Santa Fe
  • $500   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1188   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1774   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southwest US)

57% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
altitude sickness, sunburn
temperate climate but with local skiing in the mountains, museums, high desert, horseback riding in the forest 6
too poor to live in LA proper, second homes, office worker housing, rich hipsters, the white reservation, good beer and a farmer's market, and third homes are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Santa Fe roommate rundown:

Santa Fe's the least populated city on our list. We'd usually consider < 100K too small or a suburb instead, without the density required for realistic roommate matching all by itself.

But Santa Fe is a lot more expensive than most cities of a similar size. It remains New Mexico's state capital. It's also at the foot of the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains, so it's mostly 7300 feet.

That's officially high altitude! And a lot of stunning high desert, in which you and your roommates could go hiking and biking and horseback riding on all the trails almost everywhere you look in and around town. Some all the way to the Santa Fe National Forest. And then you could ski, starting at 10,000 feet above sea level. Then the lifts go thousands of feet higher.

So yes, again with the altitude. > 10,000 isn't the namby pamby warning, it's The Big One: If you or your roommates have any hint you might suffer respiratory difficulty or are prone to altitude sickness, please see a doctor and specifically mention your plans to hit the top of Santa Fe. This elevation can cause problems for anyone just up from sea level. If you're athletic, you're somewhat less likely to suffer, but it's still possible. Altitude sickness surprises sporty people all the time.

The height also increases most folks' sensitivity to alcohol, at least a little. That and the dry air both contribute to sunburn and dehydration. You should never be without water and sunscreen in Santa Fe. Best to keep your overall activity level low until you're certain you've adjusted . . . like for the first day or five.

You could say Santa Fe is also high . . . on their own supply?

As in seriously into their own art, architecture, and food! Santa Fe mostly thinks Santa Fe is the very best place to be! That's why Santa Fe is popular among affluent older folk who can choose exactly where to spend their time. This continues to mean many artists, subsequently followed by many tourists, all meandering enjoyably in and out of all the adobe at this ancient crossroads.

Santa Fe means native Pueblo, Mexican, Spanish, and American influences continuously swirling together in community fairs, festivals, celebrations, fiestas, seasonal markets, commemorations, walks, shows, dances, processions, revelries, parades, feasts, plus one or two rodeos.

And all those cultures also merge together into one hell of a breakfast burrito. If you think that's too reductive, you've not yet developed the appropriate appreciation for breakfast burritos . . .

. . . which would usually feature Hatch green chilies, their most celebrated and delicious crop, as they should, because they're the most delicious and nutritious food on the planet! So get some on top of your stacked enchiladas, frito pie, cheeseburger, pizza, cactus fries, and carne adobada. Then get them in your chile relleno, and mixed into your chile con queso. Also as a topping for your sopapilla frybread and your calabacitas.

And it's always more haute Southwest with a fried egg on top. That's not even considered controversial, just true . . .

. . . but what is controversial is whether or not Santa Fe should be considered a "tourist trap." We say it should!

Because it gets crowded with tourists every summer, then many refuse to leave! (bah dum pum?)

But that's not what most calling Santa Fe a "tourist trap" are mad about, nope. They're worried about what is authentic vs "tourist junk" . . . and what's valued at what amount for now vs what might gain value later.

Historic central city is authentically covered in ancient mission churches and Pueblo Revivalism . . . but some say some of the art for sale is of disputable origin. In addition, some markets claim artifactual status or healing properties associated with their items as well, rendering the entire local art scene really gorgeous and locally vibrant and culturally invigorating but occasionally for some . . . a little scammy?

But you and your roommates won't suffer any scammy insults from Santa Fe if you assume all the art you encounter is authentically . . . art. Just art. Nothing more but nothing less.

SO: Whether it's good or bad is now entirely up to you. Assume authentic artifacts are almost always in museums (which Santa Fe has too), not on sale for cheap at a market. It would be surprising if anything you scooped up on sale in Santa Fe ever severely appreciated. No, that advice isn't changing depending on which market, actually not.

This means all you need to know about local art is whether or not you love it, can easily afford it, and have someplace to properly enjoy it (whatever that means for you). If so, you should buy it and enjoy! If not, then no. If that's all you need to know, it truly follows that nothing is or is not "tourist junk."

Just art. Nothing more but nothing less, so no more need to worry?

Except whether you would like a decidedly laid-back, low key style of partying down in a friendly community amongst a lot of adobe? (Like, a LOT of adobe.) How about New Mexican style green chile-covered foods, probably near a generational mix doing Karaoke?

If you could call that your nightlife and love it, Santa Fe might be your Land of Enchantment.

The rest of the Santa Fe roommate lowdown:

  • Santa Fe is New Mexico's capital city, in north-central New Mexico
  • cool, dry, pleasant summers and crisp, clear, sunny winters, low humidity year round
  • population only about 85,000
  • it's the American state capital at the highest altitude
  • New Mexico chile is their largest agricultural crop. The distinctively hot dry climate (mostly in the Hatch Valley in the south) renders the deep green color and flavor, ranging from mild to very hot.
  • The historic central city area gets crowded with tourists every summer, touring the oldest surviving mission churches in the country, along with hundreds of art galleries and museums.
  • Santa Fe's economy features more tourism than industrial or commercial employment. Many residents obtained money elsewhere, then moved here.
  • home to College of Santa Fe and St. John's College
  • Santa Fe's downtown is walkable, you probably want to park your car and walk, particularly in summer, extra especially if you'd enjoy meeting some tourists. Otherwise, you and your roommates will want a car.

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Santa Fe's:

  • Santa Fe Opera: An Electronic Libretto System offers instant translations on a small display screen. All under a starry sky.
  • Museum of New Mexico: You and your roommates can buy a shared pass for access to multiple museums featuring Folk & Indian Arts & Culture.
  • Museum of International Folk Art: Over 130,000 artifacts from around the world, including ceramic, textiles, carvings, and papier-mache masks.
  • SITE Santa Fe: Since 1995, classes, exhibits, lectures, admission always free.

Here's the city of Santa Fe's official .gov for "living here," from utility bills to city maps to recreation.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.