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Top Attractions And Things To Do In Santa Fe

by Pankaj Upreti
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Things To Do In Santa Fe

The capital of the U.S state of New Mexico, Santa Fe is one of the most scenic places. The city is known for its engagement with art and a popular spot among tourists from all over the globe.

This article has been designed in a way to help you figure out the number of things that you can do in Santa Fe. We hope you have fun exploring this beautiful city.

Top Attractions In Santa Fe That You Must Not Miss

Here is a list of places that you must visit in Santa Fe to explore in its entirety:

Canyon Road

Canyon Road Santa Fe
Canyon Road Santa Fe | Photo Credit – Bill L

One of the best things that you must do at Santa Fe is to visit Canyon Road. This is one of the best places in Santa Fe as there is a lot that you can do here and will not run out of things to keep you entertained. Canyon Road stretches over half a mile and is clustered with cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.

Here you can spend an entire day indulging in tasting some of the best food and shopping at some of the most antique stores in all of Santa Fe. Here you will find all genres of art, right from traditional to contemporary. Since there are a lot of shops in the area, you shall have to walk a lot, so make sure that you wear comfortable footwear.

Hyde Memorial State Park

Hyde Memorial State Park Santa Fe
Hyde Memorial State Park | Photo Credit – Chad Fennell

If you are looking for things to do in Santa Fe that includes some outdoor activities, you should consider a visit to Hyde Memorial State Park. This is a famous spot among tourists who want to participate in activities like hiking and camping.

This park is located in the serenity of woods and will bring a sense of calm to your soul. You must consider a visit to this place if you are taking the trip with your family.

Santa Fe Opera

View from Santa Fe Opera
View from Santa Fe Opera | Photo Credit – Bill Rand

One of the most important places for the art of Opera, the Santa Fe Opera is one of the must-visit places in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This Opera house is credited for putting up opera shows since the summer of 1956. The Santa Fe Opera is hustled between the views of surrounding mountains which makes for a very scenic site. 

If you are looking for things to do with your partner, a date at Santa Fe Opera could be a nice option. We recommend you to catch an opera show which will leave you spellbound. To check out the awe-inspiring architecture of the building of Santa Fe Opera, visit their official website.

Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel | Photo Credit – Richie Diesterheft

A Roman Catholic church, the Loretto Chapel is one of the most beautiful churches in all of Santa Fe. Owing to its popularity and beauty, the church is a common site for weddings.

It is famous for its helix-shaped spiral staircase, which goes by the name “Miraculous Stair”. This is a nice place to visit with your family and will give you the space to spend some time in a quiet atmosphere.

Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi | Photo Credit – kenkopal

Popularly known as the Saint Francis Cathedral, this Roman Cathedral is one of the most famous tourist sites in downtown Santa Fe. This is a very historic cathedral and was built between 1869 to 1886. The cathedral is built in the Romanesque Revival style and is a sight to behold in itself.

 A visit to Saint Francis Cathedral will make you feel right at home. When you visit the Cathedral, do not miss out on La Conquistadora Giftshop, where you can buy some relics for your family and friends.

Museums To Visit In Santa Fe

Santa Fe is famous for its museums, most of which are dedicated to celebrating the culture of Native Americans. Here is a list of museums that you must visit in Santa Fe, they include not just the ones that deal with the history and culture of Native Americans but also Spanish colonial culture. We hope you have fun exploring these museums.

New Mexico Museum of Art

New Mexico Museum of Art Santa Fe
New Mexico Museum of Art Santa Fe | Photo Credit – Ron Cogswell

Earlier known by the name of the Museum of Fine Arts, this is the oldest art museum in the city of New Mexico. The museum is dedicated to displaying traditional as well as contemporary artworks. One of the attractions of the museum is the design of its building, which is built in a pueblo style.

The museum is home to around 20,000 works by artists that hail from the Southwestern area. The museum also showcases photographs, among its other exhibits. If you are a lover of arts then you must visit the New Mexico Museum of Art. 

The museum also has an auditorium, the St. Francis Auditorium, which is the venue for the famous Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. When you visit the museum, make sure that you also check out its library which has a splendid collection of art books. To know more about the museum, visit their official website.

The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

Founded in the year 1937, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is a museum which is devoted to art forms that belong to the Native Americans. The museum aims to provide a holistic view of historic and contemporary elements in the Native American artforms. The museum frequently organizes a number of exhibitions, which attracts a lot of audiences.

 If you are interested in exploring history, you will have a nice time at this museum. Do not forget to check out their museum shop, the Case Trading Post, where you can find art and craft works by Native American artists. Here you have the chance to shop some stunning antique jewelry, ceramics, and textiles.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe museum | Photo Credit – Mark Stephenson

Are you a fan of Georgia O’Keeffe and cannot get enough of her work? If yes, then visiting this museum will be one of the best things that you would do in Santa Fe. If you have no idea about Georgia O’Keeffe, even then, visiting this museum would be a good idea because it will introduce you to American Modernism.

The museum, like its name suggests, is dedicated to the legacy of one of the greatest artists of the United States of America, Georgia O’Keeffe. Here you would find her paintings and other assorted work. You have a chance to browse through over 3,000 paintings belonging to the “Mother of American Modernism.”

 The museum frequently hosts exhibitions that are centered around other modernist painters like Pollock, Warhol, and Levine. When you visit the museum, do not forget to check out their Gift gallery, where you can shop for Georgia O’Keeffe merchandise.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

Operating since the year 2002, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is the only museum in the entire USA that is dedicated to the history of Spanish colonialism. The museum comes from the architecture of its building which has constructed by John Gaw Meem in Spanish Pueblo Revival-style. At the museum, you would be able to find furniture, visual arts, textiles, and other works. 

To make the experience at the museum interactive, the museum also has a Costume corner, where visitors can try on traditional Spanish costumes. This is one of the best places to visit if you like to explore history. The museum will transport you back in time and will be one of the best things that you will do in the city of Santa Fe.

Museum of International Folk Art

International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe
Don ‘t Drink and Drive, International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe | Photo Credit – BFS Man

Operating since the year 1953, the Museum of International Folk Art is celebrated all over the globe for being the world’s largest collector of international folk art. If you are interested in folklore and wish to explore cultures through the medium of art, this is just the right place for you. This will be one of the best places that you will visit in Santa Fe as here you’d find over 135,000 artifacts, each of which has a rich history. 

In order to make the navigation easy, the museum has divided up its collection based on the geographical regions to which they belong. The museum organizes a series of events all round the year, so make sure you keep yourself updated with any recent developments by visiting them virtually here.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture | Photo Credit – Graeme Churchard

One of the eight museums that is managed by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, this is one of the best places for museum enthusiasts. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, just like its name suggests, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the culture of Native America. At the museum, you would find artifacts like Southwestern textiles, pottery, baskets, jewelry, etc.

The museum frequently organizes theme-based exhibitions, which are aimed to quaint the visitors with the specificities of the culture of Native America. The two permanent exhibits in the museum are, ‘The Buchsbaum Gallery of Southwestern Pottery’ and ‘Here, Now & Always’. You must visit this museum with your young ones so that they may learn about the culture of Native Americans at a young age.

Markets To Visit In Santa Fe

Santa Fe is famous for its museums, most of which are dedicated to celebrating the culture of Native Americans. Here is a list of museums that you must visit in Santa Fe, they include not just the ones that deal with the history and culture of Native Americans but also Spanish colonial culture. We hope you have fun exploring these museums.

Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Santa Fe Farmer's Market
Santa Fe Farmer’s Market | Photo Credit – Cyborglibrarian

New Mexico’s largest farmer’s market, the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is managed by 150 local vendors. This is a one-stop destination for fresh, local products that are sold on Saturdays. Spend some time in the market, to discover amazing handicrafts and baked goods by the locals.

A visit to Santa Fe Farmer’s Market will not acquaint you with the local culture of New Mexico and is one of the best ways to discover the magic of the city. Before you decide to visit the market, check out their novel products by visiting the section “What’s in Season” here.

Santa Fe Indian Market

An annual market that is produced by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts( SWAIA), a visit to Santa Fe Indian Market is one of the top things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The market is organized every year in the second week in August and is one of the biggest platforms for Native artists.

At the market, you will find thousands of Native artists who showcase their handmade products. The market is a space for Native music, literature, fashion, and other art forms. 

This is a perfect platform for you to visit and meet some local artists. This will help you to engage and understand their artwork in a more nuanced manner. Not to forget, you will able to shop some of the best indigenous products that you will find in all of the United States of America.

Places To Eat At In Santa Fe

One of the top things to do in Santa Fe is to treat your tastebuds to its variety of food items. Here is a list of places that you must consider in Santa Fe.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe
Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe | Photo Credit – Kara

Craving some chocolate in the Santa Fe? Head straight to Kakawa Chocolate House. This place is probably one of the best places in the entire United States of America and is dedicated to keeping the history of chocolate drinks alive. They have a variety of traditional chocolate drinks, which include Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan, and Aztec drinks. Moreover, the company is bent towards organic farming, so one can swear by the authenticity of their chocolate drinks. 

Apart from chocolate drinks, they make other chocolate-based delicacies like truffles, agave caramels, solid dark chocolates, and homemade ice creams. This place is all about chocolates and if you have a sweet tooth, you must visit it. It will completely change your relationship with chocolate and you would want to come back to it again and again.

Jambo Cafe

Owned by the chef Ahmed Obo, the Jambo Chef is dedicated to serving African-Arabic cuisine in the heart of New Mexico. The cafe makes for a quiet place where you can rest and unwind for the day. When at the cafe we recommend you taste their Caribbean Goat Stew and Coconut Chicken Curry.

A visit to Jambo Cafe will make for a unique thing that you will do on your trip. To know more about the dishes that you can taste at the Cafe, check out their menu.

La Lecheria

Located in downtown Santa Fe, La Lecheria is one of the most famous ice-cream parlors of the region. If you are taking the trip with your children, this is one place that you must not miss out on.

Here you will find over twelve flavors of ice-cream which are often rare to find in other ice cream outlets. The restaurant also sells sandwiches which you can pair with your ice cream. To know the exact location of the parlor, visit here.

Compound Restaurant

If you are looking for things to do in Santa Fe as a couple, you might want to go out on a date night at Compound Restaurant. One of the most famous restaurants in the area, this restaurant is known to serve lip-smacking dishes. This restaurant is owned and managed by award-winning Chef Kiffin who has been working at the restaurant for over twenty years. 

The restaurant has a contemporary American menu which the chef keeps improvising. This restaurant is quite famous amongst the tourists, so make sure that you reserve a table before you decide to visit them.

Cafe Pasqual’s

Cafe Pasqual's, Santa Fe
Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe | Photo Credit – Paul Sableman

Celebrated for its fashion dishes, the Cafe Pasqual’s is one of the finest places to eat in Santa Fe. Here you will find dishes that are a unique blend of North American and Mexican cooking style. 

The restaurant is designed keeping in mind Mexican tradition and is a sight to behold. We recommend you try out their famous Angus beef chili tacos and grilled applewood-smoked bacon.

Things To Do At Night In Santa Fe

Are you looking for things to do in Santa Fe at night? Here are two things that you can do:

Jean Cocteau Cinema

Jean Cocteau Theater, Santa Fe
Jean Cocteau Theater, Santa Fe | Photo Credit – Thomson20192

Owned by author, George R.R. Martin, the Jean Cocteau Cinema is one of the places that you must visit in Santa Fe. If you are looking for things to do at night, you must catch a show at this amazing cinema hall.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema hall is dedicated to changing the way cinema is experienced and hence apart from displaying mainstream movies, they also screen independent movies and also host other events like author talks and book-signings. So, if you love watching movies, prepare yourself for a date night at the famous Jean Cocteau Cinema.

Staab House

According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, the Staab House “is the coziest bar in Santa Fe”. The amazing cocktails, along with live music will make your day. The place is pretty spacious and you can either sit by the fireside or at the patio.

If you intent to stay at the Staab House till late at night visit them either on Fridays or Saturdays. This is one of the best places to visit on a date night and we highly recommend it.

Please also read about things to do in Honolulu.


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