First things first, you need to decide where to stay in Santa Fe before you book your upcoming trip to this New Mexico town. Santa Fe is one of the most visited destinations in New Mexico and its bounty of art galleries, history, and Indigenous culture invites even the most intrepid traveler to the “land of enchantment.”
The times I’ve been to this charming adobe city have given me the inside scoop on the best things to do in Santa Fe and how to get the most out of a trip. In this guide, I’ll go over the best places to stay in Santa Fe to help your trip sail more smoothly.
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Best Places to Stay in Santa Fe
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Santa Fe? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – La Fonda on the Plaza
- ✨ Best Luxury Hotel – Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
- 👪 Best for Families – La Posada De Santa Fe
- 👔 Best for Business – The Hacienda & Spa
- 🏨 Best Boutique – El Rey Court
- 🥾 Best Near Hiking Trails – Casa De Gracia
- 💵 Best Budget – Ramada by Wyndham Santa Fe
Ok, let’s do a deep dive of the best areas and neighborhoods in Santa Fe:
5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Santa Fe
Most neighborhoods in Santa Fe are relatively close to each other and are within walking or bike-riding distance. Many travelers stay in the downtown/Santa Fe Plaza area but some suburbs also have a distinctive appeal.
Where you stay depends on what activities you want to do. If it’s your first time in town, I recommend staying downtown to be closer to the tourist attractions. If you’ve been to Santa Fe already, I recommend staying closer to the foothills in the quiet Historic Eastside neighborhood.
Downtown Santa Fe
Santa Fe tourism has established roots in Downtown Santa Fe. Here you will find most museums, art galleries, restaurants, and a large concentration of hotels. There are also various annual events in Downtown Santa Fe like the Labor Day Indian Market or the Wine & Chile Fiesta.
Staying in this neighborhood is best suited for first-time travelers who want to be close to the bulk of the action. Most amenities are within walking distance in Downtown Santa Fe, negating the need for an Uber or taxi.
Many of the accommodation options downtown are adorable adobe fortresses, a tribute to the town’s Indigenous and Spanish past. Much like the sandstone-colored establishments of Sedona, one of the best places in Arizona, Downtown Santa Fe architecture preserves the town’s historic, aesthetically-pleasing adobe buildings.
Some adobe accommodations in town, like Sunny Adobe Casita, are available to rent and give visitors a unique, local Santa Fe feel.
Pros of Staying in Downtown Santa Fe Neighborhood:
- Within walking distance of major attractions
- Plenty of accommodation options are available
- Budget-friendly hotels
- Plenty of restaurants to choose from
- Near special events and souvenir shops
- Luxury hotels and boutique hotels are abundant
Cons of Staying in Downtown Santa Fe Neighborhood:
- Can be noisy at night and crowded during the day
- Hotels may sell out, especially on the weekends
- Food can be expensive
- Hard to find public transportation
📚 Downtown Santa Fe Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Entertainment
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Downtown Santa Fe
🎟️ Top Attractions – Santa Fe Plaza, New Mexico History Museum, Museum Hill, Meow Wolf, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Francis Cathedral Basilica, Loretto Chapel, Ski Santa Fe, Rosewood Inn
Stay in the Historic Eastside Santa Fe neighborhood to be away from the chaos of Downtown Santa Fe and close to hiking trails. This residential area is bounded by the Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo De Peralta just outside of downtown.
Closer to the rolling foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Historic Eastside accommodations are peaceful, quiet, and blend in with their natural surroundings. Many trails like the Dale Ball Trails can also be accessed from this side of town.
While there are no grand, luxurious resorts in this suburb, there are quaint cottages and timeless homesteads draped in ivy and accompanied by desert sage.
This area is also near the famous Canyon Road, a street lined with galleries and boutiques. Although the Historic Eastside neighborhood is outside of the activity capital of Santa Fe, the plaza area, there are still tons of things to do.
Pros of Staying in Historic Eastside Neighborhood:
- Quieter than the downtown area
- Close to the hiking trails of Santa Fe National Forest
- Fresh mountain air
- Plenty of entertaining activities
- Many home rental options
Cons of Staying in Historic Eastside Neighborhood:
- Farther away from the centralized, tourist location
- Not many hotel options are available
- Food and accommodation can be pricey on this side of town
📚 Historic Eastside Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Hiking Trails
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Historic Eastside
🎟️ Top Attractions – Dale Ball Trails, Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Patrick Smith Park
👉 Pro Tip: Check out some of the best tours in Santa Fe to visit some of the best sites with a professional.
Canyon Road is one of the more affluent Santa Fe neighborhoods. The organic adobe community boasts an art gallery-lined street with over 100 showrooms. Travelers who have an admiration for the arts find themselves staying in the Canyon Road Santa Fe district.
In a one-half-mile radius, Canyon Road hosts a century of galleries, boutiques, and charming restaurants. Visitors from all over the U.S. pay a visit to the famous Canyon Road to view the country’s finest art.
Only 5 minutes from Santa Fe Plaza, Canyon Road is the perfect place to stay for artsy individuals. It’s far less crowded than the downtown area but still receives its fair share of day-visiting tourists. While there are only a few hotels in the area, you will find adorable rentals like Girard Gardens Casa.
Pros of Staying in Canyon Road Neighborhood:
- Surrounded by beautiful art galleries and adobe rentals
- No chain restaurants or hotels
- Small-town neighborhood feel
- Just a few blocks from historic Santa Fe Plaza
Cons of Staying in Canyon Road Neighborhood:
- Not many hotels are available
- Accommodation and food can be expensive
- Roads are very narrow, not good for wide vehicles
- Can be extremely crowded, especially on the weekends
📚 Canyon Road Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Art Galleries
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Canyon Road
🎟️ Top Attractions – Canyon Road Contemporary Art, Mark White Fine Art, Wiford Gallery Santa Fe
Midtown Santa Fe
Midtown Santa Fe is one of the most overlooked districts of this adobe city. What was once an old industrial district filled with warehouses is now an up-and-coming hip neighborhood in the southern part of town.
Visit the Baca Street Arts District in Midtown, an art-forward area known for local galleries, or Second Street, an area home to bistros, coffee shops, and taprooms. Meow Wolf is another top Midtown Santa Fe attraction, an unusual, interactive art installation that’s larger than life.
Midtown Santa Fe is an emerging tourist destination and is a great place for visitors to stay for affordable accommodation options and a peaceful night’s rest. You won’t find yourself bored for a moment in this area of town that’s known as the “edgier side of Santa Fe.”
Pros of Staying in Midtown Santa Fe Neighborhood:
- The most affordable district in Santa Fe
- Near fun art entertainment
- Far less crowded than other Santa Fe, New Mexico neighborhoods
Cons of Staying in Midtown Santa Fe Neighborhood:
- Farther away from the main downtown activities
- Fewer entertaining activities and sightseeing options
- Hotels aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as other hotels in Santa Fe
📚 Midtown Santa Fe Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Affordable Prices|
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Midtown Santa Fe
🎟️ Top Attractions – Frenchy’s Field/ Santa Fe River Trail, Ivan Head Stadium
The industrial environment of the Railyard District makes it one of the coolest places to stay in Santa Fe. Many locals hang out in this area of town, where live music echoes from breweries and fresh produce is sourced from the weekly farmers market.
Visit the Museum of Culture, the Railyard Artisans Market, Tequila Tuesday at BOXCAR, partake in a historic Railyard walking tour, or have a picnic in Railyard Park; there’s so much to do in this district.
Santa Fe’s Railyard District is a less-visited neighborhood but is easily a tourist favorite. It’s only a 15-minute walk from the main Downtown Santa Fe area and hosts a variety of activities to do, shops, and restaurants.
There are many hotels in this area but I recommend checking out picturesque boutiques like the Clementine House before you make your final decision.
Pros of Staying in Railyard District Neighborhood:
- Removed from main tourist crowds
- Close to fun Santa Fe attractions, restaurants, and breweries
- Within walking distance of Downtown Santa Fe
- Many accommodation options are available
Cons of Staying in Railyard District Neighborhood:
- Farther away from the main tourist attractions
- Food can be expensive
- Not close to nature or any hiking trails
📚 Railyard District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nighttime Entertainment
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Railyard District
🎟️ Top Attractions – Railyard Park, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe Southern Railway
Tips for Staying in Santa Fe
Read Online Reviews Beforehand
Even if you find the perfect hotel in Santa Fe for the perfect price and in an ideal location, you should still check the online reviews, just in case.
Reviews from past travelers will update you on things the hotel won’t say outright themselves. This will save you an unhappy experience in the long run and keep you from potentially booking accommodation that’s less than satisfactory.
Keep the Cleaning Fee in Consideration
House rentals are on the rise in Santa Fe. More and more visitors opt to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel because they usually get the whole house to themselves.
Take the rental cleaning fee into consideration when budgeting for your house rental. The cleaning fee usually doesn’t show in the price per night and can sometimes be as much or more than the nightly price.
Go Grocery Shopping
While Santa Fe is one of the best places to visit in the USA, it’s not the cheapest. Go grocery shopping and purchase your own food to save some money while in Santa Fe.
Most house rentals and some hotel rooms have their own kitchens. Factor this feature into your decision on where to stay in Santa Fe to save some money in the long run.
Plan for the Season
New Mexico experiences four distinct seasons. If you visit this culturally-rich Southwestern town in the winter, be prepared for the cold.
I recommend traveling to Santa Fe in the winter because there are far fewer tourists at this time and hotels will be heavily discounted. With the proper layers, this can be your new favorite season to travel to New Mexico.
Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit because New Mexico has quite a few hot springs to visit, even in the snow.
Look for Bundle Deals
Hotel bundle deals are often available online if you book early enough. If you’re a last-minute planner like me, however, then you’re better off checking bundle websites for accommodation discounts.
I recommend comparing the prices of many different third-party websites to find the cheapest one. You can also try calling the hotel directly to see what their private price is, outside of third-party websites.
Choose Your Location in Santa Fe Based on Activities
I recommend figuring out what you want to do in Santa Fe before you book your accommodation. This way, you can be closer to the activities you want to do without having to travel a far distance.
If you want to experience all the top Santa Fe attractions, I recommend staying in Downtown Santa Fe for at least one night.
Several New Mexico hot springs are 1- 1 ½ hours northwest of Santa Fe and the charming Indigenous town of Taos is 1 ½ hour north of Santa Fe. Figure out what activities are on the top of your list then stay in an area of Santa Fe that’s close to them.
Search for Dog-Friendly Hotels in Santa Fe
If you’re like me and you travel with your four-legged friend, you will need to search for dog-friendly places to stay in Santa Fe New Mexico.
The good news is, there are plenty of hotels and rentals in town that allow dogs. Try out the handy dog filter on sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com which makes searching for dog-friendly accommodation that much easier.
If you’re traveling in an RV, there are also many RV parks around town, like Santa Fe Skies RV Park, almost all of which accept pets.
Rent a Car for Santa Fe
While most attractions are within walking or bike-riding distance in town, I recommend renting a car to get around more fluidly. This way, you are at full liberty to take extended day trips out of town, park all day at a hiking trailhead, or drive between famous downtown museums instead of walking.
Discover Cars is one of my favorite rental car companies in New Mexico. They have every kind of car available for rent, even 4WD rentals for winter visitors. Rent a car in the middle of the week for the most affordable prices.
FAQs About Where to Stay in Santa Fe
What part of Santa Fe should I stay in?
Downtown Santa Fe is the best place to stay if it’s your first time in the city. The accommodations are situated near the top sights and attractions and most things in Downtown Santa Fe are within walking distance. The Historic District is another great place to stay that’s less touristy and near the main hiking trails.
Where is the nice part of Santa Fe?
Canyon Road is the nice part of Santa Fe. This affluent area has over 100 art galleries, adobe restaurants, and quaint boutiques. Famous collectors are known to frequent Canyon Road as well as incognito celebrities. Visit Canyon Road in your best dress.
Is Santa Fe New Mexico worth visiting?
Santa Fe New Mexico is one of the coolest towns in the state. There are so many things to do, places to see, and historical points of interest that make this town incredibly worth the visit.
How many days do you need in Santa Fe?
1 full day is good to explore Santa Fe although 2 days is better to hit most of the top destinations. The longer you have in Santa Fe the better so you can make day trips to the mountains or to the Indigenous town of Taos, 1 ½ hours north of town.
With so many great places to stay in Santa Fe, this town should be at the top of your New Mexico travel itinerary. Let me know in the comments which accommodation was your favorite and be sure to check out our where to stay in Albuquerque guide!
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