Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico
attractions in Southwest US
Nicknamed “The City Different” because of Santa Fe’s unique heritage and architectural style. Santa Fe New Mexico is certainly one of the most enchanting cities in the southwest and one of the oldest cities in the United States.

Santa Fe NM boasts a distinctive historical heritage unrivaled by other US regions. The city is a melting pot of Native American, Spanish and English cultures.

If you are traveling to Santa Fe New Mexico for the first time, the city is home to charming narrow streets, adobe buildings and picturesque plazas, giving Santa Fe such a raw feel of the Old American West.

Best time to visit

Visiting Santa Fe New Mexico during the shoulder seasons of spring, autumn and winter are some of the best times to enjoy a vacation here, especially if you’re looking to avoid the large crowds and over inflated tourists attractions.

Autumn and winter are the best times to enjoy the outdoors, as well as activities and events in New Mexico.

If you’re planning on undertaking many things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico outdoors, try and book a trip to the city in February, as it is one of the driest months.

If you prefer traveling during the peak season of summer, be aware that August is the wettest months.

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico: Outdoor Activities

Urban Parks

Santa Fe New Mexico boasts plenty of green areas and parks offering many recreational opportunities such as picnicking and cycling.

Some of the largest parks within the city include: Hillside Park, Amelia white Park, Salvador Perez Park, Ashbaugh Park, Frank S Ortiz Park

Biking & Hiking

Three miles east of Santa Fe, you’ll find Dale Ball Trails, which is one of the best locations for bikers and hikers of all levels.

The trails start at Cerro Gordo and are well marked so there is no chance of getting lost. The trails are suitable to all, but be aware that some sections have sharp turns so they can be rather challenging.

Scenic Drive

If you are traveling on your own car or are planning on hiring one, you can enjoy a scenic drive along Santa Fe’s byways.

For instance, from Old Fort Marcy Park, along Hyde Park Road, (475-highway) the highway runs deep into Santa Fe National Forest, offering gorgeous views on the way.


Santa Fe National forest is a gem of place for enjoying outdoors activities, and the forest has many campgrounds to suit both primitive and RV camping. However, camping spaces are on a first come, first served basis.

If you prefer to book your camping spot, there are other campgrounds to choose from such as Tesuque Pueblo RV Campground (located around 10 miles from downtown Santa Fe), and Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground (located around 8 miles from Santa Fe’s downtown area) both offering plenty of camping spaces for RV’s and tents.


If you enjoy fly fishing or bait casting, TwoMile Reservoir Dam is just less than 3 miles from downtown Santa Fe and the reservoir boasts a variety of fish such as carp, rainbow trout and bigmouth buffalo.

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico: Places of Interest

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

If you are interested in the life of Georgia O’Keeffe or are interested in art, the museum features many works by O’Keeffe, a short movie on O'Keefe, as well as complementary works by other artists.

Palace of the Governors

The Palace of the Governors is another interesting stop and a worth while visit if you are interested in Southern US.

The Palace is a great place to learn about the history of New Mexico, from early Native Americans to Spanish control.

Shidoni Galleries Sculpture

The gallery is located in Tesuque (around 15 minutes drive from Santa Fe’s downtown), but it is worth a visit, since admission is also free.

You can walk around the outside gardens and learn the process of sculpturing, as well as glassblowing demonstrations.

La Loreto Chapel

Visiting La Loreto Chapel is another of the popular things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico. The chapel is a beautiful architecture with vibrant stained glass windows, lovely mosaic tiled ceilings and beautifully wooden carved choir loft sits.

New Mexico State Capitol

If you are looking for more things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico, the New Mexico State Capitol is open to the public for self-guided tours, and it is worth a visit. Amongst other things, you can see the governor's gallery and the Capitol art collection

Museum of International Folk Art

The Museum of International Folk Art is another popular attraction in Santa Fe as it includes a huge and eclectic collection of exhibits such as orchestral instruments, Indonesian Shadow Puppets and more.

If you are visiting this museum, it’s worth checking out the other museums within the vicinity such as the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, New Mexico Museum-Indian Art and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico: Shopping

If you’re interested in doing a bit of retail shopping during your vacation here, the largest mall in Santa Fe New Mexico it's 'Santa Fe Place', which are two enclosed malls home to many popular anchor stores and a food court.

If you are visiting Santa Fe New Mexico for the first time, one of the best places for shopping opportunities is at the nearby town of Tesuque where you can visit the flea market.

At the flea-market, you can buy lovely jewelry, beads and art to take home for yourself or as a souvenir-gift for your loved ones.

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico: Nightlife & Entertainment

If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a meal as well as live entertainment, Santa Fe Brewing Company (located around 10 minutes drive from the downtown area) is a great place to enjoy a nice night out as it features live music and events.

Entertainment-wise, if you’ve never attended a Spanish flamenco venue, the JS Flamenco Theater in downtown Santa Fe is an excellent place to catch some intense and passionate flamenco entertainment.

Apart from live venues, Santa Fe has many bars, pubs and a few clubs worth checking out such as club Alegria in West Alameda Street and club Tequila in Cerrillos Road.

Things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico: Events & Festivals

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

If you are traveling to the city during the summer, one of the most popular events worth catching it’s the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival that takes place in July at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

The event spans over five weeks or so and includes chamber music, jazz concerts and open-air rehearsals.

Santa Fe Desert Chorales Festival

If you love choir music, the Santa Fe Desert Chorales Festival is another popular musical event that happens around the same time as the Chamber Music Festival, and it also spans over five weeks.

Santa Fe Symphony

The Santa Fe Symphony is another popular music event featuring the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and famed soloists.

The event normally starts in late September at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, and lasts for a whole season.

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