Santa Fe, population 70,000, the capital of New Mexico, is the quintessential southwestern town for art, culture and history. Dominated by adobe buildings and pueblo style architecture, Santa Fe is home to hundreds of galleries, artisans and museums all of which are heavily influenced by the beauty and immensity of the landscapes which surround town. Located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and only a short distance from the Jemez & San Juan Mountain Ranges, Santa Fe is situated perfectly for prime recreational opportunity. In addition, Santa Fe is ripe with pioneer history, the end point of the Santa Fe trail, a wagon train trail which connected Missouri and New Mexico during the 1800s, but its origins are much more ancient. The Santa Fe area was a hotspot for ancient cultures and civilizations, and an impressive number of historic pueblos and cliff dwellings are located within a short drive of town, allowing visitors to explore the remains of these once thriving settlements. The lands that surround Santa Fe, sources of inspiration for artists and recreationalists alike, provide a huge variety of quality recreational opportunity.
Tourism is a major aspect of the Santa Fe economy, with visitors attracted year-round by the climate and related outdoor activities (such as skiing in years of adequate snowfall; hiking in other seasons) plus cultural activities of the city and the region. Most tourist activity takes place in the historic downtown, especially on and around the Plaza, a one-block square adjacent to the Palace of the Governors, the original seat of New Mexico's territorial government. After a tough day of exploring Santa Fe and its surrounding landscapes, visitors will find an enticing night life in town with excellent entertainment from live music to theatre to a nationally renowned opera to choose from. From casual to intense adventures, all visitors to Santa Fe should have no problem finding something to do. Visitors to Santa Fe will find a huge variety of accommodation options ranging from budget to full luxury, and as a rule as establishments get closer and closer to the plaza in town, prices go up and up. Dining in Santa Fe is an experience in itself, with offerings ranging from simple to highly complex gourmet adventures with price tags to match. Some visitors find Santa Fe particularly attractive around the second week of September when the aspens in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains turn yellow and the skies are clear and blue. Within easy striking distance for day-trips is the town of Taos, about 70 miles North and the historic Bandelier National Monument about 30 miles away. Santa Fe's ski area, Ski Santa Fe, is about 16 miles north of the city. Santa Fe is located along the I-25 corridor and is an easy drive from Albuquerque to the south and from the Las Vegas, NM and Colorado Border to the north.