Santa Fe’s Top 14 Experiences

Ffooter | Dreamstime.com

From Native American cultural attractions to its burgeoning dining scene, Santa Fe offers terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip.

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by MarkKane.net

Museums

Learn about local and regional culture at the excellent institutions on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture presents interactive exhibits in its adobe-style building.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by Doug Merriam

Dining

A rising national culinary destination, the city has superb restaurants that offer both traditional New Mexican fare and more eclectic global cuisine.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Railyard District

The popular indoor-outdoor farmers’ market, a fun urban park, and hip restaurants, galleries, and indie shops keep things bustling in this redeveloped area.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Richard Susanto / Shutterstock

Turquoise Trail

A fabled, seventy-mile-long mountain drive between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, scenic NM 14 weaves past rustic houses, churches, and old mining towns such as Madrid.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by Robert Godwin

Santa Fe Opera

Simply stunning, the opera’s indoor-outdoor amphitheater is carved into a hillside. A noted summer festival presents five works every June through August.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by Douglas Merriam

Galleries

Gallery hopping is a prime activity in Santa Fe, including First Friday night Art Walks. The city’s nearly 200 galleries tempt with ceramics, paintings, photography, and sculptures for all budgets.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Ffooter | Dreamstime.com

Santa Fe Plaza

Join the fun in this lively square, the city’s historic heart and gathering spot. Events such as September’s Fiestas de Santa Fe are good times to explore galleries and restaurants—or browse in tourist shops.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

Intimate Inns

Unwind in a southwestern-style abode like the captivating Inn of the Anasazi. Traditional artwork, handcrafted furnishings, and authentic woven rugs capture the city’s unique ambience.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe

Connect with the work of this prominent American Modernist artist, who drew inspiration from the area’s landscape, at the exceptional Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. You can also visit her house in Abiquiu.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by Richard Khanlian

Holiday Season

Ancient buildings aglow in lights, Christmas Eve strolls, and elaborate celebrations make the city’s most festive season a truly magical experience.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Sumikophoto | Dreamstime.com

Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Known for bizarre sandstone rock formations that look like stacked tepees, this box canyon is a memorable hiking getaway about forty miles west of Santa Fe.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Sumikophoto / Shutterstock

Bandelier National Monument

See the cave dwellings and ceremonial kivas of ancestral Puebloans in this 33,000-acre natural wonder with abundant wildlife, waterfalls, cliffs, and mesas.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Empipe | Dreamstime.com

Spas

Indulge yourself in a day (or two) of relaxation at a tranquil retreat such as Bishop’s Lodge’s SháNah Spa, set against the striking Sangre de Cristo mountains.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide

Courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe; Photo by Seth Roffman

Native American Culture

Santa Fe celebrates Native culture at historic monuments and museums throughout the city. During the summer, Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza hosts Native American dances and jewelry-making demonstrations

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Santa Fe Travel Guide