Santa Fe located in New Mexico is an interesting town, and every year it attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. With its variety of museums and a rich tradition, it is sure to astonish you. When planning for your holidays, you can add this town to your list of places to visit. The interesting architecture, loads of fun activities and fantastic restaurants will make your trip worth it. This list of top tourist attractions in Santa Fe will help you plan your trip and make sure that you do not miss any spot to visit.
Let's explore Santa Fe points of interest and 15 best things to do in Santa Fe:
1. Santa Fe Plaza
The Santa Fe Plaza has been the epicenter of the town and almost all major events happen around in. From bullfighting to fandangos, you can experience a number of these festivals and events. The plaza is surrounded by several important buildings such as the Palace of the Governors and the San Miguel Mission. This plaza is a National Historic Landmark, and you can visit the Spanish and Indian markets hosted here regularly. Anytime the plaza is filled with buzz, and you will find a lot of lively activities going on. In the evening this place sprawls with people enjoying the various restaurants and exploring the number of souvenir shops around this place. If you ever visit this town, then you need to come to this plaza to feel the spirit of this town.
2. Canyon Road
The name might make you believe that a road is being talked about but this place is far from simple. For those who are, interested in art, this place is perfect for them. This place is home to a number of art galleries, and they even sell artwork from famous artists such as Fernando Botero. You will also find regional pieces of art such as hand-woven Navajo rugs and wood carvings from the Southwest. You can spend hours here by visiting any of the fifty galleries that line this road and amaze at the variety of artwork exhibited there. You will find everything from paintings to jewelry, and you will simply marvel at those creations. An art lover’s haven, this place will help you spend quite a few hours happily.
3. Santa Fe Opera House
This opera house is famous all over the world and every summer it hosts several operas. If you happen to visit this town and you find they are presenting an opera then, do watch it. They present operas on various themes such as comedies, tragedies, drama, to name a few. The venue has a capacity of 2200 seats, and it is located in a picturesque setting. It is an open-air theatre surrounded by the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. Thus, captivating operas and amazing views. You can also get tickets for tours of behind the scenes which usually take an hour.
4. Museum of International Folk Art
This museum is one among the New Mexico History Museum Group and is the most unique on the list. Apart from Southwestern art, this museum has more than 100,000 artifacts and exhibits from all over the world. The exhibits have varied origins including North American, Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Spanish origins. You can see various artifacts such as household items, paintings, ceramics and colorful toys. Do not worry that your kids will get bored, as the large collection of colorful toys will surely make them interested. The perfect place to spend some quality time learning about different regions and cultures.
5. Palace of the Governors
This structure was constructed in 1610 and was the spot where the Native American uprising was successful in 1680. Currently, this is a museum showcasing the state’s history of the last 400 years. Among the artifacts is a stagecoach which dates back to the Santa Fe Trail and an altarpiece that was made for a church in 1830. This museum also showcases artifacts of Native American, Mexican and Spanish origins. Go outside, and you will find Native Americans selling handicrafts and local items. Visitors have commented that a trip to this museum was interesting as well as very informative. You will be able to learn a lot about the olden times and about the country’s history.
6. Santa Fe Farmers Market
Visiting the local market is often the best way to know the town better. This market is open on Saturdays all throughout the year, and you can enter this market for free. You will find a number of vendors selling locally grown produce that are fresh and other things such as local cheese and beautiful flowers. You will also find a snack bar at the market that sells many local food items and coffee. With the variety of delicious foods made with fresh produce, you will be spoilt for choice. The market is generally full of people and if you wish to avoid the crowd then visit the market early in the morning.
7. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
If you are interested in historical architecture then this cathedral will take your breath away. This cathedral is a prominent spot in the town, and it stands tall among the town’s skyline. The main purpose of this cathedral was to bring Catholicism to the Southwest. Visit this during the sunset, and you can witness the cathedral casting a golden glow that is mesmerizing to look at. The cathedral is open all days, and a visit to the inside of the church will truly amaze you.
8. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keeffe was inspired by the landscape of Santa Fe, and her paintings are evidence of that. This museum is housed within a church and is the largest collection of artworks of the artist in the entire world. Apart from Georgia O’Keeffe, many other artists also have their artwork displayed here. If you love art, then this place will interest you into staying here for few hours.
You may be a bit surprised to know that you can ski here in Mexico, but you will find some of the best skiing spots here. From late fall to early springs, the skiing season is open, and you can try your hand at skiing. Some of the mountains are the Ski Santa Fe, Pajarito Mountain Ski and Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort, where you can ski. Al the spots have basic amenities like restaurants, bars, and shops. So a visit to this spots is totally worth your time if you want to spend some time skiing.
10. Bandelier National Monument
If you are in a mood for exploration and outdoor activity then visiting the Bandelier National Monument is a must. This spot is a settlement before the independence and was governed by the Native Americans. Located at the base of Frijoles Canyon there are several caves which you can explore by climbing the wooden ladders and entering them. This monument is surrounded by 30,000 acres and more of open space, wilderness and wildlife. The perfect place for a family outdoor activity and learning about the earlier settlements of the Native Americans.
11. New Mexico Museum of Art
The oldest art museum in Mexico this has more than 20,000 artifacts exhibited here. The exhibits range from paintings to textiles and also include photographs and unique installations. Visitors have rated this museum highly and consider the exhibits to very interesting and fascinating. If you plan to go to a museum that displays a large number of unique exhibits, then this is the place to be.
12. Liquid Light Glass
This establishment began in 1986, and as the name suggests, it is a hub for glass blown art. Here you will find glass ornaments, sculptures, vases and much more. It is located in Baca Streets Arts District which is a developing neighborhood for shops and boutiques. You can visit this place to watch the founder Elodie Holmes create some amazing artwork from the glass. You can even take a class where you will be taught the art of glass blowing, and you will be able to create such sculptures and glass items in no time.
13. Astronomy Adventures
operating for over a decade now, Astronomy Adventures has been conducting stargazing tours for tourists in Mexico. They offer educational and interesting tours where you can amaze yourself at the beautiful skies full of twinkling stars. The tour will be led by a friendly and professional guide who will tell you all about the interesting things you can see in the sky. Such a tour on a pitch black night is something you will always remember.
14. Kokopelli Rafting Adventures
Enjoying white water rafting is something you cannot miss in Mexico. Kokopelli Rafting Adventures lets you experience rafting in the Rio Grande River for challenging outdoor activity. This trip will surely be a memorable one and with you will be enjoying the outdoors to the fullest. They have several trips to choose from to suit your requirements and so visit here to get an adrenaline fix.
15. Kakawa Chocolate House
If you love chocolate, then this place must be high on your list of places to visit. This is an artisanal chocolate company that makes and sells exotic and exquisite handmade chocolates. You will also get homemade ice-creams and rich chocolate elixirs. They make their chocolates by fusing Colonial and Mesoamerican chocolate recipes with a modern twist and seasonal ingredients to create unique chocolates and delights that are only found here. This is undoubtedly the best place to satisfy your sugar urges.
These are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Santa Fe. If you visit this town, you will surely leave with a lot of memories and a wish to return again.