A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Sedona vs. Santa Fe for Couples, Food, Old Town, and Hiking

Should you visit Sedona or Santa Fe?

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

Should I visit Sedona 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.

Sedona

Sedona is a striking, desert, and dramatic town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a charming, artsy, and cultural historic town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the live music, food, and hiking.

Sedona and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Santa Fe. Although Sedona and Santa Fe are both popular with visitors, Santa Fe has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Santa Fe is more popular for its skiing, music, historical sights, and quaint atmosphere, while Sedona is known for its nightlife, resorts, hiking, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Sedona is more touristy than Santa Fe and is known for its stargazing, desert setting, and yoga retreats. Santa Fe is popular for its strong arts scene, its Pueblo-style architecture, and its unique local cuisine. It is also home to The Museum of New Mexico Complex.

How is Sedona different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Skiing?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for skiing. However, Sedona is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Santa Fe is a great destination to visit. 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.

Sedona is not a skiing destination.


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

Sedona
Santa Fe

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Sedona and Santa Fe.

Sedona offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The Sedona Heritage Museum offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the area. There are also many galleries around town.

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.

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

Sedona
Santa Fe

Dining out at restaurants in both Sedona and Santa Fe can be an enjoyable experience.

Sedona has a huge number of terrific restaurants. It's grown into a foodie destination with local restaurants that pride themselves on using local ingredients. Mexican food is common but you'll also find cafes, classic American food, and other international options.

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.

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Nightlife?

Sedona
Santa Fe

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

If you're looking for night time activities Sedona has a few options to choose from. There are bars, live music venues, and even a casino in town. Breweries are popular and there are also upscale wine bars.

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 Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Music?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a popular place for its live music scene. However, Sedona 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.

Sedona is not a live music destination.

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Resorts?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is a great town for its luxury resorts. However, Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Sedona. Upscale resorts with spas, pools, and other amenities offer the perfect backdrop for a desert vacation.

Santa Fe is not a resort destination.

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for its Old Town?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is great for its old town. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its historic old town charm.

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.

Sedona offers a nice historic old town area. Traditional architecture and historic charm give downtown Sedona a lot of character.


Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Hiking?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is a great town for hiking. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Sedona for the hiking trails. It's red rock cliffs offer the perfect setting for dramatic hikes and breathtaking views. The colors are most impressive at sunrise and sunset and some of the most famous landmarks include Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon.

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.

Is the Shopping Better in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is an unbeatable place for its shopping areas. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for shopping.

Many people travel to Sedona specifically to go shopping. It's filled with local artisan shops and art galleries that highlight the region's beauty. Head to Uptown Sedona for some of the best boutiques. You should also check out the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, the Sedona Art Center, and Hozho Distinctive Shops and Galleries.

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

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Families?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is a great town 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 Sedona. There are impressive parks and fun outdoor activities for the whole family. Head to Slide Rock State Park where your kids can enjoy a natural waterslide. There's also the Out of Africa Wildlife Zoo as well as a canyon railroad.

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 Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Couples?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is an unbeatable place for couples. Also, Santa Fe is not as popular, but is still a nice historic town for romance.

For those traveling as a couple, Sedona has plenty to offer. Stargazing in the evening or picnicking in a park during the day. There are countless romantic activities that couples can enjoy. The area is filled with striking natural beauty that is at its best during sunset. Couples will also enjoy fine dining and a variety of outdoor 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.

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona is very good for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Santa Fe is not known for backpackers.

Sedona is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. You'll find campgrounds, RV parks, and motels in the area, but no real hostels.

Santa Fe is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There's a hostel in town as well as several campgrounds.

Is Sedona or Santa Fe Better for Students?

Sedona
Santa Fe

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

It's common for students to 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.

Sedona is not popular with students.


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

Sedona
Santa Fe

Sedona and Santa Fe both offer decent public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Sedona. Verde Shuttle offers shuttle routes through town.

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

Is Sedona or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

Sedona
Santa Fe

Santa Fe is great for its high level of walkability. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its ease of walking around.

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

Sedona is a somewhat walkable town. If you stay in Uptown Sedona, then the area is walkable, but if you're planning to stay further away then you'll need to have a car.

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

Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or Sedona?

How long in Sedona or Santa Fe?

In either Sedona or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Sedona has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Sedona than Santa Fe. In general, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Sedona, and 2-5 days is enough time in Santa Fe.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sedona than Santa Fe 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 Sedona.


  • How many days in Sedona or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sedona 3-5 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Sedona is a small town where visitors enjoy the food and shopping. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Santa Fe. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Sedona is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Santa Fe is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Sedona is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Sedona, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Fe. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Sedona or Santa Fe?

Sedona is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. 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.

Travelers enjoy the skiing and live music when visiting the artsy destination of Santa Fe. This historic town offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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 Adventure Tours to United States of America, The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, and The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Fe or Sedona?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sedona is $165, 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 Sedona and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sedona $93
    Santa Fe $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sedona $186
    Santa Fe $162
Compare Hotels in Sedona and Santa Fe

Looking for a hotel in Sedona 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 Sedona


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: Sedona Hotel Prices and Santa Fe Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sedona $40
    Santa Fe $61

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Fe

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

  • New Mexico: Private Transfer from Santa Fe Regional Airport: $196
  • Private Departure Transfer to Santa Fe Airport SAF: $125
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Santa Fe Airport (SAF): $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Sedona or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Sedona 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
    Sedona $48
    Santa Fe $43

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sedona

For Sedona, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The VIP Experience, Chuck Wagon Dinner and Show Tickets: $119
  • Uptown Explorer Sedona Food Tour: $185
  • Sedona/Flagstaff: Grand Canyon Day Trip with Dinner & Sunset: $241
  • Cooking class and candlelit dinner with a view: $251

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.
    Sedona $19
    Santa Fe $17
Typical Entertainment Prices in Sedona

For Sedona, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Red Rock Fantasy Light Show (for 2)
    $10

Tours and Activities in Sedona

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

  • Private 4-Hour Sedona Spectacular Journey and Vortex Tour: $289
  • 1-Hour Jeep Tour in Camp Verde: $120
  • 2 Hours Private Spiritual Healing Tour in the Nature of Sedona: $160
  • 20 mile Helicopter Tour in See Everything around Sedona!: $186
  • 3-Hour Sedona Spirit Journey and Vortex Tour : $222
  • Alcantara Estate Vineyards Tasting Experience: $195
  • Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park Sedona, Arizona Experience: $300
  • Antelope Canyon X and Horseshoe Bend Scenic Tour from Sedona & Flagstaff: $285
  • Antelope Canyon X and Horseshoe Bend Tour from Sedona & Flagstaff: $285
  • Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Small-Group Tour from Sedona or Flagstaff: $285
  • Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Tour from Sedona: $285
  • Antelope Slot Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Sedona: $285

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
  • 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: $216
  • Canyon Road Art & History Walking Tour: $70
  • Downtown Santa Fe Walking Wine & Tapas Tour: $149
  • Enchanted Eats of Santa Fe Half-Day Tour: $955
  • Explore Santa Fe's Old Town & the Museum of Art: Private Tour: $195
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Santa Fe NM: $15
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $70
  • Plaza Sip, Savor, & History Walking Tour in Santa Fe: $119
  • Private Canyon Road Art & History Walking Tour: $138

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sedona $13
    Santa Fe $9.68

Sample the Local Flavors in Sedona

Also in Sedona, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Elevated Social Wine Tours of Sedona's Vineyards : $85
  • Bliss Sedona’s Most Luxurious Wine Tour with Lunch Included: $115
  • Experience E-Bike with Wine Tasting Activity: $126
  • Grape Train Escape: Wine Tasting and Verde Canyon Railroad Adventure: $175
  • All inclusive Sedona Join in Wine Tour 200+ 5 star reviews!: $179
  • Sedona-Jerome Scenic Vortex, Wine Tasting Grand Tour. See It All!: $199
  • Private Sidecar Tour w/ Optional Wine Tour in Arizona : $199
  • Private Sedona Local and Wine Tour: $244
  • Tastings Included! EXPRESS PRIVATE ELEVATED WINE TOUR: $250
  • Private Wine Tour in Sedona, Arizona: $295

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


Which is Bigger, Sedona or Santa Fe?

Santa Fe has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Sedona. When comparing the sizes of Sedona 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.