Three Days In Sante Fe, New Mexico
Why not spend three days in Sante Fe, New Mexico? Are you interested in the absolute perfect three day getaway with your friends? I insist that you tell them all to meet for three days in Sante Fe, New Mexico. New Mexico is called the Land Of Enchantment for a reason, and Sante Fe is one of its crown jewels. Spend three days in Sante Fe, New Mexico enjoying the mountain scenery, the exquisite sunsets, the art, the culture, and the peaceful energy, and I guarantee you will return home refreshed and satisfied! It’s the kind of place that replenishes, inspires, and touches your soul! Here are my suggestions for your three days in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Many thanks for using these links!
Know before you go
Best Time To Go
Sante Fe is known for having crisp, clear skies all year long. Summer is the peak season with temps in the 70’s and 80’s from May – September. The Fall and Spring are more mild in the day with cooler weather in the evenings and definitely fewer tourists, so that is my recommendation. The winter is gorgeous but absolutely colder, in the 40’s. The snow doesn’t stay long in the city because Sante Fe has an average of 283 days of sun a year!. There are many festivals, typically in the fall, so perhaps you want to plan around an event? Also, the famous Sante Fe Farmers’ Market at the Railyard is on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7AM-1PM. Plan accordingly, it is not to be missed!
Where to Stay
There are so many wonderful hotels and vacation rentals, I am sure you will find the one that suits your needs and wallet the best. I suggest checking out VRBO because the homes are often close to town, more affordable when you are sharing with a group of friends, and are in picturesque settings in the neighborhoods within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
I can’t say enough about the food in this city. You can find elegance or casual and it all tastes great. Honestly, Sante Fe is known for its locally grown, fine dining experiences with that Southwestern taste that we all love! Whatever you do, book reservations before you travel! You will find many outdoor dining choices, but as you know, the pandemic is affecting seating.
Sante Fe has a small regional airport which is convenient for some. However, you may not find affordable flights in, unless you are coming from Denver, Dallas, or Phoenix. Since my friends and I are always arriving from different parts of the country, we like to pick a closeby city, coordinate our arrivals, and rent a car. Splitting the car rental is great and then we have wheels to tour around, go to the market, and get back to the airport. Albuquerque International Airport is just one hour from Sante Fe. So, that’s your best choice.
Bring sunscreen when you go because Sante Fe is over 7000 feet above sea level and very sunny!. It is higher than the Mile High city of Denver, so don’t be surprised if you are a bit fatigued and need a day to acclimate to the elevation. Drink plenty of water, get a good night sleep, and don’t over indulge on the Margarita Trail!
What To Pack
Sante Fe is a sophisticated but casual city. You will want hiking clothes and shoes, and your favorite jeans with comfortable shoes for walking around town. Bring layers because the evenings and early mornings can be chilly. Don’t forget your camera, of course! You will not believe the colors of this place – all day long! And save suitcase space for purchases!
The Traditional Plaza
After you arrive, find the closest market to gather your snacks, cocktails, and breakfast items, then settle into your beautiful new home. I suggest a low key afternoon and evening to acclimate to the elevation. Have a dinner reservation already in town, so no one has to cook. Walk to the Plaza and enjoy the Pueblo style architecture, dating back to 1610. The charming crooked streets are filled with historic adobe landmarks. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is housed in this area on Johnson St. And you can walk along the Old Sante Fe Trail to the San Miguel Chapel which is the oldest church in the US! You will also find the historic Railyard District by walking along Sandoval St. from the Plaza. There, you will find the site of the famous Farmer’s Market, and lots of galleries to enjoy. (The Farmer’s Market is on Tuesday and Saturday mornings until 1PM.)
Bandelier National Park
Get up early for your trip to the Bandelier National Monument. This is a 50 minute drive from downtown and well worth it! Bandelier is a huge park – 33,000 acres – of mesas, canyons, and ancient ruins. Some have not even been excavated! There is a stream flowing through the bottom of the canyon and a walkway guiding you through the sites of the ruins. As you walk up stream, you encounter the cliff dwellings of the Tyuonyi village in the Frijoles Mountains. Some of the homes of the pueblo were built on the canyon floor and others are tucked into the rock of the canyon and are accessible by ladders. Be sure to find the waterfall and petroglyphs as you explore. The history of the ancestral people who occupied this land is fascinating and awe inspiring! Plan on a few hours for your visit and you can be back at home for lunch.
Canyon Road and Museum Hill
After you have freshened up, you have choices! Head out to Canyon Rd, the half mile street filled with more than 100 galleries and shops. Yes, touristy, but some beautiful items can be found – clothing and jewelry, and lots and lots of artwork. Or, go to Museum Hill to visit the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, or the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. There is a shuttle bus called the Sante Fe Pick-Up which runs every 30 minutes, and it’s FREE!. It travels between Museum Hill and Canyon Road. Have a reservation for night two on Canyon Rd. Some of the finest five star meals are here!
Georgia O’Keeffe’s House Museum in Abiquiu, New Mexico
Another reason to wake up early! Just 60 minutes from the Plaza is the home of Georgia O’Keeffe in Abiquiu. For me, this is a major highlight of the trip. Be sure to get reservations for a tour before you travel. They may be booked up very far in advance, especially given the pandemic restrictions. You will experience the environment which inspired dozens of her paintings. She lived and worked in this simple adobe home from 1949 until just two years before she died at age 89 in 1986. The home is now a National Historic Landmark and is cared for by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Plan on an hour and a half for the tour.
Sante Fe Canyon Preserve
Make your way back to town and drive straight to the Sante Fe Canyon Preserve trailhead. Just 10 minutes from the Plaza is the Sante Fe Canyon Preserve, an area of 525 acres on Upper Canyon Rd. The parking lot may be full, but give it a try and take any of the trails. The Interpretive Trail is a lovely 1.3 mile loop along the Sante Fe River and by the historic Stone Dam. If you take another of the Dale Ball Trail system you will find varying difficulties and views for days!!!
Find your way back home for a quiet evening, order food in, watch the sunset, and pack your bags while planning your next trip! Try never to leave a great weekend without a plan for the next adventure!