Portland, Maine and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
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
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Santa Fe. Although Portland, Maine and Santa Fe are roughly the same size, Santa Fe has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Fe is very popular for its skiing, museums, food, music, historical sights, shopping, and quaint atmosphere, while Portland, Maine attracts visitors for its nightlife, beaches, and impressive beauty. Portland, Maine is famous for its seafood restaurants, scenic lighthouse, and coastal walks. 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 Portland, Maine different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for winter skiing. However, Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its museums and landmarks. However, Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine. The town has grown into a foodie destination that takes advantage of its waterfront setting. Many restaurants make use of the fresh seafood with lobster rolls and oysters on the half shell being popular. You'll also find a lot of dishes that use haddock and whole lobsters.

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

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

If you're looking for night time activities Portland, Maine has a few options to choose from. The city has many microbreweries, wine bars, taverns, and pubs. You'll find many places concentrated in the Old Port, which has a charming and fun atmosphere.

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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its music scene. However, Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine is not a live music destination.

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Beaches?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Portland, Maine is a great coastal town for the beach. However, Santa Fe is not a beach destination.

Portland, Maine is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. It has many sandy and calm beaches. The water may be too cold to swim, but the beaches are perfect for flying a kite or hanging out with family.

Santa Fe is not a beach destination.

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its historic old town charm. However, Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine does not have a historic old town.


Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

If you're looking to go hiking, Portland, Maine and Santa Fe both have nice trails.

Portland, Maine is a good destination for hiking. In addition to bike trails, there are several good hikes in the area.

Many people include a hike when visiting Santa Fe. 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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its shopping areas. Also, Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine. The town has many nice local boutiques to explore. Head downtown for the best local venues and the most interesting shopping opportunities.

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Christmas?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Portland, Maine is adequate for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.

Many enjoy the Christmas activities while in Portland, Maine. Watch the Christmas tree lighting or listen to the symphony at Christmas time.

Santa Fe does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Portland, Maine or Santa Fe.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Portland, Maine. It is a charming town with a number of kid-friendly museums, walks, and waterfront activities. You can visit the Portland Observatory, Bug Light Park, or grab ice cream in the Old Port. There are also children's museums such as the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine.

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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

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

Portland, Maine is a good coastal town for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy the beautiful waterfront setting, the fine dining restaurants, and everything that the city has to offer. Head to the Old Port for romantic restaurants and a great atmosphere or catch a show at Portland Stage.

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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for students. However, Portland, Maine 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.

Portland, Maine is not popular with students.


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

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a historic town with a few options for its public transit. However, Portland, Maine is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

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

Public transit is quite limited in Portland, Maine. There is a very basic bus system but you really must have a car to explore the city.

Is Portland, Maine or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Portland, Maine
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is well known for its ease of walking around. However, Portland, Maine is not particularly known for its walkability.

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

Portland, Maine is generally not a very walkable coastal town. Downtown is very walkable but if you want to travel to other areas you'll need a car.

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

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Portland, Maine?

How long in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

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

Families should spend more time in Santa Fe than Portland, Maine. 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 Portland, Maine. 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 Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    Portland, Maine 2-3 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

The beautiful coastal town of Portland, Maine offers nightlife and food. Most people come for the beaches. 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.

The artsy destination of Santa Fe offers live music and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A weekend in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Portland, Maine is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Portland, Maine, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

The historic town of Santa Fe offers food and shopping. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.

Five days in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Portland, Maine 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 great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. This historic town offers something for everyone. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.

A week in Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Portland, Maine is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This coastal town offers something for everyone.

Many people enjoy the museums and skiing when visiting Santa Fe. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Portland, Maine?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Portland, Maine is $192, 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 Portland, Maine and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Portland, Maine $115
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Portland, Maine $230
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Portland, Maine and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine


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: Portland, Maine Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Portland, Maine $34
    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 Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Portland, Maine 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
    Portland, Maine $48
    Santa Fe $43
Typical Food Prices in Portland, Maine

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Portland, Maine:


  • Breakfast for 2
    $17
  • Dinner for 2
    $30

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.
    Portland, Maine $39
    Santa Fe $17

Tours and Activities in Portland, Maine

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

  • A Walk Through Time Tour in Portland: $49
  • Afternoon Lighthouse Cruise Along the Coast of Portland Maine: $60
  • Afternoon Windjammer Cruise Along the Coast of Portland Maine: $62
  • Around The Peninsula Bike Tour: $79
  • Audio Guided Walking Tour from Old Port of Portland, Maine: $6.75
  • Casco Bay Half-Day Sea Kayak Tour: $75
  • Discover Portland City and Lighthouse Tour: $49
  • Donut Tasting Walking Tour in Portland’s Old Port: $48
  • Downtown Portland In-App Audio Tour (ENG): $9.00
  • Downtown Portland, Maine City and Lighthouse Tour-2.5 hour Land Tour: $70
  • Guided RIB Boat Adventure of Casco Bay: $75
  • Harbor Lights and Sights Cruise: $48

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 adventure hunt: Santa Fe Secrets: $13
  • Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour of Historic Santa Fe: $15
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Santa Fe NM: $15
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Willa Cather's Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $40
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $49
  • Canyon Road Arts District Walking Tour: $69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Portland, Maine $24
    Santa Fe $9.68

Sample the Local Flavors in Portland, Maine

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Portland, Maine:

  • Old Port Brewery & Pub Walking Tour: $89
  • Local Brewery & Spirits Bus Tour: $99

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 Portland, Maine and Santa Fe, we can see that Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portland, Maine 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 Portland, Maine Expensive? and Is Santa Fe Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Portland, Maine or Santa Fe?

Santa Fe has a larger population, and is about 10% larger than the population of Portland, Maine. When comparing the sizes of Portland, Maine 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.