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Welcome to Cvent's Santa Fe meeting planning guide – a city guide for meeting planning professionals. Santa Fe's breathtaking landscape, rich heritage and culture, and electrifying spirit have made it a favorite for business and leisure travelers alike. The city is frequently the recipient of awards and praise; not surprisingly, over 1.2 million people visit New Mexico's capital city every year.
Easily accessible, Santa Fe is located just an hour outside of New Mexico's largest airport, Albuquerque International Sunport. As the state's major air gateway, Albuquerque International offers nonstop service to 30 cities throughout the United States. Transportation within the city is just as convenient, thanks to public bus service and a light rail system. Many guests, though, find that this fairly compact city is best explored by foot.
When it comes to meetings and conventions, both planners and attendees sing the praises of the 40,000-square-foot Santa Fe Community Convention Center. A sparkling jewel in the city's meetings crown, this Pueblo Revival-style building is in the heart of downtown, among Santa Fe's finest hotels, restaurants, and attractions, as well as 2,000 guest rooms. The center boasts an impressive 40,000 square feet of event space, spread across fantastic Santa Fe event venues, such as the 2,500-square-foot art gallery and nearly 18,000-square-foot ballroom. What's more, the Santa Fe Community Convention Center is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, thanks to its rainwater and irrigation system, recycling centers, and other eco-friendly features.
Smaller events are not at a loss for space in Santa Fe, as the city offers an additional 184,000 square feet of unique space in its many hotels and historic sites. Host an event at the Santa Fe Plaza's Palace of the Governors, which was built in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government. Paying homage to Santa Fe's native arts, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture celebrates the diverse cultures of the Southwest and is a memorable backdrop for black-tie galas of up to 800 people. Meanwhile, Geronimo – New Mexico's only Mobil/Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four Diamond restaurant – makes a fantastic private space for smaller lunch and dinner events.
The government is the largest employer in Santa Fe, followed by the hospitality industry. The city has recently seen a rise in technology-based businesses, and, with more than 240 art galleries and dealers, it is considered to be the third-largest art market in the United States. Higher learning holds a strong presence in Santa Fe, home to St. John's College, Santa Fe Community College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Santa Fe is regarded not only as a world-class meeting locale, but also as an intellectually stimulating yet peaceful vacation retreat. Situated at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains, the city is the highest capital in the United States. It's also the oldest, having been founded between 1607 and 1610 by European colonists. Its heritage, though, is a colorful patchwork of Pueblo Indian villages, Spanish colonial settlements, and Mexican rule.
Today, this rich history is brought to life in every corner of Santa Fe. Just walking through downtown, guests encounter a number of examples of historic Spanish Territorial and Pueblo styles of architecture, both of which are reminiscent of the region's traditional adobe construction. Inside such structures, the past is brought to life as well, whether it be through the 20,000-item art collection at the New Mexico Museum of Art or the Navajo textiles and historic pottery collection at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. All in all, Santa Fe boasts more than a dozen major museums that celebrate the art, culture, history, and traditions of the region.
Santa Fe's appeal lies not only in its past, but also in its every day. Defined by four distinct seasons and an average of 300 sunny days per year, the city is a haven for outdoor activities. During warmer months, guests can hike the Aspen Vista Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or play golf at the scenic Pueblo de Cochiti Golf Course. Wintertime brings out the ski bunnies, who come to enjoy up to 300 inches of annual snow at one of several ski resorts and cross-country trails.
For visitors looking to connect with both nature and themselves, Santa Fe's spas are legendary. Blessed with a dry climate, natural hot springs, and sun-drenched days, the city is a welcome respite compared with other bustling, on-the-go metropolitans. Whether downtown or secluded in the mountains, Santa Fe's spas offer everything from hourlong hot-stone massages and herbal body wraps to weeklong revitalization trips that feature art classes, organic meals, and more. The renowned 10,000 Waves Japanese Health Spa, Spa Sage at La Posada, and Jemez Springs Bath House are among the rejuvenating options.
Dining in Santa Fe can be an equally indulgent experience. Featuring everything from regional flavors and ingredients – including the traditional red and green chiles – to international fare, Santa Fe's culinary scene has something to suit any palate. Enjoy a taste of the Southwest at The Compound Restaurant or French Asian fusion at the award-winning Geronimo. Whatever guests' tastes may be – when it comes to food, attractions, culture and more – they're sure to find it in Santa Fe.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Santa Fe features four distinct seasons with cool winters and very warm summers. Temperatures can fluctuate around 30 degrees during the day because of the city's elevation and cool evenings. The city is warmest in July, when temperatures average a high of 86°F and a low of 54°F but can reach the mid- to upper-90s. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 48°F and average low of 15°F.
Santa Fe receives an average of 2 to 3 inches of rain per month in the summer, with July and August as the rainiest months. It can also see about 5 inches of snow per month over the winter season; snow can even fall as late as April. The best time to visit Santa Fe is in early summer and fall, both of which offer abundant sunshine and moderate humidity.
Santa Fe Community Convention Center
Unveiled in 2008, the 40,000-square-foot Santa Fe Community Convention Center was built in the Pueblo Revival style to reflect and honor Santa Fe's historic architecture but still allows for modern meeting capabilities. It offers 40,000 square feet of event space, as well as a full suite of cutting-edge audio and visual capabilities.
Located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, the center is within walking distance of various restaurants, museums, and shopping, as well as 2,000 hotel rooms and bed-and-breakfast accommodations. Additional amenities include a 512-vehicle underground parking garage, planning assistance, onsite registration assistance, and access to convention-center-approved catering and business services.
The Santa Fe Community Convention Center is divided into two buildings: the Community Building and the Convention Center. The Community Building features a 2,500-square-foot art gallery, a business center, four meeting rooms, and an outdoor terrace. The Pojoaque, Nambe, and San Juan rooms offer a combined 1,408 square feet, while the Tesuque boardroom accommodates 16 guests and even features its own fireplace and private outdoor terrace.
The Convention Center building welcomes guests with a spacious 3,139-square-foot, two-story main lobby. Events there can enjoy the 17,836-square-foot Sweeney Ballroom, which can divide into five spaces, as well as seven other flexible meeting rooms ranging in size from 749 to 1,028 square feet.
The Santa Fe Community Convention Center is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. A rainwater collection and irrigation system, recycling centers, and lighting sensors are among its eco-friendly features. It was even constructed using bricks and light fixtures that were recycled from the city's previous convention center.
Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)
About an hour's drive north of Santa Fe, Albuquerque International Sunport sees more than 6 million passengers each year, with an average of over 500 daily takeoffs and landings. Boasting 574,000 square feet and three levels, the airport's terminal offers nonstop service to over 30 cities across the country.
Designed in a Spanish Pueblo theme, the Sunport is also an attractive example of Southwestern architecture. Inside, the theme continues with a permanent collection of artwork on display throughout the terminal, including Native American, Hispanic, and contemporary works by local artists. Other highlights include an original 1914 Curtiss Pusher biplane, believed to be the last surviving plane of the time period, and Sunport Serenade, a year-round concert series that features local artists performing everything from classical to mariachi.
Albuquerque International houses an array of restaurants, casual eateries, retail stores and kiosks. Free wireless internet is offered throughout the terminal. Parking is available in the four-level, 3,400-space short-term parking garage, as well as the 500-space long-term parking lot. Short-term parking ranges from $1 to $10 per day, while long-term parking ranges from $1 to $8 per day.
Airline carriers serving Albuquerque International Sunport
Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF)
Santa Fe Regional Airport specializes in private charter flight operations but also has commercial service by American Airlines, United Airlines, and others. Passengers can board private, reservation-required shuttles or hail taxis for direct service to downtown Santa Fe.
Airline carrier serving Santa Fe Municipal Airport
The closest Amtrak station to Santa Fe is about 20 miles away in Lamy, New Mexico. The Lamy station is served by the Southwest Chief route, which travels daily between Los Angeles and Chicago. The station provides reservation-required shuttle service to many downtown Santa Fe hotels.
The Santa Fe Trails bus line serves the Santa Fe and Eldorado areas, including downtown Santa Fe. Santa Fe Trails' nine routes operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A limited Sunday route schedule runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bus fare is $1 per trip. Daily passes can be purchased for $2 per passenger. Passengers ages 18 and under ride free.
In 2008, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express began light-rail service between Santa Fe and towns to the south, including Bernallio, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, and Belen, among others. Santa Fe is connected at three current stations: the Highway 599 Station, the South Capitol Station, and the Santa Fe Depot Station. The northernmost stop in the entire light-rail system, the Santa Fe Depot Station, is located at the city's railyard development district of restaurants, retail shops, art galleries, and museums. The South Capitol and Santa Fe Depot stations feature direct connections to the Santa Fe Trails bus system, while the Highway 599 Station is serviced by shuttle and bus connections to southern Santa Fe and Los Alamos.
Rail Runner Express service is offered daily: 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays; 6:20 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Fares are based on a zone system. Full weekday fare starts at $1 for one trip in one zone. Passes can be purchased online for a discounted rate.
The Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle service is a great way for train passengers to get around once they step off the Rail Runner Express at the Santa Fe Depot or for others who want a fast, free way to get around downtown, Museum Hill, and Canyon Road.
Albuquerque International Sunport's car rental center features Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. The airport offers a free shuttle between the terminal and car rental center. Avis and Hertz can also be found at the Santa Fe Regional Airport.
Both Uber and Lyft transportation apps provide convenient and affordable transportation in and around Santa Fe. Drivers also provide service from the Albuquerque International Sunport and Santa Fe Regional airports. Fares vary.
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