Top 10 Historic Places to Retire!

Founded in the early 1600s, Santa Fe, which means “holy faith” in Spanish, is the oldest state capital in the country. The Spanish founded a town on the site of old Pueblo Indian settlements in 1610. Santa Fe was the capital of Spanish and then Mexican provinces before becoming the capital of the 47th U.S. state in 1912.

The city’s architecture has earned it the nickname “City Different.” Santa Fe was laid out, following Spanish traditions, around a central plaza that witnessed everything from bullfights to public floggings. In the 1920s, officials began encouraging all new construction to follow the adobe style. This movement was codified in 1957 with the adoption of a zoning ordinance that helped to preserve the city’s Spanish-Pueblo texture.

Santa Fe’s alluring panorama has drawn scores of artists over the years. None became more intimately connected to the region than Georgia O’Keeffe. More than 1,100 of her paintings, sculptures, and drawings can be found at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. In addition, the Museum of Fine Arts hosts a top-notch regional collection, and the Institute of American Indian Arts has the nation’s most comprehensive display of contemporary Indian art.

Encircled by thousands of acres of wilderness, Santa Fe offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. During the colder months, snow sporters can head into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 16 miles from the city. The area also has several nice courses for golfers.

U.S. News Editorial Pick: Best Places to Retire for Single Retirees

Because of Santa Fe’s large number of singles over 65 years of age and abundance of outdoor activities, U.S. News selected Santa Fe as one of the country’s top 10 places for single retirees to live.

Santa Fe Schools

Santa Fe’s public school system has 20 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. The College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Community College, and St. John’s College are in the city.

Santa Fe Health Care

There are six hospitals in Santa Fe County. Santa Fe is home to St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, the state’s oldest hospital (established in 1865). A staff of 300 physicians practices 22 different medical specialties and serves a 19,000-square-mile, seven-county area. St. Vincent is the only level III trauma center in the northern part of the state.

Santa Fe Jobs

State and local government agencies are the leading providers of jobs in Santa Fe. St. Vincent hospital and the tourism sector also are important parts of the local economy. Los Alamos National Laboratory employs more than 9,000 people, and the Santa Fe Business Incubator—which helps new small businesses get off the ground—is considered first class.

Santa Fe Real Estate

The average home price in Santa Fe was $342,125 in 2008. That’s a decline of nearly 13 percent from the previous year.

U.S. News Ratings
Population 66,506
Crime Rate Low
Cost of Living Average
Health Care Comprehensive
Median Home Price High
Median Income Average

From a blend of history and traditions, Santa Fe has emerged as a leading center for arts and culture in the Southwestern United States. With almost 300 galleries and dealers, New Mexico’s capital is the nation’s third-largest art market. Located in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains—at 7,000 feet above sea level—Santa Fe has a bright, dry climate; the sun shines an average of 300 days a year. Its population is 67,000, but it attracts more than 1 million visitors each year, making tourism a key component of the local economy.


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86°F July High, 14°F January Low

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Overview information and high school, college, hospital, and nursing home rankings copyright ® 2011 U.S.News & World Report.

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