If you love the great outdoors, then Santa Fe is the perfect place for you. The city is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. And it's all just minutes away from the cosmopolitan center.
With a population of 70,000 primarily Hispanic, Anglo and Native American people, Santa Fe (which means Holy Faith in Spanish) is New Mexico's fourth largest city behind Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho. Today, Santa Fe’s unique offerings of art, culture and ancient traditions make it a world-class tourist destination, drawing more than 1 million visitors each year. In 2005, Santa Fe became the first U.S. city to be chosen by UNESCO as a Creative City, one of only nine cities in the world to hold this designation.
Santa Fe has long been a center for arts and culture. Due to sales, it now ranks as the country's third largest art market with nearly 300 galleries and dealers. There also are more than a dozen major museums showcasing an array of art, culture, history and traditions, as well as the world-class Santa Fe Opera.
In recent years, the city has also earned a reputation with food lovers. Whether you're hankering for basic New Mexican food, creative Southwestern cuisine, or authentic Italian, French, Asian and other world cuisines, the city offers more than 200 choices. Accommodations are equally diverse. You can choose from an array of resorts, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, vacation rentals and other lodgings, including campgrounds and RV parks.
Four seasons define the weather here. Santa Fe averages 300 sunny days per year, with 14 inches of rain and 17 inches of snow annually. The hottest days arrive in June, when temperatures soar into the high 90s. Because of the altitude, temperatures can change by 30 degrees in a single day, and sometimes all four seasons seem to pass through in a 24-hour time period. Expect sudden rain showers and cool evenings in summer and snow from November through April.
Ski Santa Fe opens from Thanksgiving through Easter, and you can hike and bike year-round. You can also enjoy river rafting, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, fly-fishing, ice-skating and swimming, or work out in Pilates and yoga classes and fitness gyms around the city. When you're ready to relax and rejuvenate, choose from an array of spa services—including massage, facials, hot tubs and herbal wraps—offered around the city.