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10 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe in 24 Hours

    Your ultimate Santa Fe travel guide – here is my list of the 10 best things to do in 24 hours!

    Santa Fe Travel Guide

    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!

    Liz in 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.

    Santa Fe Church

    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.

    La Fonda Santa Fe

    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.

    La Fonda Santa Fe Guest Room

    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.

    Cafe Pasquals Flags

    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.)

    Cafe Pasquals Carne Asada

    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!

    Liz Historic Plaza 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.

    Historic Plaza Santa Fe Blankets

    It’s a great spot to buy items produced by local artisans and is perfect for buying souvenirs to take home.

    Meow Wolf Santa Fe

    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.

    Meow Wolf Lights

    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.

    La Fonda Santa Fe Atrium

    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.

    DSC 8914

    Complimentary tours are limited to 12 people so be sure to sign up the concierge upon arrival.

    La Boca Sangria Santa Fe


    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.

    La Boca Spanish Restaurant Santa Fe


    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.

    Santa Fe Shed Meal

    Enjoy an Authentic New Mexican Dinner at The ShedLocated 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.

    The Shed Santa Fe Chili Stew

    Pro Tip: I highly recommend the green chili stew served with their infamous garlic bread.

    Rooftop Cocktails at Bar Alto

    Capture Sunset with Craft Cocktails at Bar AltoOne 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.

    Modern General Santa Fe

    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.

    Modern General Santa Fe Breakfast

    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.

    Tent Rocks Liz Walking

    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.

    Tent Rocks Slot Canyon Liz

    By far, this was one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and unique places I’ve ever explored.

    Tent Rocks Sky

    The photos truly don’t do it justice, you need to experience Tent Rocks.

    Tent Rocks National Park

    It looks like another planet, am I right?

    Tent Rocks Slot Canyon

    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.

    Tent Rocks New
    Tent Rocks Overlook
    DSC 8839

    At the end, you are rewarded with this view. It was truly incredible – an absolute must when you visit Santa Fe!

    Rooftop Cocktails Sunset at Bar Alto

    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!

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    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

    20 Comments

    1. no disrespect intended but u might want to make a note u visited pre-covid.3 of the 10 places u suggest are still closed at this time. otherwise, great list!

      1. Oh my goodness Marie you’re absolutely right. It will take us some time to update the 100’s of travel stories we’ve written due to changes in restaurants being open – apologies for the delay!

        1. no apology needed! i got really excited about the art collection tour you mentioned, promptly called to schedule a tour and found out they arent happening just yet. so don’t change the list! just visitor to Sante Fe in the near future, heads up, call first! :-)

        2. About twenty years ago we were in Albuquerque and I hadn’ t heard about santaFe . We reached the town and immediately got a room at the La Fonda and spent a magical 24 hours! Don’t you just love the paints head boards! We also hiked the slot canyons. Food, scenery, jewelry stores and so much more.

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