The lighter side of real estate

27 Things You Need To Know About Santa Fe Before You Move There

With a thriving art scene, unbeatable Mexican cuisine and festivals and markets galore, the City Different is truly the gem of the desert.

Ben Kerns

9 articles, 0 comments

1. In Santa Fe, The Best Festivals Are The Ones With The Most Firepower

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: The Official Burning of Zozobra via Facebook

Every year Santa Fe is home to the Fiestas de Santa Fe. It’s a week-long celebration with arts, crafts, amazing foods and mariachi bands. The festivities culminate with the burning of a ginormous marionette. If you saw that thing coming at you down a dark alley, you’d understand why they burn it.

2. The Most Amazing New Mexican Lunches Are Served In The Shed

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user uberculture

Don’t let the name fool you, this local lunch spot is as vibrant as the Santa Fe sunset. It has a funky, New Mexican flair coming out of every corner. Your best bet is probably the blue corn enchilada, but everything is a winner on this menu.

3. But Santa Fe Can Do Barbecue Too

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: The Cowgirl BBQ via Facebook

It might not be Texas, but New Mexico can serve up some pretty amazing BBQ, too! Oddly enough, though, if you decide to hit up Cowgirl BBQ, you should probably try their World Famous Butternut Squash Casserole. I think it’s the caramelized onions that give it the extra kick.

4. Santa Fe Pretty Much Inspired One Of The Best Artists Ever

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Alfred Stieglitz via Wikipedia

Is it any surprise that one of the most artsy towns in the world was also the stomping ground of one of the most famous artists in history?

The queen of the southwestern landscape, Georgia O’Keeffe, resided around The City Different much of her life and it served as the inspiration for some of her best work. In return, Santa Fe built her a museum.

5. And No Wonder, Because The Views Are Beautiful No Matter Where You Look

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Nicholas_T

The beautiful architecture, combined with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance make for quite an enchanting view. You’ll understand why Santa Fe became such an artistic town when you see what a work of art the city itself has become.

6. Santa Feans Are Way More Outdoorsy Than You

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user BFS Man

If the people here aren’t skiing, they’re climbing, biking, hiking or just soaking up the sun outdoors.

Santa Fe is an outdoor mecca, evidenced by the fact that Outside Magazine decided to set up shop here. If the premier magazine for outdoor sports says that Santa Fe is the best place for outdoorsmen to reside, they’re probably right.

7. Santa Fe Has The Best Green Chile Burger Ever

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Santa Fe Bite via Facebook

You might hear tell of a famous green chile burger at a place called Bobcat Bite. Well, that place still exists (sort of), but the true owners found their restaurant was usurped out from under them. That delicious burger has now found its home at the newly opened Santa Fe Bite. You haven’t tried Santa Fe until you’ve had some Santa Fe Bite.

8. The Santa Fe Opera Is World Famous

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Santa Fe Opera via Facebook

In fact, it’s viewed as one of the best places to introduce a new opera to the world. 11 international and 44 American operas have debuted here.

9. You Could Drive Around This Landscape For Hours

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user dherrera_96

Enchanted Circle is a scenic drive located on the outskirts of Santa Fe. It’s easy to spend hours getting lost in the winding roads as you make your way around the mountains. Especially in the winter when the snow blankets the trees and creates a sight you can’t miss.

10. Santa Fe Owns The Arts. Don’t You Even Try To Deny It.

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Larry1732

Neo-classical, modern, Native American… You name it, they’ve got it. People come from all over the world to see the artists in this town.

11. The Red River Skiing Area Has Some Of The Sickest Slopes In The Nation

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user globalreset

That’s right, there’s a ski resort in the New Mexican desert. Mostly it’s just there to spite all of the people who think that New Mexico is a brown wasteland. Because it’s not. At all. In fact, it’s home to some of the sickest slopes in the whole nation.

12. There Are Full Seasons In The High Desert

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user chippenziedeutch

When most people think of New Mexico, they probably think of a big, empty desert. You might be shocked that they actually have all four seasons here in Santa Fe. And it snows. Not Midwest snow, but enough that they built a pretty impressive ski resort here.

13. But Don’t Be Fooled, This Is Still The Desert And Your Skin Is Gonna Get Flaky

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Katie Tegtmeyer

But the summer still gets hot and dry; so dry that your face might crack like the desert floor if you don’t take proper care of it. Lotion up before you get here!

14. And Sunscreen Will Be Your New Best Friend

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Fifth World Art

The sun is blistering hot in the summertime and, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up looking like ripe red pepper after a few hours in this Santa Fe sun. Sunscreen is a necessity here, not an option. Nobody likes melanoma.

15. Native American Influence Is All Over The Place

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user kevincole

The Plaza has more Native American crafts and art than you’ll know what to do with. It’s full of a wealth of history that you can take home and put in your foyer, if you’d like.

16. Santa Fe’s Cafés Are More Colorful Than A Double Rainbow

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Café Pasqual’s Santa Fe, New Mexico via Facebook

If you’re searching for the best breakfast in town look no further than Café Pasqual’s. This colorful little café is located downtown and serves up some of the best smoked trout hash you’ll ever taste. Make sure to tell them to slather on a pile of tomatillo salsa.

17. And The Museums Are The Coolest Around

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Institute of American Indian Art via Facebook

If you really want to learn about Santa Fe history, the Palace of the Governors is the museum you need to visit. From adobe structures to Native American traditions, this building has more information than you can probably get through in a lifetime.

Fun Fact: It’s also the oldest occupied building in the country.

18.The Cathedral Basilica Of Saint Francis Of Assisi Is The Prettiest Building In Town

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user sarahstierch

This old-school Roman Catholic cathedral is a focal point in town, and a wonderful place to visit if you want to check out how adobe architecture factors into the church. Not only is it one of the prettiest structures in town, but it’s also an important part of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe.

19. Super Bowl? No, Santa Feans Celebrate The Souper Bowl Around Here

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user stevendepolo

You read that right–Souper Bowl. As in, a bowl of soup. If you think your chicken noodle soup has what it takes to best all the other recipes out there, then here’s your chance to test your mettle. This annual competition pits local soup connoisseurs against each other to see who’s the best of the best.

20. Santa Fe’s Cycling Routes Are So Scenic, You Might Just Fall Off Your Bike Staring At The Views

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Santa Fe Century via Facebook

The annual Santa Fe Century bike ride is open to all participants and will take you along the old mining towns of the Turquoise Trail all the way through the Estancia Valley. Just try not to get so wrapped up in the scenery that you run into an armadillo or something.

21. Santa Fe Hosts The Largest Folk Art Market IN THE WORLD

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: International Folk Art Alliance via Facebook

Do you prefer your home decor to be completely hand-made? Well, then, the International Folk Art Market is for you. It’s the largest folk art market in the world, and brings in artists from over 50 different countries to share their work.

It happens in July, around the same time as the Spanish and Indian Markets. They love markets in Santa Fe, in case you couldn’t tell.

22. The Burritos Are Like Christmas In Your Mouth

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Tia Sophia’s Restaurant via Facebook

Tia Sophia is a great little spot to grab a quick bite to eat any time of the day. If you go for the breakfast burrito, and you should, make sure to ask for it “Christmas Style.” That’s when they thrown on a heaping serving of both green chile and red chile.

23. Smash Grapes With Your Feet And String Chili Ristras At The Harvest Festival

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: El Rancho de las Golondrinas via Facebook

One of the most popular celebrations each year is the Harvest Festival. You get to help make tortillas by hand, bake bread, string chili ristras and jump up and down on grapes to make wine. If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to use your hands to cultivate the land, here’s your chance!

24. Santa Fe Is Where The Stars Come To Stay

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Neon Tommy

When celebrities get tired of the hustle and bustle of L.A., they come to Santa Fe to relax. They usually end up staying. Julia Roberts, Val Kilmer, Gene Hackman and Shirley MacLaine, among others, have all called this city home at one point. Most of them still do.

25. Maria Serves The Best Drinks In Town

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Lotus Carroll

Beef meatballs with green chili? Yes, please! But you’ll want to have a margarita with whatever you decide to order at Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen. They were voted the best in Santa Fe. There are over 100 to choose from, and you can’t go wrong with a single one. But the Peach Margarita is pretty popular, I hear.

26. Santa Feans Like To Celebrate Their Native Heritage At The Indian Market

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user Larry1732

Every year over 175,000 people flock to Santa Fe for the Indian Market. You’ll find people selling traditional Native American artwork, performing dances and sharing a lot of history and culture with the locals. They even hold a contest for the best-made Native American clothing. It’s a can’t-miss if you’re living in Santa Fe, or even passing through.

27. And The Farmers’ Markets Here Are The Best In The Country

Moving to Santa Fe

Source: Flickr user La Citta Vitta

Locally produced is a way of life in Santa Fe, and they’ve got the farmer’s markets to prove it. Perhaps the best, though, is the one located is the rejuvenated Railyard district.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market has been named one of the top ten in the nation. It operates year-round and is home to over 150 active vendors. You’ll never shop for food in a grocery store again.

Featured Image Source: Flickr user missmonet

What do you love about living in Santa Fe? Tell us in the comments below.

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posted on: May 20, 2014
60,570 views, 10 comments


  1. ashley

    Sir, that is not Mexican food. It is New Mexican food, and is served with green chile or red chile, not “sauce.” New Mexican food and Mexican food are not the same thing.

  2. Steve

    Dear Ben Kerns,

    After living in Santa Fe for 20+ years, I think it’s safe to say you know nothing about it and should try harder.

    K, thanks.


  3. G

    Concerning Bobcat Bite. The true owners now run Santa Fe Bite. In a failed attempt to steal the business the land owners of the Bobcat Bite sneakily trademarked the name, told the owners that the restaurant was not theirs and that they were merely operators, and upped the rent. This after Bobcat Bite gained national notoriety due to the quality of food that John and Bonnie Eckre produce. Although the brazen attempt to steal the name failed, the business followed John and Bonnie to their current location on Old Santa Fe Trail at Santa Fe Bite.

    And yes, the food in New Mexico is New Mexican, not Mexican. And yes, chile is not “sauce”.

  4. Dennis Lee Womack

    Ben, the Folk Art Market? Shouldn’t the Spanish Market be mentioned before the Folk Art, or at least be mentioned at all??? There’s so much more to Santa Fe, NM then cracked lips and gringo tourists with sun screen splattered on there faces and what’s wrong with having a little native kid, Spanish kid, or a little cowboy eating a bowl of posole? Ben, where did you come from???? You need to have a good walk around Santa Fe and have a good talk with the old timers. Learn about a great little town that’s fading away because of all the new-comers that wan’t change. “Gee wilakers we love Santa Fe, lets move there and change it”. Makes no sense!

  5. Lara

    You people need to hear it straight from a local, born and raised in Santa Fe: 1) Zozobra is the ONLY festival with fireworks, and it is not a festival, it is Fiestas. 2) The most amazing lunches are at The Shed, and Tomasita’s, and Blue Corn Café, and La Choza, and Tia Sofia’s, and Pasqual’s. 3) I have never heard of Santa Fe barbeque, and yes New Mexico is definitely not Texas. 4) Georgia O’Keefe was inspired by Abiquiu, over 200 miles north of Santa Fe, and she did not like Santa Fe. 5) That looks like it is from the highway to Los Alamos, again NORTH of Santa Fe. #6-10) are accurate. 11) Did Red River pay you to say that? There is also Taos Ski Valley and Santa Fe Ski Basin. Red River again, is at LEAST an hour north of Santa Fe. 12 and 13) ok. 14) Only tourists wear sunscreen. 15) HELLO. The local Hispanic culture in Santa Fe (which by the way, means the City of Holy Faith in SPANISH) is just as important as the Native American one. And there are no Pueblos in Santa Fe. The nearest one is Tesuque, which is a half an hour north of Santa Fe. 16-18) are ok. 19) You should have mentioned Green Chile Stew, that is more New Mexican. 20) Ok. Yeah, all the guide books say that, I am sure. 21) There is more than one folk art market during the summer: Indian Market AND Spanish Market. Both are just as important. 22) It is not called “Christmas Style”, locals just call it “Christmas”. And this applies to enchiladas, too. 25) Tomasita’s is where the locals go. 26) never heard of meatballs in New Mexican food. 26) SANTA FE DOES NOT HAVE ANY PUEBLOS! IT WAS SETTLED BY THE SPANISH! LEARN YOUR HISTORY! See #15.
    ADDENDUM: Please, for the love of God, if you are going to sell my town, know it first! There are several locals laughing at your inaccuracies. Go to those local places you mentioned, and actually talk to people. Get your noses out of the stupid guide books.

  6. Carlos

    and be rich!

  7. Paula

    Santa Fe doesn’t have any pueblos now, but it sure did before the Spanish arrived: There were at least two under the present downtown, and two more out in what is now Agua Fria.

  8. Natalie

    Obviously, one more piece written by a tourist who spent a few days in Santa Fe, but doesn’t really understand much below the surface of our real culture. This could be ripped out of a marketing pamphlet. Could publishers please start hiring LOCAL writers to tell the story of our town?

  9. michelle

    I am actually moving to Santa Fe in May from Florida and would like to learn more about the city.I am nervous about the move but don’t really have a choice. I am going to need to find a job there as well so any advice (besides have lots of money) would be helpful.

  10. dolores (this is for Lara- one of your responders

    Lara, I hope you read this. Based on your comments to the ad promoting Santa Fe, my husband and I believe you are very informed and knowledgeable about Santa Fe. We want to learn about Santa Fe from the people who know it best. I would like to know, if you can tell me, why is there such an abundance of homes for sale at this time? Also, specifically, what area would you recommend for a retirement home/condo/townhouse? We like cycling, hiking, trail biking, running, art, and participating in all the fiestas and activities Santa Fe has to offer. THANK YOU –


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