Best Time to Visit Santa Fe, Weather Year Round
Anyone who has fallen in love with Santa Fe will say that there is no bad time to visit. But, if you want to avoid summer heat when the temperature can reach into the 90s and monsoon rains can arrive in a blink of an eye, or cool winter days when temperatures in the 40s will force you to look for a sweater, your best bets are Spring and Fall. In the spring, there are lots of festivals and lots of tourists. If you do not mind crowds, go right ahead and have fun. If you prefer not to share quaint streets and your favorite restaurants and attractions with crowds of people, then fall is the best time to visit Santa Fe. Between September and November the temperatures rarely go below 20 or above the 70s, and since it is not considered peak season, prices are reasonable. Photo: SW.Scott/Fotolia
»Santa Fe, New Mexico Weather & Temperature by Month
January is the second to the coldest month in Santa Fe. This month sits in the middle of winter with average low temperatures of 17°F (-8°C). High average temperatures reach 44°F (6°C). Left over snowfall from the previous month make winter sports ideal in the nearby mountains.
In February, winter continues although temperatures increase slightly. Average high temperatures will reach 48°F (9°C). February is also the driest month of the year with average precipitation only hitting half an inch (13 mm). The average low temperature is a chilly 22°F (-6°C).
Santa Fe Weather in March: Winter begins to transition to spring in March. Average high and low temperatures start to increase and range between 56°F (13°C) and 26°F (-3°C). Despite the change in season, bundling up will be necessary.
In April, the climate makes a considerable leap compared to the previous month. April’s average high temperatures will reach 65°F (18°C). Low temperatures hover at 32°F (0°C).
May’s mild temperatures can be described as the ideal “sweater weather” with high and low temperatures ranging between 74°F (23°C), 41°F (°5C). The climate during this month make it a lovely time for leisurely outdoor activities such as afternoon strolls or trips to the park.
Santa Fe Weather in June: High temperatures in June will climb to the 80’s with an average of 83°F (29°C). Summer officially begins this month and average low temperatures to be expected are 49°F (10°C).
July is the warmest month in Santa Fe and also has the highest precipitation average. At the peak of July, average temperatures hit 86°F (30°C) and rainfall to be expected is just a little over 2 inches (59 mm). Low temperatures are 54°F (12°C).
Santa Fe Weather in August: Summer continues in August with a slightly cooler average high temperature of 83°F (29°C). Meanwhile, expect an average low temperature of 53°F (12°C).
In September, the weather starts to cool a bit more as summer nears its end. Temperatures will range between an average high of 78°F (25°C) and an average low of 47°F (2°C).
Santa Fe Weather in October: Although October only marks the arrival of fall, Santa Fe can already expect some snowfall. October typically sees the least snowfall of the entire year with a 1 inch (3 cm) average. Average temperatures continue to decrease with low temperatures dropping to 35°F (2°C) at the most.
In November, the temperatures drops further to an average high of 53°F (°C). Winter activities are in full swing and the coldest average temperatures will typically hover at 25°F (-4°C).
December is the coldest month of the year. Temperatures take a steep dive with the average low temperature dropping to 17°F (-8°C). High temperature is 43°F (6°C). This is the best time of the year to engage in winter sports like snowboarding and skiing.
The best time to visit New Mexico to enjoy Santa Fe’s festivals are October through November. The clear winner for skiing and other winter sports is December as this is the month with the highest average snowfall in the entire year. Hiking and other outdoors activities are best enjoyed near the end of summer and the beginning of fall, around August through September.
»Getting to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Depending on where you are coming from, there are many ways to get to Santa Fe. Most visitors fly either directly to Santa Fe, or to Albuquerque, one hour away. American Airlines has a daily flight to Santa Fe from Dallas/Ft. Worth and United Airlines offer one from Denver. Sandia Shuttle Express takes passengers from the Santa Fe or Albuquerque airports to town.
Driving to Santa Fe is exciting. The city is located at 7000 feet elevation, at the lower slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at the south end of the Rocky Mountains. It may take some time – 15 hours from Houston, for example, but you will have a memorable adventure. You can also catch Amtrak's Southwest Chief trains from Chicago and from Los Angeles-they arrive at Lamy, New Mexico every afternoon. Call the Lamy Shuttle to pick you up and take you to Santa Fe.
Photo: Linda Meyer/Fotolia
»Getting From the Santa Fe Airport
There are two regular shuttles that connect Santa Fe Sunport airport to the city.
Sandia Shuttle Express makes about 30 trips a day and will pick up or drop passengers at their hotels, B&Bs or anywhere else. Taos Express travels from the airport to Taos and makes a number of stops in Santa Fe. NM Rail Runner Express train runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and locations south of Santa Fe. If you want to use this shuttle, you will have to take a taxi or bus shuttle from the airport to the train station. If you prefer the freedom of your own wheels there are a large number of car rental agencies at the Sunport airport.
»Santa Fe Visitor Information Centers
The New Mexico Tourism Department does not want their half million visitors a year to miss anything, so they make sure that all information is available throughout Santa Fe. There are eight Visitor Information Centers throughout town and they provide precious information on special promotions, schedules, affordable hotels, neighborhoods, attractions, festivals dates and so much more. The knowledgeable staff has years of experience in tourism industry and is there to help each visitor have the best possible experience. Their website provides phone numbers and exact locations of each Visitor’s Information Center.
»Getting Around Santa Fe
Santa Fe is easily walkable and exploring the city by foot will probably give you the best feel of the city’s spirit. To see as much as possible, join one of several excellent walking tours. If you are a biker, you will enjoy city’s extensive bike trails that will take you through the downtown, surrounding neighborhoods and out into the wilderness. Get the map of the trails where bikes can be rentedor download it to your mobile device.
Santa Fe Trails is the city’s bus transit service that runs from dawn to late night, seven days a week, everywhere in the city. It is safe, clean, efficient and affordable. The easiest way to find all bus trails and schedules is to download the mobile app for your electronic device. You can also get this information from one of the city’s eight visitors’ information centers.
Santa Fe Pickup Shuttles are free busses that take passengers around the city’s Historic District and Museum District. Just look for signs ‘Pick it up here” with little red bus logo. Hop on and off when you see something interesting you want to explore.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is perfect for exploring the magnificent Rio Grande Valley. It covers 100 miles of rails from Santa Fe to Belen, and has 14 stops and runs daily.
»Santa Fe Restaurants
Whether you are just hungry or consider yourself a discerning food connoisseur exploring the new offerings, Santa Fe cuisine will delight you. There is a huge range of restaurants of all kinds, flavors and prices, from food stands and food trucks to fancy, elegant white tablecloth and crystal glass establishments. There are French, Middle Eastern, Italian, Asian, Indian and just about any other cuisine. But, you did not come to New Mexico to eat food you can find anywhere else. You came to try foods that locals eat, and that means eating a lot of chile – red and green chiles, which are delicious, fresh and flavorful. New Mexicans claim that chile is not merely a food but a way of life. You will find it in the renowned breakfast burritos, the green chile stew, chile rellenos or enchiladas. It is a featured ingredient in ‘traditional Southwestern cuisine.’ What is known as ‘innovative New Mexico fare’ means that a chef combined New Mexican traditional flavors with other ethnic influences. If you are not adventurous when it comes to food, don’t worry, you will also find popular chains and good steak houses.
»Shopping in Santa Fe
When shopping in Santa Fe – whether for a gift, souvenir, piece of clothing or a home décor - you will be drawn to the local art. There is a lot of art, from beautiful traditional Native American arts and crafts and Hispanic folk art to quirky contemporary works. For serious pieces, and prices, check out Canyon Road, an art galleries enclave. For Native American art, stroll under the Palace of the Governors’ portal. Santa Fe is also known for some of the world’s best art festivals such as the Spring Festival of the Arts, the Spanish Market or the Fall Festival of the Arts. The Modern Santa Fe Arcade is a three story elegant, stylish shopping mall which sells everything from upscale clothing to original Indian jewelry. Santa Fe Railyard is a great entertainment and shopping hub, with an excellent Farmer’s Market.
»Santa Fe Neighborhoods - The Plaza
The Plaza is Santa Fe’s 400-year old heart, the center around which everything revolves. It is the center of local culture, history, art and food, both for locals and tourists. Designed in the traditional Spanish-American colonial city-square style, the Plaza is surrounded by galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, the Plaza is made of a central grassy park with benches shaded by old trees where tourists love to hang out. The Plaza is also home to many festivals such as Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Spanish Market, the Indian Market and Santa Fe Bandstand. Santa Fe’s most important attractions, such as the
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the New Mexico History Museum, the Palace of the Governors and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum are located not far from the Plaza.
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»Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Historic Guadalupe
A short walk from the Plaza, Historic Guadalupe has very different vibe. While it is not as elegant and architecturally stunning as some other parts of the city, Guadalupe is a 20-square block laid-back and lively funky neighborhood full of quirky stores, simple adobe homes, popular cafes and restaurants. The district is named for Guadalupe Street which runs through it, and which was once a major route from Mexico and a sacred site for Catholic Pilgrims. The district is home to the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which dating to the 1700’s is the oldest of its kind in the States, and the El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, the museum of Hispanic culture, art and history.
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»Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Canyon Road
Canyon Road is a narrow long road leading from Santa Fe to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. While it currently houses Santa Fe’s art district, historically this street was a mostly residential neighborhood with lovely adobe houses and haciendas constructed in the Pueblo Revival style,. It has more than a hundred art studio and galleries, representing a range of art styles and techniques, from Native American art, antiquities, Latino art both historical and modern, regional New Mexico art and international folk art. Many formerly magnificent residences surrounded by tall walls have been converted to bed and breakfasts, galleries and restaurants.
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»Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Cerrillos Road
As you go southwest from the Plaza, you will find Cerrillos Road, the busiest boulevard in Santa Fe. It is very different part of Santa Fe from the quaint, colorful and artsy place you came to see. Modern, cosmopolitan and very busy, Cerrillos Road is lined with large, modern hotels, outlet malls and shopping centers. It is part of the city where many tourists find the modern amenities they are used to, at the cost of city’s quintessential charm. Traffic can be horrendous, but the upside is that the hotel prices are generally lower than in small, charming, historic places in other neighborhoods.
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»Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Old Pecos Trail
The Old Pecos Trail is another spoke in the wheel that is centered at Santa Fe’s famous Plaza. For a long time it used to be the main entry road into the city for Spanish and Mexican settlers. There are no big or famous hotels on this modest two-lane street, but there are some unexpected small jewels – both hotels and shops - that experienced travelers like to discover. If you are travelling with children, take them to the Santa Fe Children's Museum on the Trail. It has a wide range of hands-on exhibits on a wide range of subjects - from science to local ecosystems.
Photo: Gary Saxe/Fotolia
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»Getting Married in Santa Fe
Santa Fe is one of the world’s most romantic and unique places to get married in. It is historic, festive, colorful and picturesque, it has spectacular background vistas, quaint Spanish haciendas and earth-colored adobe dwellings as well as five-star hotels and resorts. Even the weather is perfect with 320 sunny days every year. For those looking for a sacred location, the oldest church in the country, San Miguel Mission, is in Santa Fe. Additionally, the Loretto Chapel, a beautiful Gothic-Revival building is famous for its miraculous staircase. For art lovers, there are more elegant galleries than anywhere else in the world. There is nothing as romantic as old haciendas surrounded by lush gardens hidden behind the tall adobe walls.
Getting a license to marry is fairly easy – there is no waiting required - as long as both parties are over 18 and have valid passports or some other valid photo ID. Same-sex marriages are legal in New Mexico.
Photo: Zack Frank/Fotolia
»Where to Stay in Santa Fe
Some people come to Santa Fe to relax and rejuvenate while others are fascinated by the history and art. Some visitors prefer modern amenities while others are looking for something different. In Santa Fe, you will find it all. From luxury five-star hotels on Cerrillos Road to small, exquisite boutique hotels with hundreds of years of history. There are luxurious resort and spas, ranch-style hotels, and bed and breakfasts in converted traditional Santa Fe style homes. You can also choose to sleep under the stars in one of the national parks. Plan ahead, especially if you are coming during the peak summer season or during one of many festivals. During the season the prices are higher and you may need to book months in advance to get the accommodation you want. Always ask for discounts, they vary from hotel to hotel and from season to season.
Photo: Melastmohican /Fotolia
Best Time to Visit Santa Fe, Weather Year Round
- Santa Fe, New Mexico Weather & Temperature by Month, Photo: Courtesy of amadeustx - Fotolia.com
- Getting to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Photo: Courtesy of Linda Meyer - Fotolia.com
- Getting From the Santa Fe Airport, Photo: Courtesy of Sarah125 - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Visitor Information Centers , Photo: Courtesy of qingwa - Fotolia.com
- Getting Around Santa Fe, Photo: Courtesy of Melastmohican - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Restaurants, Photo: Courtesy of qingwa - Fotolia.com
- Shopping in Santa Fe, Photo: Courtesy of victoria629 - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Neighborhoods - The Plaza, Photo: Courtesy of Melastmohican - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Historic Guadalupe, Photo: Courtesy of lizcoughlan - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Canyon Road, Photo: Courtesy of jennifercoulter - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Cerrillos Road, Photo: Courtesy of victoria629 - Fotolia.com
- Santa Fe Neighborhoods - Old Pecos Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Gary Saxe - Fotolia.com
- Getting Married in Santa Fe, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Where to Stay in Santa Fe, Photo: Courtesy of Melastmohican - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SW.Scott - Fotolia.com
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