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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Santa Fe in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Santa Fe in 2024

What's the best time to visit Santa Fe?

The best time to visit Santa Fe is summer, combining warm days with a vibrant cultural scene. With manageable heat and cooling afternoon showers, it’s ideal for enjoying the lush landscapes and artistic events like the Folk Art Market and Santa Fe Opera. Summer brings the city to life with celebrations of art and nature.

Santa Fe in New Mexico is more than just the capital of the state, it’s also a historic city that is an all-important reminder of the state’s Mexican heritage. The amazing historic attractions are one of the biggest reasons to visit.

Here, you can visit the historic Barrio de Analco, a pueblo neighborhood dating back to 17th-century Mexican rule, or head out of town to the Puye cliff dwellings, built by the local indigenous Pueblo people.

In the modern day, Santa Fe has become famous as a center of arts and culture, which you can see just on a quick walk through Canyon Road.

The New Mexico tourism board proudly says that Santa Fe is a four season destination, but what time of year really is the best to visit? Keep reading to learn more.

Overall Best Time to Visit Santa Fe

The shops lining the street on a cloudy day at dusk pictured during the Fall, the best time to visit Santa Fe New Mexico

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Santa Fe is in the summer, when the city’s cultural calendar is in full swing, and you can enjoy the best that it has to offer.

Santa Fe’s summers are hot, like the rest of New Mexico, but since the city is located at a high elevation, temperatures are never unbearable. Average high temperatures in June, July, and August range from 83-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is pretty hot, but you can manage the temperatures by getting up early for outdoor activities. New Mexico experiences monsoons in the summer, but they are rarely severe in Santa Fe.

While you should be prepared for regular showers in the afternoon, they shouldn’t affect your plans too much. Just follow any safety warnings that are put out. In fact, you’ll find that the rains make the evenings a pleasant temperature after they fall.

Thanks to the gorgeous weather, summer is a good time to explore the beautiful nature around Santa Fe. The city isn’t surrounded by desert, but by lush landscapes that thrive in the arid weather if you know how to look for them.

Places such as the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary are perfect for a summer getaway. The real reason to visit Santa Fe in the summer is the bustling cultural calendar. Santa Fe has gained a reputation as a national center of art.

It’s been a center for Native American artists for centuries, and in the early 20th century many world-famous artists moved to this part of New Mexico to study local nature and art forms (the city has galleries honoring some of the most famous, including Georgia O’Keefe).

The result is a city that now is a center for the arts. You can visit the galleries and venues all year round, but during summer the festivals attract artists from all over the United States and beyond.

Some of the biggest events include:

One thing’s for sure—with so many people out and about, you certainly won’t spend your summer evenings sitting in your hotel room.

Cheapest Time to Visit Santa Fe

Guy riding his bike in the Galisteo Basin Preserve in April, one of the best times to visit Santa Fe

Galisteo, New Mexico/USA – April 6, 2020: Man and dog Mountain biking in Galisteo Basin Preserve near Santa Fe, New Mexico/Tara Kenny/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Santa Fe is from January to April, as the late winter into spring period doesn’t attract many visitors. Winter is one of the more inexpensive times to visit.

February in particular is a quiet month, which also means that you can snag good deals on hotels. Many accommodations offer 15-20% off places to stay. Getting to Santa Fe if you are traveling from out of state is also less expensive during this time.

January and early February are the least expensive times to fly to Santa Fe, because like most domestic U.S. destinations, demand is lower after the holiday season and many airlines offer discounts.

Savings continue well into spring, which is Santa Fe’s shoulder season. You may have to do some shopping around to find a good hotel deal, but with some digging, you can find listings at 30-40% off regular prices.

Spring is the best time to visit to save money as a family, as the city offers special deals and discounted admissions for kids to many popular attractions.

Least Busy Time to Visit Santa Fe

Photo of the exterior of the New Mexico Museum of Art pictured in front of a blue sky during the least busy time to visit Santa Fe

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, USA, April, 4, 2014: Exterior view of the New Mexico Museum of Art, downtown, Santa Fe, New Mexico/LizCoughlan/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Santa Fe is in the fall. During time time, you’ll beat the crowds while still getting to enjoy the best of the city like the good weather and the lively cultural calendar.

Once summer ends, things get a lot quieter in Santa Fe. September already sees fewer visitors. While October sees a slight influx in tourists due to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in nearby Albuquerque, by the end of the month and into November you’ll have the town to yourself again.

Although things cool down in the fall, it’s still warm enough to go for hikes in the surrounding mountains. Believe it or not, even Santa Fe experiences changing fall foliage in the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Fall is a great time to visit because there are plenty of cultural festivals, but they are not as packed with tourists as the ones that happen in the summer.

Popular events include:

Fall is chile roasting season in New Mexico, and as you walk through the streets of Santa Fe, you’ll smell this sweet, pungent smell wherever you go.

New Mexico chiles are all-important for the regional culture and cuisine, and the whole community gets involved in the party when roasting season comes around. Taste some of the resulting specialties at the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, held in September.

Worst Time to Visit Santa Fe

The desert valley pictured during the Summer, the worst time to visit Santa Fe, with heat reflecting off of the valley

Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

The overall worst time to visit Santa Fe is in the winter. During this time, the winter is the bleakest due to the chilly weather, but even this season brings plenty of things to do.

People make the mistake of thinking that Santa Fe has warm winters due to its location in New Mexico, but it can actually get quite cold. Day time temperatures are usually in the low 40s in December, January, and February, while it can get well below freezing at night.

It even snows, and the city is magical under the cover of a white blanket. The cold weather is the cause of one of Santa Fe’s hidden gems—skiing.

The mountains around the city are home to several small but cozy ski resorts such as Ski Santa Fe, which is only about 20 minutes away from the city, perfect for a relaxing day of hitting the slopes. You may not have expected to go skiing on your New Mexico vacation, but anything is possible.

Another reason why people don’t recommend visiting Santa Fe in the winter is that the cultural events wind down. There are almost no festivals and not as many events to go to.

Even year-round attractions such as museums and galleries often have shorter hours. The exception is Christmas in Santa Fe. December is full of traditional Christmas celebrations such as posadas, or reenactment parades, light displays, and the Canyon Road Farolito Walk.

These traditions show off Santa Fe’s Mexican heritage. Around this time, the indigenous Pueblo people also host their traditional dances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yucca Art Gallery pictured during the worst time to visit Santa Fe New Mexico, in July, with few people on the path

Santa Fe, New Mexico – 27 July, 2008: Yucca Art Gallery entrance from the sidewalk in old town Santa Fe/Baiterek Media/Shutterstock

Here are some of the most common questions we’re asked about finding the best time to visit Santa Fe:

What is the best month to visit Santa Fe?

The best month to visit Santa Fe is July, which has the highest concentration of cultural festivals as well as gorgeous weather.

How many days do you need to see Santa Fe?

You need three or four days to see all that Santa Fe has to offer, as well as explore some of the surrounding nature.

What are the best months to visit New Mexico?

The best months to visit all of New Mexico are September and October, when the summer heat dies down and there is plenty to do.

When is the rainy season in Santa Fe?

Santa Fe’s rainy season is in July and August, which coincides with the New Mexico monsoon season. However, showers are sporadic even during the city’s rainy season.

Is Santa Fe expensive?

Santa Fe is not that affordable since local businesses mostly cater to well-heeled travelers, but you can find budget options especially during the off-season.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Santa Fe?

Santa Fe in the summer is truly something special. The weather is warm but not hot, and the city is packed with arts festivals of all kinds. To save some money and beat the crowds, spring and fall are a good time to visit.

So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Santa Fe has to offer. Happy travels!