Santa Fe is a small city with a big setting. Its snow-dusted mountains, stark red rock formations and sprawling Southwestern sky have inspired artists from Native American weavers to contemporary painters like Georgia O’Keeffe. These artistic traditions live on in more than a dozen downtown museums and in the chic, colorful galleries of Canyon Road. But there’s much more to see in Santa Fe than portraits and pottery. Weekend visitors can explore a collapsed volcanic crater, shop for turquoise jewelry in a historic mining town or take a bracing hike through the crisp mountain air.
The Perfect Santa Fe Weekend
Day One: Spend your first day exploring downtown Santa Fe, starting with the Plaza and the Palace of Governors. From there you can spend some time browsing the nearby shops and art galleries, or walk a few blocks to see the city’s trio of fine churches: St. Francis Cathedral, Loretto Chapel and San Miguel Mission. After lunch, take in a museum or two (we recommend the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum), or while away the afternoon in the chic galleries of Canyon Road.
Day Two: Get up early and head north along the stunning High Road to Taos, a scenic drive that takes three to four hours. Stop in the little town of Chimayo to visit Santuario de Chimayo, known as the Lourdes of North America, or to shop for handwoven textiles. Once in Taos, spend the afternoon exploring Taos Pueblo — one of New Mexico’s oldest and best preserved Native American pueblos — or check out the jewelry, pottery, and other Native American and Hispanic handicrafts at the Millicent Rogers Museum. In the evening, return to Santa Fe via the “low road” (Highway 68), a drive that takes about an hour and a half.
Day Three: Explore Santa Fe’s dramatic natural surroundings. Spend the day hiking at Valle Caldera National Preserve, set within a collapsed volcanic crater, or head northwest to the red rocks of Georgia O’Keeffe country. There you can visit Ghost Ranch, where O’Keeffe spent her summers, and take a tour of the artist’s house in the little town of Abiquiu (advance reservations required). Editor’s Note: If you choose the second option, you may wish to spend the night in Taos instead of returning to Santa Fe on Day Two; Abiquiu is about halfway between the two cities, an easy detour as you make your way back down to Santa Fe.
Learn more about this itinerary with our Santa Fe Attractions.