Santa Fe 101 Guide | First things First

Table of Contents

St. Francis of Assisi became the patron saint of Santa Fe in 1717.


Even if you’re incredibly fit, high-altitude sickness can affect anyone at any time. Santa Fe is located in the high mountain desert at an altitude of 7,199 feet, so please take it easy the first couple of days. Vigorous exercise and the drinking of alcohol can affect you greatly if you’re not accustomed to a high altitude. There’s an oxygen bar close to the center of the plaza which can provide relief for those having a hard time adjusting to the altitude, or you can purchase Boost, which is fresh oxygen in a can. Halotherapy can also help with respiratory ailments and can be found at the Santa Fe Salt Cave. Extra moisturizer and lip balm are also recommended for use in the arid climate.

Where to find oxygen relief in Santa Fe:

Check the weather before you arrive. Santa Fe has four distinct seasons and some days you can experience all four of them in one day! When I was growing up, prior to climate change, we would have six to eight substantial snow storms of a foot or more every winter. Unlike Arizona, our temperate neighbor to the west, it will occasionally snow here in the mountains in early June.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up people at the airport in March who were wearing shorts and flip flops and experienced the shock of their lives during their spring break holiday.


Before you venture out please watch my short video Santa Fe History 101. It’s important to know that Santa Fe’s not just another beautiful town – it’s the most historically significant city in the county! I kid you not, no other place can compare to the complexity of history layered through different centuries that provides the foundation of this ancient city. Once you have all the facts, you’ll truly appreciate all that Santa Fe has offer. If you’re serious about history then I encourage you to take my tour, Santa Fe Revisited. The three-hour tour is the only one of its kind based on research from my eight books. Not to worry if history’s not your thing, the city of

Santa Fe provides a listing of tours from art, to architecture, to food and everything in between. I’m also a member of Santa Fe Tour Guides which provides an array of tours of the city and northern New Mexico. Happy Hunting.

These are the three most popular tourist destinations listed in order of popularity, according to my market research as an Uber driver:

There are numerous sites to visit in Santa Fe, the ones listed below are also popular with visitors:

Additional Information on many of these sites can be found in my books:

The Santa Fe Visitor’s Center also lists additional sites: todoinsantafe.com/info/visitor_information

If you’re staying in the Santa Fe plaza, or its perimeter, you won’t find any grocery stores in the immediate area. Here’s a list of food shops located about five minutes by car from the plaza:

Grocery Stores Near Historic Downtown:

Grocery stores like the one pictured on Galisteo street in Santa Fe in the 1940s are no longer located in the Santa Fe plaza area.

Liquor Stores Near Historic Downtown:

Shopping is such an arduous task but someone’s got to do it! Not to worry, the merchants of Santa Fe have your back and they’ll assist you through every aspect of your shopping experience. If this is your first visit then I highly recommend stopping by the Palace of the Governors where the Pueblo Indians sell jewelry, pottery and other hand-made products. Not only will you be supporting the true locals, you’ll be buying directly from the artist.