Top 10 Things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Written by on November 13, 2009 in NM Attractions - Comments Off on Top 10 Things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico is recognized as one of the most intriguing cities in the nation, thanks in part to the preservation of many of its historic buildings, as we as to modern zoning codes with accounts for the city’s distinctive Spanish-Pueblo style of architecture. Santa Fe’s location in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (elevation 7,000 feet) ensures it has a mild climate, making it a great place to visit year around. And there’s plenty to see and do in the town nicknamed “The City Different.”

Here are our top picks for things to do in Santa Fe!


1. Santa Fe Southern Railroad

You’ve heard of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad? Now you can ride the 120-year-old spur from Santa Fe to Lamy through the scenic New Mexico countryside. The 1920s railcars and the old Santa Fe Depot combine to create an link to the city’s colorful past. The Evening Star Train, the Halloween Highball and the Santa Trains are just a few of the special rides the Santa Fe Southern Railroad offers

2. El Paseo Llama Expeditions

Llama trekking is hiking and camping in the wilderness with a furry four legged buddy (a Llama) to carry your gear and your kids. Explore the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo wilderness with knowledgeable guides who have a great deal of experience in the flora and fauna, local history, geology and ecology. You will travel along hidden trails to high meadows that few people ever get to see.

3. River Rafting

Ride the legendary Rio Grande and the Rio Chama, designated as one of America’s Wild and Scenic Rivers, and you’ll experience unsurpassable beauty and a remarkable adventure. Take a walk on the wild side on Class IV rapids, or just enjoy a gentle scenic float. Several knowledgeable guide groups and outfitters stand ready to help you enjoy a few hours or days on the river.

4. Experience the Arts

Santa Fe is a Mecca for artists and craftsmen of all types. You can explore the dozens of galleries and artists’ studios. The Santa Fe ballet, theaters and opera also offer year-around entertainment. Finally, spend a day on Museum Hill, which hosts four outstanding museums — Museum of Spanish Colonia Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Also notable are the Georgia O-Keefe Museum, The New Mexico Museum of Art and the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.

5. The Santa Fe Indian Market

One of the most prestigious events in Santa Fe — the Santa Fe Indian Market — brings together more than 1,200 artist from 100 Native American cultures. The market draws more than 100,000 collectors, gallery owners and fans of Indian art from around the world. It always takes place on the third weekend in August every year.

6. Historic Sites

With 400 years of well preserved history, Santa Fe has dozens of historic locations you will want to visit including the Cross of the Martyrs, the Palace of Governors, the Santa Fe Plaza, the San Miguel Mission, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and many more. Historic tours are available, including some incredible walking and tram tours that allow you to discover Santa Fe’s compelling history, treasured art and architecture and even some spine-tingling ghost stories.

7. Hiking and Biking

Leave civilization behind and explore rugged mountains, shaded forests, sunny meadows and bubbling brooks. Santa Fe is a hiker’s and biker’s paradise. You don’t have to travel far from the city to find outstanding trails from easy to challenging in the pristine wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

8. Skiing

Just 16 miles from the heart of historic Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ski Santa Fe is one of the highest ski areas in the continental United States. From 12, 075 feet, where the chair lift drops you off, you’ll have stunning views as well as a gateway to all the thrills you want — mogul runs, powder chutes, tree-skiing and plenty of groomed trails.

9. Shopping

Shopping in Santa Fe takes you on an odyssey, into charming historic buildings filled with treasures handmade and hard to find anywhere else. Whether you’re looking for fashion or furniture, cowboy boots or concho belts, salsa or silver and turquoise jewelry, you’ll find that and so much more in this shopper’s paradise of Southwest specialties as well as wonders from around the world.

10. Parks and Monuments

Nearby attractions within an hour drive include Petroglyph National Monument, Pecos National Historic Park and Bandelier National Monument. Within a two to three-hour drive, visitors can reach Chaco Culture National Historic Park, El Malpais National Monument, El Morro National Monument, and Fort Union National Monument.

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