Santa Fe travel guide

Santa Fe Tourism | Santa Fe Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Fe

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico but has a population of only 70,000. At 7,000 feet, it is the highest state capital in the US and, having been founded in 1607, it is also the oldest. It is renowned as a center for art, music, and food, and has a long, fascinating history and wonderful scenic beauty.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santa Fe

1. Museums

Santa Fe's history and culture is celebrated in a host of excellent museums. These include the New Mexico History Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum.

2. The Architecture

Santa Fe has many fine buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available to guide you through the many attractions.

3. Festivals

Santa Fe has a year-round program of festivals, from the Fiesta de Santa Fe to the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta.

4. The Great Outdoors

Santa Fe is surrounded by mountains and deserts and is a great center for hiking, climbing, cycling, and horse riding.

5. Opera

The Santa Fe Opera House offers a unique experience; it is partially open air with spectacular views of the Jemez Mountains.

What to do in Santa Fe

1. Canyon Road: An Incredible Artistic Avenue

Santa Fe is very much an artistic hub, and nowhere can you get a better feel for the city's creative bent than Canyon Road. This strip may stretch for only half a mile or so in eastern Santa Fe, but it packs plenty of artistic pleasures into a short distance. There are more than 100 galleries here, featuring everything from photography and Native American art to jewelry, ceramics, abstract painting, and sculpture. Check out the calendar too, as Canyon Road is a thriving venue for street art and gallery festivals.

2. El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Step Back to the Era of Spanish Rule

Dubbed a "living history museum", El Rancho de las Gondrinas provides a unique window into 18th-century life when New Mexico was ruled by the Spanish Empire. Built in the 18th century, the ranch was the first stop on the Royal Road from Santa Fe to Mexico City, and it's hardly changed since. See authentic irrigation systems that turned the desert into a garden, attend the Wine Festival in July, and see actors in period costumes recreate life on a Spanish hacienda. There's nothing like it.

3. Georgia O'Keefe Museum: A Glorious Collection of Works by a Local Hero

Honor one of New Mexico's most famous daughters at this stellar gallery on Johnson Street in Downtown Santa Fe. O'Keefe is revered as a 20th century American legend due to her paintings of flowers, animals, and landscapes (often from around Santa Fe). This museum is a fitting tribute. Opened in 1997, it features 140 of O'Keefe's paintings and 700 drawings, and also includes her home and studio on a separate site in northern Santa Fe. There are also regular workshops with researchers who can illuminate her techniques and aims, giving you an insight into where her inspiration came from.

4. Santa Fe Plaza: The Beating Heart of Santa Fe For Centuries

Right at the center of Santa Fe you'll find the plaza, sitting where it's been for over 400 years. One of America's oldest urban meeting points, this square is constantly used as an event space, hosting craft markets, Native American art fairs and musical performances almost every day of the year. It's also lined with attractions, including the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the USA, and the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi.

5. Museum of Contemporary Native Arts: A Showcase for the Dynamic Native American Scene

One of the great things about visiting Santa Fe is the chance to find out what's happening in Native American culture, and the best place to do so is MoCNA, right next to Santa Fe Plaza. Featuring 7,500 artworks including paintings, sculptures, photos, clothing, videos and installations, every facet of modern Native American art is on display. If you don't know your Allan Houser from your Fritz Scholder, now's the time to learn.

Santa Fe PlazaSanta Fe Plaza
Museum of Contemporary Native ArtsMuseum of Contemporary Native Arts

1. Canyon Road: An Incredible Artistic Avenue

Santa Fe is very much an artistic hub, and nowhere can you get a better feel for the city's creative bent than Canyon Road. This strip may stretch for only half a mile or so in eastern Santa Fe, but it packs plenty of artistic pleasures into a short distance. There are more than 100 galleries here, featuring everything from photography and Native American art to jewelry, ceramics, abstract painting, and sculpture. Check out the calendar too, as Canyon Road is a thriving venue for street art and gallery festivals.

2. El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Step Back to the Era of Spanish Rule

Dubbed a "living history museum", El Rancho de las Gondrinas provides a unique window into 18th-century life when New Mexico was ruled by the Spanish Empire. Built in the 18th century, the ranch was the first stop on the Royal Road from Santa Fe to Mexico City, and it's hardly changed since. See authentic irrigation systems that turned the desert into a garden, attend the Wine Festival in July, and see actors in period costumes recreate life on a Spanish hacienda. There's nothing like it.

3. Georgia O'Keefe Museum: A Glorious Collection of Works by a Local Hero

Honor one of New Mexico's most famous daughters at this stellar gallery on Johnson Street in Downtown Santa Fe. O'Keefe is revered as a 20th century American legend due to her paintings of flowers, animals, and landscapes (often from around Santa Fe). This museum is a fitting tribute. Opened in 1997, it features 140 of O'Keefe's paintings and 700 drawings, and also includes her home and studio on a separate site in northern Santa Fe. There are also regular workshops with researchers who can illuminate her techniques and aims, giving you an insight into where her inspiration came from.

4. Santa Fe Plaza: The Beating Heart of Santa Fe For Centuries

Right at the center of Santa Fe you'll find the plaza, sitting where it's been for over 400 years. One of America's oldest urban meeting points, this square is constantly used as an event space, hosting craft markets, Native American art fairs and musical performances almost every day of the year. It's also lined with attractions, including the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the USA, and the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi.

5. Museum of Contemporary Native Arts: A Showcase for the Dynamic Native American Scene

One of the great things about visiting Santa Fe is the chance to find out what's happening in Native American culture, and the best place to do so is MoCNA, right next to Santa Fe Plaza. Featuring 7,500 artworks including paintings, sculptures, photos, clothing, videos and installations, every facet of modern Native American art is on display. If you don't know your Allan Houser from your Fritz Scholder, now's the time to learn.

Santa Fe PlazaSanta Fe Plaza
Museum of Contemporary Native ArtsMuseum of Contemporary Native Arts

Top activities & attractions in Santa Fe

Where to Eat in Santa Fe

Five and Dime General Store on E San Francisco Street serves southwestern classics such as Frito Pie from $10. Tomasita's on S Guadalupe Street is renowned for its traditional New Mexican food, with entrees at around $11.

Most popular restaurants in Santa Fe

Fusion / Eclectic
Wonderful (1258 reviews)
Creative Japanese
Wonderful (761 reviews)
Southwest British
Wonderful (710 reviews)
Unspecified
Wonderful (659 reviews)
$$$$
Latin American
Wonderful (566 reviews)
Southwest
Wonderful (350 reviews)

When to visit Santa Fe

Santa Fe in January
Estimated hotel price
$219
1 night at 3-star hotel
Santa Fe in January
Estimated hotel price
$219
1 night at 3-star hotel

Santa Fe has a pleasant year-round climate with mild winters and warm summers. The rainy season is in July and August.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Santa Fe

Plane

Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) has daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, and Denver. A shuttle bus service will take you into town for around $16, while a taxi will cost around $36.

Train

Santa Fe is connected to Albuquerque by the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. A single fare is from $9. The Amtrak Southwest Chief stops at Lamy, 15 miles to the south of Santa Fe.

Car

Santa Fe is connected to the rest of New Mexico by the I-25. Road conditions can be impacted by snow in winter.

Bus

Sante Fe has limited bus services to other cities in the southwest. A bus from Lamy costs from $15.

Airports near Santa Fe

Airlines serving Santa Fe

United Airlines
Good (2,945 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,372 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,501 reviews)
KLM
Good (358 reviews)
Air France
Good (436 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,583 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,166 reviews)
Iberia
Good (965 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,321 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,662 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (389 reviews)
Finnair
Good (735 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (345 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,877 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,329 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,587 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (156 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (776 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (175 reviews)
Aer Lingus
Good (467 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Santa Fe

The Plaza - this is the city's historic center, famous for its adobe buildings and home to upscale boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Popular Neighborhoods in Santa Fe

Historic Guadalupe - just to the west of the Plaza, this area is home to some of the city's most famous buildings. It also has a bustling market and is the center of the city's art scene.

Cerrillos Road - this is the city's busiest boulevard and houses many of Santa Fe's modern hotels and retail outlets.

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Fe

Most booked hotels in Santa Fe

Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
Excellent (9.1, 1393 reviews)
$166+
La Fonda On The Plaza
Excellent (8.8, 513 reviews)
$188+
Hotel Santa Fe
Excellent (8.5, 1358 reviews)
$177+
Eldorado Hotel & Spa
Excellent (8.5, 681 reviews)
$202+
Hotel St Francis
Excellent (8.1, 537 reviews)
$175+
Santa Fe Sage Inn
Good (7.1, 2706 reviews)
$78+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Santa Fe

Public Transportation

Santa Fe has good bus services, with the North Central Regional Transit District offering free local buses from Monday to Friday.

Taxi

Taxis cost $3 to hail and then around $2.50 per mile.

Car

Parking can be an issue during summer but roads are generally free from congestion. Car rental is available from $50.

The Cost of Living in Santa Fe

Shopping Streets

Downtown has specialty stores offering books, toys, crafts, and art, while Cerrillos Road and Zafarano Road have larger, big-box stores and malls.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Santa Fe will cost $0.76 and a loaf of white bread is $2.44.

Cheap meal
$12.00
A pair of jeans
$38.80
Single public transport ticket
$1.00
Cappuccino
$3.82
Other popular cities in New Mexico