Santa Fe Travel Guide

  • 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

Santa Fe Things to Do

  • Loretto Chapel

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    This deconsecrated church - owned by the adjoining Inn At The Loretto, and now a museum/wedding chapel - is famous for its ‘miraculous’ helix-shaped stairway: a bit of local lore that has been been useful for collecting $3 fees to see the thing. Skeptic that I am, a look beneath the legend turned up a lesser-known Wild West story... Allegedly, the...

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  • Canyon Road Art District

    Canyon road is absolutely lovely in April, and El Farol allows you the opportunity to continue enjoying it even during lunch. The building itself has a charming style and there is an extensive patio for watching the world go by. Inside the restaurant, a Native American woman was selling jewelry, and the walls we painted to mimic the mission style....

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  • Palace of the Governors

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    A view from inside the courtyard of the palace built in 1610 that served as the local government center for northern Mexico during the colonial era and later under independent Mexico. The building is also the sight of a daily indian market.

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Santa Fe Hotels

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Santa Fe Restaurants

  • The Shed

    4 out of 5 stars

    It was the last night of the 2016 trip and we still hadn’t had any green chile chowder or stew: sacrilege! The consensus for ‘best' from local bar staff was The Shed or its sister, La Choza, and as we just so happened to find ourselves within spitting distance of the former when dinnertime was approaching, that’s where we landed. It’s been around...

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  • Tomasita's

    4 out of 5 stars

    The restaurant is fairly large. We had to wait about 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon at 3:00 but it was worth it. Great green chile and the wait staff were very good. Sopapillas and margaritas. Fried dough and alcohol-how can that be bad?!

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  • Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery

    4 out of 5 stars

    On our first evening in Santa Fe we went to the Blue Corn Café as it got a good write-up in our Moon Handbook and had also been recommended by the owner of the Casitas when we checked in that afternoon. The Moon book did comment on its slightly chain-like appearance (in fact there is just one other branch, on the south side of town) but in my view...

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Santa Fe Nightlife

  • Howl at the moon (or the sun)

    This could go under restaurant tips as well but am sticking it here as a fair amount of folks were just having cocktails...Coyote Cantina is the lively, tomboy sister of the sedate and very expensive Coyote Cafe. Located up on a rooftop patio over the cafe, it's only open during the warmer months and a good choice for sampling some of Coyote's...

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  • A beer with a view

    This bar just off the Plaza became a bit of a favourite of ours for early evening drinks. Its first floor roof terrace has a good view of the Plaza below, a friendly atmosphere and a good selection of micro-brews. In our two visits we sampled several of these. Chris favoured the India Pale Ale while I rather liked the Marble Red which had loads of...

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  • Live music some nights

    This is an unassuming little bar just south of the Plaza, with live music some nights. We came here a couple of times. The first occasion was on a Tuesday, which is “open mic” night. We thought this might be interesting; however in the time we were there (well over an hour) only one band played, that of the manager, and the light jazz style was not...

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Santa Fe Transportation

  • Bus to Taos

    If you want to get to Albuquerque, tghen I advise you to take the train (the Road Runner), but if you head to Taos, then the only way is the bus that I show you in the picture, or you can hitchhike.

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  • Getting there is half the fun! Who knew?

    We took a winter trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico by Amtrak train to re-state our wedding vows We have been married 20 years) and take a small vacation. I admit I was a tad nervous but I made accommodations in the sleeper car for a private room outbound and inbound. They promised to bring our meals to or room so I wouldn't have to try and balance...

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  • Tourist Bus

    There is a small, open air tourist bus called the Loretto Line that you can pick up by the old town central Plaza, takes you up Canyon past the art galleries, then up past the celebrity homes, up to the Museum Hill, then back around old town. Takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and gives you a good overall look at what is available in Santa Fe, plus...

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Santa Fe Shopping

  • Pride of the Portal

    Updating with a few more pix:This is the best place to find that treasure to take home! The long, covered porch (portal) of the historic Palace of the Governors is reserved exclusively for skilled members of the Native American Vendor's Program to market their wonderful crafts. To be accepted in the program, a vendor's works have to be handmade,...

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  • Girly (& Cool) Things Everywhere

    Although this little boutique focuses mainly on women's clothes, you can find jewelry (faux jewelry, as well as authentic Native American Indian) and some lingerie-type items to boot. What makes it special is the personalized attention that you'll receive from the friendly owner, Kim Roman, as well as her adorable dogs, Romeo & Bella. The latter...

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  • Authentic Indian Jewelry

    Lining the Governors Building facing the Santa Fe Plaza are licensed, local Indian jewelry vendors. Many of the vendors are also the artists that make the jewelry. Many of the artists take great pride in the turquoise they use and the other materials they use. The vendors must be licensed and the inspectors make sure that the products or authentic.

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Santa Fe Local Customs

  • Santos and other religious art

    Spanish settlers brought the Catholic faith and its saints to the Southwest four hundred years ago. As colonial chapels were established and missionaries dispatched to this remote region, imagery was needed to familiarize the newly converted with the saints and their stories and to provide the churches with representations of their specific...

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  • "The City Different"

    Santa Fe's unique appearance is due to the thoughtful preservation of its historic structures, and to a zoning code, passed in 1957, which dictates how new buildings must look. New construction within older sections of the city has to be styled after specific Territorial, Pueblo or Spanish architectural styles that are considered traditional to the...

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  • Pueblo Etiquette

    Visiting some of New Mexico's pueblos is an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of the indigenous peoples. Because they are recognized as Sovereign Nations, they also are allowed their own specific laws governing conduct and accessibility - which vary greatly from tribe to tribe. For instance, some allow visitors to roam freely,...

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Santa Fe Warnings and Dangers

  • Traffic is Terrible

    Nearly all the time, but especially at peak commute hours, the main artery being Cerrillos Road is jam packed. it is typical to see it backed up 3-4 blocks at the stop lights. The other main street of of St. Francis Dr (Hwy 84/285) going north is slow with much traffic for 4-5 miles heading out of town or coming back into town.

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  • Santa Fe River

    What was once a raging river is now a trickle and great disappointment.. They used to river raft down the downtown sector-Now you would scrape bottom and have to walk the raft all the way.

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  • Parking is expensive

    The garages they try and get people to park in are the highest in price. There are 4-5 multi story garages that I noted; maybe more. Each stated $2 for 1/2 hour, and $4 for an hour, then goes up from there by $2 an hour with max of $10. I do not like to pay that amount. Soooo, I and many others look and find spots along the street where Sundays are...

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Santa Fe Tourist Traps

  • Nambe Fall

    This is located on and Indian reservation. After a 20 mile drive from SAnta Fe and down a gravel road of 6-7 miles, you come to a booth. In that are two Indians who want $10 per vehicle and $5 for photo op in order to see the falls. Not me, especially since I intended to be there only 5-10 minutes.

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  • Oldest House in Santa Fe -- NOT!

    Oldest House in Santa Fe should be renamed Oldest Tourist Trap. The building isn't anywhere NEAR as old as it's cracked up to be, and definitely not worth the price of admission. For a lot less money, you can go look at genuinely old adobe walls in the Palace of the Governors (check out my "Must See" tip for more museum information).The Oldest...

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  • Indian Casinos

    Like elsewhere- good source of income for pueblos and Native Americans. They are abundant here- especially in Pojoaque. Lived in Santa Fe for three years and have been back and have yet to take a step into one of these casinos. Don't plan to either. There are so many other beautiful places to visit. If you must take a road trip from Santa Fe,...

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Santa Fe What to Pack

  • Cold, high altitude,dry winter air

    Sunglasses. The high altitudes and sun's position in the winter makes for a very bright sky. The glare alone is blinding. Don't forget to protect your eyes. Also dress in layers especially on sunny, cold days. I was comfortable at 30 degrees (0 dg C) in layers of thermal undershirt, shirt & polar fleece sweater (Jumper), a hat and pair of gloves...

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  • Packing List

    Comfortable shoes are a must!! Sandals are fine in summer, but good walking shoes are a requirement at any season on the city's often uneven pavements.A lightweight straw hat is essential in the summer, and a good idea any time the sun shines to cut glare and ward off sunburn. (Remember, you need to protect the back of your neck too.)From June...

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  • Packing List

    Santa Fe Style -- as I've described before -- we're a touristy spot, but also very 'New Mexico' -- often called the 'land of manana' (like later, or tomorrow). This all means, dress in whatever is comfortable. However, sweats don't go. Jeans and a dressy shirt always work.The Santa Fe style is jeans with an ironed crease in the pants. No ties for...

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Santa Fe Off The Beaten Path

  • Chimayo-SAnto Nino Church

    This is located in Rio Rancho, about 20 miles north of Santa Fe, and 50 miles south of Taos, It is the oldest church in the region and the history dates back to 1816 when a private individual built the church for locals to worship. It was transferred to the Archdiocese in 1929.

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  • Chimayo-Town Sites

    The main items that was open was Trujillo's Weaving, at the corner of Country Rd 98 and Hwy 76. Number 505-351-4457.They have been weaving for eight generations in this setting. Almost all the other places along Hwy 76 were closed/dead, or maybe never opening again? Quite a disappointment since I thought the shops would hold some nice touring

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  • Chimayo-A Sacred Place

    This is a place of pilgrimage and 300,000 come annually to attend masses and hopefully be redeemed or receive cures for ills and pains and disabilities. The church first was built in early 1800's and by 1820 it was known as a church to cure diseases and ills and healings. The tower and roof pitch were added in 1917. Services are held daily and...

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Santa Fe Sports & Outdoors

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo

    Just don't lose the paddle.....

    by CliffClaven Written Sep 8, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    An hour's drive north of Santa Fe brings you to a stretch of the Rio Grande which is popular for whitewater rafting. Several companies organise trips along the river, but old Cliffie can recommend the Los Rios River Runners for their laidback but totally professional approach. As you stand there in your orange lifejacket before the trip, the guide tries to scare you by telling you what to do if you are tossed into a raging torrent or get trapped under the raft. The four-hour trip down the river turns out to be not quite so scary - after all, losing a tourist or two is hardly good publicity - but a lot of fun, especially if most of your thrills in the rest of the year come while sitting in front of a computer terminal!

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    • Rafting

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Santa Fe General

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  • Birds that turn on & turn off

    One of my most favorite things are the birds one finds in different areas of the world. I actually have 2 insane cockatiels at home. Among my favorites are the Lorakeets aka "Lorries" in Australia and the Australian Bell Bird which sings in the early dawn hours with a haunting clear like bell tone. Here in Santa Fe I found another set of birds with...

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  • Visitor Centers

    There is a main visitor center just across from the State Capitol building, and in the rear. It is next to Sam Miguel Mission church on Old Santa Fe TRail St. The other center is at the railroad station on the west side along Guadalupe St. It is closed on Sundays, though. There is a lot of local and regional literature at the centers to guide you,...

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  • Adobe, adobe, adobe!

    When we arrived at our accommodation in Santa Fe the owner of the Chapelle Street Casitas said “And yes, there is a law that everything has to be brown!” The downtown area here preserves a number of old adobe buildings from Spanish colonial times, but at first glance you might be fooled into thinking that all the buildings were old, and all of them...

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