Santa Fe is a city for art enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies, and anyone who admires different things as this place is known as the ‘city different’ for a reason.
In this city, you will find a mixture of Native American, Anglo-American, Mexican, and Spanish cultures. The city is filled with fascinating art galleries, museums, and restaurants serving some of the most delicious foods.
In this article, we discuss some of the things to do in Santa Fe.
1) Visit Art Galleries
Santa Fe is nothing short of a paradise for art lovers and enthusiasts. The place has countless art galleries and studios such as the Meyer Gallery, Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Rainbow Man, Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery, and Mark White Fine Art.
Apart from this, there are art markets that you can attend as well. If you happen to visit around June, you can see the International Folk-Art Market or you can visit in August to be a part of the Indian Market. The Meow Wolf is a recent art installation in the city.
It is an interactive installation with a mix of art and entertainment.
2) Visit the Museums
One of the most popular must-visit places and things to do in Santa Fe, is the museum of America’s famous artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. In the Museum Hill of Santa Fe, you will find four museums –
- The International Folk-Art Museum (featuring folk arts and crafts from around the world)
- The Wheelwright (showcasing antique Native American art)
- Spanish Colonial, the museum building designed by John Gaw Meem is a sight to behold in itself (features objects from the Spanish Colonial World)
- And, Indian Arts and Culture
There are other museums as well around the city and all of them are unique in their own way. You can either choose to visit the one which piques your interest or pay a visit to all of them.
3) Take a walk at the Plaza
If Santa Fe is the body, the Plaza is its heart. It is where all the celebrations and hustle-bustle of the city lies. Here you will find shops, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. The Plaza is where the Santa Fe Fiesta takes place in September.
The Spanish and Indian markets are held regularly at this place. If you want to shop for some Santa Fe souvenirs then this is the right place for all your shopping needs, from jewelry to clothes, you can find everything here.
Therefore, there is no better way to indulge in the culture of Santa Fe than finding vacation rentals in Santa Fe that is just a few minutes away from the Plaza like the one I had. The townhome is going to make you feel at home while at the same time you will be experiencing luxurious living. Even though The Plaza may be a busy place, this home is going to give you a much-needed peaceful respite.
4) Visit Historical Sights
Santa Fe is home to many old churches and historical buildings. Pay a visit to any one of the old churches like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Loretto Chapel, and the Chapel of San Miguel, also known as the oldest church for a much-needed peaceful time on your vacation.
If you are interested in knowing the history of the city then you must visit some famous historical sites such as the La Fonda Hotel, The Palace of the Governors which showcases 400 years of history with artifacts like a stagecoach dating back to the days of the Santa Fe Trail, and the New Mexico History Museum, where you can see plenty of exhibits from the past.
5) Outdoor Adventures
Just near Santa Fe are the Sangre De Cristo Mountains where you can do outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and horseback riding. When you go hiking in the Bandelier National Monument, you will find remnants of Native American settlements.
These cave dwellings can even be explored from the inside by climbing up the wooden ladders kept outside. Another place you can visit for a hike nearby Santa Fe is the Tent Rocks where you can see limestone formations shaped like teepees.
Many workshops and outdoor activities are organized in the city regularly that you can participate in and keep yourself entertained.
6) Take time to Relax
To escape from the daily grind, you can have a relaxing time at any of the spa centers in the city. The place offers some of the best spa treatments and massages.
The people offering the massages and treatments are well-trained and have years of experience. Many people travel to Santa Fe just for its healing properties.
There are countless opportunities here for getting a nice treatment for rejuvenating your body, mind, and soul. You can go to the Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel, the Spa at the Loretto, or the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado among many others.
7) Stroll through Canyon Road
Canyon Road is filled with art galleries lined up one after another. Apart from normal art galleries, you will also find some in the form of historical buildings and Pueblo architecture.
You can find artworks and exhibits of renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Peter Hurd, Miro Kenarov, and Gustave Baumann. These art galleries showcase not just paintings but also jewelry, pottery, sculptures, and even textiles.
You will be able to see cultural treasures and tribal art forms by visiting these galleries at Canyon Road.
8) Tingle your Tastebuds
In Santa Fe, you will find the perfect culinary mix of different cuisines namely Indigenous American, Spanish, and Anglo. You can find mouthwatering dishes and drinks all around the city.
There are over 400 restaurants ranging from fine to casual dining. The red and green chilies are a staple and you will find them in a lot of dishes, on top of enchiladas, tamales, as well as in meat and vegetable stews.
If you cannot decide which one to have, you can just say “Christmas” and they will serve you a mix of both red and green chilies. The locals are more than happy to help you find a great place to eat if you cannot decide for yourself. However, you will find some lip-smacking dishes no matter where you eat. I was amused and had a mouthwatering experience with Huevos Motulenos at Café Pasqual’s.
9) Plan a Road Trip
Some of the road trips you can take are – Taos and the High Road, Pecos and Las Vegas, The Eight Northern Pueblos, Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, and Chama, Jemez Mountain Trail and Madrid, and New Mexico Excursions. They are only a few kilometers away and will give you opportunities to explore new places.
During the road trip, you can see beautiful picturesque locations. Traveling through the scenic roads of New Mexico, you will also find ruins of ancient Indian and pueblo architecture. Hence, if you have spent ample time exploring the city you can hit the road and travel to any of these nearby locations.
10) Take a Self-Guided Tour
There are multiple options to choose from according to your likes and preferences for taking a self-guided tour in the city. You can either go for the Santa Fe Margarita Trail where you will taste 45 of the best margaritas in the world or the Santa Fe Brewery Trail where you can try local craft beers at Santa Fe’s microbreweries and discover some of the different and award-winning craft brews.
There is also a Chocolate Trail that will let you indulge in artisanal chocolates made using New Mexico’s native and organic ingredients such as chile, pinon nuts, and lavender. The Coffee Lover’s Tour is a tour of Santa Fe’s coffee and tea houses where you will find everything from espresso to cappuccino and even international tea.
The Literary Landmarks Tour is where you can visit the sites where prominent writers such as author, playwright, and essayist Mary Austin, British novelist D.H Lawrence, poet Witter Bynner, novelist Willa Cather lived and gathered.
And lastly the New Deal Art Legacy Tour – The New Deal, a plan by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, employed at least 167 artists of New Mexico who produced thousands of works of art across the state, including paintings, murals, and interior design elements (hand-carved furniture, tin work, pottery, and other items).
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