With the continuing COVID-19 issue impacting a number of Santa Fe attractions, we're using this as a wish list for when things return to "normal"...whatever that means. We are aware that the finest things to do in Santa Fe are always debatable. Each person has their own unique preferences and small secrets. However, these are the ones we're concentrating on at the moment. One thing is certain: one adventure will lead to another, and before you know it, you'll have added ten more items to this list.
1. Meow Wolf
This has been our top pick for quite some time now for a reason. In “House of Eternal Return,” a permanent display developed collaboratively by a group of young artists, Meow Wolf's enigmatic universe masterfully combines interactive art installations with a fanciful funhouse. Meow Wolf's crazy adventure starts in a Victorian house with a mind-bending mystery and soon expands into ethereal worlds of tunnels and hidden passageways. Make a point of visiting the cheerful gift store and the fun Float Cafe and Bar. The schedule of events is updated throughout the year and includes seminars, talks, and fun performances. Continue reading to learn more about their reopening plans.
2. Chapel of Loretto
The Loretto Chapel, situated immediately south of the Santa Fe Plaza, is one of Santa Fe's architectural gems. According to tradition, a mysterious stranger appeared at the incomplete chapel after the Sisters of Loretto's nine-day prayer for assistance in completing the building. Behind closed doors, a man constructed the Miraculous Staircase using only basic equipment and then vanished before the sisters could pay him or even express their gratitude. Whatever its origins, the church, and its stairway are stunning.
3. Arts District on Canyon Road
Stroll Santa Fe's famous Canyon Road and you'll discover more than a hundred galleries, artist studios, stores, and eateries within a half-mile. Meet intriguing gallery owners who showcase exceptional work by artists from all around the world. Peek inside a studio and you may discover a painter setting up an easel or a jeweler completing an exquisite bracelet with the last diamond. Visit Canyon Road's thriving Friday night art openings, a long-standing tradition. This is the epicenter of the city's long-established and renowned art culture. Take a look at some of our most popular galleries.
4. Santa Fe Ski Area and Taos Ski Area
The Rocky Mountains of New Mexico provide the finest skiing in the Southwest, whether you're an adrenaline junkie looking for steep slopes and powerful moguls or a beginner snowboarder looking for long, leisurely runs. Northern New Mexico is a skier's dream, with abundant sunlight, blue sky, and pure powdery tracks.
Ski Santa Fe is located 16 miles from downtown and has 83 ski and snowboard slopes with 1,725 vertical feet of skiing, a base elevation of 10,350 feet, and an annual snowfall average of 225 inches. When it's time to refuel, La Casa Lodge's food court has grill dishes, pizza, pasta, and other family favorites. Alternatively, unwind slopeside at Totemoff's Bar, where you can get a burger and listen to live music on the outside deck on Saturdays.
Taos Ski Valley is renowned, with 3,274 vertical feet and some of the finest powder in the West. The resort started in 1954, after the first sighting of the magnificent mountain by Swiss-German ski pioneer Ernie Blake from his Cessna 1. The Blake family developed the resort's European hospitality, which continues today with an 80-room mountain hotel and spa. Downhill skiers and snowboarders are welcome on the mountain. Maintain an eye out for bighorn sheep.
5. Make Your Way Outside
Santa Fe is surrounded by natural landscapes. The Dale Ball Trails are located just east of downtown Santa Fe and consist of about 30 miles of well-marked trails that wind through the foothills. These trails are easily accessible by bike from town and are just a short trip away by vehicle. While this system is used by hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers, it seldom seems congested, particularly by Front Range standards. Just up the mountain lies Santa Fe National Forest, which offers a whole distinct environment and more route options. If you're looking for something totally different, make your way to the Rio Grande, where you'll find cactus, stunning cliffs, and one of America's most famous rivers.
6. Dwellings on the Puye Cliffs
Puye Cliff Dwellings, a National Historic Landmark, originally housed 1,500 Pueblo people—ancestors of today's Santa Clarans—who cultivated the land and hunted wildlife between the 900s and 1580 A.D. Today, their descendants reside in Santa Clara Pueblo, ten kilometers to the east. The site is the first of the ancient pueblos in the Rio Grande River Valley to be excavated. It includes split-level cave and cliff homes, as well as mesa top residences with linking pathways and stairways. Guided tours explain the site's grandeur and mystery and lead visitors to a historic Fred Harvey House constructed in the late 1800s for rail travelers. The structure, the only Harvey House constructed on Pueblo property, contains an educational center and gift store.
7. Hill of the Museums
Santa Fe is a well-known museum destination, but with more than a dozen museums spread across the city, it's difficult to see them all in a day or two. That is why Museum Hill is an ideal starting point for your tour. Museum Hill, located on a picturesque hill east of downtown, offers breathtaking views of the city and is home to four outstanding museums: the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, and the renowned International Folk Art Museum. When your museum legs begin to ache and you need a break, take advantage of eating, shopping, an outdoor labyrinth, and the aromatic paths of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, all located on the same hill.
8. Breweries in Santa Fe
For a tiny town, Santa Fe has some excellent beer. It all began more than 30 years ago with Santa Fe Brewing. Today, the brewery is the biggest in New Mexico, producing some delectable beers such as 7k IPA, Java Stout, and a variety of other great draughts. They just opened a stunning new beer hall on the south side of town. You really must check it out.
Blue Corn Brewery is known for its innovative beers that have received both local and national honors. Their normal beers are excellent all-day drinkers, while their seasonals demonstrate their inventiveness. And while you're there, check out some of Santa Fe's other award-winning brewers. Rowley Farmhouse Ales was the brewery with the most awards at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, a remarkable accomplishment for such a tiny business. Are you interested in learning more about the Santa Fe beer scene? Consult our guide to Santa Fe breweries.
9. New Mexico History Museum & Governors Palace
At the state-of-the-art, interactive New Mexico History Museum, learn all there is to know about our state's illustrious and riveting history. Travel through time beginning with the Ancestral Puebloans and ending with Spanish conquistadors and Santa Fe Trail pioneers. Continue your journey through the railroad period, the Manhattan Project era, the hippie commune era, and beyond. Among the museum's hundreds of antiques, maps, photos, and paintings, see Pancho Villa's pistol, an antique stagecoach, and Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls' souvenirs. The museum complex comprises the Palace of the Governors, a four-century-old National Historic Landmark, and the state's oldest museum, with period chambers and exhibits spanning 400 years of New Mexico history.
10. National Forest of Santa Fe
The picturesque Santa Fe National Forest covers an astounding 1.6 million acres and is home to the headwaters of three rivers, as well as lakes and streams with excellent trout fishing. In the summer, float the Rio Grande or ski the powdery slopes of Ski Santa Fe. Autumn is also lovely, with golden aspens glistening in the sunshine. With over 1,000 miles of hiking routes going into breathtaking wilderness regions, you may explore at your leisure on foot or horseback. Alternatively, join a wilderness pack trek. Keep a lookout for magnificent animals such as elk, deer, and bears.