worst things about living in Santa Fe

11 Worst things about living in Santa Fe | Must Read Before Moving

Worst things about living in Santa Fe

Living in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is one of the most culturally rich and beautiful cities in the United States. Located in northern New Mexico, it is known for its Native American adobe architecture, stunning landscapes, art galleries, and vibrant community life.

Living in Santa Fe offers a unique experience for residents. From natural wonders like the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to cultural offerings such as Indian Market and The International Folk Art Festival, there is always something interesting to explore. With an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, outdoor activities like hiking and biking are plentiful.

The city offers amazing food! With flavours inspired by both Native American and Mexican cuisine there’s also plenty of delicious Mexican food available throughout the city – from authentic street tacos to gourmet restaurants. Additionally, Santa Fe has educational opportunities ranging from public schools to private universities.

Nonetheless, there are some drawbacks when it comes to living in the city. From extreme weather to high cost of living, here are some other worst things about living in Santa Fe.

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Things to consider before moving to Santa Fe

It is hot and dry most of the year

The weather can be extreme — from hot summers with temperatures reaching up to 100℉ (over 38℃) to cold winters that often dip below freezing. The city also sees extremely dry conditions year-round due to its desert climate.

It is surrounded by mountains on all four sides that block rainfall from entering the city, however, it receives around 13 inches annually due to moisture from humid air masses coming up from Mexico’s Gulf Coast states. It is thus dry most of the year.

On top of that, dust storms can kick up during certain times of year leaving your home covered in dirt and debris.

Santa Fe hot dry weather

Low wages, amidst the high cost of living

Wages tend to be very low, especially for people working in sales, and education jobs; and there are very few job openings even for people in other fields.

The cost of living in Santa Fe is high due to the influx of tourists and people looking for a new place to call home. The population growth has caused rental prices and other costs to go up significantly.

This means that even though wages are not too bad when compared with other parts of the country, they still don’t keep up with the increases in prices.

Even though some employers may offer higher wages, they often come with long hours and gruelling work schedules that can make life even more challenging.

Even worse, the economy is not rapidly thriving whilst there is little business or industry to support the middle and upper-middle class.

Not much to do for young people, especially at night

During the day there are plenty of activities to engage in; from hikes up the mountains to visiting museums, art galleries and shops. But when it comes to nighttime entertainment, Santa Fe falls short. Without a vibrant nightlife scene or any late-night attractions, there’s not much for young people to do once the sun sets.

Local bars close early and most restaurants shut down before 10 pm on weekdays – leaving the city’s younger generations with few options after dark.

Also, because of the lack of jobs, the city has few young people. It has a lot of retirees who are homeowners and who constitute a huge fraction of the population in Santa Fe.

So if you are a young person looking forward to dating and so on, Santa Fe might not be an ideal settlement place for you.

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Drug and alcohol addiction

One of the worst things about living in Santa Fe is its high rate of drug and alcohol addiction. The alarming prevalence of substance abuse has had devastating consequences for individuals and their families in the area.
The most commonly abused substances in Santa Fe are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. The city’s proximity to Mexico makes it easy for people to get access to drugs from across the border.

Furthermore, a sizable population live below poverty line, while low wages and lack of jobs for young people contribute to indulgence in drugs and alcohol use. As a result, the city has seen an increase in crime related to drug trafficking and overdoses over the past few years.

The issue is further compounded by limited resources available for treatment and rehabilitation services in Santa Fe.

The below chart shows trends of abuse of the deadly fentanyl among Santa Fe teens, from local news. 

Worst things about living in Santa Fe

Things move slowly, stagnating economy

To mention, Santa Fe is entrenched in one of the US’ poorest states dragging in measures like unemployment, child health, educational achievement and child hunger.

In a city where tourism is a major industry, the lack of economic activity has been an issue for years now. Because the population is also not considered high,

The sluggishness of Santa Fe’s economy has had far-reaching consequences for its residents. Many have found themselves out of work, with little hope for future employment prospects. Meanwhile, those who remain employed often find themselves struggling to keep up with rising prices – from rent and food costs to transportation expenses, it can be hard to make ends meet here in Santa Fe.

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The cost of living is high

According to recent surveys, Santa Fe residents pay an average of 17% more than other cities in New Mexico for necessities like housing, food and utilities. This means that it can be difficult to make ends meet on a budget, especially if you are a low-income earner.

The city’s high price tags have also made it difficult for families to find affordable housing options within their desired area. Those who do manage to find suitable housing usually have no choice but to accept smaller dwellings or older properties that may not be up-to-date with modern amenities.

Santa Fe cost of living

Bad State schools

The state schools are notoriously known for their low-quality education, leaving many students with subpar educational experiences. Teachers are underpaid, which contributes to a poor teaching experience for students. Most people opt for private schools.

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Poor healthcare

First, there’s limited access to primary care providers. Some areas of Santa Fe may only have one or two primary care doctors for thousands of people who need regular medical attention. This means long wait times for appointments and difficulty finding a doctor that takes your insurance plan.

Second, there’s poor access to speciality care providers like cardiologists and neurologists. So if you or your patient require specialized treatment, you might have to travel to other cities or states altogether.

Additionally, there are very few walk-in clinics or urgent care centres where people can go for immediate medical attention without needing an appointment first.

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At the altitude, winters tend to be so cold

The city is located between 7,000 to 7,500 feet above sea level. Temperatures drop below freezing during winter, and during nighttime hours it can be quite chilly due to its high elevation and lack of humidity. Snowfall is also common whist without proper insulation or a reliable heating system, your home will become uncomfortable very quickly.

The city is surrounded by mountains which causes strong winds at times. The combination of strong winds and low temperatures tends to make winter days in Santa Fe unbearable for some people. If you live in Santa Fe during winter, you will need to bundle up even if you are only going outside for a few minutes because wind chill factors can cause temperatures to feel much lower than what’s listed on thermometers

worst things about living in Santa Fe

The high altitude means low oxygen

Santa Fe is a popular vacation spot for its breathtaking views and stunning landscapes, but with an elevation of 7000 feet above sea level, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

The low oxygen levels in Santa Fe can lead to decreased energy levels, headaches, dulled reflexes, and even nosebleeds—all due to the body not getting enough oxygen. Other common side effects include difficulty sleeping and feelings of unease that come from being constantly exposed to higher altitudes.

Additionally, those who are already dealing with existing medical conditions like asthma or respiratory illnesses may find their symptoms exacerbated by the constant low-oxygen environment.

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Desert Wildlife

Living with desert wildlife can be both an exciting and stressful experience. Residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico are no strangers to this fact. If you reside in the Santa Fe suburbs, you will have to learn to be comfortable around rattlesnakes, copperheads, coyotes, pesky rodents, pack rats and gophers among others. Although their sting or bites aren’t usually deadly, it can still be very uncomfortable living with them.

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Where to live in Santa Fe

When it comes to choosing the perfect place to call home in this vibrant city, there are several coveted neighbourhoods. From vibrant downtown districts to peaceful suburban areas, here are the best neighbourhoods to live in Santa Fe.

Downtown District

The downtown district is an ideal choice for those looking for a lively atmosphere and easy access to top attractions and eateries. With plenty of chic cafes and boutiques as well as museums, galleries and parks all within walking distance, living in downtown Santa Fe has plenty of perks.

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South Capitol’s Suburban areas

Those who prefer a calmer lifestyle can find solace in South Capitol’s suburban residential streets lined with charming adobe homes. This tree-lined neighborhood boasts plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking trails that lead directly into the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Also, the neighbourhoods listed below are top-rated settlement places with respect to factors such as safety, schools, affordability, etc.

Los Alamos

White Rock


La Cienega, etc.

Check out this website for more insights into the best neighbourhoods to live in Santa Fe.

Bottom line

In conclusion, living in Santa Fe is not for everyone. The cost of living can be high, the weather is often unpleasant, and the job market can be scarce. For those who don’t mind the cold, unpredictable weather or the higher cost of living, Santa Fe offers a unique cultural experience with its history, art galleries, and outdoor activities. However, if you are looking for an affordable and consistent climate with plenty of job opportunities, then Santa Fe may not be the best place for you to live.

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10 Best places to live in New Mexico for Young Adults

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