Santa Fe

The Dryftwell Guide to

Santa Fe

Introduction

Santa Fe is one of the oldest and historically enriched cities in New Mexico. If you are a traveler who loves to immerse yourself in rich culture and have an authentic experience, Santa Fe is a great place for you. It is a city that embodies Native American culture and it’s brought to life with museums and monuments that personify the local history. You can enjoy the enchanting cultural delights by visiting the theaters, cathedrals and farmers markets, all of which beautifully capture the heritage of Native Americans. The city is also a treasure trove for anyone who appreciates art, as it’s filled with arts and crafts displays, fine art galleries, museums, and theaters all within short walks of each other. For people who want to venture slightly outside the city, there are several unique areas to visit. Santa Fe truly is a hidden gem.

When to go

Winter


Winters in Santa Fe are freezing with the average temperature ranging between 7 and 9 degrees fahrenheit from November to February. The sky remains mostly clear during the day, so prepare to be a bit cold while you walk around the city. If you need a break from the chilly weather, you can always pop into one of the many museums, or galleries. Many outdoor enthusiasts will love Santa Fe in the winter as they can take part in some of the most popular activities in Santa Fe: ice skating, snowboarding, and snowshoeing during this time of year. If you are looking for a relaxing spot to warm up after a long day of snow play, take a drive to the Manby Hot Springs. You won’t regret it.

Spring


As the spring season begins, the temperature starts to rise; many tourists can be seen around at this time. Flowers all over Santa Fe begin to bloom with vibrant colors and this is a great time to stop and enjoy the city's beauty. This is an exciting time of year as the city's residents are predominantly catholic and celebrate the Easter season. You will find many places observing the holiday with brilliant displays at the art galleries, churches and in the shops throughout the city.

Summer

Summers in Santa Fe are somewhat hot, with the average temperature above 77 degrees fahrenheit. Some pretty intense dry heat waves spread across the city in the summer, however there is no humidity, and the sky remains mostly clear. The city can be crowded this time of year, but you can enjoy never-ending outdoor activities by strolling around the city's landmarks. The city continues to stay alive with color due to the Hollyhock flower that has become well known in New Mexico and begins to bloom in July.    

Fall


Fall Season in this city can be the best time for relaxation because the weather remains pleasant and the city is less crowded. This is a great time of year to experience everything the city has to offer. The farmer’s markets at this time are exquisite as all the fresh fruits and vegetables become available after harvest.

Neighborhoods

Santa Fe, one of the largest cities of New Mexico, is an exciting mixture of ancient and artistic sites. Complemented by a beautiful skyline and nearby mountains, the city's neighborhoods are engraved with beautiful aesthetics, diverse lifestyles, and culture. Each region has a unique vibe and energy.

If you want to get a truly authentic experience, here are a few to consider visiting or staying in:

Downtown

Downtown is a small dominant commercial area. And while it is home to many tourist sites, it’s also a very real part of the city. There are tons of great restaurants, boutiques, book stores, and coffee shops to wander through and the nightlife of this neighborhood is quite impressive.  Most shops, restaurants, and even the antique hotels stay open after midnight. If you do find yourself downtown, consider a visit to the Historic Plaza, Palace of the Governors, and one or two of the amazing art galleries.

Midtown

Midtown is somewhat new compared to other Santa Fe neighborhoods. It’s most famous for its artistic and theatrical style and it truly is a one-of-a-kind place. It’s filled with artists and performers and is overflowing with creativity. You can enjoy a play at Adobe Rose Theatre or watch a show at Teatro Paraguas and visit Baca Street to view art spaces and studios. And if you want to experience a mind-bending mix of science and art, make sure you carve our time to visit the world famous Meow Wolf.

Historic Eastside

As the name says, this is the most historically preserved area of Santa Fe. Because of its beauty, history, and traditional architecture this neighborhood is the most expensive in terms of accommodations. There is a lot of greenery in this region too and lush flower gardens fill the streets. Location wise, the most significant advantage to staying in the Historic Eastside is the closeness of Canyon Road, where you can enjoy more than a hundred art galleries.

Southside

The Southside region of Santa Fe is packed with local residents. It is linked to the Cerrillos Road, which goes all the way to Tent Rocks and Albuquerque. It has many walking and cycling tracks and endless options for restaurants, grocery stores, and branded shops. If you want to get an authentic sense of local living, Southside is the best neighborhood to visit. This neighborhood will give you a very real sense of Santa Fe traditions and values and fill you with energy. If you decide to stay here for a couple of days, don't forget to visit the small parks and golf alleys.

Museum Hill

Museum Hill is the landmark of Museums. If you make your way to this neighborhood, the sort of “who’s who” of  museums visit are The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, The International Folk Art Museum, and The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. For museum lovers, there’s now doubt you’ll need to plan on spending at least one whole day on Museum Hill.

Map

Transportation

Driving/Parking

Santa Fe locals typically drive around the city using their personal car. If you’re visiting and you wish to travel to all the famous neighborhoods or stay for an extended period, getting a car is a great choice. The paid parking and garage space infrastructure is great and typically cost about $2 per hour. If you’re willing to look for a few minutes you can also find many public parking spaces. As with any city, the streets can get congested, especially in the spring and summer but compared to most cities, Santa Fe driving is a breeze.

Public Transit

For extended distances, this city offers a widespread Santa Fe Bus Service that tourists can use to travel to all the neighborhoods. The buses strictly follow the schedule, so you'll need to be punctual. If you’re staying at a hotel, many Free Pickup Shuttles will take you to several hot spots around downtown.

Biking/Walking

Santa Fe has great cycling and walking trails so biking and walking around Santa Fe is extremely fun. The cycling trails connect to almost all the best neighborhoods in the city, so if you’re up to it, and the weather permits, embracing this a great way to explore the city and get in some exercise.