A Travel Price Comparison for Texas San Antonio vs. El Paso for Families, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit San Antonio or El Paso?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for San Antonio and El Paso. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

San Antonio

San Antonio is a festive, fun, and historic city. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

El Paso

El Paso is a laid-back, low-key, and undiscovered city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

San Antonio and El Paso: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in San Antonio or El Paso?

Travelers will usually find more to do in San Antonio than El Paso, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. San Antonio is more touristy than El Paso and is popular for being the home to the Alamo, the popular RiverWalk area, and several world-class amusement parks. It is also home to The Alamo. El Paso is popular for its Spanish missions and its outstanding Mexican food.

How is San Antonio different from El Paso?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in San Antonio or El Paso?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to San Antonio specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. It is known for its role in American history, and the city is famous as the location of the Alamo. It's also where you'll find the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Witte Museum, and the Guinness World Records Museum, among others.

El Paso offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Visitors can learn about local art, culture, and history at the El Paso Museum of Art, the El Paso Museum of History, the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Museum, and the Eduardo Pedregón Memorial Veterans Museum.


Is the Food Better in San Antonio or El Paso? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

San Antonio
El Paso

Dining out at restaurants in both San Antonio and El Paso can be an enjoyable experience.

San Antonio offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. You'll find a mix of amazing and authentic Mexican food, simpler Tex Mex, and a number of Hill Country specialties. The city is filled with comfort food and the restaurants reflect the diverse character of the population. Popular local dishes include tacos, sweet potato fries, and chicken fried steak.

El Paso has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Mexican food and barbecue are popular around town but you'll also find burgers, pizza, and other American favorites.

Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Nightlife?

San Antonio
El Paso

It's hard to distinguish whether San Antonio or El Paso has a better nightlife scene.

San Antonio has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The city's nightlife scene is diverse, with dance halls, breweries, and clubs. It has seen a recent boom in dance clubs, so there are plenty of places to party hard, or to have a more relaxing night out. The RiverWalk is at the heart of the city's nightlife scene, particularly for tourists. Many conferences stay at hotels near the RiverWalk, so it's not uncommon to see professionals out and about after a day of networking.

If you're looking for night time activities El Paso has a few options to choose from. There are a number of bars, nightclubs, and lounges around town where you can enjoy a fun night out.

Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Music?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is very good for live music. However, El Paso is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in San Antonio. It's worth checking out The Aztec Theater, Sam's Burger Joint, and 502 Bar.

El Paso is not a live music destination.


Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for its Old Town?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is very good for its historic old town. However, El Paso does not have a historic old town.

San Antonio is a good destination for visiting its old town. The city is famous for its River Walk, which may feel slightly cheesy, but is still a unique and mesmerizing place to wander.

El Paso does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in San Antonio or El Paso?

San Antonio
El Paso

Shopping is a popular activity in both El Paso and San Antonio.

San Antonio is a great destination for shopping. From souvenir shops to local boutiques and chain stores, there are several shopping options around town. Check out the historic Market Square or the shops at Rivercenter for some of the city's most interesting shopping.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting El Paso. There are a number of malls and outlet centers around town. One of the most well known is Bassett Place, but other options include Cielo Vista Mall and the Fountains at Farah.

Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Christmas?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is very good for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, El Paso does not offer Christmas activities.

Plenty of visitors enjoy Christmas activities while in San Antonio. It's fun to see the lights along the River Walk at Christmas.

El Paso does not offer Christmas activities.


Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Families?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

San Antonio is one of the most popular family destinations. The RiverWalk is a fun family-friendly area. There's also Six Flags, SeaWorld and the San Antonio Zoo as well as a number of museums and other amusement parks in the area. It's easy to spend days having a great family vacation in this area and you can combine history, culture, and entertainment all in one setting.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in El Paso. There are adventure parks, playgrounds, outdoor centers and nature activities that families can enjoy.

Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Couples?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is very good for romance. However, El Paso is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

San Antonio is a nice destination for couples. Couples will enjoy taking a boat ride and exploring the many sites around town. The RiverWalk has many restaurants and a great atmosphere for a date night. There's also the botanical gardens and many outdoor spaces to explore.

Most people don't think of El Paso as a couple's destination. Couples can enjoy dinner and a show or taking a romantic drive up to the overlook.

Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Students?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, El Paso is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit San Antonio. There are a couple of colleges in the area. This is also a major conference destination so it's possible to network and meet other professionals.

El Paso is not popular with students.


Is San Antonio or El Paso Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

San Antonio
El Paso

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both San Antonio and El Paso.

Public transit is generally limited in San Antonio. Buses connect most of the city's tourist attractions, but you'll find life much easier if you have your own car.

Public transit is mostly limited in El Paso. While there are some bus routes in town, you shouldn't rely on them and must have a private vehicle to efficiently visit the city.

Is San Antonio or El Paso a more walkable city?

San Antonio
El Paso

San Antonio and El Paso both are decent when exploring on foot.

San Antonio is generally not very walkable. If you stick to the downtown area you will be fine getting around on foot. Outside of that area, you'll need a car.

El Paso is generally not a very walkable city. You really need a car to get around town.

For even more information, also check out Is San Antonio Worth Visiting? and Is El Paso Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in El Paso or San Antonio?

How long in San Antonio or El Paso?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in San Antonio or El Paso to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in San Antonio than El Paso because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for San Antonio, and 1-2 days is enough time in El Paso.

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

Couples should spend more time in San Antonio than El Paso. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in San Antonio that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Antonio than El Paso 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 San Antonio.


  • How many days in San Antonio or El Paso? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Antonio 2-3 
    El Paso 1-2

One day in San Antonio or El Paso?

In San Antonio, you'll find shopping and museums. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the low-key city of El Paso. 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.


A weekend in San Antonio or El Paso?

In San Antonio, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that San Antonio has to offer.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the undiscovered destination of El Paso. 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.

Five days in San Antonio or El Paso?

San Antonio is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

The undiscovered city of El Paso offers shopping and museums. 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.

A week in San Antonio or El Paso?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Antonio. Many people enjoy the live music and food when visiting San Antonio. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

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


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, and The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, El Paso or San Antonio?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Antonio is $132, while the average daily cost in El Paso is $161. 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 San Antonio and El Paso in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Antonio $69
    El Paso $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Antonio $138
    El Paso $162
Compare Hotels in San Antonio and El Paso

Looking for a hotel in San Antonio or El Paso? 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 San Antonio


Hotels in El Paso


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: San Antonio Hotel Prices and El Paso Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Antonio $20
    El Paso $37
Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Antonio

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Antonio are as follows:


  • Rental Car for a Day
    $60

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Antonio

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Antonio:

  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT) - Arrival or Departure Private Transfer : $93
  • Private Transfer: San Antonio Airport to San Antonio by Sedan, SUV or Minibus : $97
  • Private Round Trip Transfer - San Antonio International Airport (SAT): $93
  • Galveston: One-Way Transfer GLS Airport to City: $237

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Paso

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

  • El Paso Airport (ELP) to Truth or Consequences Arrival Transfer: $121
  • El Paso Airport to Truth or Consequences Round Trip Transfer: $243
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Arrival Private Transfer : $40
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $82
  • El Paso to El Paso International Airport (ELP) - Departure Private Transfer: $40

Is it cheaper to fly into San Antonio or El Paso?

Prices for flights to both El Paso and San Antonio 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
    San Antonio $40
    El Paso $54

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Antonio

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

  • The Haunted Dinner Tour: $75

Typical Food Prices in El Paso

For El Paso, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Rudy's BBQ (family of 4)
    $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Antonio $36
    El Paso $27
Typical Entertainment Prices in San Antonio

Here are a few typical costs in San Antonio for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Spa Treatments
    $200

Tours and Activities in San Antonio

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

  • 3 Hours Private Historic Sightseeing Tour in San Antonio : $89
  • Best of San Antonio Small Group Tour with Boat + Tower + Alamo: $169
  • Cave Without a Name Admission Ticket with Guided Cavern Tour: $25
  • Downtown San Antonio Helicopter Tour: $197
  • Half-Day Afternoon City Tour of Historic San Antonio : $65
  • Half-Day Morning City Tour of Historic San Antonio: $65
  • Historic Downtown & Riverwalk Walking Tour: $39
  • Historic Missions Bike Tour - 2 Mission Southern Route: $65
  • Historic Missions Bike Tour - 2 Missions Northern Route: $65
  • Historic Spanish Missions Bike Tour - 3 Missions Tour: $85
  • Hopscotch Immersive Art Experience: $24
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center San Antonio Admission Ticket: $27

Tours and Activities in El Paso

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

  • Sun City Ghost Walking Tour: $26
  • Sun City Ghosts Haunted Cowboys and Outlaws Tour: $30
  • Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Jeep Tour: $115
  • Downtown Historic Walking Tour: $120
  • Jeep Tour - Pikes Peak or Bust: $175
  • UTV Adventure Tour / Rental: $249

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Antonio -
    El Paso $27

Sample the Local Flavors in San Antonio

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Antonio:

  • Epic San Antonio Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • Death Warmed Over: San Antonio Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Guided Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Texas’ Oldest Haunted Pub Crawl Shared Walking Tour: $30
  • Taste of Fredericksburg Small-Group Wine Tour from San Antonio: $155


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

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


Which is Bigger, San Antonio or El Paso?

San Antonio has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of El Paso. When comparing the sizes of San Antonio and El Paso, 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.