Santa Fe, New Mexico
From the architecture to the vibrant arts scene, Native American and Hispanic culture is everywhere throughout this southwestern mecca. The beautiful natural desert landscape is also what calls so many artists, like the world-renowned Georgia O'Keeffe, to Santa Fe. You can support the creatives by visiting nearly 300 art galleries and dealers showcasing local artwork.
There's a never ending list of things to do and see, including hiking, skiing, biking, river rafting, shopping, countless historical sites, and New Mexican-style cuisine. (Be prepared for the green chiles.) While a car is necessary to get in and around the Santa Fe area, the downtown district is extremely walkable. Five percent of the population commutes to work by walking or biking, and the residents' average commute is 20 minutes.
Settled beneath the Santa Fe National Forest, the architecture and homestyles are reminiscent of Native American pueblos and clay homes. The desert ecosystem means sunshine is present throughout the entire year — it gets an average of 278 sunny days a year — even during the colder winter and fall months. Take advantage of the good weather by exploring the vast Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, or go on a whitewater river rafting excursion with one of the many different tour groups. — Chloe Wilt