Today I’m sharing the BEST things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico! Planning to visit to the Land of Enchantment? You’re in for fun and adventure with great food, art and culture. Home to one of the top 10 Farmers Markets in the country, it’s filled with history galore and breathtaking beauty.
New Mexico – Land of Enchantment
When Dan and I visited Santa Fe, I posted on my Instagram stories that we took a left at Albuquerque and headed to Santa Fe.
I wonder how many people got that? I mean unless you grew up on Bugs Bunny you were probably scratching your head, right?!!
Anyway, we thought it was quite hilarious!
I shared a bit about our trip in October but really there is so much more!
Enjoy the tour and sights of Santa Fe, New Mexico!
Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and is located about 65 miles north of Albuquerque on Interstate 25.
As we drove north on the Interstate I realized as we entered the city there are no obtrusive buildings. No high rises or flashy billboards. Both the homes and businesses have a distinctive architectural style, mimicking Pueblo dwellings from long ago.
The buildings have thick hand-plastered walls. Beautifully carved wooden doors with earthy hues and southwestern style. They blend and work with nature rather than stand out.
Santa Fe Farmers Market
Santa Fe was founded in 1610. The city was built on the site of old Pueblo villages and is the capital of New Mexico.
The word Santa Fe means holy faith. From our trips to this state, we’ve learned this region is steeped in tradition, religion and legends. Santa Fe is nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It’s the oldest state capital in the United States.
Ok, having said this for Dan and me, Santa Fe is the history of friends. Our dear friends Ron and Michelle live in the area and we have so much fun spending time together.
Each year we never miss a beat picking up where we left off. Always the BEST visit!
We’ve been in the spring and fall and I love the fall. I love the beautiful seasonal color and the crisp chill in the air. The nights are cool and days warm. Beautiful!
Plus, when you visit the farmer’s markets the smell of the chiles roasting is intoxicating!
We have not visited in the winter – so I can’t give my opinion there. If you enjoy winter sports, there’s fun to be had then too!
The estimated population of the city is 149,000. Currently, the growth rate is under 1% a year.
You know Dan and I are wondering that ourselves! We’re looking at the area and weighing the pros and cons. There’s so much beauty. For us though, we’re not sure about the winters. What do you think? I guess I’m spoiled living in Cali.
What is there to do in Santa Fe New Mexico?
- Santa Fe Farmers Market – Definitely visit the market! Open Saturdays and Tuesdays from 8:30 to 1 pm, the market is open year-round. Plan your visit and enjoy!
- Art Galleries – with over 250 galleries, you’ll run out of time before you’re done exploring.
- History Galore! Be sure and take time to explore some of the historic sites. Stroll the Santa Fe Plaza, enjoy the beauty of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, take in a performance at the Santa Fe Opera. Boasting a beautiful open-air venue, it’s a treat for all of your senses!
- National and Regional Parks – Visit the ancient Indian pueblos in the Pecos National Historic Park. Bandelier National Monument: view the petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs.
Take in the beauty of the Chama River
One day included a drive north on Highway 84. We skirted several small towns. Fall was in full bloom and she was showing off big time, the views were breathtaking!
Eventually, we stopped at the Georgia O’Keeffe Ghost Ranch. There we stopped at the museum and found some treasures in the gift shop.
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist famous for her large-scale flower painting, New York Skyline and the New Mexico landscape. one of her paintings Jimson Weed, sold for over 44,000,000 dollars in 2014!
Known as the Mother of American Modernism, she traveled to New Mexico in 1929 and spent a portion of nearly every year working and painting with her unique perspective.
Georgia O’Keeffe Ghost Ranch
I have one more thing to share and I’ve saved the best for last! One of the BEST things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico is of course eat! We enjoyed three different restaurants that I would highly recommend.
Eating is one of the BEST things to do in Santa Fe New Mexico
Enjoy the local cuisine!
- Harry’s Roadhouse – located in Santa Fe, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, this 25-year-old establishment offers an eclectic menu mixing local cuisine with fusion favorites. I had vegan Moroccan Stew, it was excellent! Come early because there’s always a line!
- Abiquiu Cafe – casual dining, it is also open for breakfast, lunch and the evening meal. Adjacent to the Abiquiu Inn in the quaint town of Abiquiu, this would be a beautiful place for a romantic weekend! It’s also next to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. Be sure and order the tamale cakes – delicious!
- Blackbird Saloon – in Los Cerrillos, New Mexico. Their website description says; enchanting, dusty with Wild West Style and I would say that nailed it! I enjoy the best burger I’ve ever had! Their shoestring french fries are thin and crispy. I guarantee you’ll be licking your plates clean!
What’s your favorite part of vacation?
I loved this little restaurant! Excellent casual cuisine in a super quaint setting, I highly recommend you eat here when you’re in the area.
We love taking in the culture and eating local fare. Dan and I always enjoy a beautiful drive. The Santa Fe area is stunning and beautiful. Sunsets are fiery and spectacular, the air crisp and clean.
If you’re looking for more travel, fun and southwestern adventure, please visit this post for White Sands National Monument – absolutely breathtaking white dunes, I would go back there in a heartbeat!
Don’t miss Mesa Verde, CO – full of adventure and history, this was on my bucket list of places to go!
One of our more recent adventures was exploring the Astoria Oregon Coast! I grew up in Oregon and we visit my folks often. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to visit.
When you are on vacation, what are you looking for? I hope you enjoyed this and learned a bit about the area! I can’t wait until we plan the next adventure to the Land of Enchantment!