Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, rests on the southwestern slopes of the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This fun and fascinating city’s atmosphere is a contributed by the intermingling of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American cultural influences.
Filled with picturesque streets and lanes, beautiful Spanish colonial churches, and low adobe houses, alongside the Native American arts and crafts and contemporary art, Santa Fe has long been a sightseeing attraction for tourists.
In this forest-covered mountain country around the town, visitors can explore a great deal of charming Native American pueblos that are still occupied. Throughout the years, winter sports facilities have developed in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, adding to the bucket list of things to do in Santa Fe.
If you are planning your next New Mexico trip, here is a list of the top attractions and things to do in Santa Fe.
Once a trade route to the community of Pecos, Canyon Road today is home to more than 100 artist studios, galleries, and craft workshops with a focus on native crafts and traditions. Most kinds of art—from sculptures and paintings to jewelry and pottery—are both kept for show and sale along the road.
The most popular stops here are the Blue Rain Gallery, Medicine Man Gallery, and Gerald Peters. Once you are done exploring the area, there are many places to relax, including cafes, teahouses, and restaurants.
Go Skiing in The Southwest Style
If you are visiting or living in Santa Fe in winter, you shouldn’t miss checking out the numerous ski areas. Most people are familiar with the Taos Ski Valley, known for its advanced terrain. However, there are a lot of other nearby resorts where you can enjoy family-friendly skiing.
Ski Santa Fe is located just 15 miles away from the city. And if you don’t have a car, you can take the shuttle from the downtown to easily get to the place. This popular ski area features more than 650 acres of snow with nearly 80 trails and plenty of variety in terrain.
Another option is the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, covering 750 acres of snow-filled landscape and offering 45 trails. Though the trails are fewer here compared to the other options, this is a favorite ski area for beginners and families.
If you want another great option, head to the smaller ski area, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. A little over an hour’s drive away from the city, you can take advantage of the three terrain parks here and the 40 trails and recreational facilities.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is an amazing example of Romanesque Revival architecture. Built between 1869 and 1886, it was built in place of a much older adobe chapel and features Corinthian columns, rounded arches, and square towers.
The last remaining piece of the original church currently holds a statue of the Virgin Mary known as Our Lady La Conquistadora. The statue was first bought to the site from Spain in 1626, and it is one of the oldest of its kind in the US.
The cathedral’s interiors are breathtaking yet simple and enhanced by features like the Brazilian granite baptismal font, delicate woodwork, and stained glass imported from France. However, one of the most notable features here, and perhaps one that has given rise to so much over the centuries, is the keystone with a carving of the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew.
Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
Over 150 local growers and vendors gather together every Saturday morning at the renovated Santa Fe Railyard to give life to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. The market has been in operation since 2002, featuring an ever-expanding array of products from peas to squashes, dried beans, apples, corn, breakfast burritos, bread, and coffee.
However, eating or shopping for locally grown produce is not the only thing to do here. Local musicians and other artists perform at the market, adding to the enthusiasm.
Address: 1607 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Phone: (505) 983-4098
Try Glassblowing at Liquid Light Glass
A studio and gallery created by the famous glass-blower Elodie Holmes, Liquid Light Glass is where you can admire the stunning creations, watch artists at work, and even take a class. The workshops typically vary in length. Students get to learn how to design and make their glass creations, such as blown glass cups, paperweights, and flowers.
This attraction sits conveniently in the Baca Street Arts District, so even tourists who are merely passing through Santa Fe can take part in the excitement. The studio gladly ships all the glass pieces you create once they are ready.
Furthermore, you will find a wide array of unique shops, galleries, and quirky eateries within the nearby Old Railyard, so you can be sure you are not missing out on Santa Fe’s art scene.
Address: 926 Baca Street, Ste 3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Phone: (505) 820-2222
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
The Wheelwright Museum emphasizes the arts and crafts of the Native Americans of the American Southwest. You will discover a wide array of cultural objects, silverware, woven fabrics, and sand paintings here, alongside a collection of old writing and some document inscribed in clay.
You can also find contemporary works here. The museum is named for Mary Cabot Wheelwright, who established the museum back in the 1930s with the help of her friend Hastiin Klah, a Navajo “medicine man’.
Address: 704 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Phone: (505) 982-4636
Start Planning Your Santa Fe Vacation
Santa Fe is a brilliant place that offers great sightseeing and entertainment opportunities. Brimming with interesting people and captivating stories, entertainment in this city can be found by just walking around and looking at all the lovely architecture, cool shops, and art galleries. If you wish to participate in cultural events, plan your trip during the weekend.
The southwest is one reason that makes the US a beloved country, and Santa Fe is a true highlight in this region.