Fun things to do in Santa Fe

  • Interior square of palace
    Interior square of palace
    by BruceDunning
  • Front of the Chapel
    Front of the Chapel
    by BruceDunning
  • December 2012
    December 2012
    by HispanicYob

Most Viewed Things to Do in Santa Fe

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    Museums!

    by goodfish Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    Like museums? Santa Fe has them. Art? Check. History? You bet. Culture? Absolutely. Kids along? Yep, there's one for the wee folk too. There's something for everyone and probably not enough days in your trip to see them all. The following website has a snippet about each one and links to individual websites so you can browse your favorite interests and check for hours, admission fees, etc. Look for bargains: some have free days/hours, some ask only for donations, and the state's Museum of New Mexico group offers combo tickets to two or more of their museums for reduced prices - plus young persons under 17 are admitted for free.

    http://santafe.org/Visiting_Santa_Fe/Museums/index.html

    My personal favorites are several in an area they call Museum Hill: Museum of International Folk Art, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. These three, along with the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, are grouped around a courtyard with a shared cafe so are very easy to visit on the same day and all have interesting shops. The Folk Art Museum has the largest collection in the world, and with indigenous people contributing such an enormous piece of the New Mexican story, both Indian museums are a must for gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for their cultures.

    Museum Hill is located a couple of miles from the plaza, on Camino Lejo. Drive southeast on Old Santa Fe Trail and look for the signs. You may also take the Route M bus from downtown for just $1.00 each way; see this website for details:

    http://www.santafenm.gov/route_maps_and_schedules

    New Mexico Museum of Art, near the Plaza
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    Festivals!

    by goodfish Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    New Mexicans must love to party as the Santa Fe calendar is packed with festivals, art markets and other special events. We landed in town during September's Fiesta de La Santa Fe: a tradition since 1712 and the oldest community celebration in the US. It was great fun watching parades, processions, dance and music programs, cruising the craft booths and munching Navajo fry bread, Frito pie and other Southwestern goodies.

    Other yearly highlights include Indian Market, Spanish Market, Wine and Chile Festival and International Folk Art Market. It's best to make hotel reservations well in advance of special events (especially if wanting to stay on or near the Plaza) as they bring in lots and lots of visitors. See the attached website for yearly schedules and info.

    A note about Fiesta: This is a celebration of Santa Fe's peaceful 1692 reoccupation by the Spanish after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. It's also a time of religious veneration of an icon of the Madonna (La Conquistadora) that had been brought to Santa Fe in 1625 and rescued from the burning settlement by fleeing Spaniards during the revolt. When Governor Don Diego de Vargas and a returning party of new colonists again met with Pueblo resistance in 1693, De Vargas is said to have prayed to the icon for divine intervention, and promised a church on the place of the makeshift altar he'd constructed for her in his army's campsite. The governor successfully re-conquered the town but unfortunately not without considerable bloodshed; hundreds of indigenous resistors were killed or executed.

    De Vargas made good on his promise and constructed the Rosario Chapel (rebuilt in 1807) in what is now the cemetery of the same name. Fiesta begins with a religious procession that moves La Conquistadora from her altar spot in the Cathedral of St. Francis to the chapel, and ends with another procession in reverse. The 28-inch statue is made of wood and has a very large wardrobe in which dedicated attendants dress her according to the church calendar.

    For a schedule of festivals, visit http://santafe.org.

    Little dancers, Fiesta de la Santa Fe Historical/Hysterical Parade, Fiesta, Santa Fe La Conquistadora in Fiesta finery Fiesta dancer
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    Shindoni Sculpture garden and glass blowing

    by BruceDunning Written May 27, 2013

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    This was a hidden surprise found near the Tesuque reservation off Hwy 84/285. The sculptures were all "one of a kind". The prices will keep you from dragging one off and taking home since most are bigger the a vehicle, but the price range is $3,000-$57,000. They are nice, but come on with the prices. A lot of the sculptures are bizarre to say the least, but heh, these are made up in "artists heads" maybe with a little influence from hallucinating. On the 8 acre grounds is around 50 sculpture of brass, copper, or steel.
    The glass blowers are separate and create some nice pieces with prices being fairly decent for US standards.

    Tearing his heart out Mobile twists in the wind Sleepy crank Glass blowing facility Glass blower person at work
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    Pecos Monument

    by BruceDunning Updated May 27, 2013

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    This is a pueblo village that thrived many years ago. The remaining standing building is the mission church that was built in the early 1600's. It had a full complement of sleeping rooms, kitchen, animal pens and more. The Indian inhabited this area well before 1500's and by the time Spaniards arrived, there was a community over 2,000 people. They farmed and hunted in addition to trading on this route along Rio Grand river. before the Spanish got here and after. By 1838 there was no one left in the pueblo, and only 300 remained by then. The trail around the ruins is 1 1/2 miles and takes one+ hours to see and read monuments. -
    Close to the Pecos ruins is Glorietta battlefield trail hike that depicts the Civil War battle between Confederates under Gen Johnson confronting Major Chivington. The battle spanned 40 miles over 3 days, and the north triumphed by taking the supply wagons of the Confederates. The hike is nice to view the sites. It is 2.1 miles south of the visitor center-you need the lock combo to get in

    Mission church ruins-built in 1600's Ruins of a pubelo community Remains of a trding post from 1850's Glorietta battelfield trail hike
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    Dale Ball Trails-Hiking

    by BruceDunning Written May 27, 2013

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    I took a couple of hikes along these trails that are located east of town-off Old Santa Fe Trail Road. They are easy to locate. Other hike trail are north of the city. Some hikes are easy and others can be moderately difficult.

    Map of Some Dale Ball Trails SAnta Fe ol reservoir trail-3miles RT SAnta Fe river flowing-a little in bushes
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    Santa Fe Mountain Hike-Atalaya

    by BruceDunning Written May 27, 2013

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    The trailhead is located near St. Johns College, which is off CAnyon Road to the east of the downtown. The trail is 7 miles round trip, or if you can park a bit closer to the TH, it can be about 5 1/2 mile RT. Both connect at the trail. The first portion of 1+ miles is easy, but then the climb of 1850 feet starts to drag on you. For me, the elevation getting to 9200 feet causes windage issues, and heavy breathing, even though I am in shape for the hike, and prepared as best possible for the height issue. Views at the top are great and lays at the city in the valley floor.

    Rocky trail with an incline/decline View of SAnta Fe below Looking up to reach the peak-another 1 1/2 miles Hiking through the trees
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    Santa Fe Reservior-DAn Ball Trail

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    The hike is an easy trek around the old reservoir that now is closed up since about 1960's. It is 100 years old, and did once serve the town for water needs. In mid 1900's the silt began to be a problem and it was better to close the reservoir than try to keep out the silt. The Santa Fe River still trickles through here at a slow pace; disappointing. The hike is rather mundane but you get out in the sun at least

    Flowing stream of the once mighty river Silted up reservoir
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    Bataan Military Museum

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    There are a number of good artifacts and preserved history in the museum and the tour could be 1 plus hours to view and read. The death of a number of New Mexico residents took place in the Philippines due to the soldiers being students and when the war started they stayed to join up over there. They got captured when Japanese took over Philippines, and a number died along the death march, or after incarceration.

    Entrance to the museum Casion wagon and Jap flag Machine gun plus other memory items
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    State Capitol

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    The Capitol structure is new and ornate with a lot of modern type amenities and contemporary look. It is the newest capitol structure plus the state is one of the last to come into the USA. It was built in 1966 and is the only rounded structure of the states capitols.
    They have some wonderful paintings and sculptures throughout the building that is worth taking time to view.

    Outside entrance of Capitol Multi story rounded floors Glass dome at the top View of the chambers
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    San Miguel Mission

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    This is the oldest church in the US and it dates back to around 1620. The Indian rebellion of 1680 burned the roof and damaged other portions. After reconquest of 1692, the church facility was rebuilt for the damage, and completed in 1710. The tower is from 1830 and the last update was in 1887. The church has been updated many times, but the foundation of adobe walls are still original.

    Picture of the church front Chapel and alcove Close up of the chapel icons Aign describing the mission
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    St Francis Cathedral

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    The church is dating back to 1886 and is a mix of adobe and French Romanesque styles. It was the 6th church built on this site, and the chapel still dates back to 1714, and it houses the Madonna from 1625 date. Italian masons came here to do the construction stone work. One of the chapels was updated in 1967 to more modern times.

    Picture of the front of the cathedral View of the alter of the main chapel Panorama of the chapel alcove & vaulted ceiling Stained glass windows from the modern update
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    Oldest Buildings of Santa Fe

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    These are structures near San Miguel church, which also is very old at early 1600 time frame. The oldest house is said to be 800 years old-the one with the blue trim paint, but it was not open while I was there, and may not be open often. The others are 200 plus years old.

    Oldest house dated back 800 years Rock structure now part of a hotel Flat roof adboe of old times
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    Museum of Contemporary Art

    by BruceDunning Updated May 26, 2013

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    This is privately owned art museum and supported by donations and/or $5 entry fee. The building has only 3 rooms, and the art is scanty to say the least. They have local artists provide the work; some good and others not so good. Besides the weird type art, there is photography of various settings. While I was there a depiction of a Wisconsin Indian tribe from late 1800's to 1940's was shown in black & white photos.
    It is open Monday-SAturday-but closed Tuesday from 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. Admission is a large $10 for the 1/2 hour or less tour. Sculptures in the garden out back is the best bet.

    The art museum across from St Francis CAthedral Close of the the adobe look of the towers
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    Shopping is Vogue

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    It appears all the tourists some here to walk around and look into shops. Very few seem to purchase goods from the locals, but certainly looking is part of the process. There must be 60-80 art shops and another 50+ eclectic shops to see and buy.

    Rows of shops and alleys to others Shops on every corner Chihuly student works of glass
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    The Plaza

    by BruceDunning Written May 26, 2013

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    This is the place to congregate and take in the mix of cultures and activities. Daily there are Indians lined up along the outside of Governors Palace side on the veranda walkway-sidewalk-to sell all the typical wares they make and feature. Prices are fairly reasonable. In the square you will find other vendors of art, plus maybe someone playing an instrument for donations, homeless hanging out on the sunny days, and many tourists strolling around looking for something to do or eat. Surrounding the square are shops and restaurants on all blocks

    Indians along the coverd walkway to sell wares The square
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