Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024 1
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Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to the best things to do in Santa Fe NM! Santa Fe is not one of the largest cities in the country. In fact, it’s not even one of the two largest cities in New Mexico. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do in this wonderful place.

Today, I’m going to take you to another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of the mind. (I’m talking about one of Santa Fe’s most famous attractions, Meow Wolf.)

We’ll also spend an excellent morning exploring a wonderful art museum, and we’re going to eat as much green chiles as our stomachs can bear. If that sounds great to you, then follow me!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM

#1 TOP PICK

elk meat

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
SANTA FE FOOD TOUR
✔️ Try delicious New Mexican cuisine
✔️ Find hidden gems

#2 PICK

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024 2

SANTA FE HISTORY TOUR
✔️ Learn lots of fun facts
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024 3

ALL OTHER SANTA FE TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite
✔️ Find the best rates!

best things to do in santa fe nm

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM

Morning: New Mexico Museum of Art

Some people might say that Santa Fe itself is the best work of art in New Mexico. After all, the buildings are all done in a specific brown and white style, made to look like adobe houses. It’s actually the law in Santa Fe that your building has to look like this. So strolling about the city is a feast for the eyes.

But we can always use more art and beauty, which is why I suggest stopping at the New Mexico Museum of Art. This museum is right off the main plaza in Santa Fe, which makes it extremely convenient to get to. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. Plus, you’ll have access to the museum’s fantastic sculpture gardens!

Let me get you even more hyped about the museum’s sculpture garden with…

Approximately Top 5: New Mexico Museum of Art
best things to do in santa fe nm
1) Death Cart

I don’t mean to freak you out too much with this sculpture, but a lot of New Mexican art deals with death, and I dig it. I mean, I don’t dig death, but I dig the honesty.

The artist who made this sculpture is named Raymond Lopez, but actually death carts in general are an important part of New Mexican tradition. They are part of Holy Week parades around Easter. Sometimes the people who pull the cart are doing penance this way. However, I’m not sure that this actual cart has ever been part of a parade.

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2) Georgia O’Keeffe

Of course there’s a Georgia O’Keeffe painting in the New Mexico Museum of Art. For many people, Georgia O’Keeffe IS New Mexican art. She even has a museum entirely dedicated to her in Santa Fe. If you’re a huge Georgia O’Keeffe fan, you’ll want to go there.

However, you can still see this stunning, semi-abstract depiction of the New Mexican landscape. And isn’t it fitting that the New Mexico Museum of Art has one of her most New Mexican looking works on display? You can really see the influence that the colors of the Southwest had on O’Keeffe.

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3) The New Mexico Museum of Art

We’re getting a little meta here because this work actually depicts the New Mexico Museum of Art itself. Well, in a way. It’s actually a painting of the New Mexico building that was part of the Panama-California Expedition back in the early 20th century in San Diego. The building still stands there today.

However, the New Mexico building in San Diego was so popular that people wanted to actually have a building like that in New Mexico. And thus this gorgeous museum structure was born! I wasn’t kidding when I said that the buildings in Santa Fe were the real works of art.

Once you get familiar with this style, you’ll be able to spot a Santa Fe building from a mile away.

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4) Among the Aspens

This painting, “Among the Aspens” by E. Martin Hennings, is an example of the Taos School of art. Many different artists have come to New Mexico over the year, and Taos, in Northern New Mexico, has always been one of the most popular destinations.

Hennings had studied in Germany, where he became a practitioner of jugenstil, which is a style that took inspiration from a wide range of areas, like Asian art and nature. He brought these principles to the art he made in Taos.

My favorite thing about this painting is the delicate and charming shapes of the trees. They almost look like they are dancing. If you spend any time driving around Northern New Mexico after seeing this painting, I think the trees will look like they are dancing to you as well.

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5) Music in the Plaza

This painting was done by John Sloan in the year 1920. Like many artists who painted in New Mexico, Sloan was not originally from New Mexico. He was just inspired by the state’s beauty and charm.

However, unlike many of the other paintings of New Mexico, this doesn’t really show the state’s colorful scenery. Instead, it focuses on one of the cultural events going on in the Santa Fe Plaza back in the 1920s. (Please, no one tell these nice people that the Great Depression is coming.)

There are two things I like about this painting. The first is that the use of light reminds me of the Impressionist painters like Renoir. The second is that there’s something timeless about this work. It could be from almost any time period, including today. After all, the Plaza is still the center of life in Santa Fe.

best things to do in santa fe nm

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM

Afternoon: Meow Wolf Experience

Are you a little confused by my photo above? Well, join the club. I’ve actually been to Meow Wolf, and I am still feeling confused by it. However, Meow Wolf is really a spectacular experience that every visitor who comes to Santa Fe should experience, even if it’s very unlikely that any of us will ever understand it.

There are other Meow Wolves in Denver and Las Vegas now, but the one in Santa Fe is the original and the best. That’s why I say it’s one of the best things to do in Santa Fe NM.

You are probably thinking to yourself right now–who is Meow Wolf? Why is Meow Wolf? When is Meow Wolf?

All of these questions and more will be answered in…

Three Fun Facts: Meow Wolf Edition
best things to do in santa fe nm
1) Where can we have lunch?

You’ll be getting hungry before Meow Wolf time, and I think it’s best to get lunch before you go. That’s why I recommend stopping at La Plazuela at La Fonda hotel, just a few short steps away from the New Mexico Museum of Art. One of the things I like best about hotel restaurants is that they are open usually every day because they need to feed their guests.

Also some restaurants for lunch in Santa Fe have crazy long waits, and we don’t want that because we have to make it to Meow Wolf. But La Plazuela doesn’t because they have so much seating.

I suggest getting one of the yummy New Mexican specialties like the chile relleno. This is a fried chile that has been stuffed with cheese, and it is delectable. Of course it will come with delicious sides like pinto beans, pozole, which is like a hominy stew, and guacamole.

best things to do in santa fe nm

You can also get a margarita as long as you are not driving to Meow Wolf. I will not tell on you! Actually, I do not recommend driving to Meow Wolf, for reasons that will soon become clear.

best things to do in santa fe nm
2) How do I prepare myself for Meow Wolf?

I’m not sure that anything can adequately prepare you for Meow Wolf, but I will do my best. First of all, you definitely need to get tickets in advance on Meow Wolf’s website. It sells out, so buy your tickets as soon as you know when you want to come. But make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get lunch first. You don’t want to be rushing to Meow Wolf.

Parking can be difficult to get, even though Meow Wolf has its own parking lot. It fills up fast, though! So I would suggest taking a rideshare to Meow Wolf. It isn’t a long drive from Santa Fe’s plaza. I don’t know how to drive, so I would need to do this anyway, especially after the marg.

Expect to wait a little on line to get into Meow Wolf, while the helpful employees scan everyone’s tickets. There’s a separate line for people who didn’t buy tickets in advance, so things are much worse for those people anyway.

Also, be sure to go to the bathroom before you enter the Meow Wolf installation itself. You don’t want to be distracted by having to leave to look for a bathroom. There’s a toilet available right after they take your ticket, so it’s easy to find.

best things to do in santa fe nm
3) But What Exactly Is a Meow Wolf?

Great question! I’ve actually been to Meow Wolf, and I’m not even sure that I know. It’s an art installation that you can really get up close and personal with, that’s for sure.

You begin Meow Wolf in what looks like an ordinary house. But be careful! Many parts of the house will lead you to a strange and disturbing dimension. There are multiple ways to enter from the house into the alternate dimension, but I can honestly say that the fireplace entry was my favorite. Don’t miss the chance to do this!

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Once you get inside, get ready to explore all the wonders of this alternate dimension. You might find this black and white kitchen that looks like it escaped from an early Mickey Mouse cartoon.

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Just beware of this giant four eyed spider!

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This guy definitely looks like he is having a bad day.

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On the other hand, this friendly fellow looks happy…a little too happy. Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite…at least if you don’t get too close.

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No matter how many times I tried, Portals Bermuda would not send me to Bermuda.

There, I hope those photos have given you just a small sense of the very strange and delightful experiences you can have at Meow Wolf. Just go with an open mind and a willingness to explore during your day of the best things to do in Santa Fe NM, and you can’t go wrong.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM

#1 TOP PICK

elk meat

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
SANTA FE FOOD TOUR
✔️ Try delicious New Mexican cuisine
✔️ Find hidden gems

#2 PICK

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024 2

SANTA FE HISTORY TOUR
✔️ Learn lots of fun facts
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM 2024 3

ALL OTHER SANTA FE TOURS
✔️ Choose your favorite
✔️ Find the best rates!

best things to do in santa fe nm

Best Things to Do in Santa Fe NM

Evening: Dinner at the Coyote Cafe

The Coyote Cafe is one of the most famous restaurants in Santa Fe. It was one of the first restaurants to pioneer New Mexican fine dining and show the world what a spectacular cuisine this is. An evening here is pretty much guaranteed to be amazing, starting with the house made cornbread.

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Which you may pair with a fancy marg. I know this is our second margarita of the day, but this is Santa Fe! We’re allowed to have two margs in one day here. Just ask George R.R. Martin.

best things to do in santa fe nm

I like to order the most famous dishes on a menu, which is why I selected the Southwest Rolled Caesar Salad. You might be wondering what’s so New Mexican about a Caesar, but it’s the green chile croutons, darling.

best things to do in santa fe nm

For my main course, I selected the signature elk tenderloin. The sides that come with this tenderloin will change from time to time, but the quality of the meat remains the same. Mine came with black garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and snap peas, which were all perfectly decadent.

best things to do in santa fe nm

For dessert, I had the pecan pie, which was so good that the couple next to me was inspired to order it after watching me eat one. It was the perfect end to a perfect day of the best things to do in Santa Fe NM.

24 hours in santa fe

Best things to do in Santa Fe NM

Where to Stay?

There are many lovely historic hotels in Santa Fe. But my personal favorite for a day of the best things to do in Santa Fe NM is the Inn of the Governors. It’s in a gorgeous historical building, there’s a great breakfast spread, and it’s located right near attractions like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Plus, it’s haunted! I mean, I don’t know that for a fact. But I just assume everything in Santa Fe is haunted because it’s so dang old.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you want to explore great deals on tons of other hotels in Santa Fe, click here.

This search engine will help you find the most convenient and affordable hotels during your day of the best things to do in Santa Fe NM.

That’s the best things to do in Santa Fe NM!

What do you think are the best things to do in Santa Fe NM? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Santa Fe? Has Freud completely messed with your ability to look at Georgia O’Keeffe’s work? And who would win in an epic battle to the death: bees or mosquitoes? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that just because this itinerary is for 24 hours in Santa Fe, that doesn’t mean you should only spend 24 hours with the best things to do in Santa Fe NM.

Catch the best things to do Los Alamos NM. You can also add 24 hours in Albuquerque. Get going on a one day in Albuquerque itinerary. Check out 24 hours in Santa Fe. We’ve also got a great one day in Santa Fe itinerary. Enjoy an amazing Must Do in Albuquerque day!

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