As one of the top historic cities in the country, Santa Fe attracts thousands of visitors annually. The city has been a trading center for more than a century and has the history and culture to prove it. Even the shortest visit to the city will give you access to art galleries, museums, and more.
You can also enjoy the outdoors by going hiking, horseback riding, biking, snowboarding, or skiing. Catch a performance, whether you prefer symphonies, operas, plays, or musicals.
The only problem with visiting Santa Fe is trying to pick among the numerous attractions and decide which ones to make time for.
These are 10 must-see attractions in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The open air Santa Fe Opera House offers the pleasure of more than just opera. Concerts with acclaimed guests of all genre perform for the public under the stars. The beautiful setting with mountains as a backdrop and a view to spectacular sunsets creates a one of a kind experience. Free parking and an opportunity to picnic before the performances is another perk to enjoying an evening here.
The Plaza, once known as the city square, is at the heart of Santa Fe. This traditional Spanish American Memorial is a National Historic Landmark. In the center of town, it is for everyone; locals and tourists alike, to enjoy festivals, sales and food. Jewelry, art, music and dance are a part of the cultural events. The park has room to roam. Besides the beautiful trees, benches and striking decorations at holidays, shops and restaurants encircle the historic center.
Another perfect destination is the Canyon Road art tableau. No matter the preference, galleries featuring diverse art in every form are displayed among the unique shops and restaurants. Only minutes from leading hotels, bed & breakfasts and exclusive inns, guests can ramble down the historic road to revel in the inspiring artists at work. Unusual jewelry, Native American pottery, furniture and other gifts as well as fashion are all encompassed in the 100 shops.
The fabulous museum is a not to be missed selection of attractions in Santa Fe. Not only are there over 3000 works of art in the museum collection, there is much to be learned about the artist. Exhibition dates are published for those with a favored artisan, or enjoy an educational class. Events and programs for all ages include subjects such as artistic drawing techniques, cooking classes and current event discussions.
The world's largest collection of Folk Art displays four distinct compilations of artifacts. Guided tours as well as walk in tours are welcome to observe the artistic forums. The museum offers a variety of programs, exhibits and written materials for people of all ages and walks of life. The goal is to encourage interest while stimulating minds with this extraordinary offering.
Bandelier National Monument is a distinctive, captivating desert interest. Home of the tribal Pueblo people, ancient pueblo structures among 70 miles of hiking trails astound the mind. In any season of the year, there is a profusion of wildlife. From black bears to tarantulas, from deer to birds of prey, any one of them may be encountered while hiking. The visitor center at the Bandelier National Monument features exhibits pertaining to the Pueblo people.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Santa Fe and the founder of the Franciscan Order, is an amazing structure. The Cathedral was established 1853. The parish church was originally endowed in 1610 when Santa Fe was founded. By 1850 the structure was no longer suitable for the public to attend since being damaged to near destruction in 1680. By 1887 the new Cathedral was completed, built around the original, small adobe chapel. Stained glass windows and altar screens with famous saints adorn the stunning Cathedral.
This fabulous Native American art market is the most famous and largest of it's kind in the world. It is cherished by the Indians for the opportunity to meet the public and display their authentic wares. Native music, art, fashion and cultural activities surround the yearly event held the third weekend in August. The festival continues for a week where one may purchase art from the sales. Beginning with sculpture, textiles, pottery, jewelry, paintings, carvings, bead work and baskets, the collection includes thousands of handcrafted works.
The Palace of Governors is the oldest artifact in the recently established New Mexico History Museum, built in 2009. New Mexico is proud to tell the story of 500 years of experiences of the people who built, tamed and live in New Mexico. Lectures, displays of artifacts and performances culminate with annual functions and workshops. The courtyard is available daily for local Native American artists to display their authentic merchandise. There is something for everyone to see, learn and experience at the New Mexico History Museum.
At a mere 16 miles from Santa Fe, the mountain base elevation of 10, 350 feet is more than adequate for fun and adventure in the snow. Open dates usually begin in late November at this unequaled ski haven. The trails are divided so 20% are easy for the beginners in the family. Daily preparation of 36 trails leaves plenty of options for all participants. The 660 acres of ravishing territory averages 225 inches of snow a year. Fifty percent of the mountain has snowmaking equipment, just in case. The beautiful lodge and more than 200 available restaurants complete the best ski vacation imaginable.