santa fe new mexico

Established in 1610, Santa Fe New Mexico is the oldest capital city in the United States with quite an interesting history. If you want to enjoy a less crowded time of year, then winter is best time to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. They have wonderful festivals and events during the summer months and Christmas, but winter (particularly February) is slower.

The weather during the winter in Santa Fe is typically sunny with a chance of snow, which is just lovely. Because Santa Fe is a little sleepy due to weather, . Do make sure you pack lots of layers. Temps this time of year range from single digits all the way up to 50.

Santa Fe

The first people in Santa Fe were indigenous. Later, the Spanish came to conquer the territory for God and the King of Spain. The indigenous revolted and exiled the Spanish to El Paso, only for them to return 13 years later and establish their rule.

Santa Fe New Mexico is a quaint town located near the Rio Grande with the original Camino Real. ( North America’s longest cultural route and a vital commercial corridor for nearly 300 years). This is my first time in the Southwest so the mountains and desert have been a sight to behold for me.

Santa Fe means Holy Faith and this city is full of spiritual and religious disciplines. The air somehow feels kinetic with energy. If you are coming to this city for a few days or a month, take some time to explore the spiritual side of Santa Fe.

Here are a few places to check out while you are visiting Santa Fe:

Check out Santa Fe Plaza. There are a ton of wonderful shops and restaurants in the Plaza that are fun to peruse, especially in the winter. You can easily spend an afternoon checking out the art and shopping on the Plaza. Palace of the Governors hosts Native American artists to share their jewelry and art for purchase. The pieces are beautiful, so you can easily drop a lot of money with our Native American friends (**bring cash as a lot of the vendors are cash only).

Santa Fe Plaza

Take a history tour. I am amazed at the history of this part of the country. Check out historyinsantafe.com. “Santa Fe has been home to Ana Pacheco’s family for the last 328 years. Since 1994, Ana has devoted her life to documenting the history of this country’s oldest capital city.” You will not get a more comprehensive history of Santa Fe from any other tour guide.

The tour is a little over 1 mile around the central part of the city. The history tour has lots of stops and history along the way. We had 5 women in our small group. We were able to visit the St Francis Basilica and Mission San Miguel, known as the oldest church in America. Ana shed light on the history of this amazing little city with such passion, that I will actually remember what I learned. She made history come alive for our tour group.

  • Head to Cross of the Martyrs for sunset. I entered through Fort Marcy Park. On my way up the the Cross of the Martyr’s, I stopped and read “The twenty chronologically ordered plaques give visitors a glimpse into the events shaping Santa Fe’s blending of primary cultures (Native American, Spanish and Anglo)”. It is an incredible place to see the sunset over the city and the desert mountains. Give yourself about 15 minutes before sunset to walk up the trail and read all the great Santa Fe history.
  • Check out Canyon Road Arts District for all the art your eyes can behold. There are over 100 galleries and boutiques for you to peruse. I parked and walked through the district. Along the street, you will find outdoor displays of unique art, including a sculpture garden that will inspire you.
  • Santa Fe School of Cooking is a great place to spend a weekend morning. Not only did we learn about the history of the ingredients used in each dish, we learned how to authentically prepare a southwestern meal. It is a 3-hour experience and at the end of the training, we had a wonderful meal with new friends. They also offer restaurant tours as well as jazz on select evenings.

I took my dog Tink to all the outdoor activities as she loves walking and exploring. There is a great urban trail that will carry you to the Railyard Art District. You can enjoy a drink and check out the trains that run into Santa Fe. The Farmers Market opens on Saturdays, in this area and has wonderful fresh southwestern produce and ingredients. Along with food, the farmers market also has vendors selling everything from jewelry to handmade skincare products.

The best time of year to visit Santa Fe New Mexico is winter, particularly February. I love exploring without crowds and meeting locals who just love their fare city! Don’t miss my posts about the food and art scene in Austin, TX.