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Santa Fe is the nation’s oldest state capital and is a place you will find history, art, and learn about the Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American cultures. If this is your first visit, it could take you up to 48 hours to adjust to the altitude, but staying hydrated helps. We recommend doing some of the calmer recommendations below during the beginning of your trip, and save the more adventurous excursions for after you’ve acclimated to the area.
El Rancho de Las Golondrinas – Meaning “Ranch of the Swallows”, this living history museum is dedicated to the history, heritage and culture of 18th and 19th century New Mexico. Villagers clothed in the styles of the times show how life was lived on the frontier in early New Mexico, and some of the original colonial buildings on the site date back to the early 1700s. You’ll learn about the celebrations, music, dance, and many other aspects of life in the Spanish, Mexican and Territorial periods of the Southwest. You may also bring food and drinks (non-alcoholic) to enjoy a picnic while you are there.
Museum of International Folk Art – This museum holds the largest collection of international folk art in the world, numbering more than 130,000 objects from more than 100 countries. Explore the many different types of folk art displayed at the museum and learn about the special exhibits that are currently on display. This is a museum for all ages, as there is a play area and scavenger hunt for younger children to enjoy during their visit.
Prairie Dog Glass – If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand a glass blowing, this is the place. You get to choose what you want to make from options like a fluted vase, paperweight, flower, or ornament, and you get to select what colors you want to incorporate in your piece. It takes about an hour, but this is a hands-on hour you’ll really enjoy.
Meow Wolf Santa Fe: The House of Eternal Return – This is truly a unique experience! Teleport to another world as you explore over 70 rooms of immersive art. Interactive aspects, new surprises around every turn, and clues to a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a California family. Fun for all ages, this is truly a hidden gem, bucket-list experience you’re not going to want to miss.
La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site – Petroglyphs are rock carvings made using a stone chisel and a hammer, and at this site you can see lots of them dating back to the Spanish colonial era. But it’s a hike up a hill with some loose stones and very few trail markers. Still, it’s definitely a site worth seeing, with parking available and it’s free.
Kokopelli Rafting Adventures – Go whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande no matter what your experience is. This is a fun experience for all ages and all experience levels, and you can choose from half-day, full-day and multi-day rafting experiences. They have courses that range from easy to advanced, and their expert guides will help you choose which one to do if you are unsure.
Inn of the Governors – Feel right at home as you enjoy your stay here. It’s conveniently located just short walk to the heart of Santa Fe’s historic district where you’ll find some of the best restaurants, museums, landmarks and shops. Some of the amenities you will enjoy are a heated outdoor pool, a complimentary Mountain Sunrise Breakfast, and vibrantly decorated rooms that are warm and welcoming.
Inn on the Alemeda – Locally owned and operated since 1986, this hotel is just a short walk to the plaza. Each room and suite reflects the history, romance, and old southwestern style of Old Santa Fe, available with or without a patio or balcony. And this all-inclusive is pet-friendly, so you can bring your four-legged furry friends with you!
Radish & Rye – All the produce served here is locally-sourced, the fish is wild-caught or sustainably farmed, and the meat and poultry are hormone and antibiotic-free. However, you should note that if you have little ones traveling with you, they do not accommodate guests under the age of 8. This is definitely a restaurant for the more mature crowd.
Harry’s Roadhouse – This is the place to take the whole family! With bright colors, a full menu of comfort foods with Southwest flavor, and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s hard to go wrong at Harry’s. And make sure you save room for the dessert – it’s something to write home about!
Holy Spirit Espresso – This is one of those unassuming hidden gems people always tell you about. The owner, Bill, makes the best coffee in Santa Fe, and maybe in the whole United States. People have told him he’s “Almost Italy” because it’s so good. He also is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what to see and do in the area, so ask him. He’ll be happy to share as he expertly prepares your espresso, cappuccino, hot chocolate, latte or tea.
Santa Fe is a place to visit for its wide-open spaces and brilliant blue skies. You’ll find rich southwestern history abounds, and it will be hard to leave once you’ve found yourself renewed during your visit to this “Land of Enchantment”.