First-Timers Guide to Santa Fe

Planning your first trip to Santa Fe, NM? Here is everything you need to know about The City Different.

Let’s start with why we call it ” The City Different.”

It strikes you the first time you see The City Different. When city officials came up with that name early last century, they got it exactly right. For rarely does a place speak to so many people on so many levels.The landscape conspires to take your breath away. The sunsets are so beautiful and the stars so clear that you can’t take your eyes off the skies. But you’ll quickly see that there’s much to admire in our historic city. The narrow, winding streets invite you to walk closer together. The 400-year-old adobe buildings say, Hey, what’s the hurry? Linger a little. And you’ll find that lingering is easy to do here.

Santa Fe, New Mexico is a magical, exuberant, colorful journey at any time of year. Our legendary history and culture will fascinate and inspire you. Our art galleries and diverse visual arts span ancient traditional art to the most contemporary, making it one of the largest and most important art markets in the country.

Getting to and around Santa Fe

The Santa Fe Regional Airport features daily flights from Denver, Dallas and Phoenix. The Albuquerque International Sunport is about a 1 hour drive from Santa Fe, and offers more flight and airline options. There is shuttle service running hourly, or you can take the Rail Runner Express commuter rail system from Albuquerque.

Downtown Santa Fe is an extremely walkable area, but if you are looking to explore beyond, additional transportation is necessary. A free shuttle service, the Santa Fe Pick-up, circulates between the Plaza area, Railyard District, Canyon Road and Museum Hill.  Uber and Lyft are available for taxi style service.

History & Culture

For 400+ years, Santa Fe has improved with age. The nation’s oldest capital city experienced waves of migrations along the three trails that led here—and more recently via the rails, Route 66 and the interstate. Artists, chefs, wellness experts, and other creative dreamers all bring their culture, talents and experience with them and when they meet Santa Fe’s unique blend of Anglo, Spanish and Native cultures against a backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountains’ majesty and the spectacular sunsets over the Jemez range—nothing short of magic transpires.


The City Different has more than 400 restaurants that range from fine dining to uber-casual, and the scene continues to blossom with restaurants embracing artisan and farm-to-table craft foods and beverages. Santa Fe has an award-winning year round Farmers Market and superb cooking classes where travelers can learn the secrets from local chefs, among many other assets that will dazzle any palate.

Here are a few of my favorites.



Santa Fe brings art to life with live music, premier films and cultural dance. There is no more beautiful way to experience opera for the first or fiftieth time than at the Santa Fe Opera. Wander the halls of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts or check out the more than 250 galleries concentrated on Canyon Road, downtown Lincoln Avenue and Railyard District. If you are an art enthusiast or collector, you will find in Santa Fe an unparalleled diversity of fine art ranging from traditional to contemporary, including painting, sculpture, mixed media, graphic art and textiles.


Outdoor Adventures

Santa Fe is famous for its clean, mountain air, amazing blue skies and 1.6 million acres of public land. It is, in fact, a high elevation piñon-juniper woodland. Winter brings downhill and cross-country skiers from all over to test their skills on the snow-packed terrain. While in spring, summer and fall, the surrounding mountain trails provide an endless amusement park for climbers, hikers and bicyclists. And the magnificent quality of the light has inspired artists for generations.



In the mid-19th century, traders used the Santa Fe Trail to bring essential and luxury goods to the southwest. Santa Fe continues to give shoppers access to Native American artwork and unique handmade items of delight in small boutiques, trading posts and large open air markets.


Summer is the ideal time for shopaholics to visit. The International Folk Art MarketSpanish Market, and SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market all take place within a 6-week period. You can also find local Native artisans selling authentic works of art at the Palace of the Governor Portal daily, year-round.



Bunny Terry 505.504.1101

20 Vereda Serena Santa Fe, NM 87508