Welcome to Santa Fe
New Mexico's capital city and the oldest capital in the United
States, Santa Fe, is sited just 60 miles (97km) north of the
state's largest metropolis, Albuquerque, from which it differs
quite remarkably. Where Albuquerque is high-tech and expansive,
Santa Fe is arty and intimate. The home of Georgia O'Keefe, the
city has become a haven for artists of all persuasions, featuring
more than 250 art galleries and studios.
Tourists not only flock to this 400-year-old city at the foot of
the Rocky Mountains for the museums and galleries, but also because
it is surrounded by almost a hectare (two acres) of National
Forest, offering great opportunities for skiing, rafting, golf,
horseback riding, mountain climbing, hiking and a host of other
associated recreational pursuits, including unusual activities like
More urban attractions are plentiful as well, with enough to
keep the whole family busy. Kids will love the Santa Fe Children's
Museum and going for a ride on the Southern Railway, while adults
will enjoy the numerous art museums and Spanish colonial
architecture. Everyone can enjoy Santa Fe's multitude of festivals,
including wine festivals, rodeos, cultural events, and film and art
festivals. Santa Fe's music calendar is full as well, and the Santa
Fe Opera enjoys an international reputation.
The local culture is built firmly on Spanish and Native American
roots, which is reflected in the city's historic architecture and
the crafts sold on the plaza by the hawkers. The city is also
confusing to navigate by car, with its narrow winding lanes and
one-way streets, making it best explored on foot from its busy
central plaza. Santa Fe makes an ideal base from which to explore
the many Indian pueblos, which are within an hour's drive
throughout the valley of the Rio Grande.
Information & Facts
Santa Fe enjoys a temperate seasonal climate with about 300 days
of sunshine a year. Summer temperatures seldom exceed 86ºF (30ºC),
and a few inches of rain falls. Around five inches of snow falls
during the winter, but temperatures seldom drop below freezing. In
general the weather is dry and mild, and humidity is low.
Getting around town in Santa Fe is relatively easy because the
downtown area and surrounding historic districts are compact, most
conveniently explored on foot. For travelling further afield the
options are a local taxi service, public transport, charter vans or
rental cars. The city bus system, Santa Fe Trails, serves seven
major routes through the city connecting the central Plaza to the
outlying attractions. Buses run from 6am till 10pm on weekdays, but
there is no service on Sunday. The most used by visitors is Route
10, which runs from downtown to the museums on the Old Santa Fe
Trail. Bicycles are another popular way of getting around.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.