Last updated: 11:39 AM ET, Mon September 26 2022
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe

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New Mexico fall mountain sunset featuring golden aspens and rays of sunlight (photo via Dean_Fikar / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Sunset at Santa Fe Ski Basin. (photo via Dean_Fikar / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Not only is Santa Fe the striking capital city of New Mexico, it’s also a well-known center for arts and culture throughout the Southwest. This sunshine-soaked city is a world-renown travel destination with a rich history, heritage and unparalleled natural beauty. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe promises blue skies, unique adobe architecture and the perfect getaway for the entire family.

With over 12 museums and 200 galleries, Santa Fe is home to world-famous art markets. This thriving art scene is fueled by the many visual and performing artists in the area who implement both traditional and contemporary techniques. Museum Hill in downtown Santa Fe is where the majority of the museums are. There, you can explore the proudly displayed art, history and culture of the Native American Southwest, Spanish colonials and folk traditions from around the globe. The city is also one of the best places in the world to shop for Native American art, jewelry and crafts. Vendors on the Portal will sell authentic crafts, artwork and mementos, as well as in the several (more expensive) galleries around the Plaza.

The O’Keeffe Museum, located on Johnson Street, is a wonderful place to learn about the American artist who made New Mexico her home. Over 1,000 works by O’Keeffe and those she influenced, as well as archival materials and personal memorabilia, are on display here. The performing arts scene, which includes everything from theater and ballet, to poetry slams and a wide range of musical concerts, is entertaining audiences almost every night of the week. The many arts venues around Santa Fe, including the Center for Contemporary Arts, El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe and the Lensic Performing Arts Center, are not only home to nightly performances, but also a myriad of arts festivals that take place year-round.

Modern Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. - See lightbox for more (photo via qingwa / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Modern Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (photo via qingwa / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

In Santa Fe, the spicy green chile reigns supreme, and it’s infused into almost every Southwestern dish available. For a popular breakfast spot done New Mexico style, Telecote Café serves up regional favorites like huevos Yucatecos, Atole Pinon pancakes and jalapeno corn muffins. Galisteo Bistro & Wine Bar is a pleasant departure from New Mexican fare, with its creative Western European dishes and extensive wine list. For some of the best Japanese specialties in the city, check out Shohko Café. They offer some of the freshest sushi in New Mexico, along with house favorites like green chile tempora and washu-gyu (Kobe beef tenderloin).

The city is served by Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) for domestic travel and the larger Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ) for international flights. Downtown Santa Fe is a very walkable area, though the city does provide a public bus service called Santa Fe Trails for getting around town. Bicycling through beautiful Santa Fe is also recommended, and taxi service is available throughout the city.

Santa Fe is characterized by a temperate, semi-arid climate, with dry, hot summers and mild winters. The coldest month of January has an average high temperature of 43° F (6.1° C), while the average high in July is 86° F (30° C). Though the winter months tend to have the most precipitation, the city usually averages around 300 days of sunshine annually. Spring and autumn are dry, pleasant seasons in Santa Fe, with low humidity and cool evenings, and are often the best times to visit.