Your ultimate Santa Fe travel guide – here is my list of the 10 best things to do in 24 hours!
When you mention that you’re heading to New Mexico, inevitably people start to wax poetic about Santa Fe. The food, the culture, the history, the people, the climate – everyone seems to LOVES Santa Fe!
So of course, after my recent visit to Albuquerque, I just knew I had to extend my trip by one more day so that I could explore (and taste!) what Santa Fe has to offer. Boy am I glad I made that decision.
Spoiler Alert: 24 hours is NOT enough time to be in Santa Fe. I highly recommend 3-4 days if possible. Of course, life doesn’t always work that way so in case you find yourself with just one day to explore, I’ve put together my list of the 10 best things to do in Santa Fe in 24 hours.
Check-in to La Fonda on the Plaza upon arrival. Centrally located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, this beautiful historic hotel is just steps away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza.
This four diamond luxury property received the 2016 Historic Hotels of America award for Best Historic Hotel. It was also added to the Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s Register of Properties Worthy of Preservation.
Get a taste of Santa Fe at Cafe Pasquals. Located just one block around the corner from your hotel is one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants offering traditional Santa Fe cuisine made with organic, all natural ingredients (think: locally sourced meats, homemade sauces, etc.)
Hands down, the carne asada was one of the best meals of my entire time in New Mexico. Scented with warm spices, just the right amount of heat and drizzled with the best red chili sauce I’ve ever tasted, I will never forget this meal. It’s must when you go to Santa Fe!
Shop Along the Historic Santa Fe Plaza: Bordered by San Francisco Street and Washington, Palace and Lincoln avenues, the historic Santa Fe Plaza has been around for nearly 400 years.
It’s a great spot to buy items produced by local artisans and is perfect for buying souvenirs to take home.
Check Out Meow Wolf: an Interactive, Immersive Experience: When I asked for recommendations in Santa Fe at least one of every three people said I absolutely HAD to check out Meow Wolf. As their website states, Meow Wolf creates immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration.
Of course, I had to see for myself just what that meant. Think: fun house from your local carnival kicked up to the next level. It is an absolute MUST! Highly recommend, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
Take a Complimentary Docent-Led Art & History Tour of La Fonda on the Plaza: One of the highlights of my time at La Fonda was the hour long tour of the hotel’s massive art collection compiled over the years.
Complimentary tours are limited to 12 people so be sure to sign up the concierge upon arrival.
Unwind with Sangria and Tapas at La Boca: Opened in 2006 by 8 time James Beard Award Nominee, Chef James Campbell Caruso, La Boca offers modern Spanish cuisine.
The sangria tasted just like I remember when I visited Spain years ago – citrus-forward, not overly sweet and perfectly balanced. If you’re not a fan of sangria, they have an extensive collection of wines from all over the Mediterranean and South America.
Enjoy an Authentic New Mexican Dinner at The Shed: Located in the heart of Santa Fe Plaza, The Shed is best known for their famous red chili sauce and the best burrito in Santa Fe.
Pro Tip: I highly recommend the green chili stew served with their infamous garlic bread.
Capture Sunset with Craft Cocktails at Bar Alto: One of Santa Fe’s premier destinations for handcrafted cocktails, you are going to love the beautiful views of downtown Santa Fe and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The sparkling rose was pretty tasty as well.
The Next Morning, Grab Breakfast at Modern General: Opened in 2015, Modern General offers immune-boosting juices, inventive smoothies and some of the most creative breakfast items I’ve ever tasted.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu but I highly recommend ordering a stack of their “modcakes” – not your average flapjacks. They have both sweet and savory versions that are truly addictive. The Pho-sole pictured above is a super tasty mashup of Vietnamese pho and Mexican posole.
Hike Slot Canyon at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument: Located about 90 minutes west of Santa Fe, you must carve out time to explore Tent Rocks.
By far, this was one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and unique places I’ve ever explored.
The photos truly don’t do it justice, you need to experience Tent Rocks.
It looks like another planet, am I right?
When you go, I highly recommend hiking Slot Canyon, a 2.5 mile hike that takes you through these incredible rock formations until you reach a breathtaking overlook.
At the end, you are rewarded with this view. It was truly incredible – an absolute must when you visit Santa Fe!
What travel guides would you like to see in the future? Do you enjoy this 10 Things in 24 Hours format? Would you like more family stories? Wellness? Let me know!
Disclosure: Tourism Santa Fe coordinated my hotel. Photography by Alejandro Photography. I was not compensated to write this post. All thoughts are my own.
Check out more destinations I’ve visited on my Pinterest board!