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Looking to spend a weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico? Follow our three-day Santa Fe itinerary for the best things to see and do there!
Sante Fe, New Mexico is known for its rich history, delicious food, and amazing natural beauty.
In this post, we’re sharing our 3-day weekend in Sante Fe itinerary followed by a detailed list of the best things to do in Santa Fe!
We’ve also included a description of the top restaurants and hotels so your travel plans go off without a hitch!
3-Day Weekend in Santa Fe Itinerary
Here’s our 3-day Santa Fe itinerary, followed by a detailed list and explanation of the 11 best things to do in Santa Fe.
For reference, I visited Santa Fe in October when temperatures during the day were between 57 – 70 degrees.
The pleasant weather during this time makes it one of the most popular times to visit.
Santa Fe Itinerary: Day 1
- Brunch: On the patio at Terra (a beautiful restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort); requires a car to get there if you’re staying in Downtown Santa Fe
- Spend the afternoon walking and shopping around Downtown Santa Fe and Santa Fe Plaza
- Stop at local landmarks around the Plaza including the Palace of the Governors, Saint Francis Chapel, and the New Mexico State Capitol
- Lunch: Coyote Cafe’ & Rooftop Cantina (fun, colorful murals, and delicious margaritas!)
- Happy Hour at Herve Wine Bar
- Dinner: Raidsh & Rye
- Breakfast: Cafe Pasqual’s
- Drive 40 minutes to Los Alamos: Check out the Visitor Center and walk around the grounds that has plenty of interesting, educational signage
- Drive an additional 25 minutes to Bandelier National Monument: Check out the Visitor Center and go on a hike; after, grab lunch at the onsite cafe
- Return to Santa Fe to make stops and get stamps on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail
- Dinner: The Shed
- Explore The Santa Fe Railyard district
- Brunch: The Teahouse on Canyon Road (loved this place!)
- Walk along Canyon Road admiring the galleries and artwork
- Spend the afternoon visiting the downtown museum or spa of your choice
- Dinner: Gerinomo
Why visit Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sante Fe, New Mexico has long been a popular tourist destination, perfect for girl’s weekends, family trips, and solo explorations.
As one of the oldest cities in America, it has a well-preserved 17th-century historic district perfect for exploring.
It also has a thrilling local art scene, pueblo-style architecture, and regular festivals celebrating varying heritages.
Most people visiting Santa Fe fly into the Albuquerque airport (ABQ). From there, rent a car, and then drive the 65 miles northeast to Santa Fe. Downtown Santa Fe is extremely (and preferably) walkable, but if you’re looking to explore beyond downtown, additional transportation is necessary.
Looking for more girl’s weekend destinations? We’ve got you covered:
11 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe
Here’s a list of the best, and most popular things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico!
1. Visit the Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza is a historic gathering place located in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Surrounded by adobe buildings, it features a central park, vibrant shops, and cultural events.
Established in 1610, the Plaza showcases Southwestern charm with art markets, live music, and a rich history, making it a popular tourist destination.
Additional planning tip: The Palace of the Governors, which is located on the north side of the plaza, is worth a visit as it’s where Native American artists sell handmade jewelry and crafts.
2. Do a Food Tour
Santa Fe is considered a foodie city and it’d be impossible to try all of its amazing restaurants in just one visit.
One of the best things to do to get to know Santa Fe’s impressive culinary scene is to go on a guided food tour!
By participating in a food tour you’ll not only learn about Santa Fe’s history, but you’ll get to try some of its best and most popular dishes.
I highly recommend Food Tour New Mexico’s New Mexican Flavors Tour for the best New Mexican-inspired cuisine in the city.
3. Explore the Santa Fe Margarita Trail
The Santa Fe Margarita Trail involves purchasing a “Passport” that includes a map of 43 different, potential spots to stop and have a margarita.
As you travel along the Margarita Trail, you then present your Passport for $ 1 off the signature margarita offered at each participating location.
Next, ask your server to ‘stamp’ your Passport or app after trying their signature margarita, and submit your passport.
Different amounts of stamps completed yield different prizes that you’ll claim when you’re finished.
This is a very fun experience, especially if traveling with a group, or when on a Santa Fe girls’ trip!
4. Explore Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico is a gorgeous archaeological site that is open to the public.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of ancestral Pueblo people while enjoying hiking trails (of various levels of difficulty) that unveil the area’s natural and cultural wonders.
Here, you’ll explore ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and scenic canyons amidst the rugged landscape.
We did the easy, Main (Pueblo) Loop Trail which is 1.4 miles in length and took us 1 hour to complete.
The best part of this trail is that ladders along the trail allow visitors to climb into cavates (small human-carved alcoves) on the cliffside.
Bandelier National Monument is a 50-minute drive from Downtown Santa Fe but is well worth the drive. I highly recommend visiting here!
5. Visit a Museum
Santa Fe’s museums offer a diverse cultural experience.
Explore art, history, and Native American heritage in captivating exhibits, showcasing the city’s rich culture.
Santa Fe’s museums include:
- New Mexico History Museum
- Museum of International Folk Art
- Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
- Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
- New Mexico Museum of Art
6. See the Historic Churches
Santa Fe is known for its historical churches that embody architectural beauty and spiritual significance.
The city boasts adobe masterpieces like the San Miguel Chapel – the oldest church in the U.S. – the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Loretta Chapel.
7. Check out the Railyard Arts District
The Railyard Arts District in Santa Fe is both a locals’ and tourists’ gathering spot.
Here, you can walk around several contemporary art galleries, studios, and shops in a repurposed rail yard.
You can also browse the gigantic Santa Fe Farmers’ Market that offers produce and other foods, art, and community events.
The Railyard has a lively, laid-back atmosphere and is a great place to head to in the morning or afternoon.
8. Explore Canyon Road
Canyon Road in Santa Fe is a half-mile, tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly stretch of roadway that has the highest density of art galleries in the U.S. (100+!).
Once all private homes, the charming adobe-style buildings host a wide range of artworks including paintings, sculptures, and crafts.
Created by artists from all over the world, dozens of pieces of artwork sit outside of the buildings (on their lawns) and can be easily admired from the sidewalk. (…Meaning you never have to step foot into a gallery to appreciate the artwork on Canyon Road.)
Canyon Road in Santa Fe is not only known for its art galleries but also features several restaurants, cafes, and eateries.
9. Visit Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf in Santa Fe is not a traditional museum but an immersive art experience.
Here, you’ll find the House of Eternal Return which features over 70 rooms of interactive art and a mysterious narrative throughout.
It’s a blend of art and storytelling, allowing visitors to explore and engage with the unique and imaginative elements throughout the exhibits.
The experience is known for its creativity, interactivity, and the sense of stepping into a different, fantastical world.
10. Ten Thousand Waves Spa
Ten Thousand Waves is a renowned Japanese-inspired spa and resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Inspired by Japanese hot spring resorts, it offers a tranquil retreat in which each bathing environment is self-contained with a hot tub, sauna, and your own private changing room.
There’s also the Grand Bath that allows communal bathing and cold plunging for up to 18 guests.
Visitors can enjoy the serene atmosphere, therapeutic services, and beautiful natural surroundings.
11. Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Calling all flower, pond, and botanical lovers!
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden features a variety of themed gardens, walking trails, and educational programs.
Visitors can explore diverse plant collections, including native flora, and enjoy the beauty of this botanical oasis in the high desert landscape.
Best Restaurants in Santa Fe
Sante Fe is known for New Mexican cuisine and delicious farm-to-table dining.
Here are some of the most popular Sante Fe restaurants that you need to try during your weekend in Santa Fe!
- Sazón – Upscale, traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking practices
- The Shed – New Mexican, classic dishes, red chile sauce, green chile stew, and carne adovada
- Geronimo – Fine dining, American and New Mexican fusion, chocolate-chile tart
- Tomasita’s – New Mexican comfort food, margaritas, green chile stew, blue corn chicken enchiladas
- The Compound – American, Southwestern, in a historic adobe building
- Terra – Luxury dining, local dishes, extensive wine list, incredible views
- Sante Fe Bite – Green chile cheeseburgers, casual fare
- Café Pasqual’s – A local staple, New Mexican, contemporary and traditional, great brunch
- Coyote Cafe – Imaginative Southwestern, rooftop views, amazing cocktails and small bites
- Radish & Rye – Farm-to-table, local, seasonal, good vegetarian options
- La Plazuela at La Fonda – Indoor courtyard, American and New Mexican
These restaurants are popular with tourists and locals, specifically during peak travel seasons. Make sure to reserve ahead of time for guaranteed seating!
Best Places to Stay in Santa Fe
Deciding on a home base for your trip to Santa Fe is an important step to ensuring a relaxing stay.
I recommend that you stay in Downtown Santa Fe close to the hub of activities, where everything is within walking distance to one another.
A beautiful hotel in the heart of Santa Fe, we loved our stay at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.
Located just steps from Santa Fe Plaza, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is in a prime location and offers a blend of Southwestern culture with upscale amenities.
Both of these hotels are located in the downtown core and are impeccably decorated.
Our other top options for accommodations include:
Resorts and spas
If your top priority is relaxing on your trip, we recommend a stay at a luxury spa resort.
Ten Thousand Waves is a Japanese-inspired resort with an upscale spa.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs is located outside of Santa Fe proper.
If you’d prefer accommodations where you could cook fun group meals and have a bit more privacy, try renting a casita or guesthouse for true Southwestern living.
Bed and breakfasts
If you’d like to immerse yourself in local culture, why not stay at a quaint B&B?
3-Day Weekend in Santa Fe: Conclusion
That rounds up our 3-day Sante Fe itinerary with its exciting attractions, top restaurants, and the best places to stay in the city.
I hope you’ve found our recommendations useful in exploring Sante Fe’s many draws, from its fascinating art scene to its historic charm.