Santa Fe Travel Guide 2024

Santa Fe Activities & Attractions

Santa Fe Activities & Attractions

Santa Fe is the capital city of New Mexico and is praised by travelers for its exceptional scenery, especially around…

2024 Santa Fe Visitors Guide

Santa Fe is a world-class family vacation destination. With a population of just 70,000, Santa Fe is tucked into the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains. Santa Fe is a small city, but do not let its size fool you. Santa Fe annually pulls in around one million visitors. This is undoubted because Santa Fe is welcoming, and unique, and promises to keep families busy. Founded between 1607 and 1610, Santa Fe is the second oldest city in the U.S. This ancient pedigree is celebrated in Santa Fe, through its historic and cultural offerings. Santa Fe celebrates and teaches the past in an accessible, fun manner that family vacationers will appreciate. Warm summers and cool winters also make Santa Fe an all-season family vacation destination.

Santa Fe Family Vacation

The best outdoor activities combine with the ultimate cultural activities on a Santa Fe family vacation. It is in the arts where Santa Fe truly shines. But don’t worry that the art scene in Santa Fe is inaccessible or overly erudite; art is so prevalent in Santa Fe that even the non-art lovers in your family will find something to appreciate and love.

Santa Fe historic sites

A Santa Fe family vacation is a wonderful choice; the culture is so unique you will think you have traveled to a different country, however, at the same time, your family will feel right at home and welcome on the Santa Fe streets. Many families who travel to Santa Fe on a family vacation wish they could make this spectacular city their permanent home. Living is fun and easy on a family vacation to Santa Fe!

Facts about Santa Fe

Sitting peacefully in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a city of extraordinary natural beauty, crisp mountain air, and rich heritage. The city’s small-town charm, combined with a variety of cultural activities and breathtaking scenery, makes for a quality of life appreciated by all who happen upon it. Enjoy the cuisine created by Native American, Mexican, and Spanish ancestors & the ubiquitous chile pepper in such traditional fare as enchiladas, tamales, and posole.  After you’ve satisfied your growling stomach, discover the riches of one of the largest art markets in the world.

  • Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico.
  • Santa Fe is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 7,000 feet above sea level, with nearby peaks as high as 12,000 feet.
  • Santa Fe has great weather with plenty of sunshine, an average of 300 days each year. But it can snow as early as October and as late as May.
  • Santa Fe averages 14 inches of rainfall a year – and 30 to 34 inches of snow. You can ski from Thanksgiving to Easter.
  • Santa Fe is the second oldest town in the U.S., founded in 1607 by the Spanish, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
  • Indians lived here long before Santa Fe was even a town, more than one thousand years ago.
  • Santa Fe has 5,700 hotel and motel rooms, as well as charming bed and breakfast inns.
  • Santa Fe has 200 restaurants, 250 art galleries, 50 Indian jewelry shops 13 major museums, and the world-famous Santa Fe Opera.
  • Nearby Attractions: Taos & Albuquerque

Getting to Santa Fe

Santa Fe is located in Northern New Mexico an hour’s drive north of Albuquerque, the state’s largest city and major air gateway. The Albuquerque International Sunport, as the airport is officially known, is serviced by all of the major U.S. airlines. Flying into Albuquerque and renting a car is by far the most popular way of traveling around New Mexico. But not the only way. Train service provides access on a daily basis as does the bus. Santa Fe Municipal Airport is serviced by a commuter airline connection as well as being open to private aircraft. Shuttle service is available from the Albuquerque airport, Santa Fe airport, and the train station which is located in Lamy, about 20 miles from Santa Fe. Once in town, getting around is easy. Downtown and the surrounding historic districts are compact and most conveniently traveled on foot. For longer trips, there is a local taxi service, a public transportation system, Santa Fe Trails, charter vans, and limousine service.

Santa Fe Historic Sites

Often, on a family vacation, mentioning that you are going to spend the day visiting historic sites elicits groans from the backseat. This is never a worry in Santa Fe, where the historic sites offer as much fun as they do education! The whole family will be engaged as you visit each site. Perhaps nowhere else in the country is the Native American heritage and past as celebrated and preserved as it is in Santa Fe. The low, adobe buildings that once housed the Pueblo people are immaculately conserved and open for the respectful viewing public. On your Santa Fe family vacation, visit Bandelier National Monument, which is composed of over 23,000 acres of wilderness to see these ancestral dwellings and for breathtaking views of the mesas and canyons that make up the Santa Fe landscape. To appreciate the Spanish influence in Santa Fe, then a visit to the San Miguel Mission is in order. This Spanish Colonial mission church is considered to be the oldest church in the country, and the history that is buried in the thick walls will certainly whisper to your family as you tour through it. If you would like to remain in the city, then take your family to Santa Fe Plaza, which is living in Santa Fe history! Located in the heart of downtown, Santa Fe Plaza has been the center of Santa Fe for 400 years. Santa Fe Plaza hosts markets, and concerts and is just an awesome place to settle down for a quick minute off your feet. Watch the city unfold around you while visiting the Santa Fe Plaza!

Attractions in Santa Fe

Canyon Road

Initially Native American foot trail into mountains. Shops, art galleries, restaurants. East from Paseo de Peralta. (800) 777-2489, (505) 955-6200.

Downtown Shopping District

Anchored by the Santa Fe Plaza and the Palace of the Governors.

Guadalupe Street/Railyard Shopping Districts

An emerging commercial district, popular with locals and tourists alike. Landmarks include SITE Santa Fe, El Museo Cultural and the Santuario de Guadalupe.

Santa Fe Farmers’ Market

Locally grown produce, locally processed foods, educational and community activities, music, informational booths, demonstrations, farm tours. Late April-early Nov.; Tues. & Sat. at Historic Railyard on Guadalupe St.; Thurs. p.m. at county fairgrounds on Rodeo Rd. 430 W. Manhattan, #5, 87501. (505) 983-4098, fax: 983-8355.

Santa Fe Southern Railroad

36-mile round-trip between Santa Fe and Lamy. Restored vintage passenger cars, sunset dinner trips, and year-round events. 410 S. Guadalupe. (505) 989-8600.

Santa Fe Vineyard

20 miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. 285. (505) 753-8100.

Loretto Chapel

This chapel contains a mysterious spiral staircase built without nails, dowels or any visible support.

Santa Fe Museums

Kids often groan when their parents utter the word museum. Santa Fe is a true world-class family vacation destination because the museums in Santa Fe are never stuffy and always hands-on! Right on the Santa Fe Plaza is the Palace of the Governors, which was built by the Spanish Government in 1610 and chronicles the history of Santa Fe and New Mexico.

The Georgia O Keeffe Museum offers the best of both worlds for family vacationers: unique, original artwork for the older members of the family to appreciate and enjoy, and hands-on art activities for the young and old to enjoy! Kids can create their own art. Similarly, the Museum of International Folk Art has the largest collection of international folk art in the world and also offers art activities for the younger members of the family. After a visit to a Santa Fe museum, the souvenirs you take from your Santa Fe family vacation will be ones you created yourself!

Santa Fe Outdoors

There are many outdoor adventures to be had on a Santa Fe family vacation. Hiking, cycling, fishing, and skiing opportunities abound and are often just minutes from downtown. Hiking is a popular family vacation activity because there is no expensive equipment needed. Santa Fe has many trails for every level of hiker. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are just minutes from downtown Santa Fe and have miles of trails. The most popular trail is the Aspen Vista trail, which has a gradual uphill and is comfortably challenging. The surrounding scenery of mountain streams and juniper trees will keep your camera clicking and even the complaining teenagers will be silenced by the sight of the abundant local wildlife. Bring a picnic to make a family vacation memory you will never forget. Skiing is another popular family vacation activity in Santa Fe. The ski season in Santa Fe lasts from late fall to early spring, and the frequent sunny weather makes for an exhilarating, fun experience. Whether you prefer cross-country or downhill, there is a skiing opportunity available for every family, even those on limited budgets. The same Aspen Vista trail that offers such wonderful sightseeing opportunities in the warm months is a Mecca for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing enthusiasts. For downhill skiers and snowboarders, visit Ski Santa Fe, which is a recreation area and offers lessons and runs for all ability levels. And if one or two members of the family just want to sit in the lodge and drink hot chocolate—that is always okay on a Santa Fe family vacation, too!

Santa Fe Arts and Culture

Santa Fe is one of only nine UNESCO Creative Cities, marking it as an arts destination for people around the world. Families will find the art scene abundant and accessible. There are more than 200 galleries within the city boundaries, so the best way to explore the art in Santa Fe is simply to roam around check them out! Ask the proprietor at your family lodging their favorites in order to get a local perspective.

Santa Fe Arts

No family vacation to Santa Fe is complete without a thorough investigation of the Santa Fe art scene. Museum Hill hosts the most special collections in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Indian market, one of the most (if not the most) famous art market in the world features more than 1200 artists from 100 tribes. The Santa Fe Indian Market is held every August and is the largest event in Santa Fe. It is well worth planning your family vacation around this event, but make sure to book early! Another favorite activity on a family vacation is the performing arts, and these abound in Santa Fe, as well. The Santa Fe Performing Arts Center hosts everything from Chinese acrobats to Broadway Musicals, to the Santa Fe Opera, which is world-famous. Check the schedule for the time of your family vacation and you may have a theatrical experience you will remember for a lifetime.

The Santa Fe Opera

Santa Fe has charmed visitors since the early sixteenth century as well as being a vibrant home to Pueblo Indians for more than a thousand years. Ever since 1957, The Santa Fe Opera has been the summer oasis for internationally acclaimed operatic talents and opera enthusiasts!

Northern New Mexico provides visitors a cornucopia of natural and worldly pleasures that include 19 nearby Indian Pueblos; 44 National and State Parks, including 10,000-year-old archeological ruins, 13,000-foot mountain peaks, 650-foot canyons, lakes and deserts; world-class art galleries and restaurants; and some of the world’s finest hotels, spas and bed & breakfasts. Visitors are encouraged to make reservations early. See accommodations listings here.

Santa Fe’s performing arts encompass dance, theater, opera, choral, and chamber music. Find information about major summer performing arts events at Festival Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Opera invites you to let your dreams run wild when you visit for the first time or return to make new discoveries in the “Land of Enchantment.”

Santa Fe Cuisine

Any restaurant you try while on a Santa Fe family vacation is likely to be wonderful. The culinary arts are revered in Santa Fe. To truly appreciate the abundance and beauty of the Santa Fe culinary scene, then take your family to the Santa Fe Farmers Market, where everything from organic buffalo to lush apricots is available for sample and purchase. One fun family vacation activity to take part is in a cooking class, which will teach your family the traditional Santa Fe style of cooking, and will entertain every member of the family! The Wine and Chile Fiesta is another fun festival to plan your family vacation around. This festival takes place in late September and features more than 100 wineries and 50 chefs in cooking demonstrations, free samples, and seminars. Anyone in the family who loves to eat will love the Wine and Chile Fiesta! Santa Fe is a small city, a unique city, and a fun city. Come find out why it is such a popular family vacation destination. Come to Santa Fe!

Accommodations in Santa Fe

With an extended quality selection of Santa Fe hotels to choose from, can offer the best hotel to suit your budget in the Stuttgart area of your choice, whether you are looking for a cheap and affordable hotel, an exclusive and luxury hotel or just great value for money. You can even check availability and rates in real time for all hotels in Santa Fe as well as other hotels in New Mexico. Once you have found the right hotel here, you can instantly reserve it. Make the best hotel reservation for your desired accommodations, vacations, and traveling.