3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Multiple Emmy wins for Netflix’s limited series Godless this fall will only continue to bolster Santa Fe’s reputation as a go-to locale for thinking Westerns after the similarly contemplative Hostiles, with Christian Bale, also lensed here before opening to acclaim. Add to that the Coen brothers Western anthology, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and there’s a trend forming. Even a simple cowhand can appreciate a refundable tax credit of up to 30 percent and a small-budget-friendly lack of minimum spend.
Santa Fe’s competitive incentives and proactive, engaging Film Office are only a couple of reasons one might choose to call this UNESCO-recognized area home; its high-culture delights such as the Santa Fe Opera and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet are matched by the natural architectural beauty of places like Taos Pueblo, a Native American settlement at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains established 1,000 years ago. You can also visit the San Geronimo Chapel, built in 1619 and destroyed during the Mexican-American War. Perhaps the biggest wonder about Santa Fe is that a cultural treasure like this has a population of only 83,000 souls.