Santa Fe is no stranger to making the “best of” lists. Whether honored for its sense of place, being a great food city or an outstanding tourist destination, the City Different is used to top rankings.

The latest honor, though, is particularly noteworthy — Time magazine has included Santa Fe on its list of 100 World’s Great Places 2021. It’s a compilation of wonderful cities, regions and places across the world.

And what fun to see Santa Fe alongside places such places Berlin, Madrid, Antarctica, Hawaii, Singapore and so many other spectacular spots.



The state Department of Tourism estimates some 18 million people could see the article. That’s publicity money can’t buy, the sort that is likely to spark more than a few visits to our city.

It’s a reminder that as much as folks in Santa Fe love to point out our flaws, other people see the worth of this place.

Time calls Santa Fe a “Monument to the Southwest,” introducing the article with a photo taken at Opuntia Café in the Santa Fe Railyard — a contemporary touch, showing a side of Santa Fe many people don’t see.

The article recognizes that “Santa Fe is steeped in history,” and goes on to talk about the reopened Bishop’s Lodge, the Santa Fe Railyard and the efforts by volunteers from the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society to build a 5-mile loop at Galisteo Basin Preserve.

The idea, wrote editors in their introduction, was to highlight how the world’s exceptional places are adapting after a difficult pandemic year.

“In many ways, our third annual list of the World’s Greatest Places is a tribute to the people and businesses at the forefront of those industries who, amid extraordinary circumstances, found ways to adapt, build and innovate,” magazine editors wrote in a note titled “How Time Picked the List.” “It shines a light on ingenuity, creativity, revitalization and reopenings in destinations across the world.”

As anyone who has visited downtown lately, the reopening is happening, with shops, museums, galleries and restaurants busy. We trust visitors go home pleased to have visited Santa Fe, a more than 400-year-old city that has been a destination since its European inception.

Over the decades, the reasons visitors came to Santa Fe have varied — trade or curiosity and, later, for health reasons or to catch the light in paintings or photography. Scientists moved here on a top-secret project to build a formidable weapon for World War II, while hippies came to drop out in the 1960s.

The fascination with the Southwest, with Santa Fe as its gateway, continues to the present.

And as proud as we are of our history, cultural heritage and tradition, it is refreshing to see Santa Fe singled out as a place of innovation and adaptation. Only 19 destinations from the United States made the list. That’s good company. Now, to innovate our way to dealing with weeds, dying trees, broken sidewalks and litter.

(2) comments

Barbara Harrelson

Yes, this is a great honor, but it comes at a time when a frequent visitor wrote to the New Mexican (published yesterday) to say how dirty and shabby downtown Santa Fe is this year. And if we continue in this manner, there will be fewer of these honors that have made us proud and contributed to tourism revenues.

Mike Johnson

Obviously Time did not pay attention to the massive local government problems here, very convenient, but also very misleading. They should have talked to some people who live here.

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