Outdoors or the Arts? The Great Santa Fe Debate

Mountain biker riding down a trail overlooking Santa Fe

Santa Fe seems to exist in its own little universe. When you’re here, the rest of the world seems to fade away.


And we’re not just talking about the enchanting vibe of New Mexico culture, this is scientifically provable: The elevation in Santa Fe is high enough so that gravity is actually lighter here than it would be in a coastal city. Okay, maybe not by much, but that may be part of the reason why New Mexico can feel like its own cozy little planet whether you’re an indoorsy or outdoorsy type. Of course, the question remains—are the cultural landmarks or outdoor attractions the bigger draw in Santa Fe?



Two snowboarders heading downhill at Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a view of mountains in the background

Some Of Our Favorite Outdoor Attractions

Ski Santa Fe

Of course we had to start here, right? When people think of the desert, they don’t realize that it can be a winter wonderland as early as autumn. There are skiers who will take Santa Fe’s scenic slopes over Aspen any day of the week.


A view of a pond and a golf green at the Golf Quail Run course in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quail Run Golf Course

Quail Run isn’t the only golf course in Santa Fe. In fact, there are two more in walking distance from Quail Run. But this one is a favorite for a number of reasons. The laid-back setting and just-challenging-enough obstacles make for a golf course that you can enjoy with friends whether you’re a skilled pro or just looking for a way to enjoy an afternoon. The prime location makes this one of the most beautiful places to enjoy a game in the fall.


A mountain biker viewing a sunset over the mountains at the Dale Ball Trails in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dale Ball Trails

You can head out in any direction from your Santa Fe home and find a great hiking trail on the edges of the city, but Dale Ball Trails will just about guarantee you a good experience any day of the week. Located right outside of downtown with 22 miles of dirt catering to all levels of ability and intensity, this trail system offers scenic vistas of the city and surrounding landscapes. For many outdoorsy types, Dale Ball Trails are the reason you move to Santa Fe in the first place. Perfect for summertime biking and early autumn hikes.



One of the galleries at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Some Of Our Favorite Cultural Landmarks

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

A cornerstone of New Mexico culture, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum features a tour of the artist’s home and studio and galleries devoted to her work. A necessary visit for any Santa Fean. Worthy of unlimited repeat visits as well. 


A view from the audiences' perspective of the stage of the Santa Fe Opera. A view of the sky can be seen in this open-air theater.

Santa Fe Opera

The Santa Fe Opera is a breathtaking piece of architecture. Flanked by open space, its stage frames performances with scenic New Mexico vistas. Whatever event you attend there, you will have an unforgettable experience.


A symphonic performance on the stage of the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Lensic Performing Arts Center

The Lensic always has some great performances on the calendar, but this October the legendary Joan Baez will take the stage as part of her last extended live tour.  Check out the Lensic event calendar for 2018 and 2019 performances.


The exterior and lighted marquee of the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Jean Cocteau Cinema

The culture of cinema is alive and thriving in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, an arthouse theater owned by George R.R. Martin. The theater showcases classic, independent and foreign films, and is current running Sundance shorts. A mecca for film buffs in the great Southwest.


The truth is, it’s impossible to choose whether it’s the culture or the outdoors that are the real draw in Santa Fe. But don’t worry, we’ve got some good news for you: When you buy a home in Santa Fe, you can enjoy the best of both. Looking to relocate here? We’d love to help you find your dream home. Contact us today to get started!


Jean Cocteau Cinema by Thomson M is licensed under CC BY 3.0