20 Things
To Do First
in Santa Fe

Aerial view of downtown Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountains

Whether you’ve just bought your Santa Fe home (congratulations!) or your search is still in progress, focus on the future and start planning what you should do once you move into your new home. We tapped into our expertise as Santa Fe real estate brokers and residents to put together a list of 20 things you should do first in Santa Fe. Welcome to The City Different!

A covered portal with supporting posts, exterior bricks in walled courtyard with trees and yucca plants in Santa Fe, NM.

Housekeeping Tasks

1. Tour Your New Home
Once you take possession of your new home and move in, take care of these essential tasks to protect your property and all its occupants. These housekeeping tasks include: Locate the fuse box. Find out where the water shut-off valve is and how to operate it. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace as needed. Replace all air filters when you move in and schedule subsequent replacements in your calendar.

2. Complete Your Change of Address
Visit your local post office or go online to the Official USPS® Change-of-Address website to change your mailing address. Then be sure to update your mailing address on your bank accounts, health insurance, employment files, and other online accounts. Don’t forget to let family and friends know your new address.

3. Transfer or Get Home Insurance
Home insurance is a must to protect your dwelling and personal property. Transfer your coverage to your new home or arrange for a new policy. Be sure to check for exactly what your homeowners insurance policy covers. A typical policy covers damage from fire and water damage caused by leaks or broken pipes—but not water damage caused by flooding. While flood protection might not be top of mind for Santa Fe residents, the City of Santa Fe recommends buying flood insurance as the best option for homeowners.

4. Learn About Trash and Recycling Services

Head to the Environmental Services Division on the City of Santa Fe website to find out when trash and recycling is picked up at your address. Your home might not be equipped with the appropriate blue recycling cart or green trash cart when you first move in. The Collections Information page will give you all the info you need about trash and recycling pick-up.

Aerial view of Santa Fe which includes many of it's subdivisions.

Neighborhood Explorations

5. Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is an important step becoming part of a new community. You might introduce yourself by bringing a small gift like cut flowers or a potted plant when you go to meet them for the first time. Spending time outdoors will give you a chance to say hello and introduce yourself.

6. Locate the Nearest Park or Green Space
The City of Santa Fe has nearly 70 developed parks and 26 undeveloped parks. Santa Fe County owns parks and open spaces that include Cerrillos Hills State Park and El Camino Real Park. Find the nearest park or green space and become a frequent visitor.

7. Explore The Plaza
The Santa Fe Plaza has witnessed over 400 years of New Mexican history and today is home to annual events including the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Fiestas de Santa Fe. Simply put, the Plaza is a one-block square public park bordered by San Francisco Street, Washington Avenue, Palace Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue. But when you visit the Plaza, you’re surrounded by many of Santa Fe’s major landmarks and historic sites—including the Palace of the Governors, the Loretto Chapel, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

8. Shop the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
One of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in the United States, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market takes pride in offering veggies, fruit, and nursery plants 100 percent grown in northern New Mexico. The market is open all year long on Saturdays at the Santa Fe Railyard. Shop for fresh produce, baked goods, meats, dairy, eggs, and more.
Bronze western sculptures in front of the entrance to Museum Hill

Santa Fe History and Culture

9. Visit the Palace of the Governors
Soak up centuries of history at the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the country. Built in 1610, the Palace served as the seat of government for Spain’s colonial territories in the Southwest. Today the Palace of the Governors is part of the campus of the New Mexico History Museum, located on the north side of the Plaza.

10. Visit Museum Hill
With four museums plus the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, you’ll need to schedule more than one visit here. Museum Hill encompasses the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Plan to spend a morning or afternoon at each institution. Cap off your visit with lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe.

11. Explore Native American Culture
There are so many ways to learn about New Mexico’s Native American culture in Santa Fe, we can’t recommend just one. New Mexico is home to 19 Pueblos, eight of them located between Santa Fe and Taos. Visitors are welcome on Feast Days, but remember these events are cultural ceremonies and not performances for tourists. Make the most of a Pueblo visit by calling ahead to learn about rules of etiquette for visitors. Another suggestion is to visit Bandelier National Monument and Pecos National Historical Park. Bandelier preserves ancient petroglyphs and cave dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Pecos preserves the prehistoric ruins of the Pecos Pueblo.

12. Book a Tour with Heritage Inspirations
For authentically-curated guided tours of Santa Fe and Taos, connect with Heritage Inspirations. With offerings like a tour of the Taos Pueblo (the only living Native American community designated as a World Heritage UNESCO site) and e-bike tours through Santa Fe, you’ll get a hands-on, immersive introduction to the art, culture, and places that make Santa Fe unique.
Steel sign with blue lettering and grasses at the entrance to Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Santa Fe Landmarks

13. Explore the Santa Fe Railyard
Is it an urban park? An entertainment space? An outdoor mall with art galleries and restaurants? A commuter rail station? Yes to all of the above. The Santa Fe Railyard is a vibrant urban space where you can dine, shop, see a movie, and enjoy live performances. Thirteen acres of green space includes Railyard Park with picnic areas set among shady groves and garden landscapes.

14. Stroll Canyon Road
More than a hundred art galleries, restaurants, jewelry stores, and designer boutiques line a mile-long stretch of Canyon Road. Wrap your visit around breakfast, lunch, or dinner at one of the restaurants you’ll encounter along the way.

15. View Santa Fe from the Cross of the Martyrs
Get a sweeping view of Santa Fe and the surrounding valley when you climb the stairs to the Cross of the Martyrs monument, which you can reach after a 10-minute walk from the Plaza. The panoramic views are especially beautiful at sunset. Plaques along the way tell the history of Santa Fe.

16. Experience Meow Wolf
Located at 1352 Rufina Circle, Meow Wolf is a unique complex where visitors of all ages dive into immersive, multimedia experiences through a fusion of art, storytelling, and entertainment. Their House of Eternal Return is a wildly imaginative 20,000-square-foot experiential art space created by a collaboration of over 100 local artists.
Man works with beer brewing tanks.

Santa Fe Food and Drink

17. Eat a Green Chile Cheeseburger
You can’t live in Santa Fe without sampling a green chile cheeseburger. A few restaurants that specialize in this culinary delight include La PlazuelaCowgirl BBQ, and Atrisco Cafe and Bar.

18. Sample Freshly Roasted Coffee
Santa Fe has embraced artisanal coffee with a Southwest twist. That includes allowing time to sit down and enjoy a freshly brewed cup at one of the cafes highlighted in our Santa Fe Coffee Lover’s Trek blog post.

19. Sample a Local Brew
Santa Fe is home to multiple breweries where you can sample craft beers on site and take some home. Our craft beer blog post highlights six of our favorite spots.

20. Taste New Mexican Chocolate
Chocolate is a New Mexican food that goes back a thousand years. Santa Fe residents can enjoy hand-crafted chocolate candies and drinking chocolates crafted by artisanal chocolate makers. Many Santa Fe chocolate purveyors infuse their chocolates with chiles, prickly pear, citrus zest, lavender, rum, or orange blossoms. Our blog posts highlights five chocolate makers that are stops on the Santa Fe Chocolate Trail.