8 Best Reasons to Visit Santa Fe New Mexico!

Thinking why to Santa Fe? In a world where people are always talking about the most famous and visited cities, it’s easy to overlook the hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. One such city that is often overlooked but truly deserves more attention is Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This picturesque and historic city in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is home to an amalgam of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo cultures that can’t be found anywhere else in the United States.

Let’s explore some of the other factors that make this city a reason to visit!

Is New Mexico’s Santa Fe Underrated?

Whether it’s the regional food or the breathtaking landscapes, Santa Fe, New Mexico is full of surprises for visitors. Everyone can find what they’re looking for among the city’s many art galleries and recreational opportunities. There are a lot of things that might be said about why this city is overlooked, and some of them are mentioned below.

Santa Fe New Mexico Sunset
Santa Fe New Mexico Sunset
  • Lack of Accessibility: Santa Fe is in the southwestern United States, which can be difficult to get for certain tourists. There are no large cities in the vicinity, and the closest major airport is 64.1 miles away in Albuquerque making accessibility to this city hectic for many.
  • Less Publicity: Santa Fe may not be as well-known as other prominent U.S. tourist destinations like New York City, or Los Angeles due to a lack of publicity. It also implies that Santa Fe as a potential vacation destination might not be as well known to vacationers.
  • High-Cost Perception: Some tourists might expect a hefty expense for their trip to Santa Fe because of the city’s reputation for luxurious hotels and spas. There are many high-end establishments and attractions in Santa Fe, but visitors will also find plenty of more budget-friendly options.
  • Small Size: Santa Fe has a population of slightly over 80,000, making it a small city. Due to this, it may be less appealing to tourists who are interested in experiencing the vibrant nightlife and many attractions available in a larger city.
  • Insufficiency of Major Attractions: While Santa Fe certainly does not lack cultural, artistic, or scenic offerings, it may not have the same number of famous sights as other popular cities. You won’t find any iconic American landmarks in Santa Fe and people who are “Insta-crazy” would definitely not get an amazing vibe out of this city!
  • Undiversified: Visitors seeking a more diversified cultural experience may be disappointed to learn that Santa Fe is primarily a white and Hispanic city. You will not experience uniqueness as a more uniform approach would be present.
  • Less Awareness: Many tourists probably aren’t aware of all the wonderful things Santa Fe has to offer, such as its distinct culture, beautiful landscapes, fascinating history, thriving arts community, and a plethora of annual festivals and events.

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Why Should You Visit Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Now that you know why many people consider it underrated, hear out why we consider it to be your next trip destination! From relaxing spa visits to adventurous treks in the nearby mountains, this city has it all. This underrated destination offers visitors a wide range of opportunities for fun and exploration. Below are only a few of many:

Native American Market

Tourists flock to Santa Fe to shop at Native American markets where they may find unique items including jewelry, pottery, ceramics, and textiles (made by local artisans). The Santa Fe Indian Market, held annually in the middle of August, is one of the largest and most popular Native American markets in the United States.

Native American Market Santa Fe New Mexico
Native American Market Santa Fe New Mexico

If you are interested in acquiring more crafted products you may visit the Native American Artisans Program, which displays the work of Native American craftspeople. This program is held at the Palace of the Governors throughout the year.

The Palace of the Governors houses a museum devoted to Santa Fe and New Mexico’s past. For cultural geeks, this can be a truly interesting place to visit to learn more about the city’s history.

Historic Buildings

Santa Fe’s historic buildings are one of the city’s most defining features. Tourists love the enduring adobe walls, Ancestral Puebloan stone, rounded corners, and flat roofs of the Pueblo-Spanish Revival style, which was popular in the first half of the twentieth century. The design was inspired by the traditional architecture of the Pueblo Indians, who had lived in the area for centuries.

Experience Santa Fe’s ancient architecture by visiting some of the city’s must-see historic buildings. For Example, The Loretto Chapel, built in 1878 in the Gothic Revival style, is famous for its “miraculous” staircase. The unusual architecture will make you capture some “Aesthetic” snaps!

The Loretto Chapel
The Loretto Chapel

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Barrio de Analco, and the Santa Fe Railyard are all historic neighborhoods that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich architectural heritage.

Traditional Healing Methods

Numerous traditional healers, such as Native American healers and curanderos (traditional Hispanic healers), are found in Santa Fe. Sweat lodges, ancient herbal cures, and energy healing are just some of the alternative treatments that guests normally try.

Spa treatments at all resorts draw inspiration from both conventional medicine and other methods of healing, including the healing properties of the area’s natural hot springs.

Santa Fe’s longstanding emphasis on health and wellness is beautifully encapsulated at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa.

Oja Spa Resort
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa.

The Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa is another fantastic choice if you’re in search of a spa.

Modern Mexican Cuisine

One of the best reasons to visit Santa Fe is the delicious New Mexican food that originates in Santa Fe with its blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Native American flavors. The city’s culinary culture has something for every taste, from authentic restaurants serving classics like enchiladas and tamales to trendy eateries serving unique twists on local cuisine.

Visit Tomasita’s, a popular family-run restaurant that has been serving typical New Mexican dishes for decades, to get a true taste of Santa Fe’s cuisine. This restaurant has the kind of welcoming vibe that makes it ideal for unwinding after a day of sightseeing.

If you’re a foodie searching for an immersive experience, don’t miss out on one of Santa Fe’s many food-related events, including the Santa Fe Wine Festival, conducted year-round.

Santa Fe Wine Festival
Santa Fe Wine Festival

Local Markets

The most buzzing spots in Santa Fe are the Spanish Markets. One can explore the unique and authentic Spanish / Hispanic crafts and goods that Santa Fe is renowned for. The Spanish Market, held every July, brings together hundreds of skilled artists to sell their handmade creations.

The Spanish Market Santa Fe
The Spanish Market

For fresh, locally grown produce and artisanal products, the Santa Fe Farmers Market is open year-round, with its roots dating back to a 1968 initiative by the League of Women Voters’ agriculture program, local farmers, and the Santa Fe County Extension Office.

Top-Rated Products

Take home a piece of Santa Fe’s rich cultural heritage by purchasing some of the highest-rated Spanish items, like hand-pressed tinwork or hand-carved and painted Santos, traditional Hispanic religious figures.

You may also acquire some other famous products including retablos, colcha embroidery items, ramilletes, woodwork furniture, and many more.


These items are crafted using time-honored techniques passed down through generations, making them unique and authentic pieces that reflect the region’s rich cultural history.

Breathtaking Scenery

Santa Fe is a wonderful area to enjoy the outdoors because of its proximity to the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Santa Fe National Forest. In addition to the many parks, gardens, and green areas in and around the city, tourists can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing in the nearby mountains.

Those interested in birds will like visiting the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary. It is situated on 135 acres of stunning landscapes, including meadows, forests, and a riparian area along the Santa Fe River. You can also choose to go on a trail as there are easy to moderate all sorts of trails present over here.

Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary
Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary

On the other hand, those interested in plants will enjoy exploring the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. You will admire the different garden settings and appreciate the beauty of native and adapted plant species. The best part is that no matter which season you go here, you’ll always be amazed at the vibrant flowers, greenery, or even autumn foliage.

Recommended Reading: 8 EPIC National Parks In New Mexico

Heritage of Rich Culture

Santa Fe’s architecture, art, music, and food all reflect the city’s multiethnic history, which blends Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo elements. To fully appreciate what makes Santa Fe so remarkable, visitors should take the time to experience the city’s rich cultural diversity.

Museum of International Folk Art
Museum of International Folk Art
  • The heart of Santa Fe, the Historic Plaza, is a vibrant gathering place with shops, galleries, and restaurants. To enjoy your day, stroll around, admire the beautiful architecture, and soak in the atmosphere of this historic landmark.
  • Santa Fe has a rich cultural history as mentioned earlier, and the Museum of International Folk Art showcases that history beautifully. There are around 135,000 items, including textiles, ceramics, and folk art, in this museum’s collection.
  • If you’re a fan of opera, consider catching a performance at the Santa Fe Opera. The open-air theater nestled in the foothills provides a stunning backdrop for world-class opera productions during the summer season.
  • Don’t miss the chance to see the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe if you’re an art lover. This museum houses the largest assemblage of Georgia O’Keeffe-related materials, including artwork, personal things, and archival materials.

There are several top hotels in Santa Fe, New Mexico which we reviewed earlier. Be sure to check them out


Santa Fe, New Mexico is a hidden gem that boasts a one-of-a-kind and unique vacation experience. This city has something for everyone, from authentic Native American and Spanish marketplaces to delectable New Mexican food and stunning landscapes, there are several compelling reasons to visit Santa Fe.

This amazing city is a must-see for those who love to explore culture due to its unique structures, artwork, cuisine, and other things which reflect the city’s illustrious past. So, stop passing up on Santa Fe; Have a fantastic experience here!

The Number One 'Underrated' City You Must Visit - Santa Fe, New Mexico - FAQs

Why is Santa Fe, New Mexico underrated?

Santa Fe, New Mexico is underrated because it is a small city with no easier accessibility options. It does not have famous landmarks or publicity that people would be aware of.

What are the best spots to visit in Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Tourists can visit the local Spanish Markets, Farmer Markets, and different types of botanical gardens and sanctuaries present all over the city. The aesthetics of the city and cultural vibe will truly bring you peace.

What is the best time to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Spring is a popular time to visit Santa Fe when the weather is mild and pleasant. We recommend this time because the city comes alive with colorful blooms, particularly in April. Outdoor activities like exploring the botanical gardens, and enjoying festivals like the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair are possible during this season.

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!