best things to do in santa fe new mexico

best things to do in santa fe new mexico mccall writes travel us travel traveling

Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is a city rich in history, art, and culture. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this enchanting city offers a unique blend of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo influences, making it a must-visit destination for travelers.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best things to do in Santa Fe, from exploring historic sites and museums to enjoying the great outdoors and indulging in local cuisine.

Table of Contents

Immerse Yourself in Art and Culture on Canyon Road

Canyon Road, a half-mile stretch of art galleries, studios, and shops, is a must-see for anyone visiting Santa Fe. The area is home to over 100 galleries, showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles, from traditional Native American and Southwestern art to contemporary and international works. Strolling along Canyon Road is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Santa Fe’s vibrant art scene and perhaps find a unique piece to bring home.

Explore the History and Architecture of the Santa Fe Plaza

The Santa Fe Plaza, a National Historic Landmark, has been the heart of the city for over 400 years. Surrounded by historic adobe buildings, the Plaza is the perfect place to soak in Santa Fe’s rich history and unique architectural style.

Be sure to visit the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the United States, where you can browse Native American artwork and crafts from local artisans. The Plaza also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar for any happenings during your visit.

Discover the Rich Culture of the Native American Pueblos

One of the most unique things to do in Santa Fe is to explore the nearby Native American Pueblos. There are eight Pueblos within an hour’s drive of the city, each with its own distinct culture and traditions. Visiting the Pueblos offers a rare opportunity to learn about the history, art, and way of life of the Native American people who have called this region home for centuries. Be sure to check each Pueblo’s visitor guidelines and respect their customs during your visit.

Admire the Art and Architecture of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the iconic American artist, who spent much of her life in New Mexico. The museum features a vast collection of O’Keeffe’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as well as exhibits that explore her creative process and the impact of the New Mexico landscape on her work. The museum itself is a work of art, with stunning Pueblo Revival architecture that reflects the beauty of the surrounding region.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at the Santa Fe Ski Basin and Hyde Memorial State Park

Santa Fe’s location at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains makes it a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Santa Fe Ski Basin, located just a short drive from the city, offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. For a more leisurely outdoor experience, Hyde Memorial State Park features beautiful picnic areas, hiking trails, and stunning mountain views.

Savor the Flavors of New Mexican Cuisine

No trip to Santa Fe would be complete without indulging in the city’s unique culinary scene. New Mexican cuisine is a fusion of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican influences, resulting in dishes that are both flavorful and distinctive. Be sure to sample local favorites like green chile stew, carne ad

ovada, and sopapillas. Many restaurants in Santa Fe also offer their own variations of the famous New Mexico green and red chile sauces, which are delicious on everything from enchiladas to breakfast burritos.

For an authentic dining experience, head to the historic Santa Fe Plaza, where you’ll find a variety of local eateries serving traditional New Mexican fare. If you’re looking for something more upscale, the city is also home to several fine-dining establishments that showcase the flavors of the region in innovative and sophisticated ways.

Wander Through the Enchanting Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel is a beautiful Gothic Revival-style chapel located in the heart of Santa Fe. It was completed in 1878 and is renowned for its “Miraculous Staircase,” a stunning spiral staircase built without nails or any visible support. According to legend, the staircase was built by a mysterious carpenter who disappeared without a trace after completing the project. The Loretto Chapel is a must-visit for architecture and history enthusiasts.

Unwind at the Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa

After a day of exploring all that Santa Fe has to offer, there’s no better way to relax and rejuvenate than with a visit to the Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa. This unique spa is inspired by the traditional Japanese onsens and offers a variety of treatments and amenities, including hot tubs, saunas, massage services, and more. Nestled in the picturesque Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Ten Thousand Waves is a serene oasis that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Attend a Performance at the Santa Fe Opera House

The Santa Fe Opera House is an internationally renowned venue that offers an unforgettable experience for lovers of the performing arts. With its open-air design and stunning mountain views, the Opera House provides a unique and picturesque setting for performances. The summer season typically features a diverse selection of operas, ranging from classic to contemporary works. Be sure to check the schedule and book your tickets in advance, as performances often sell out quickly.

Traveling to Santa Fe?

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a city that truly has something for everyone. From its rich history and unique cultural experiences to its thriving art scene and stunning natural beauty, there’s no shortage of things to do in Santa Fe.

Whether you’re exploring the city’s historic Plaza, admiring the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, or savoring the flavors of New Mexican cuisine, you’re sure to fall in love with this enchanting Southwestern destination.

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