Santa Fe has a population of over 84,000 making it the fourth largest city in New Mexico after Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Rio Rancho. Santa Fe's population is primarily Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American. The city is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level at the base of the southern Rocky Mountains in north-central New Mexico. Founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the second oldest city in the United States and is both the highest and oldest capital city in America.
There are four distinct seasons in Santa Fe including snow during the winter in the city. The hottest month is June when temperatures reach into the mid to upper nineties. The daily temperature typically changes 30 degrees due to the city's elevation and cool evenings. Normal rainfall is 14 inches a year and the city averages 325 days of sunshine annually.
Government is the largest employer in Santa Fe followed by the hospitality industry. There are a growing number of technology-based businesses locating in the city as well. Santa Fe is considered the third largest art market in the U.S. based on sales with over 250 art galleries and dealers in town.
In recent years, Santa Fe has attracted an average of two million overnight visitors annually. The most popular months for visitors are April through October peaking in July and August. Santa Fe's visitors come from all over the world but most frequently come from Texas, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Florida and Arizona. The greatest number of international visitors come from Canada, Germany and the U.K.
Fly direct to Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Regional Airport handles commercial and private aircraft. American Airlines provides daily non-stop service between Dallas and Santa Fe and daily non-stop service between Phoenix and Santa Fe. United Airlines also offers daily direct service between Denver and Santa Fe. The airport is located about 15 minutes from the downtown area. The Albuquerque Sunport is the closest, major airport to Santa Fe. Santa Fe is located one hour north of Albuquerque by car or shuttle.
In 2017, National Geographic chose Santa Fe as the winner of the World Legacy Award for Sense of Place. The award recognized the city’s commitment to preservation work which has allowed Santa Fe to retain its historic character for today’s traveler. Santa Fe was designated a UNESCO Creative City in 2005, the first U.S. city to be so honored and currently one of only a handful of Creative Cities in the world. In 2009 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Santa Fe one of the Trust's Dozen Distinctive Destinations. The city has consistently appeared in the top 10 of Travel + Leisure's "World Best Awards," the top 10 of Conde Nast's "Reader's Choice Awards" and in a variety of other polls including AARP Magazine's Top 10 Healthiest Cities to Live and Retire.
The Santa Fe Community Convention Center was opened in the summer of 2008. The 72,000 square foot facility was constructed in keeping with the city's historic architectural look and human scale. It was designed to a LEED Silver Certification - however in 2009 the center was awarded a LEED Gold Certification. The convention center was built using many green technologies and techniques including recycling of building materials and construction waste, minimizing water consumption, and use of low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and cleaning products.
The Santa Fe Railyard development was opened in the fall of 2008. The Railyard features a permanent Santa Fe Farmers Market building and year-round sales areas, outdoor performance space, public plaza, park area, xeric gardens, galleries, retail, movie theater, multi-use path, and green space.
In the winter of 2008 the New Mexico Rail Runner Express train began service between Santa Fe and towns to the south including Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, and Belen among others. The train is currently served by four stations in Santa Fe, the Highway 599, Zia Road, South Capitol and Railyard stations. The train was an instant success with commuters, residents, and visitors alike, making the trip between cities easy and comfortable. Currently trains run 7 days a week to and from Albuquerque and extra trains have been put on for special events like Santa Fe Indian Market and Fiesta de Santa Fe.
Santa Fe is a city of museums with more than a dozen different facilities including the Museum of International Folk Art, The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe Children's Museum, New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, and the Bataan Memorial Museum.
The boundary of the Santa Fe National Forest is seven miles from the heart of the city in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This Rocky Mountain playground is 1.6 million acres, including the 250,000 acre Pecos Wilderness Area. The forest also contains 660 acre Ski Santa Fe - located 16 miles from the city - one of the state's most popular winter recreation areas. Santa Fe is the gateway to all of the outdoor activities in the national forest and surrounding public lands. The city's expanding trail systems are an evolving resource for hikers, mountain bikers, road cyclists, walkers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general.
Santa Fe is filled with music, theater, and the many pursuits of its highly creative population year-round. Summer, however, is when this festival of arts takes center stage as the Santa Fe Opera and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival present their seasons of world class performances. In addition, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival, and Santa Fe Bandstand's nightly music scene add to the mix.
The late spring and summer calendars are also filled with the city's many art markets that include some of the largest and most important markets of their kind in the world. Among these are the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Traditional and Contemporary Spanish Markets, ART Santa Fe, Santa Fe Indian Market and the Invitational Antique Indian Art Show. Adding to this is a weekly schedule of gallery openings, artist receptions, and special events that keeps the visual arts calendar filled 52 weeks a year.
Santa Fe is known for its savory, regional cuisine and use of chile in most every dish -- we spell chile with an "e" in New Mexico. The city has also developed a reputation for great food in general and is home to celebrated chefs and fine cuisine of all kinds. Among Santa Fe's signature food events are the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta held each September, ARTsmart’s Edible Art Tour held in June, Santa Fe Restaurant Week held in February, and the Santa Fe "Souper" Bowl which takes place each winter.