26 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe is a city that's as rich in culture as it is in history.

Nestled in the high desert of New Mexico, its sun-soaked adobe buildings and vibrant arts scene never cease to inspire and amaze.

Every day here is an adventure, a chance to explore the melding of old and new, the traditional and the contemporary.

Whether it's the spellbinding landscape adorned with mountains, the enthralling echoes of ancient civilizations, or the pulsating veins of artistry, creativity, and culinary delights, there's always something to discover in this charming city.

So join me as I share my personal journey through the 26 best things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico!

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About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Have a Daily Dose of Serenity at The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Interior view of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
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Walking past its grand façade every day, I've come to appreciate the sheer majesty that is The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Located in the heart of our city, it is a testament to the rich history and vibrant culture that we possess.

The cathedral, which dates back to the 1800s, stands tall, its colorful stained-glass windows adding a touch of vibrancy to the otherwise serene structure.

I never fail to be mesmerized by the spectacular architectural beauty of the cathedral, not to mention the exquisite paintings and statues (iconography) that adorn the church interiors.

Facade of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

While the church bells ringing in the distance have become a comforting part of my daily routine, there's something particularly special about them.

They seem to weave a melodious tale of the past, echoing the very soul of the city.

One of my favorite spots in the cathedral is the separate area for private prayer.

Away from the hustle and bustle of tourists, it provides a pocket of tranquility where I can retreat into a serene moment of contemplation.

The Labrynth out front, a metaphor for life's journey, is another wonderful feature that offers a quiet place to reflect and meditate.

The cathedral grounds are a sight to behold as well, meticulously maintained and exuding a sense of peace and tranquility.

Mother Mary's statue at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
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Spend a Wonderful Afternoon at Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary

Cute little bird at Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary
Grendelkhan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You never really understand the beauty of nature until you've walked through the serene paths of the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary.

My weekly visit to this sanctuary is always a refreshing experience.

No matter how many times I go, I always find something new to marvel at.

This time, the weather wasn't quite on our side, and the play area was mostly shut.

The visitor center was also closed, but that didn't stop me from exploring the outdoors.

I spotted some wild turkeys roaming around, giving me yet another memorable experience.

I'm already excited about my next visit, especially to relish the kids' play area and the walking paths that I couldn't this time.

Something that always warms my heart is the garden.

It's not just the blooming flowers or the chirping birds, it's the thoughtful touches that are sprinkled around.

Quotes from birders on ceramic tiles are hung from the trees, presenting a delightful sight as you stroll around.

On another visit, when the trails were closed due to fire danger, I had an equally amazing time just touring the garden path and the house.

The grounds are always well-kept, and the volunteers are friendly and full of information, eager to make your visit worth your while.

I remember the first time my grandsons came along with me, they were excited beyond words.

Experience the Magic of Santa Fe Opera

Exterior view of the  Santa Fe Opera
Stephen B. Goodwin / Shutterstock.com

There's something truly magical about watching an opera under the stars.

Especially when that opera house is nestled in the heart of the woods, atop a scenic hill.

That's what you get when you visit the Santa Fe Opera.

It's a place where classic pieces and contemporary works come alive, set against the backdrop of Mother Nature herself.

My most recent visit was to see Tosca, a performance that left me in awe, just as it had during my previous visit a decade ago.

The singers were phenomenal, their voices resonating in the open-air theatre, lending an authenticity to the performance that is hard to replicate in an indoor setting.

This time, I decided to share this experience with my partner and his reaction was as I had hoped – he loved it.

Interior view of the  Santa Fe Opera
Sopotnicki / Shutterstock.com

From the moment we arrived, we found ourselves enveloped in the enchanting atmosphere.

We came early, enjoyed a picnic, and watched the sun go down, which only added to the beauty of the evening.

What's great is that you can dress up or just show up in your regular clothes.

But, remember to carry a jacket. The theatre is open to the sides and the night air can get a bit chilly.

One of the unique features is the subtitles in English and Spanish on the back of the seat in front of you.

It's quite helpful if you're not fluent in Italian.

Also, there's a free, informal introduction one hour before the performance that helps you understand what to listen for.

The performances are excellent, and the venue only enhances the experience.

It's not just operas, the Santa Fe Opera hosts other concerts too. They also offer a variety of food options.

Performance at Santa Fe Opera
Viva-Verdi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wander Around at Santa Fe Plaza

Night view of the monument at Santa Fe Plaza
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Every weekend, my routine is the same.

I tie up my laces, grab my wallet and head to the bustle and charm of Santa Fe Plaza.

I'm always captivated by the historic buildings and the art galleries that layer the plaza.

It feels like walking through a living, breathing piece of history.

I usually start my day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee from one of the local cafes.

It's the perfect fuel as I saunter around to enjoy the ethnic markets.

The vibrant colors, the myriad of scents from exotic spices, and the welcoming chime of vendors, it all adds to the allure of the plaza.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad.

I've learned to anticipate when the paid parking spots might open up, and $2 an hour is a fair deal.

It's a small price for the convenience and proximity to the heart of the action.

I can't help but spend time around the bandstand.

Vendors selling handicrafts at Santa Fe Plaza
Fotopro_929 / Shutterstock.com

The thought of it being a platform for so many amazing artists and community events is thrilling.

Once, I got lucky and stumbled upon a private concert.

The music, the energy, the crowd, it was absolutely electrifying.

A favorite pastime is visiting the Governor's Palace.

I like to browse through the jewelry put up by the natives, and sometimes, I end up buying a piece or two.

Walkway at Santa Fe Plaza
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Have Fun at Frank S Ortiz Dog Park

Every morning, the first light of day finds my pup and I headed to Frank S Ortiz Dog Park.

It's our little city secret, tucked away in Santa Fe.

My dog, a spirited Golden Retriever, absolutely loves the off-leash trails.

These trails are perfect for her morning jogs, and I'll admit, it's a great way for me to get some exercise too.

The park also has a dedicated area for smaller dogs, shielding them from the more boisterous big guys.

It's a thoughtful feature that I've noticed many pet parents appreciate.

Plus, it's not just a haven for pets.

There's a playground nearby for kids as well, making it an excellent spot for the whole family.

In the summer, the park offers up an unparalleled beauty.

Arriving before sunrise, I've often secured a bench situated high up, my canine companion by my side.

Watching the sunrise over the mountains as the world wakes up around us - it's a sight that never gets old.

Take Pictures of the El Rancho de las Golondrinas

Wooden cabin at El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

You wouldn't believe the treasures you find in your own backyard.

Just last week, I fell into a time warp and found myself in a living Spanish village, right in the heart of New Mexico.

No, it wasn't a dream, it was the El Rancho de las Golondrinas.

It's a hidden gem of history and culture that I only recently discovered, despite living just a stone's throw away.

I'd always heard about this place, but I hadn't explored it until now.

Equipments at El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

From a grand hacienda to an authentic village store, a schoolhouse and more, every corner tells a story.

What truly made my day was the passionate volunteers who were dressed in period attire and performed the traditional tasks, right from weaving to baking.

Not only were they exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable, but they also transformed the entire experience.

Their stories and anecdotes brought back to life the many facets of life and history that had been sleeping for centuries.

Speaking of festivals, I had the good fortune of attending their beer and food festival.

Beyond the delicious fare, the gorgeous hiking trails and serene nooks were a welcome escape from the festive hustle.

The best bit? The annual membership, which gives you free access to all their festivals.

Stairs at El Rancho de las Golondrinas
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Pay a Visit to the Museum of International Folk Art

Entrance to the Museum of International Folk Art
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

You will not believe the amount of fascination I have for the Museum of International Folk Art.

Living in close proximity, I've had the privilege of exploring the 80,000 square feet of awe-inspiring art from over 100 countries.

The collection is sheer madness, in a good way.

One moment, you are admiring a vibrant Mexican Piñata exhibit and the next, you are immersed in the chilling Japanese Yokai exhibit that showcases the fascinating lore of ghosts, demons, and monsters.

Don't think the place is just for art enthusiasts! It's a treasure trove for the little ones too.

The museum was buzzing with interactive exercises that kept the kids engaged, and I couldn't help but join in on the fun.

I cannot stress this enough, but do remember to look up.

The ceilings are adorned with remarkable artwork that simply should not be missed.

I also found myself lingering in the museum’s gift shop.

Exhibits at Museum of International Folk Art
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

It's nothing short of a global market, filled with unique items from all corners of the globe.

It felt like I was on a treasure hunt, and I must admit that I lost track of time in there.

You might want to reserve a good three to four hours for your visit, especially if you're bringing the kids along.

Trust me, there's so much to see and do that time simply flies by.

Also, for the manga and anime enthusiasts, there's a corner dedicated to your passion.

I definitely geeked out when I spotted it!

After you're done exploring the museum, don't forget to check out the American-style eatery across the courtyard.

Enjoy a meal there, and then maybe take a contemplative walk in the serene maze.

The center of the maze gives an otherworldly echo when you yell into it.

Exhibits at Museum of International Folk Art
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Discovering the Enchanting World of Meow Wolf Santa Fe

Entrance to the Meow Wolf Santa Fe
BrianPIrwin / Shutterstock.com

There's a world hidden within my city; an interactive, vibrant, and mesmerizing world that can only be found at Meow Wolf Santa Fe.

On my first visit, I was instantly drawn into an immersive experience of multimedia art installations, filled with a mysterious narrative that winds its way through the exhibits.

The unique, mind-bending, and interactive nature of the installations sets it apart from any traditional museum.

Despite the throng of visitors, the space never feels crowded or overwhelming, thanks to the two separate lines for timed entries.

Parking is not a concern as it's free, and the venue ensures safety through a thorough check with metal detectors.

Inside, there is a cafe which comes as a lifesaver when you need a quick snack or a refreshing drink to replenish energy and continue your adventure.

Huge exhibit at the Meow Wolf Santa Fe
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

One of the greatest things about Meow Wolf is its ability to engage both kids and adults alike.

The venue, akin to a maze, is full of hidden doors waiting to be discovered.

I found myself acting like a kid again, opening each door with curiosity and delight.

However, if you're visiting with little ones, do keep an eye on them. They could easily get lost in this wonderland.

Every artwork here is unique and carefully crafted, taking you on a journey through time and space.

The narrative is intriguing, although I must admit, I have not yet fully followed the storyline.

Every visit has been a new experience, a new discovery.

The magic of Meow Wolf Santa Fe is not just in its art, but in the feelings it evokes.

Each visit has left me with a sense of wonder and a renewed perspective on the world around me.

Colorful interiors of the Meow Wolf Santa Fe
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Discover the Artistic Legacy at the Wheelwright Museum

Signage of the Wheelwright Museum

Lost in a sea of glittering turquoise and silver, I find myself captivated by the extensive jewelry collection at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

It's a place I visit often, enchanted by the rotating exhibits showcasing a wide variety of Native American mixed media.

The museum, established back in 1937, offers more than just a peek into the rich history and culture of the Native Americans.

It's an intimate journey through time. Even though there aren't a plethora of artifacts, there's a mesmerizing array of jewelry and some basketry which more than make up for it.

View of the Wheelwright Museum

Each piece tells a story, a story of a people, a story of an enduring legacy.

The museum is cleverly divided into two main parts, one housing temporary exhibits and the other focused on the history of jewelry making.

Both are equally fascinating.

The docent program at the museum is particularly insightful, guided by individuals who are truly passionate about their subject.

It's worth signing up for, offering a wealth of knowledge that truly enriches the experience.

Explore the Dale Ball Trails

View of the Dale Ball Trails
Tstock09, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let me tell you about my little weekend adventure on the Dale Ball Trails, tucked snugly within the mountainous landscapes of Santa Fe.

As you escape the city's confines, you're instantly immersed in a 22-mile network of trails, a slice of paradise for hiking, running, and biking enthusiasts.

Parking, though limited to around half a dozen vehicles, is conveniently situated right at the Upper Atalaya trailhead.

It's a bit of a hidden gem, so it may take you a few extra minutes to locate, but once you do, you're in for a treat.

There aren't any bathrooms nearby, a slight inconvenience, but easily overlooked once you get into the thick of it all.

The trails - Atalaya and Picacho Peaks, plus the Dale Ball trail system - offer a variety of terrain.

Take a right from the trailhead for Atalaya, and a left for Picacho and Dale Ball.

I enjoyed a surprisingly warm day out on these trails, despite them covered in a light blanket of snow.

The trail markings were clear and precise, making it a breeze to navigate my way around, even in these winter conditions.

One of the highlights of my hike was the panoramic views of Santa Fe.

From South to West, the scenic vistas were breathtaking.

Stroll Down Art-filled Canyon Road

Entrance to the Canyon Road
Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com

If you want to know what my typical weekend looks like, I'll tell you - it's savouring the beauty of Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

Trust me when I say, there's no other place like it.

It's more than just a road, it's a testament to the vibrant art scene that Santa Fe is famous for.

To begin with, I take a leisurely walk down this leafy road, which is nothing short of a visual feast.

It's a sight to behold especially when the sun sets, casting a warm glow on the adobe houses lining the street.

Each of these homes hosts an art gallery, studio, or restaurant, establishing Canyon Road as a hub of creativity and taste.

For an art enthusiast like me, this place is a paradise.

Colorful door at Canyon Road
Dean Fikar / Shutterstock.com

There are over 100 art galleries featuring a wide range of artwork that's sure to leave any visitor spoilt for choice.

Whether you're a fan of contemporary art, tribal art, or even folk art - there's something for everyone here.

My personal favorites are the outdoor sculptures that dot the area, each one unique and telling a different story.

But that's not all. The culinary scene on Canyon Road is fantastic too.

From local Santa Fe cuisine to international dining options - there's a gastronomic adventure awaiting every food lover.

The local restaurants housed in these traditional adobe structures only add to the rustic charm of the place.

Beautiful plants at Canyon Road
JACoulter / Shutterstock.com

Visit Ragle Park

Ah, the joy of spending a leisurely day at Ragle Park; there's truly nothing like it.

Nestled just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the park serves as a refuge for me after a long week of work.

As soon as you step foot in the park, you are welcomed by a refreshing canopy of trees that generously offer shade.

This is one of my favorite aspects of the park.

I mean, who wouldn't relish the charm of sitting under a large tree, engrossed in a riveting book, while the world whizzes by?

The sports facilities deserve a special mention. They are always well-maintained and ready for a game.

Whether it's a friendly match of baseball with friends or an intense tennis face-off with my neighbor, I can always count on Ragle Park to provide the perfect setting.

Then there are the children's play structures; they are a sight to behold.

The laughter and giggles of children having the time of their lives reverberate throughout the park.

It's always heartwarming to see the little ones creating beautiful memories, just like I did when I was their age.

But, the park isn't just for frolicking and games.

It also serves as a serene sanctuary where I often find myself walking, lost in thought, on the well-groomed trails.

The lush green grass, the rustling of leaves in the wind, and the occasional chirping of birds, all make for a calming symphony of nature that's hard to resist.

Peek into Southwestern Artistry at the New Mexico Museum of Art

Outside view of the  New Mexico Museum of Art
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

On one of those lazy, sunny afternoons, I decided to immerse myself in the vibrant world of Southwestern art at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Tucked away in an adobe building that exudes authenticity and charm, the museum is a modest treasure trove.

The array of contemporary regional art and photography is indeed impressive.

The museum doesn't boast of a vast collection, true, but it more than compensates for it with the quality of its exhibits.

It's not an overstated affair, rather a well-curated presentation of artistic talents, with a fair emphasis on Mexican and Indigenous artists.

I must admit, the First Friday free admissions from 5-7pm is a real steal, and a great opportunity for art enthusiasts like myself.

The crowd is generally sparse, offering a tranquil environment, ideal for appreciating fine art.

Sculpture garden at  New Mexico Museum of Art
Polina LVT / Shutterstock.com

The museum building, with its inner courtyard, is an attraction in itself.

It's a peaceful little haven, right in the heart of the city, right off the plaza.

Calming and serene, it adds an element of regional charm to the overall experience.

Museum shop at the  New Mexico Museum of Art
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See Paintings at Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

People admiring the art pieces at Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
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Few places are as delightfully inspiring as the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum right here in my hometown of Santa Fe.

Every detail of the museum is a testament to the life and work of this iconic artist.

Stepping into the museum is like stepping into Georgia O'Keeffe's life itself.

Her paintings, sculptures and sketches are meticulously preserved and displayed in rotating exhibits.

But it's not just her art that speaks volumes.

I was particularly captivated by the small glimpses of her home life.

The clothes she wore, the paints she used, the books on her shelf – these intimate details painted a picture of her life as vivid as any of her works.

Exterior view of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the things I love about the museum is the way it's set up to accommodate all types of visitors.

I've seen people spend over two hours engrossed in the exhibits and the accompanying biographical information about O'Keeffe.

To make the most of your visit, I'd suggest calling the museum and inquiring about their family days.

I once went with my family on such a day, and we all got free access to the museum.

It was a memorable experience that we still talk about.

Discover the Ancient Wonders of the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs

Landscape of the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Elliotte Rusty Harold / Shutterstock.com

I've spent countless sunny afternoons exploring the wide expanses of La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs.

As soon as you step on this historic trail, you can feel the whispers of the past blending with the sighs of the ever-present winds.

A tip from someone who's been there - wear your best hiking boots, as the trail can get rocky and steep.

The initial part of the trail is flat and well-marked, but be prepared for a bit of an adventure as you squeeze through a barbed-wire fence and find yourself in a tumbleweed-filled path.

Don't let the tumbleweeds deter you though.

These spiky companions are part of the charm, just be sure to wear long pants to protect yourself from their sharp seeds.

View of the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Frank G Cornish / Shutterstock.com

As you navigate through the trail, you'll find the petroglyphs casually scattered along the edge of the volcanic caprock, near the top of the mesa.

Each glyph tells a story of a time long past, etched into the rock by ancient hands.

There are a few modern "glyphs" in the mix, but they do not diminish the majesty of the authentic petroglyphs.

The trail can get quite hot, especially in the summer months, so make sure to carry plenty of water.

It's also best to make this trip in the cooler hours of the day or during the spring and fall seasons.

Trust me, the breathtaking views and the petroglyphs' silent stories are definitely worth the journey.

The La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs trail is not just another hike, it's a journey through time.

View of the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Frank G Cornish / Shutterstock.com

Trek Through the Trails of Atalaya Mountain

A man cycling at the Atalaya Mountain
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I would be doing a disservice to the scenic beauty of Santa Fe if I didn't mention the spectacular hikes on Atalaya Mountain.

The charm of the mountain lies in its invitingly well-maintained Upper Atalaya trailhead.

The trailhead is small, with enough parking space for about half a dozen vehicles.

There might not be any restrooms in the vicinity, but the sheer beauty of the trails more than makes up for it.

If you're into waking, hiking, trail running, or biking and you love panoramic views, Atalaya Mountain is your paradise.

View from the top of Atalaya Mountain
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It feeds your adventurous spirit with trails leading to Atalaya and Picacho Peaks, and also connects to the Dale Ball trail system.

While the trail doesn't exactly follow the trail applications, finding your way is quite easy.

Even during the winter, the snow-covered trails are easy to navigate.

The intriguing part? There was flowing water below both Peaks on a fairly warm day.

It's a sight that would make any nature lover's heart skip a beat!

The views, oh the views! From south to west, it's like a wide-angle shot capturing Santa Fe's beauty from more than a hundred miles away.

The trail can be steep at times but there are plenty of areas where it flattens out, making it suitable for both beginner and advanced hikers/runners.

Trail along the Atalaya Mountain
Z Burke / Shutterstock.com

Experience a Peaceful Afternoon at Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort

You can find the resort at Ojo Spa Resorts.

The resort is health-centric, offering subtly elegant rooms and intimate cottages, complete with a pool, and even spots for yoga and meditation.

Now that's my idea of a relaxing day!

The outdoors at Ojo Santa Fe is something else - the hot tubs and pools are exactly what you'd hope for.

The view is calming and the little things, like the fruit growing everywhere and the puppy area, make it a fun, homey place.

I've spent countless afternoons lounging by the pool, basking in the quiet and tranquility.

And don't even get me started on the food at The Blue Heron. It's a feast for the senses.

Sure, the prices might seem a bit steep, but trust me, every bite is worth it.

The dishes are so delicious, I often catch myself fantasizing about them on days I'm not at the resort!

See the Cross of the Martyrs

Cross of the Martyrs during sunset
Jen Honeycutt Photography / Shutterstock.com

There's something magical about ending your day atop a hill, watching the sun dip below the horizon as it casts a soft, warm glow on the city below.

That's precisely what my usual evening at the Cross of the Martyrs looks like.

This picturesque park, easily accessible via Santa Fe's District 1 Parks, offers the most breathtaking views of Santa Fe.

The stroll up the hill is lined with plaques that narrate the city's rich history, making the journey as enchanting as the destination.

On most days, I prefer to park my car at the bottom of the hill and hike up, enjoying the crisp air, the fluttering leaves, and the hum of the city life gradually dimming as I ascend.

But if you prefer a less strenuous route, the north parking lot offers a shorter and more level path to the top.

Spectacular view from the Cross of the Martyrs
Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

Once there, the sight of the cross standing tall against the backdrop of the sprawling cityscape never fails to leave me in awe.

Time has weathered the cross, but it only adds to its charm.

The view from the top is no less than a beautifully painted canvas, especially at sunset.

On days the sky is filled with clouds, the spectacle is even more dramatic.

But the best part? As twilight fades into the night, the crowd thins out, almost making it feel like the stars and I have the place to ourselves.

Go Skiing at Ski Santa Fe

View of the Ski Santa Fe
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Ever since I was a teenager, Ski Santa Fe has been my winter wonderland.

I remember the thrill of my first ski trip in the 1980's, the crunch of fresh powder beneath my skis, the exhilaration of gliding down those well-spread blue runs.

It's not just the stunning slopes that make this place special, it's also the wonderful staff and the community feel that is present at this resort.

Over the years, I've taken many a trip down the Gayway run, which quickly became my favorite route.

The views from the top are simply breathtaking, and the wide runs offer plenty of space to navigate your way down.

The prices for lift tickets are quite reasonable, especially when compared to other ski resorts like Angel Fire, Taos, and Breckenridge.

The tickets are fixed-priced, which means you'll know exactly what you're getting into, no surprises.

Skiing at Ski Santa Fe
Juan Grajeda Castillo / Shutterstock.com

But be warned: the parking lot fills up fast, so it's best to head out early.

I've had the pleasure of introducing many friends and family to skiing here, including my daughter on her 20th birthday.

That same perfect snow from my teenage years greeted us, thanks to a well-timed snowstorm the day before we hit the slopes.

I'll never forget the joy in her eyes as she experienced the same thrill I had felt all those years ago.

It's moments like these, coupled with the outstanding environment and community, that make Ski Santa Fe more than just a ski resort, but a cherished part of my life.

Cable cars at Ski Santa Fe
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Step into the Native American Heritage at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

View of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Stepping into the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, I'm instantly transported back to the rich and vibrant history of my ancestors.

The museum is a treasure trove of over 70,000 Native American artifacts that tells the story of my people's journeys, struggles, and triumphs.

Every visit to this museum is a new learning experience, as every exhibit they arrange tells a unique story.

The pottery exhibit was particularly fascinating.

As I walked through, I could see the intricate designs of ancestral puebloan pottery.

It dawned on me just how much skill and effort was poured into each piece.

The ongoing tradition of pottery was evident in the contemporary pieces displayed, shedding light on the continuity and evolution of our culture.

Gallery lit up with beautiful colors at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

One of the highlights for me was the interactive exhibit where Native Americans shared their personal stories and traditions through short films.

It was an intimate look into the lives of individuals, from their footwear to arrowheads, and even modern Native American art.

It was a vivid reminder of how we, as a people, have strived to adapt and adopt, while still fiercely holding onto our traditions.

The current exhibit of Navajo textiles also caught my eye.

The patterns and colours woven into each fabric were mesmerising.

It was a testament to the unique culture of the Navajo people, adding to the rich tapestry of Native American heritage.

The museum was an escape, a mini journey to the past and a peek into the adaptation of traditional life in the modern world.

It's a place I frequently visit, proud to see my history and culture shared and celebrated in such an engaging manner.

Bronze statue of a woman at Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Have a Wonderful Day at Santa Fe Railyard Park

Signage of the Santa Fe Railyard Park
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Oh, how I love spending my weekends at the Santa Fe Railyard Park.

This 10-acre former railyard has become a true gem in our city, showing that urban renewal really can be done right.

I've been particularly impressed with how the space has been transformed into an idyllic outdoor escapade complete with gardens, an outdoor performance space, and a children's play area.

One of my most memorable experiences at the Railyard was during the International Folk Art Festival (IFAM).

The organizers clearly went above and beyond to ensure that attendees didn’t trample the native grassy areas, herding us gently onto the pathways.

It was a fine example of responsible organizing, and I thought to myself, this should really be the blueprint for future festivals held here.

Train at Santa Fe Railyard Park
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

The partnership with RailRunner was also quite impressive.

It made the festival conveniently accessible for attendees outside of Santa Fe, showing a remarkable awareness towards environmental sustainability.

I remember thinking, this is how you manage large-scale events without leaving a scar on the environment.

The magic of the folk art market and the beauty of the Railyard Park more than made up for it.

Experiences like these really make me appreciate the Railyard Park.

Rail road at the Santa Fe Railyard Park
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One of the perks of living in Santa Fe is the abundance of art scattered across the city.

But among all, the Edition ONE Gallery on Canyon Road has a special place in my heart.

It's not your typical art gallery; it's more like a treasure trove of locally sourced artwork, furniture, and accessories, all stylishly displayed in a comfy space that feels like home.

One of my most unforgettable visits was when I stumbled upon a collection of print photos of famous musicians.

I felt like I'd stepped into a time capsule of rock 'n roll and music history. It was truly an inspiring sight.

I couldn't help myself and ended up buying a bunch of prints.

But the gallery isn't just about the artwork. It's located in a vibrant area, lined with a variety of eateries, eclectic shops, and other galleries.

There's also a good number of sculpture gardens in the vicinity, which are worth exploring.

And if you fancy a leisurely stroll, the whole area is perfectly walkable, although it's a bit of a trek from the downtown area.

Journey Through Time at the Palace of the Governors

View of Palace of the Governors
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If you're interested in taking a deep dive into the rich history of New Mexico, there's no better place to start than the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.

From the Pueblos to World War II, every significant era and event has left its mark here.

You can feel the timeline stretching out as you walk the halls of the Palace of the Governors, each step bringing a new chapter of history to life.

One of my favorite parts about visiting the Palace is the variety of temporary exhibitions that they host.

View of the Palace of the Governors
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It's always a treat to see what new insights they've uncovered about our state's past.

And while the building itself may seem a little underwhelming with its open rooms and sparse signage, the stories that are told within its walls are anything but.

Each room is filled with tales that are sure to intrigue anyone with a love for history.

People buying souvenirs from the street shops at Palace of the Governors
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Explore the Unique New Mexico State Capitol

Exterior view of the New Mexico State Capitol
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In the heart of Santa Fe sits an architectural marvel like no other - the New Mexico State Capitol, fondly known by us locals as “The Round House”.

Trust me, this isn’t your average capitol building.

It’s the only state capitol that’s circular - no dome in sight.

Constructed between 1964 and 1966, The Round House is a melody of past and present.

Representative chamber at New Mexico State Capitol
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Stepping inside, the centerpiece is the rotunda with the New Mexico Seal inlaid into the floor.

It's a sight to behold, but don’t rush it. Take your time, because there’s an ocean of art to discover here.

The building features an extensive free art exhibit spanning multiple floors, creating a wonderful synergy of politics and culture.

It’s like walking through a living museum that celebrates the spirit of New Mexico.

You might even get to see the state's democratic processes in action.

I've had the privilege of sitting in on a senate hearing - a truly fascinating experience.

It's one thing to read about our government's workings, and another to see them play out right in front of your eyes.

Interior view of the New Mexico State Capitol
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Revisit History at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

Before you ask, yes, I've spent countless afternoons meandering through the quaint and charming halls of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.

Nestled right here in Santa Fe, this museum is a treasure trove of devotional and decorative art, furniture, and textiles, all echoing the rich Spanish colonial style.

Each visit is a new adventure.

The exhibits rotate, keeping the experience fresh and exciting.

The visual feast ranges from intricately carved furniture pieces to vibrant textiles, each one narrating a unique tale of New Mexico’s colonial past.

Trust me, the charm of this place lies not just in the art but in the history embedded in the very fabric of the building itself.

One of the features that sets this museum apart from others in Santa Fe is the docent tours.

The guides are well informed, eager to share their knowledge, and make the history come alive in a way that captivates your attention.

It's an effortless education that’s as entertaining as it is enlightening.

In addition to the historical artifacts, the museum also does a stellar job featuring contemporary folk and local art.

Some of the pieces are highly political, making bold statements that push the boundaries and spark thought-provoking conversations.

As someone who's always been drawn to the art scene, I find this mix of the old and new, traditional and contemporary, utterly fascinating.

Wander Through Nature at Santa Fe Botanical Garden

Landscape of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden
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There's something magical about starting your day with a stroll through the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

Even as the sun is just starting to stretch its rays across the horizon, the garden is already alive with the buzz of pollinators darting amongst the vibrant blossoms.

I'm fortunate enough to live nearby, and these lush gardens are my favorite spot to unwind and reconnect with nature.

One time, I had a delightful encounter with a hummingbird.

It seemed to be quite interested in my Starbucks cup, following me around as if hoping for a taste.

Don’t worry, I didn’t let it indulge – caffeine isn't exactly a part of their diet!

It's moments like these though, that make every visit intriguing and different.

What I appreciate most about the garden is its commitment to the community.

Lonely bench at Santa Fe Botanical Garden
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The crops they cultivate don’t just beautify the place – they're given back to the locals.

It feels good to know that a part of my morning walk contributes, in some way, to someone else's dinner table.

As you traverse the network of trails, you'll find plenty of wooden benches tucked away in quiet corners.

They're perfect for when you need to catch your breath or simply want to sit back and soak in the beauty around.

And let's not forget the impressive array of indigenous plants, each thoughtfully labeled with identifying signs.

The garden's gift shop is a treat for nature lovers.

The shelves are stocked with a delightful selection of nature-themed items, and the free garden trail maps they offer are incredibly useful.

Butterfly at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden
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Final Thoughts

There's something undeniably magical about Santa Fe.

The more you explore, the more you come to appreciate the city's distinctive mix of cultures and its rich history.

Whether you're a history buff, art enthusiast, hiker, or just a lover of good food and vibrant culture, Santa Fe really does have something for everyone.

It's the sort of city that continues to captivate, surprise, and inspire you, no matter how long you've lived here.

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