Tourism is a major element 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. Tourism information is provided by the convention and visitor bureau and the chamber of commerce.
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 since the time of Spanish colonization. Other areas include “Museum Hill”, the site of the major art museums of the city as well as the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which takes place each year during the second full weekend of July. The Canyon Road arts area with its galleries is also a major attraction for locals and visitors alike.
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. This is also the time of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe, celebrating the “reconquering” of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas, a highlight of which is the burning Zozobra (“Old Man Gloom”), a 50 foot marionette.
Popular day trips in the Santa Fe area include locations such as the town of Taos, about 70 miles north of Santa Fe. The historic Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera can be found about 30 miles away. Santa Fe’s ski area, Ski Santa Fe, is about 16 miles north of the city. Chimayo is also nearby and many locals complete the annual pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo.