Santa Fe New Mexico –
Why Put it on Your Bucket List?
Santa Fe New Mexico has it All
Santa Fe New Mexico – Thinking of visiting? Santa Fe New Mexico offers exhilarating and enriching experiences year round. From winter sports and summer hiking to the arts, great food, Native Indian and Spanish culture, to history and geology. A treasure trove of adventures awaits you.
Santa Fe New Mexico – Outdoor Experiences
No matter the time of year, Santa Fe’s unspoiled wilderness invites adventure. In winter, you can ski at Ski Santa Fe or go up to Taos. In April, we hiked Tent Rocks, a moderate to difficult hike that took us from the canyon base to the mountaintop – exhilarating. Plaza Blanca, another hike we did near Abiquiu where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted, is quite an interesting set of land formations to explore. We also hiked:
- Bandolier National Monument – where Ancient dwellings of the Puebloan people are located
- Puye Cliffs – abandoned pueblo ruins on the Santa Clara Pueblo – another National Historic Monument
- Tent Rocks National Monument
- Rio Grande Gorge – Bridge and hiking near Taos
Everywhere you look the scenery is diverse and exquisite.
Arts + Culture
If you are a city person and love art, history and culture, you’ll find plenty to do in downtown Santa Fe New Mexico. Four world-class museums reside on Museum Hill in Santa Fe New Mexico. They include:
- Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (my favorite)
- Museum of Spanish Colonial Culture (missed it dues to our time limitations)
- Museum of International Folk Art (We visited it; has extensive collections and regular tours included with admission. If you like folk art don’t miss it. It’s not my thing.)
- Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (missed it dues to our time limitations)
And Santa Fe Botanical Garden is also on Museum Hill.
Other Arts + Museums
A visit to Santa Fe New Mexico is not complete without a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, as Georgia O’Keeffe was a major figure in American art, and a trendsetter.
Meow Wolf – a modern experiential, interactive installation that transports you to various realms – is quite an experience, so don’t miss it.
Spend the day browsing the incredible galleries on Canyon Road. There are over 100 galleries and artist studios. Every style and medium seems to be represented. Whether you are a collector or a voyeur, it is an interesting experience.
More than 23 Museums of Art and history are in Santa Fe, and more in the surrounding area.
I highly recommend a day trip to Abiquiu to experience Georgia O’Keeffe country – The Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu – her home and studio. The Ghost Ranch tour physically engages visitors in the landscapes that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting. Her home can only be seen on a tour, and it gives a wonderful understanding of the artist, her life, how she lived and loved the land. You’ll see her fruit and vegetable garden, which is still planted today.
Two great finds in Santa Fe New Mexico are the Jackalope Complex and Gallery Ethnica. At Jackalope, a local glass blower offers works and instruction; students leave completing 3 pieces in 1 hour. Tom wants to go back and take some lessons with the glassblower. The majority of the complex offers great items for purchase, many are imports – some real, some imitations so ask questions if you are looking for authentic objects. Not everything needs to be authentic to get great buys. Gallery Ethnica on Cerrillos Road is a wholesaler of authentic and imported jewelry, crafts, furniture and accessories. Anyone can purchase at their wholesale prices and it’s a great place to buy gifts. We spent hours at each.
Spas + Relaxation
If you are interested in relaxation and rejuvenation, Santa Fe has plenty of opportunities. From spas to healing arts, yoga, hot springs, and wellness, you’ll have a wide array of places to spend time. My friend spent an evening at Ten Thousand Waves, and I wish I would’ve gone too; hot tubs and spas are located outdoors amongst the juniper and pinion trees.
Some of the hotels have highly rated spas, like Nidah Spa at the Eldorado and Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe Spa. There are many spas in downtown Santa Fe and outside of town also, like Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, which looks lovely and expensive. I hope to visit Ojo Caliente on our next visit to Santa Fe.
Native American & Spanish Culture
Native American Culture abounds in and around Santa Fe, so visit the Indian reservations and Pueblos. We visited several, for either a tour of the Pueblo, shopping for Native American jewelry, crafts, or food, and exploring the ancient dwellings and ruins. Within approximately 30 miles of Santa Fe, and worth checking out are Puye Cliffs and the Santa Clara Pueblo, Bandolier National Monument, Poeh Cultural Center at the Pojoaque Pueblo, Nambe, and San Ildefonso. At San Ildefonso, you can visit their artisans and shops. We found the Native Americans very friendly on all of the Pueblos.
If you love nature’s landscapes, take a day trip to Taos on the High Road. A visit to the Spanish Colony of Chimayo and artisans along the way is a ‘must.’ Eat at Rancho de Chimayo, and experience the fusion of Spanish, Indian and American food; it was delicious!
In Taos, visit the Taos Pueblo and take a free tour. After the tour, be sure to visit the craftsman and check out or purchase authentic Native American crafts, including very fine silver jewelry.
Santa Fe New Mexico Restaurants
Santa Fe is also known for its foodie culture. Some restaurants our group enjoyed include Geronimo – for a high-end experience, Café Pasqual – for eclectic, organic Mexican food, Vinaigrette – for fabulous salads or sandwiches, Harry’s Roadhouse – a ‘neighborhood restaurant’ offering regional food and Milrad Persian Bistro – on Canyon Road, was named a top New Mexico restaurant serving middle eastern cuisine.
The food at the Abiquiu Inn was excellent too. There are so many more great restaurants that I invite you to add your favorites in the comments section.
There’s so much to do in Santa Fe and the surrounding area; it exceeded my bucket list expectations. Our week was busy and we saw most of what I discuss here. We did skip quite a number of interesting attractions due to time constraints. I plan to visit Santa Fe again in the future.