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The 10 best things to do in Santa Fe

Explore the famous art and architecture of "the City Different" with this guide to the best things to do in Santa Fe.
SANTA FE
SANTA FE
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New Mexico’s capital city is known for its stunning, ancient architecture, delicious restaurants and vibrant art scene. It’s these three categories that inform the best things to do in Santa Fe. Whether you peruse the masters at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, eat Christmas-style posole at a local restaurant, or visit an ancient momument, use our guide to check off all the best things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

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Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Best things to do in Santa Fe

1
Santa Fe Plaza
Photograph: Yelp/Lauren C.

Santa Fe Plaza

For nearly 400 years, the Santa Fe Plaza has served as the beating heart of this charming city hosting Indian and Spanish markets and community gatherings. Peruse art galleries, stunning churches and local vendors. 

2
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Photograph: Courtesy Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Dedicated to the life and works of legendary artist Georgia O'Keeffe, this quaint museum houses the largest permanent collection of O'Keeffe's work in the world. O'Keeffe lived in New Mexico for many years and you'll see many of state's landmarks and iconic buildings reflected in her artowrk. 

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3
Sopapillas
Photograph: Flickr/FJ40TROUTBUM

Eat posole and sopaipillas at Tia Sophia's

This landmark Santa Fe cafe features good-old-fashion northern New Mexico dishes like pollo adovada and sopaipillas at reasonable prices. Order the posole Christmas-style (a mix of red and green chili) and prepare to sweat. 

4
Santa Fe Opera House
Photograph: Yelp/Lauren S.

Santa Fe Opera House

You might not expect one of the country's best opera houses to be located in the Southwest, but the Santa Fe Opera House is renowned for introducing new operas including more than 40 American premieres and 15 world premieres. The building itself is a magnificent piece of modern architecture around an open air theater. 

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5
Bandelier National Monument
Photograph: Yelp/Afshin A

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument includes over 33,000 acres of rugged, beautiful canyon and mesa country. The famous Petroglyphs include ancient dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs as well as evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years. 

6
Loretto Chapel
Photograph: Yelp/Yuko H.

The Loretto Chapel

Believers and non-believers alike can marvel at the architectural wonder that is the spiral staircase inside the Loretto Chapel. Completed in 1878, a mysterious carpenter built the staircase with two 360 degree turns, no visible means of support and without any nails. 

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7
Museum of International Folk Art
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of International Folk Art

Museum of International Folk Art

This world-class facility perched atop Santa Fe's museum hill has the largest collection of folk art in the world, including popular art, toys and textiles from more than 100 nations around the world. 

8
Canyon Road
Photograph: Yelp/Yuko H.

Canyon Road

The largest concentration of Santa Fe’s legendary 200 art galleries is located down Canyon Road. Walk down the road for a charming, vibrant stroll thorugh old town Santa Fe. 

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9
santa fe river park trail
Photograph: Flickr/CityofSantaFe

Santa Fe River Park Trail

When the water runs, Santa Fe River Park is a supreme example of desert Southwest flora and fauna. When times are dry, the riverbed offers another fun trail to hike through the heart of Santa Fe. 

10
Ski Santa Fe
Photograph: Courtesy Ski Santa Fe

Ski Santa Fe

That's right, Santa Fe's intense elevation (it's the highest capital city in the nation) means it snows in the wintertime. Well-known for it’s friendliness, hit the slopes at Ski Santa Fe before stopping for an unforgettable unch on top of lift 4. 

Hungry for the best eats in Santa Fe?

Restaurants

The best restaurants in Santa Fe to try right now

An artist haven made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe is also known for its traditional New Mexican food, a unique mash-up of hearty ranchero fare, Mexican cuisine and Native American dishes. The dining scene may be small, but locally sourced ingredients and local farmers make the best restaurants in Santa Fe truly delicious. 

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