Travel Guide | Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is unlike any place you’ve ever been. Steeped in history, culture and art; you’re sure to make lasting memories when visiting The Land of Enchantment.
This little town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains is the best place to visit for rest, relaxation, inspiration and amazing food.
Things to know before you come:
- Also known as the Land of Mañana, Santa Fe is a place to come if you want to slow down. Be prepared for slower service, shorter hours and a pace that life was made for living in. It’s lovely, but generally not something people are used to if you’re from a big city.
- The elevation in downtown Santa Fe is 7200 ft! Make sure to hydrate, take it slow and wear lots of sunscreen.
- Not known for its raging nightlife, you’ll want to be sure your dinner reservations are before 8:30pm.
- Be sure to check that you have reservations far in advance - most spas and restaurants will book up 3 weeks out, especially in the high season.
A brief history of Santa Fe:
Before European colonization, the city and land surrounding Santa Fe was occupied for thousands of years by ingdegineous first nations tribes. The Tewa people called Santa Fe, Ogha Po'oge, “White Shell Water Place”.
The name “Santa Fe” means 'Holy Faith' in Spanish, and the city's full name is, La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís ('The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi'). Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States, and was founded in 1610. Just outside the plaza you’ll find the oldest home and oldest church in the US (built from adobe bricks, you can still see the originals from way back when!).
We’re so super lucky to call Santa Fe our home and we wanted to share with you the best of the best for a fun weekend in Santa Fe.
72 Hours in Santa Fe | A Locals Guide
There are SO many museums in Santa Fe. This list is certainly not all of them and we really do recommend them all. But if you're only in town for 72 hours, these are the ones to prioritize.
- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
- New Mexico History Museum
- IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
- New Mexico Museum of Art
- SITE Santa Fe
- Meow Wolf
You can't come to Santa Fe without taking a hike in some of the most beautiful scenery in the American Southwest. Be sure to plan ahead and bring LOTS of water, you'll need it in the altitude.
- Dale Ball Trail System: The Dale Ball trail system is a nearly 25-mile network of trails for hikers and bicyclists in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. You can find trails for beginners and advanced hikers in this trail system. All the trails are well marked with maps.
- Part of the Dale Ball trails, hikes up Pichaco Peak and Castle Rock will give you amazing views of the city and are two of our favorites here at High Noon.
- The Santa Fe Ski Basin has some amazing trails that wind through the Pecos National Forest. The elevation and steep climb up the mountain make these trails more challenging than the Dale Ball trails closer to town.
- For the best hikes up the mountain, we recommend: La Vega, Nambe Lake and Aspen Vista.
National Monuments/Historic Parks
There are a few can't miss National Monuments a quick drive from Santa Fe.
- Bandelier National Monument protects about 34,000 acres of canyon and mesa country. There is evidence of human presence here dating back 11,000 years! Your day will be filled with walking, exploring ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
- Pecos National Historic Park on the historic Santa Fe Trail, is where the Pecos Indians once commanded the trade path between the Pueblo farmers of the Rio Grande and the hunting tribes of the buffalo plains, Here you'll find the ruins of the Pecos pueblo and Spanish missions.
You'll be surprised by how delicious and diverse the dining scene in Santa Fe is. You can spend weeks eating out and still not get a taste of everything. From fine dining to food trucks, we're giving you the deets on all of our favorite restaurants.
- Breakfast/Pastries: Dolina, Clafoutis, Mille, The Betterday, Wild Leaven Bakery, Bread Shop
- Lunch: Modern General Feed & Seed, The Shed, Dolina, Santacafé, Cafecito, Opuntia Cafe
- Dinner: Paloma, Joseph's Culinary Pub, Horno, Esquina Pizza, La Choza, Izanami
You'll also want to be sure to check out the local Santa Fe Farmers Market while you are in town. It's true locals experience and you'll get some of the best food in town!
Known for its western wear and traditional native turquoise jewelry. Santa Fe has a unique shopping scene. There are a ton of shops packed into the plaza, and you'll see a lot of the same stuff. Our favorite shops in town are all locally owned small businesses that have killer inventory and pretty great people behind each one.
- High Noon General Store
- Red River Mercantile
- Rainbow Man
- la boheme
- Santa Fe Vintage
- Collected Works Bookstore
- Standard & Strange
- Living Threads
Canyon Road, east of the Plaza, has the highest concentration of art galleries in the city. But you can't turn any corner in town without seeing some amazing art. It's nearly impossible to narrow down the best, but here's what we love:
We strongly believe in a good "Treat yourself" moment and we also believe no city guide is complete without a Spa section. We've tried them these four make the cut!