Santa Fe –“the best small city in America”

October 1, 2014

Santa Fe –“the best small city in America”

If you’ve ever wondered what Santa Fe, New Mexico in the USA is like, it has recently been awarded “the best small city in America,” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards.


Santa Fe

They had this to say, “No other place in the country, so beautifully reflects the art, architecture, food and crafts of centuries of Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican influence.”

Sculptures by Susan Stamm Evans in Canyon Road

Having just spent five days in Santa Fe it’s an inspiring town especially if you’re interested in art and architecture.

But this title, “the best small city in America,” didn’t happen by chance. The folk of Santa Fe have been working on creating a culturally rich town, embracing all its history for some time.

Museum of Art – Santa Fe

In the 1910’s they decided their traditional adobe architecture was an asset, bringing tourists, so they passed a decree for all new structures to be built in the adobe style, modeled on the local Indian pueblos’.

adobe house

Typical adobe housing in Santa Fe

Today, the old part of the town is an impressive sea of earthy coloured, softly rounded abode buildings.

At about the same time the art scene was just beginning too.


Galleries on Canyon Road

Five impoverished artists named the “cinco pintores” moved into the ruins of some of the old adobe houses in Canyon Road painting scenes of the Southwest in the famed New Mexico light. The town has not looked back and today it is the 3rd largest art market in America after Los Angeles and New York with over 200 galleries, many of which are located in Canyon Road.


New Mexican landscape

We spent a couple of days meandering through the Canyon Road galleries and the myriad of museums in the town, including the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.


A gallery in Canyon Road, with a blue door, to ward off the evil spirits

Dotted throughout the town are many enticing restaurants to match this very stylish town. With a booming art scene, a sophisticated “out-of-town” clientele visit regularly. Don’t go past The Compound Restaurant on Canyon Road and James Campbell Caruso’s modern Spanish Tapas restaurants, La Boca and Taberna.


Tapas at Taberna Restaurant, Santa Fe



2017-09-21T03:40:50+12:00October 1st, 2014|USA|

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:


  1. jayant October 8, 2014 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Great little town did not know been to sf so many times

  2. Jaime Powers October 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I was born in SF and live in Abq, Great shots cool page, BUENO!!

    • admin October 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      I’m very pleased you liked the blog on Santa Fe and thank you for sharing it on your website.

  3. Eileen November 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Wonderful blog on Santa Fe! We have Estrella Del Norte Vineyard just 15 min north of Santa Fe. For anyone who wants to learn more about New Mexico’s wine history come by our winery! We’ll treat you to a tasting of our “world famous” Holy Molé. Salud amigos!

    • Jane Jeffries November 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      I’m only sorry we did not have more time to indulge in the local wines.. next time we’ll be there.

  4. KD Hummingbird November 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I’ve lived here since Time Began & I’m glad to see Santa Fe get this award. My first time guests are always treated to dinner at El Farol on Canyon Road, due to it’s 200 year old bar and the savor of the tapas. Joan Baez enjoyed her first meal so much she sang in appreciation after lunch. Robert Redford courted Sonia Braga in the back room during the filming of the Milagro Beanfield War. Actors Wes Studi and Val Kilmer used El Farol as their playground along with many high profile Native American artists and musicians. Great place to dance!

    • Cynthia Canyon March 22, 2015 at 2:33 am - Reply

      The music scene in Santa ‘re is a hidden treasure finding musicians here you dint the same creativity as the thousand artists and two hundred passionate chefs that also live here it’s the place that feeds the soul of creativity Tuesday night jam at el Carol brings out many of them can’t wait till the Eldorado lounge opens up again and other new nightclups to showcase the best music scene in the best small town in America too!!

      • Jane Jeffries March 23, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

        I’m sorry Cynthia we didn’t have more time to explore the music scene as well – next time.

  5. Drew Scott March 21, 2015 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Jane, thank you for your kind and accurate description of Santa Fe. We have lived here for 17 years and find new scenes with the ever changing light. When asked what I like the most about SF, I simply reply “for me it’s the end of the trail.”

    • Jane Jeffries March 23, 2015 at 8:31 am - Reply

      Hi Drew, it must be fantastic to find a place you feel so ‘at one’ with and I can understand why.

  6. jen March 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Shuts down in the winter. Diversity is selective. But I guess that is most places

    • Jane Jeffries March 23, 2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Thanks for you comment Jen. Many places shut down in winter but I guess it’s because we are better travellers in the warmer temperatures.

    • Mel October 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Santa Fe does not shut down in the winter! The plaza lit up with christmas lights on trees dotted with snow, hot cocoa in hand… it’s a beautiful place year round.

    • JesL October 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      I grew up in Santa Fe and my family had been for generations. Santa Fe and most of NM are pure magic- unlike any city in the US. The music, the art, the FOOD, the tradition. Every season is a good season to visit, and don’t believe it shuts down in winter! Winter brings the magic of snow to the southern Rocky Mountains! Grab some gear and hit the slopes!

    • Kash October 22, 2015 at 4:48 am - Reply

      Not sure why Jen thinks it “shuts down”…. Our family has lived here for generations and as far as I know, the only time anything shuts down is when the snow STOPS and the ski season closes! Love Santa Fe!!!

  7. Margie March 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Jane, nice piece, especially the photos. I live in Santa Fe. What do you think “Best Small City in America” means? Are they just looking for tourist sights? Santa Fe is a great place and has much to offer culturally, but it’s also a complicated mix of economic, educational, racial troubles. Come back sometime and venture away from Canyon Road.

    • Jane Jeffries March 23, 2015 at 8:25 am - Reply

      Thanks for you thoughts Margie. I do hope to return one day

  8. Nancy March 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Freemont Ellis is one of the “cinco pintores” referred to in this article….my grandpa, Charles Broome, of Broome Furniture Co. in the 1950s accepted oil paintings by Freemont Ellis and Sheldon Parsons (the stunning paintings me and my family grew up with) as payment for furniture….nice barter, eh?!

  9. Ian Mathias March 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Everything was going good on this article then you had to mention the blue door!! Lol

  10. Joan Carroll March 26, 2015 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Wonderful…..enjoyed all your comments and throughly agree with you. As a member of Bienvedidos, the volunteer division of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, we work to help the tourists with our downtown information booth during our busy season. We meet wonderful people from all over the world and hope they will love our hometown as much as we do. We feel so fortunate to live in a city with such a culturally rich history.

  11. Jennifer Ley March 26, 2015 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Your lead sentence is so apt. You really do have to continually remind anyone you use to ship something to Santa Fe that it is in NEW Mexico and that it is part of the UNITED STATES. We love our 125 year old adobe, which was the guest house for the first Director of the Art Museum, Sheldon Parsons. And most of the time, things we send to our house do end up there, not in Mexico. But I have been told by Citibank that I should have let them know I was leaving the country!
    Thanks to the new Mayor, the town is really perking up, finding ways to appeal to not just the traditional Santa Fe tourist but the young tech savvy crowd.

  12. Mark Massick October 18, 2015 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Been going to Santa Fe for over 20 years, sometimes twice a year, for vacation. It’s the only place we’ve ever been that feels like home. Love the art, architecture and food. Not as pricy, but we love The Shed and its sister restaurant La Choza, plus The Chocolate Maven, which wins best of Santa Fe almost every year. Hope one day to move there. I know they have issues like everybody else, but it truly is the City Different.

  13. Ennis Ibarra October 24, 2015 at 1:26 am - Reply

    And regarding food, me having lived in Santa Fe for 4 years, don’t miss the new-mexican couisine, not just tapas and spanish heritage, but probably as important and people is quite proud about their October Hatch Chile roast at the mall’s parking lots. My favourite La Choza, on Cerrillos, but there is pletora of places you can try some food with a bit of a kick.

Leave A Comment

Go to Top