"The City Different"
1 146 000
Population Density (km2):
Population Density (mi2):
4th Largest City in New Mexico
Oldest State Capital in the United States
Avg. Summertime High:
Avg. Summertime Low:
Avg. Wintertime High:
Avg. Wintertime Low:
The architectural style in which most of Santa Fé is built is called Adobe and it's unique for a city of this size. The area around Santa Fé Plaza in Old Town Santa Fé has several good examples of this style and this area is where you'll spend most of your time as a tourist.
United States of America
9 525 067 km2
Ranked 4 out of 195
331 500 000
Ranked 3 out of 235
Ranked 36 out of 194
Population: 6 385 000
New York City
Population: 21 140 000
New York City
Economy & Development:
Human Development Index:
Ranked 17 out of 189
Ranked 28 out of 189
GDP (PPP) Per Capita:
Ranked 15 out of 225
Democracy & Freedom:
Ranked 25 out of 167
83 points out of 100 possible
Ranked 42 out of 180
Ranked 5 out of 162
4th of July
What Is Celebrated On The National Day:
The signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1776 where it was declared that the Thirteen Colonies were no longer a subject under the Monarch of Britain (United Kingdom).
Facts & Codes:
Country Calling Code:
Southwestern United States
121 591 km2
Ranked 5 out of 51
2 120 000
Ranked 36 out of 51
Of National Population
Population: 144 000
Population: 915 000
GDP Per Capita::
Lower than national average
Subtropical Highland Climate
UTC −7 (MST)
Summer: UTC -6 (MDT)
US State Information:
"The Land of Enchantment"
Meaning of the Name:
Santa Fe means "Holy Faith" in Spanish. The full name of the city is "Santa Fe, La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís" (The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi)
Santa Fean (English)
Santafesino (Spanish, Masculine)
Santafesina (Spanish, Feminine)
Palace of the Governors
Historic Seat of Government
Santa Fe Regional Airport
16 km / 10 mi (SW)
Even in 2019, the airport had less than 300 000 passengers. Likely, you won't find any good or cheap tickets into SAF and I would probably recommend looking at another alternative and then driving to Santa Fe.
Driving is basically your only option.
Albuquerque International Sunport
100 km / 62 mi (SW)
The largest airport in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Sunport is still considered as a minor airport with little scheduled traffic.
It's possible to take a shuttle bus from ABQ to Santa Fe, but the best way to transport yourself will always be with a rental car in this part of the United States. There's a free shuttle bus service between the terminals and the rental car center which takes about five minutes.
Neither of the two airports in New Mexico are great alternatives, even though Albuquerque (ABQ) would be prefered as it is much larger. The drive is around an hour so you will have to arrive by car anyways. If you're arriving from outside of the US it might be better to fly into Denver ( DEN | 550 km | 342 mi ) and drive from there. It's a scenic route and takes five hours.
Cash Or Credit:
Cash is still common in the US, but in recent years cards have become the dominant form of payment and, nowadays, you can survive a trip to the US with only a minor amount of cash in smaller denominations for tips. In 2022 was the first time I was able to go an entire trip to the US without spending a single paper bill.
Good To Know:
Everyone is expecting tips for everything in the United States. It can be a good idea to have some one-dollar bills available, but nowadays it's often possible to give tips on card transactions as well. Only a few years ago that was not the case and even if you paid by card you had to give tip, which was expected, in cash.
What About English?
Other Common Languages:
Spanish is widely spoken and in most situations, you will be able to get by with only speaking Spanish. A lot of signage is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Santa Fe Plaza, and the surrounding blocks, are the center of Santa Fe and the area where you as a tourist will spend most, if not almost all, of your time. Santa Fe Plaza is often known as "The Heart of Santa Fe", which commonly was the case with the plazas of Colonial Spanish-American towns and cities. Most of the sights and landmarks of the city can be reached on foot from the Plaza. The prices for hotels are quite high in this area though. I found accommodation outside of the Historic Downtown area, near the Railyard Art District. It is possible to walk from there into Downtown, but it is a long walk that you might not feel encouraged to walk several times a day. I did it once back-and-forth. If you value location at any price, then look for a hotel as close to Santa Fe Plaza as possible. If you want more value for your money I would look for a hotel, or motel, somewhere between the Plaza and the Railway Art District. Try to look for one that is along Cerrillos Road.
Santa Fe is one of few cities where I've had an incident regarding safety. While strolling the streets southwest of Santa Fe Plaza, I had a homeless man come up to me asking for money. When I declined and tried to walk past he got increasingly aggressive and tried to throw a punch into the air. This happened in broad daylight.
Homelessness was a slight safety issue in Downtown Santa Fe. Apart from that, it felt reasonably safe in the Downtown part of the city. Santa Fe Plaza is very crowded and safe, but you don't have to walk far to get into streets that feel completely empty even in the middle of the day.
Note: My assumption is of the basis that you will always take normal precautions when you're out traveling, just as you would do at home. Even the safest cities have bad elements and no matter how safe you might feel you must always take basic precautions. I'm always aware of my surroundings when I walk around, both with and without the camera. I am however a very typical tourist and it shows so I am a person that will undoubtedly draw the attention of those who targets tourists. If you can you should of course always try to blend in as much as possible, but with my big camera around my neck, it's impossible. That's two things that are good to know when reading my assessment of how it felt from a safety point of view.
Do I Recommend You To Visit?
If you find architecture and beautiful buildings interesting. The core of Santa Fe is very small, and the area that is interesting for a visitor can be covered in a few hours. Santa Fe was for many years at the top of my list of places I wanted to visit. I'm happy that I've visited and I enjoyed it very much, but it's not a city that has something for everyone. If you're not into looking at buildings I don't think you'll find much interest here.
Will I Come Back Again?
It's not easy to get to Santa Fe from Europe and I don't feel an extreme urge to visit again. But if my path takes me close to the city again I'll definitely want to visit again.
Weather During My Stay:
Mostly sunny and warm, without being too hot. Perfect weather for sightseeing!
Not As Good:
Santa Fe features are known for the Adobe Architecture that makes up most of the buildings in Old Town. Here is the New Mexico Museum of Art.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
The center of town is the Santa Fe Plaza. Many cities and towns in New Mexico feature a traditional Spanish Plaza as the main square.
Old Santa Fe Trail in downtown.
Cerrillos Road is one of the main roads leading into the Old Town.
At Canyon Road, you'll find a high concentration of art galleries.
Adobe architecture is found everywhere.
The Palace of the Governors, at the Northern side of Santa Fe Plaza, is both a very unique architectural building as well as a museum of the history of Santa Fe and New Mexico. This is a must when visiting!
Burro Alley is a small street a block from Santa Fé Plaza.
Building along the Santa Fe Trail.
Loretto Chapel is the location of the famous "Miraculous Stair", a spiral staircase built without any supporting newel or central pole.
There's a lot of trees and greenery in Santa Fe.
A food-stand in Santa Fe Plaza.
A street in Santa Fe.
Yet another great example of the unique Adobe Architecture.
Santa Fe Plaza are filled with street life.
Tree-lined streets are a common feature in this beautiful city.
Skyline of Old Town, with the mountains in the background.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi as viewed from Santa Fe Plaza.
Adobe Architecture continues even outside of Old Town. This is a side street to Cerrillos Rd.