Santa Fe in New Mexico is considered one of the best places worth visiting. Its name comes from the Spanish phrase, which translates as “Holy Faith.” The town is known for its unique creative Pueblo-style architecture, fine weather, vibrant arts district, National historical Landmarks, and Museums such as the Mission San Miguel, Museum Hill, etc.
SEE ALSO: 15 Top Things To Do In New Mexico
Santa Fe also has a history that spans back to the pueblo revolt during the Spanish colonial. This particular destination also has one of the most renowned restaurants in New Mexico, among other tourist attractions such as the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
Santa Fe is a great place to visit whenever you’re in town and want to unwind. Also, the experience you have and the warm hospitality of the people are truly remarkable. We flew into Albuquerque and drove to Santa Fe for a couple of days and then to White Sands!
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Things to do in Santa Fe
I’ve been to Santa Fe many times and here are my favorite things to do on a visit Santa Fe.
Spence Hot Springs
Among the beautiful places to visit in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the Spence Hot Springs. Tourists and locals need to tour this popular destination, particularly in the morning or late in the evening when there is a smaller crowd.
Spence Hot Springs is easily accessible as visitors only have to walk through the hiking trail on the Santa Fe National Forest, going a mile out and back towards two natural pools overlooking the pine blanketed canyon. Visiting Jemez Springs village also allows you to see the great Springs, awaken your spirit of adventure, and learn more about New Mexico, precisely Santa Fe’s culture and history. Alternatively, visitors can engage in White water rafting, which is an hour’s drive from town, and the trip typically begins at the Taos Junction Bridge on Highway 570 in New Mexico.
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
Meow Wolf is popularly known as the House of Eternal Return. A trip to this spectacular art experience is a breath of fresh air as it has some of the best arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Meow Wolf creates an interactive, mind-bending atmosphere that takes the audience into an out-of-this-world realm of exploration and storytelling.
Some of the amazing content showcased includes music and video production, art installations, and even extended reality content. Guests also have the privilege of listening to live music that is usually an enjoyable experience similar to that of the Santa Fe Opera House. The build itself has over 70 rooms filled with immersive art that typically takes guests on an adventure with numerous possibilities. There is usually a lot to see there, and visitors can spend around an hour inside the exhibit; however, it’s recommendable to plan for at least two hours.
Tickets: $35 for general admission
1352 Rufina Cir, Santa Fe, NM, meowwolf.com
Soak at Ojo Santa Fe
This particular Spa and Resort is ideal for those visitors who want to experience nature like never before. Ojo Santa Fe spring-fed waters are renowned for being the source of healing dating back thousands of years. Located nearly an hour north of Albuquerque Sunport and 20 minutes south of Santa Fe Plaza, this destination offers the best spa treatments, fresh farm-to-table dining, fantastic accommodations, and visitors’ privilege of soaking in thermal pools at the Resort.
Day pass price: $55 per person
242 Los Pinos Rd, NM 87507, ojosantafe.ojospa.com
Shop on Santa Fe plaza
Santa Fe Plaza is another great place to visit whenever you’re in town and need a one-stop shopping mall. Whether you’re looking for jewelry, the latest designer clothes, shoes, etc., a flea market, or perhaps just window shopping, Santa Fe Plaza is the place to be. The Plaza has some of the best historical sites that pose the native American handmade textiles and antiques rare to find. Lastly, art lovers are in for a treat as this particular Plaza in Santa Fe has the most remarkable art market besides the Railyard in the USA.
Jewelry shops in Santa Fe
- Malouf’s on the Plaza
- Ortega’s on Lincoln
- Santa Fe Antiques on Marquez Place
- RainbowMan on Palace
- True West on Lincoln
63 Lincoln Ave, NM 87501
Canyon Road Arts
This great road in Santa Fe is one of those spectacular destinations worth touring, considering it’s an art district. It’s the heart of Santa Fe’s art scene. The Canyon Road has over a hundred remarkable studios and art galleries housed in adobe buildings that display some of the rarest artwork in New Mexico. Some of them include contemporary and historical Latino art, Native American art and antiquities, regional and museum of international folk art. In other words, native artwork showcased are similar to those in the Museum of Indian Arts and culture and El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe.
Canyon Road is also ideal for strolling and will allow visitors to see some of the finest art from various artists in the US and worldwide. Most of the artwork displayed is usually originals, making this particular destination a collector’s paradise. Besides displaying some of the rarest and finest paintings, Canyon Road also has one of the best dining accommodations in town. Jewelry shops are also in abundance at this particular road that’s worth visiting.
Canyon Road Santa Fe, NW
Oldest House Museum
The De Vargas Street House, often referred to as the Oldest House, is a historic building in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is often said to be one of the oldest buildings in United States. It’s free to visit and there’s a gift shop inside.
215 E De Vargas St, Santa Fe, NM
Farmers Market on Saturdays
The Santa Fe farmers market is one of the largest and oldest ones in the country. It’s also the most successful grower market, as it typically serves over 150 farmers and producers in 15 counties in Northern New Mexico. The fresh food brought to the market usually is from the local farms, and the same goes for 70% of the materials and ingredients used.
Unlike a majority of farmers’ markets in the US, this particular one also prohibits reselling. The same farmers who grow the crops are usually the same ones selling them in the market. Whenever you’re in Santa Fe and need farm products, Farmers Market is the place to be.
The Blue corn lavender donuts are a popular donut sold at this particular market, and they’re typically made from scratch using fresh ingredients. This delicious donut is most definitely going to leave you licking your fingers and wanting more.
Tip: look for blue corn lavender donuts!
1607 Paseo De Peralta, NW
Other things to do in Santa Fe
- Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
- The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi – Romanesque Revival architecture with stained-glass windows
- Santa Fe Indian Market – annually on the second week of August
- New Mexico History Museum
- Road trip to Pecos National Park
- Ski Santa Fe
- Santa Fe Railyard Farmers Market Food Tour
- San Miguel Chapel
- Museum of International Folk Art – 706 Camino Lejo
- Puye Cliff Dwellings – this National Historic Landmark once sheltered 1,500 Pueblo people
Where To Stay In Santa Fe
I’ve stayed in most of the hotels in Santa Fe and El Rey is my FAVORITE hotel. The property is super cute and rooms start at just $130 a night. Originally an adobe motor inn, husband and wife creative team, Jay and Alison Carroll redesigned the property where American Southwest meets Pueblo Revival. Absolutely loved the design and experience at El Rey, espscialy cozying up to the fireplace in our room.
You have to visit La Reina, the chic bar inside El Rey for a drink, if you don’t get the chance to stay here. It’s open daily from 5pm – 11pm. During the day, it’s bright and airy and at night, it turns into a vibey mezcal and tequila-focused bar.
- 86 rooms
- two-story Spanish-American courtyard
- outdoor pool surrounded by lush greenery
- pizza oven at night
- chic bar, La Reina, with an extensive selection of cocktails and wines
- 24-hour room service
- complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
1862 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM, book here
Inn and Spa at Loretto
This luxurious hotel and Spa in downtown Santa Fe located near the city center has the authentic New Mexico Southwestern style, with 136 lovely suites and guest rooms with a penthouse suite. The Inn and Spa at Loretto also have fine casual dining, a heated seasonal garden pool, rare onsite boutiques and galleries, and, most importantly, an award-winning spa. Alternatively, visitors can also check in the Paseo de Peralta, which also offers excellent hospitality services
You can immerse yourself in various activities while visiting the Inn and Spa at Loretto. For instance, adjacent to it, there’s a Loretto chapel, known as the cathedral basil of St. Francis of Assisi. It is also among the oldest church having a unique spiral staircase. This factor has primarily made it to be a significant tourist attraction for many centuries. Those who love nature are in for a treat as there is an old Santa Fe trail nearby where both locals and tourists can indulge in outdoor day trips that include: walking tours, biking, and even sightseeing.
211 Old Santa Fe Trail, NM 87501, hotelloretto.com
Best restaurants in Santa Fe
The blue corn pancakes with chile, mole, and maple syrup here made me tear up and I came back the next day. You have to eat at Cafe Pasqual’s at least once on your trip.
We loved the unique coffee options here.
The Modern General is one of the best places to start your day in. Breakfast at this venue comprises organic smoothies and fresh-pressed juices; naturally made leavened bread, stone-ground, third-wave coffee that’s adaptogen-spiked, fresh farm eggs, etc.
In other words, Modern General is a place where visitors get served not only delicious meals but also healthy ones as well. Whenever you’re in town and want to have a hearty breakfast, the Modern General in Santa Fe is the perfect place. Visitors precisely, history buffs can also visit the Palace of the Governors, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, or the Wheelwright Museum of American Indian in Santa Fe after being served at the Modern General.
637 Cerrillos Rd, NM 87505
El Chile Toreado
We loved the pork Adobada burrito here so much that we came back again.
La Choza is another excellent destination in Santa Fe where you can have your lunch or dinner. Voted as the number one New Mexican restaurant by fans of the Santa Fe Reporter, this particular restaurant offers some of the best traditional food. Their menu comprises traditional southwest food, summer patio dining, red and green chile, and a full bar offering various drinks.
La Choza is at the Mercer Ranch in the old adobe headquarters. The atmosphere there is warm and friendly, whereby the dishes represent both the historical and current heritage of Santa Fe. Besides the restaurant’s delicious meals, it also offers visitors great Mexican margaritas that are worth a sip.
905 Alarid St, NM 87505
One of the best eateries with the best red chile in New Mexico is The Shed—located half a block from the Plaza, its renowned for its traditional New Mexican menu dating back to 1960. The Shed services are excellent; however, the tasty red chile cheese with blue onion corn enchiladas is the signature dish and the primary attraction.
This particular restaurant sits on East Palace Avenue, a historic former home, where visitors also get to dine in elegant rooms. The Shed is usually busy, and it’s always advisable to make your dinner reservations as early as possible, especially during the weekends. Alternatively, arrive there by 11:30 a.m. if you don’t want to wait a little longer to get served. There is also a bar that serves visitors margarita made with freshly squeezed lime juice.
113 1/2E Palace Ave, NM 87501
Kakawa Chocolate House
Chocolate lovers will most definitely enjoy visiting the Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This chocolate place has a history of drinking chocolate elixirs that span as early as 1000 BC to 1900 AD. Historically, they included the Mesoamerican, traditional pre-Columbian,1600s European drinking chocolate elixirs, colonial American and Mexican drinking chocolate elixirs.
Visiting Kakawa Chocolate House allows visitors to taste some of the most delicious high-quality chocolate ever made. Whenever you’re in Santa Fe and want to experience an authentic chocolate taste, then the Kakawa Chocolate House is the place to visit.
1050 Paseo De Peralta, NM 87501
What are your favorite spots in Santa Fe?
Q: What are some of the best hot springs to visit in Santa Fe?
A: Some of the best hot springs in Santa Fe include Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort, Jemez Hot Springs, Spence Hot Springs, San Antonio Hot Springs, and McCauley Warm Springs.
Q: What are some other outdoor activities to enjoy in Santa Fe besides hot springs?
A: Santa Fe is a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of hiking trails to explore in the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve. Other popular outdoor activities include river rafting, hot air ballooning, and horseback riding.
Q: What are some cultural attractions to visit in Santa Fe?
A: Santa Fe is known for its rich history and vibrant arts scene. Some of the top cultural attractions to visit include the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Palace of the Governors, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Museum of International Folk Art.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit Santa Fe?
A: The best time of year to visit Santa Fe is during the fall, when the leaves are changing colors and the weather is cool and crisp. Spring is also a great time to visit, with mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers.
Q: What are some of the best restaurants to try in Santa Fe?
A: Santa Fe is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide range of culinary options to choose from. Some of the top restaurants to try include The Shed, Coyote Cafe, Geronimo, and Sazon.
Q: What is the closest airport to Santa Fe?
A: The closest airport to Santa Fe is the Santa Fe Regional Airport, which is located just 10 miles from downtown Santa Fe. Alternatively, visitors can also fly into the Albuquerque International Sunport, which is approximately one hour’s drive from Santa Fe.