Santa Fe, New Mexico is often listed as one of the top travel destinations in the United States. What makes this southwestern city so special? The reasons are many, from the stunning Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and rich history to savory flavors and art galore. If you want to know what to do in Santa Fe, look no further. Here’s our top 10.
1. Stay at The Bear
The first step in preparing for a getaway is to book a place to stay. Where you stay can make or break the trip. Staying at our Inn of the Turquoise Bear will definitely make your stay. Why? For one, our property is historic. Walt Bynner, a well-known poet, translator and essayist, created this rambling adobe villa from a core of rooms that date back to the early 1800’s. Constructed in Spanish-Pueblo Revival style, the Bear is considered one of Santa Fe’s most important historical estates. From the moment you arrive, you will find yourself immersed in history and culture, including southwestern art, wood-burning Kiva fireplaces (available Oct. 15 – April 15 each year), and a storied past. For instance, The Bear was once the party house for Bynner and his popular guest list, including Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ansel Adams. Adams referred to these parties as “Bynner’s Bashes.”
Besides the rich history, you will also be treated to delicious food each morning. Guest favorites include blue corn pancakes with piñion butter and classic Quiche Lorraine with spring greens & asparagus salad. Guests also love the tiered gardens and lush foliage surrounding the estate – perfect for lounging in the hammock on a sunny day, which happens over 300 days a year. What’s more, we are located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, which puts you close to the wonderful attractions and activities that make Santa Fe so special.
2. Go Shopping
Santa Fe is a shopper’s paradise. In fact, some say that the shopping rivals New York or Chicago. What’s special about Santa Fe is its international and cultural flavor, from the colorful world market of Casa Nova to that Native American finds at The Palace of the Governor. You’ll find distinctive Zuni crafts at Keshi, as well as authentic Native American, Spanish Colonial, and Hispanic arts and crafts at Rainbow Man. Teca Tu is “A Paws Worthy Emporium & Deli” and Doodlet’s offers old time gifts for a dose of nostalgia. And if you can’t pass up books and coffee, then head to Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, a local’s favorite since 1978.
3. Tour “The City Different”
Experience the essence of Santa Fe with a guided tour. No matter your area of interest, from art, history and architecture to hiking, biking and food, there’s a tour for everyone. Check out our guide to Santa Fe tours (link to new blog post).
4. Experience the Art
Santa Fe is synonymous with art. In fact, famous Canyon Road alone boasts over 100 art galleries and museums – more than anyone can visit during a brief stay. Take a stroll and immerse yourself in City Different’s rich artistic heritage. Here are just 9 galleries to get you started.
Browsing art exhibits and displays is one way to appreciate art. However, experiencing art first hand is quite another. Whether you’re a beginner or an artist, sign up for an art class during your next trip to Santa Fe. From glass blowing and pottery to painting and photography, here are 4 art classes to try.
Be sure to save some time for Meow Wolf. What began as a casual DIY collective of Santa Fe artists in 2008 has become a truly unique and popular art destination. Their distinctive style of immersive environments encourages audiences to fully participate in the experience. Meow Wolf’s, House of Eternal Return, features 70+ rooms of immersive art, and will take you on a “macrocosmic adventure of seemingly endless possibilities.”
5. Experience the Opera
If you’ve never been to opera before, then Santa Fe is the perfect place to experience it for the first time. The award-winning Santa Fe Opera offers world-class performances in a breathtaking open-air theater of 2,000 seats, including standing room locations with individual computer screens and several language translations.
6. Travel the Margarita Trail
Take a trip down Santa Fe’s Margarita Trail. This fun and tasty route will take you to some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. Using your passport, you can sip your way through a variety of margaritas, from traditional to innovative.
7. Try the Breweries
If beer is more your style, you won’t be disappointed. Santa Fe has an impressive list of breweries in the Railyard where locals and visitors alike congregate. You’ll discover farmhouse ales, craft brews, pub food, and much more.
8. Savor the Flavors
Santa Fe is a haven for foodies, offering a variety of flavors from Mexican to Japanese. Here are 4 top restaurants to try. You’ll not only love the food, but you’ll find the drink options and atmospheres equally pleasing.
9. Hike the Hills
Hiking is truly one of the best ways to see Santa Fe’s beauty up close. The seemingly untouched landscape is full of alpine lakes, sandy arroyos, mountain ridges, and desert canyons for a very rewarding experience. Depending on your skill level, you can choose from short hikes, full day hikes and everything in between.
10. Take a Scenic Drive
Get out on the winding roads around Santa Fe and see for yourself why we call this place “The Land of Enchantment.” One nice aspect of a scenic drive is being able to travel many miles in a short amount of time, which means you can see so much more of the stunning landscape. When you come across something really special, and you will, you can stop and take it all in. Whether you travel by car or motorcycle, here are some scenic drives to get you started.
Now that you know exactly what to do in Santa Fe, start planning your getaway by booking your favorite guest room. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions about how we can help personalize your stay.