Santa Fe Solo Travel Guide

Santa Fe - Tent Rocks

Planning a solo trip to Santa Fe, NM ? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:


  • Capital of New Mexico, with a population of ~84,000 across 37.4 square miles.
  • Founded in 1610 , it is the oldest state capital in the United States.
  • A melting pot of three cultures (Anglo, Native American, Hispanic), the city has a rich history and varied history. Even today, Santa Fe has the second largest art market in the country (second to New York City).
  • Nicknames: The City Different. Some refer to Santa Fe as “The Land of Entrapment” – the city is notorious for being hard to leave (those who do move away tend to come back!)


  • Currency:  US Dollar  (USD)
  • Spoken languages:  English and Spanish .
  • Best time to visit: from  August  to  October  (dry, continental climate).
  • Arriving via airport : the Santa Fe Airport is a small airport limited commercial flights. You are most likely going to be flying into Albuquerque, in which case your best bet is to rent a car, hop the Sandia Shuttle, or take the train. The Groome Shuttle operates 30 trips a day between Santa Fe and the Albuquerque airport. The Rail Runner runs from Belen through Albuquerque up to Santa Fe, and there is a shuttle service between the airport and the Rail Runner station.


Hotels greatly vary in price – downtown Santa Fe has the more upscale accommodations ($200/night and up), while south  Santa Fe offers more budget options (closer to $100/night).


  • Santa Fe is small enough that there are only 10 bus routes.
  • Fares are very reasonable. A single adult fare is $1, a day pass is $2, and a 3-day pass is only $5. Riders must have exact fare.
  • To get around faster, consider requesting an Uber through the app.
  • For car rental , look for the national chain brands downtown (e.g. Enterprise, Hertz, Budget).


  • Drinking age is 21 , and last call is at 1:30 AM .
  • Santa Fe is a very small town and there isn’t really a separation of nightlife areas.
  • Generally, everyone (wealthy, hipster, student, and blue collar) mixes downtown .
  • Great bars for solo travelers: The Matador, Evangelo’s, Staab House Restaurant, New Mexico Hard Cider (lots of locals), La Reina, Desert Dogs Brewery, and the outdoor patio at Tumbleroot Brewery.


  • Built in 1931, the iconic  Lensic Theatre  was the long-time favorite for movies and vaudeville. Restored in the early 2000s, the Lensic is now a performing art center, and is used by the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
  • Visit the  Loretto Chapel  to find out about the legend of the “miracle staircase.”
  • The San Miguel Mission on East De Vargas Street was built in 1610, and is thought to be one of the oldest churches in the United States. Sunday Mass is still held here.
  • The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was built by Archbishop Lamy – this Romanesque structure is a sharp contrast to the pueblo style buildings that dominate Santa Fe.


  • Canyon Road is one of the most concentrated areas in the nation for art galleries. Take a leisurely stroll up Canyon Road, wander into the art galleries, and have your picture taken with a bronze statue of Mark Twain.
  • Walk along the Plaza of the Governors in downtown Santa Fe. Known simply as “The Plaza,” the whole downtown is a walking district centered around this old Spanish building from the 1600s. Unique shops and restaurants line the plaza, and every summer there is free live music.
  • Walk up Upper Canyon Road and peek at the multi-million dollar homes built in the traditional New Mexican fashion. Make it to the top, and you will reach the Audubon Center and Sanctuary .
  • Note: check the weather report before going on any long walks or expeditions, especially in the summer. This is monsoon season, which always brings a risk of flash floods.


  • Santa Fe is located at 6,500 feet above sea level . Give yourself a day to acclimate to the thinner air. Drink a lot of water , moisturize your skin, and always wear sunscreen . It is all too easy for visitors to get sick from from the altitude and/or climate.
  • The state question is “Red or green?”  this refers to the type of chili you want on your meal). The appropriate answers are: red, green, or “Christmas” (half smoky red chili, and half citrusy green chili).
  • The Paseo de Peralta is a road that runs along where the old city walls used to be. Locally known as “The Paseo”, in some places the Paseo de Peralta is so narrow two cars can barely squeeze by each other.
  • Great restaurants to try in Santa Fe: Jambo Cafe ($$ – African with vegan options), Sazón ($$ – book in advance),  Izanami Restaurant ($$ – Japanese)
  • Looking for the best casual Mexican food in town? Try El Parasol, Café Castro, La Choza Restaurant ($$), and The Shed.
  • Where to get cheap eats: Don Gaspar Avenue and Galisteo Streets. For something off the beaten path, you can’t go wrong with Cerrillos Road . Cerrillos Road (pronounced “Sir-eee-ohhs”) will take you further out of town into the more densely populated Hispanic neighborhoods, where any hole-in-the-wall restaurant you stop in will be full of locals enjoying authentic New Mexican food.
  • Dangerous areas : while Santa Fe is generally a safe place, there are a few unsafe barrios (ghettos) in the city. Avoid: Airport Road, Alameda (south of Solano), and West Agua Fria.

Recommended trip duration:  1-2 days

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Solo Explorer’s Luxurious Guide to Santa Fe, New Mexico: Culture, Cuisine, & Unforgettable Experiences

July 4, 2023

santa fe solo travel

I recently completed a solo trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it was one of the best cities that I’ve visited in a long time! As someone who used to travel solo before having kids, this was my way of getting my solo traveler’s feet wet again. I chose Santa Fe because of a video I saw from a content creator I follow on YouTube. 

You can check out her blog post about her trip to Santa Fe here .

Upon arrival, I quickly realized there’s nowhere quite like Santa Fe, New Mexico. Steeped in rich cultural history, adorned with vibrant adobe architecture, and surrounded by panoramic vistas that inspire artists from around the globe, Santa Fe offers an unforgettable, immersive experience for the solo traveler. Whether you’re drawn to the artisanal shops teeming with locally-crafted treasures, the world-class restaurants serving tantalizing Southwestern cuisine, or the serene spas promising holistic rejuvenation, Santa Fe caters to all. Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, a realm where ancient traditions merge seamlessly with modern luxuries, creating a unique tapestry that is ready for you to explore and cherish.

santa fe solo travel

When I decided to book the trip to Santa Fe, I had a few requirements that I needed for this trip. The following were must haves for this trip:

– Boutique hotel near downtown

– No rental car would be used

– Great restaurant scene nearby

– Top notch spas within a short distance from downtown

santa fe solo travel

As you will see later on in this post, this trip exceeded all of my expectations. I booked this trip through American Express Travel, and I used my points to maximize the savings and take advantage of the Fine Hotels and Resorts credit that they offer to Platinum American Express cardholders who are entitled to once a year.

Traveling to Santa Fe

I traveled to Santa Fe from Dallas, Texas via American Airlines. It was a very small plane, but it was a non-stop quick trip into Santa Fe. 

If you want to save money, you can fly into the Albuquerque International Airport. It’s roughly a one-hour drive to downtown Santa Fe.

Upon landing at Santa Fe Regional Airport, a car service coordinated by my hotel immediately whisked me away on a picturesque journey to the heart of the city. Leaving the airport behind, the panoramic vistas of rugged mountain ranges and the vibrant blue sky left me breathless.

Lodging in Santa Fe

After the scenic 20-minute drive, I arrived at the enchanting Rosewood Inn at the Anasazi . The hotel’s architecture is a nod to the Pueblo Revival style, characterized by rustic, handcrafted woodwork, ornate latillas, and vigas that resonate with the spirit of the ancient Anasazi civilization. These historical touches are artfully juxtaposed with contemporary amenities to provide a seamless blend of old and new.

santa fe solo travel

After settling into the comfort of my well-appointed room, the first day’s exploration took me to Apothecary in the historic downtown area. This place was recommended by hotel staff to get acclimated to the altitude and prevent altitude sickness. While getting 30 minutes of oxygen, I decided to order a peach kombucha which they have on tap. It was very refreshing, and it hit the spot. After I was hydrated and feeling great, I strolled back through The Plaza to my hotel to prepare for dinner.

Each of the below hotels offers its own unique flavor of Santa Fe charm, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture and history while enjoying all the comforts of modern hospitality.

  • La Fonda on the Plaza : A landmark in Santa Fe, La Fonda on the Plaza is located right on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. With a history that dates back nearly 400 years, the hotel offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and modern luxury. It features locally inspired design elements, an array of dining options, a full-service spa, and a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
  • Hotel Santa Fe, The Hacienda & Spa : This is the city’s only Native American-owned hotel. Located in the vibrant Railyard district, the hotel exudes a spirit of tranquility and offers luxurious accommodations, a pampering spa, and a private guest lounge. Its decor and ambiance beautifully reflect the traditions and culture of the Picuris Pueblo.

santa fe solo travel

The Rosewood Inn has a restaurant on site, so I made a reservation for dinner for my first night in Santa Fe. The restaurant, Anasazi Restaurant Bar and Lounge, is right outside of the lobby. You have your choice of indoor or outdoor dining, and there’s also a pretty good size bar area.

Where to Eat in Santa Fe

There is a certain charm about the charming city of Santa, Fe, New Mexico, with its rich cultural history, stunning landscapes, and, of course, its tantalizing cuisine. My recent visit took me on a culinary journey through some of its most beloved eateries. Here’s a glimpse into the mouth-watering memories I’ve accumulated.

santa fe solo travel

Anasazi Restaurant Bar and Lounge

Nestled in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, the Anasazi Restaurant, Bar and Lounge is a gem that blends traditional Southwestern style with contemporary elegance. From the moment I walked in, I was taken by its sophisticated interior, adorned with local artwork and lit by warm, inviting lights.

santa fe solo travel

The culinary experience was nothing short of spectacular. The restaurant’s innovative approach to Santa Fe cuisine shines through its dishes. The butter poached snow crab appetizer was an amazing start to my meal. But the star of the show was the pan seared sea bass, with its robust citrus cream and delicious spring vegetables. The warm and efficient service added to the overall fantastic dining experience.

Next up on my culinary journey was La Boca, a Spanish tapas bar that is a true testament to the variety of cuisine Santa Fe offers. The cozy, rustic ambiance is the perfect backdrop for the innovative menu inspired by Spain’s tapas tradition.

The standout dish for me was the Mejilones, West Coast black mussels in coconut salsa verde. The coconut, cilantro, garlic, spinach, lime, and jalapeno created a delightful symphony of flavors. Pairing this with a glass from their well-curated selection of a sparking Spanish Cava was a memorable experience in itself.

santa fe solo travel

My journey then took me to Paloma, a vibrant restaurant serving up innovative Mexican cuisine. The interior, with its vibrant colors and unique designs, is instantly inviting and perfectly captures the spirit of Mexico.

I indulged in their crispy fish tacos, which were a revelation. The beer battered sea bass and chipotle mayo added depth to the fresh and tangy accompaniments. The esquites, roasted corn, mayo, lime, and cotija were like magic to my taste buds. Their tequilas are a must-try, even though I only had a petite size shot of Lalo Blanco.

Ojo Resort and Spa Restaurant – Blue Heron

Another stop on my culinary tour was the serene Ojo Resort and Spa restaurant. Set amidst the beautiful New Mexico landscape, this restaurant offers an aesthetically pleasing dining experience.

Their farm-to-table approach to cuisine is commendable, with many ingredients sourced from their organic garden. I feasted on the carne asada with beans and rice; however, the plate left me feeling underwhelmed. The flavor was bland and unremarkable. This is why I typically never eat at the spa!

santa fe solo travel

The Teahouse

Situated on the historic Canyon Road, The Teahouse is a haven for tea lovers like myself. Their impressive selection of teas from around the globe is remarkable, and their knowledgeable staff helped me make an informed choice. I settled on the Volcano Flower Burst, which includes mild green tea with hibiscus, lavender & amaranth flowers & light citrus notes.

However, The Teahouse isn’t just about teas. They have an extensive food menu, and I opted for a small plate of gorgonzola cheese, pear, walnuts, honey, and a toasted baguette. I didn’t enjoy the food as much as I thought I would. Additionally, tea was not served traditionally. It was served in a tumbler which was a very interesting way of serving hot tea.

What to Do in Santa Fe

I made plans to join the Santa Fe Discovery Walking Tour with Paul. It was a two-hour walking tour that starts that the La Fonda Hotel lobby. 

santa fe solo travel

This immersive walking tour breathes life into the city’s vibrant history, painting a vivid picture of Santa Fe’s evolution over the centuries. As our guide led us through narrow streets lined with adobe buildings and past key landmarks, it was as if the city’s past was unfolding before our eyes. We learned fascinating stories about Native American culture, Spanish colonization, and the melding of these two to birth the unique Southwestern identity.

santa fe solo travel

The Palace of the Governors , the Cathedral Park, and the Loretto Chapel were some of the standout attractions, each brimming with a rich tapestry of stories. A particular highlight was the visit to the Loretto Chapel, known for its miraculous staircase. Our guide shared the intriguing story behind the mysterious carpenter who built the spiral staircase without any visible support, an architectural marvel that has puzzled experts for years. The chapel, with its gorgeous Gothic Revival architecture, exudes an aura of serene divinity that left us all in awe.

santa fe solo travel

Further into the tour, we were led to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, an iconic symbol of Santa Fe. This magnificent Roman Catholic cathedral, with its stunning French Romanesque Revival style, is a testament to Santa Fe’s rich religious history and Spanish influence. Inside, we were met with intricate stained-glass windows depicting Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Santa Fe.

santa fe solo travel

Each step on the cobblestone paths was a step back in time, helping us appreciate not only Santa Fe’s history but also its contemporary culture that carries echoes of the past. This tour is a riveting journey that beautifully encapsulates the spirit of Santa Fe, weaving together history, architecture, culture, and local folklore in a deeply engaging narrative.

Shopping and Local Artisans

Santa Fe’s downtown area is a treasure trove of art galleries, fashion boutiques, and local artisans’ workshops.

santa fe solo travel

The Palace Avenue’s Native American vendors offer an array of handcrafted silver jewelry, pottery, weavings, and other unique artifacts.

santa fe solo travel

One of my favorite places to explore was the Railyard District. This vibrant area, with its reclaimed industrial aesthetic, is home to a myriad of unique boutiques and galleries where local artisans showcase their work. From handmade jewelry to unique home décor, shopping at the Railyard is a delight for those seeking original, handcrafted pieces.

But the Railyard isn’t just about retail therapy. On Sundays, it transforms into the Railyard Artisan Market . It’s an absolute feast for the senses, brimming with local talent. From painters to ceramicists, from jewelers to woodworkers, it’s a showcase of Santa Fe’s rich arts scene. Wandering among the stalls, I found myself in a wonderland of creativity, each piece reflecting the heart and soul of its creator.

Not to be missed is the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market , also located in the Railyard District. It’s a vibrant, bustling hub of fresh produce, local goods, and authentic New Mexican flavors. My highlight was the blue corn blueberry lavender donut ( Whoo’s Donuts ) from the café inside the farmer’s market. It was such a culinary delight, and I was introduced to it by a new friend I met while visiting Santa Fe.

santa fe solo travel

Visiting Spas in the Santa Fe Area

I devoted the last couple of days to complete rejuvenation at a couple of Santa Fe’s premier spas, Ojo Santa Fe Resort and Spa and the Ten Thousand Waves.

Ojo Santa Fe Spa

Ojo Santa Fe is a sanctuary for wellness tucked away in the picturesque landscapes of Santa Fe, New Mexico. With its range of holistic treatments and healing waters, Ojo Santa Fe invites you to disconnect from the world and reconnect with your inner self.

santa fe solo travel

The crown jewel of this wellness retreat was undoubtedly my private soak experience. Submerge into a world of tranquility in your outdoor pool, filled with therapeutic geothermal mineral water. Surrounded by nature, this private soak offers a serene, intimate space to soak away your worries and let the healing waters work their magic on your body and spirit.

santa fe solo travel

I enhanced my experience with a day pass, granting me full access to the resort’s luxurious amenities. From the vibrant gardens to the tranquil footpaths to the communal soaking pools, the day pass lets you fully immerse yourself in the serenity that Ojo Santa Fe offers. Whether you seek solitude, rejuvenation, or a deeper connection with nature, a trip to Ojo Santa Fe is an invitation to step out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and step into a world of holistic wellness and tranquility.

Ten Thousand Waves Spa

Ten Thousand Waves, inspired by the Japanese mountain hot spring resorts, provides a serene, lush environment that relaxes the body and mind. I treated myself to a 90 minutes therapeutic massage in one of the pagodas perched high up the mountain. The skilled therapist applied a customized blend of techniques, intuitively responding to my body’s needs. I was relaxed, and I followed up with the foot soak while gazing at the Koi Pond.

santa fe solo travel

Safety for Solo Travelers

Santa Fe, with its friendly locals, relatively low crime rates, and well-lit downtown area, is generally considered a safe city for solo travelers. However, like anywhere else, it’s important to stay mindful and take standard safety precautions.

santa fe solo travel

Traveling solo can be an enriching and liberating experience, and in a city like Santa Fe, it can also be quite safe. With its welcoming atmosphere and diverse offerings, Santa Fe can be an ideal destination for those venturing out on their own. Just remember to stay cautious, be prepared, and trust your instincts. With these safety tips in mind, you’re set to make the most of your solo adventure in Santa Fe.

Weather in Santa Fe

June weather in Santa Fe is usually warm and dry during the day with a cool and comfortable evening. Expect daytime temperatures to hover around the mid to high 80s (Fahrenheit). Remember to pack a light jacket or a sweater for the cooler nights, which can drop to around the 50s. Don’t forget plenty of sunscreen for sunny days as the Southwestern sun can be quite potent, even on moderately warm days.

santa fe solo travel

With the dry climate, breathable clothing is a must. Consider packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothes that will keep you comfortable in the heat. Cotton and linens are perfect for those hot summer days. Given Santa Fe’s semi-desert landscape, a wide-brimmed hat can also come in handy, offering protection for your face and neck.

santa fe solo travel

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a radiant gem tucked away in the heartland of the Southwest, offering an immersive journey through time, culture, and indulgence. It’s a place where culinary delights meet cultural exploration, where vibrant history can be discovered on foot, and where relaxation is redefined in soothing spas. The food scene alone is an adventure, each dish served to be a love letter to the city’s diverse history, with eateries like Anasazi Restaurant, La Boca, The Teahouse, Paloma, and Ojo Resort and Spa restaurant serving up their unique tastes of Santa Fe.

Luxurious accommodations, such as the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, blend Southwestern charm with modern comforts, providing serene sanctuaries after a day of exploration. The city invites you to walk its historic paths, discover its ancestral roots, and admire its unique architecture through the Discovery Historic Walk Tour of Downtown Santa Fe. For a dose of wellness, the soothing hot springs and invigorating treatments at Ojo Santa Fe, and Ten Thousand Waves offer experiences of profound relaxation and rejuvenation.

santa fe solo travel

And, for those who seek retail therapy, the Railyard District, Artisan Market, and Farmers’ Market offer an eclectic mix of shops and stalls, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Don’t forget to try the unforgettable Blue Corn Donut with Lavender Icing or savor the invigorating Dirty Chai – small delights that encapsulate the city’s vibrant culinary spirit.

santa fe solo travel

In every sense, Santa Fe is an enchanting encounter – a city that dances to its rhythm and invites you to join in. Its vibrant tapestry of food, lodging, history, wellness, and shopping weaves together to create an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an art lover, or a wellness enthusiast, Santa Fe embraces you, leaving you with memories that last a lifetime.

santa fe solo travel

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Santa Fe Script_The City Different_2023

Solo Travel in Santa Fe

Santa Fe has always attracted the individual, someone seeking a unique and not-easily-quantifiable experience. Think Georgia O’Keeffe, George R.R. Martin, Eva Scott Fényes, or the countless others who have arrived here ready to see things differently. Well, all of them came to the right place—the destination lovingly named The City Different, where people are always welcome—and encouraged—to go their own way.

So, if you are ready to go your own way on your solo sojourn, read on for our 10 suggestions! And/or check wout 

1. Get Creative and Learn a Thing or Two

Santa Fe School of Cooking

A beautiful way to get to know Santa Fe is to be a student of our many experts and teachers. There’s always room for one more in the variety of  classes and workshops offered throughout the year. Learn how to cook Southwestern dishes with our ever-present chile, or how to capture our vast mountainous landscape in a painting or a photograph, or how to throw a pot, swing on a trapeze, or sit in meditation. Whatever you choose, you will be among like-minded people who are ready to learn something new or deepen their skills and practices.

2.  Go Outside


You may know that the capital city of Santa Fe sits in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and is within a short drive of 1.6 million acres of National Forest. What you may not know is that as a solo traveler, you can experience the outdoors safely and quite readily! If you are a hiker or a biker , luck is on your side! There are a dozen or more trailheads within the city limits, generally populated at all times of day with active locals, their leashed dogs, and possibly a school group or two, but you can still find peace! Don’t forget your water and sun protection, and be prepared to go slowly—not only are you at 7,000+ feet in elevation, but the views demand your attention. And if you happen to be in Santa Fe during the winter, consider the short trip to Ski Santa Fe . The mountain is just 16 miles from downtown, features 86 trails with fluffy terrain for all levels, and you have the option to take a private or group lesson. Conversation flows easily on the lifts and lunch is excellent at the communal tables at Totemoff’s Bar & Grill or La Casa.

3.  Dine & Imbibe

Margarita Trail

Reserving a table for one and treating yourself to a good book or some people-watching can be an excellent approach to dining in The City Different. But if you’d like some company now and again, try a place with a communal table—Cafe Catron, Modern General, Café Pasqual's, Iconik, and Sweetwater come to mind. Of course, you know about our storied chile, and perhaps that’s in part why you are visiting, so expect the question, “Red, green, or Christmas?” most places you go, but if you need a break from the heat, you’ll also find a remarkable wealth of international flavors, too. One late afternoon, try a Happy Hour , a fun way to get in before the masses, meet a few lively folks, and enjoy some great deals. Perhaps you’ll choose one along the Santa Fe Margarita Trail , a winding path throughout The City Different connecting more than 40+ popular restaurants and bars that feature a special cocktail made from the glorious agave-rich spirit from Mexico. Get on the Trail with the app or a physical Passport and pull up a seat at the bar to learn about the drink’s lore from the bartender or patrons. And be sure to check out all of our other self-guided culinary tours —from coffee to chocolate to food trucks.

4. Embrace the Culture & History

Guided Tours

Santa Fe certainly has some history to share , and a little interest in The City Different’s roots can go a long way toward appreciating our fine community. As early as 1050, Tewa Indians established settlements on what is now called the Plaza. In the 1500s, the Spanish moved into and occupied the area, and in 1610, Santa Fe was formerly founded by conquistador Pedro de Peralta. If you are open to investing the time, The Eight Pueblos North of Santa Fe can offer you days of exploration and awe. Should you want to stay more local, a great way to enrich your time in our nearly ancient city is to jump on a tour with a group of other intrigued people and a knowledgeable guide, who will give you fresh eyes with which to see the architecture, churches, statues, people, and neighborhoods. The Loretto Line Tour Company has a seat just for you on a breezy open-air bus tour of downtown and beyond, while Sky Railway invites you to roll the tracks of the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in style on refurbished historic railcars (comfy seating with a bar, snacks, and music on offer) into the stories of the landscape.

5. Give Back

Literary Festival Volunteer

Most communities have a strong current of volunteerism that helps get good work done. Santa Fe does, too. In fact, The City Different thrives with more than 1,000 nonprofits . Consider a day or a few hours spent devoting your time and energy to a passion project. You are bound to meet some like-minded people. What do you love or what do you wish you understood better? The outdoors? Consider trail maintenance with Santa Fe Conservation Trust or Santa Fe Fat Tire Society . Animals? Socialize some pups at Santa Fe Animal Shelter . Water? Clean up the riverbed with the Santa Fe Watershed Association . Nutrition for vulnerable populations? The Food Depot or Kitchen Angels . Homebuilding or construction? Habitat for Humanity . Literary or Folk or Native American art? During the months of May, July, and August, become one of many eager volunteers for the Santa Fe International Literary Festival , the International Folk Art Market , and the Santa Fe Indian Market in exchange for tickets and passes and other privileges. Whatever you choose, you are helping, and The City Different will be a better place as a result of your volunteering!

6. Shop at Your Own Pace

SHopping_Bolo ties

Take a piece of Santa Fe home with you! You have all of the time in the world to discover one-of-a-kind handcrafted treasures on your shopping odyssey into exquisite locally owned and independent boutiques and charming stores, many of which are housed in historic buildings. Hotspots include: 

•           Historic Plaza, Native American Artisans Portal

•           East Palace Avenue, Sena Plaza

•           East Marcy Street

•           Canyon Road

•           Railyard, Baca, Guadalupe Districts

•           DeVargas Center

Whether you’re looking for fashion or furniture, rugs or hats, cowboy boots or concha belts, salsa, or silver and turquoise jewelry, you’ll be rewarded in this shopper’s paradise of Southwest specialties and wonders from around the world. Friendly shopkeepers and gallerists will be happy to lend their advice should you need an opinion beyond your own!

7. Immerse Yourself in the Art

Art Week

Our diverse and creative city hosts hundreds of artists, working passionately at their craft, be it pottery, jewelry, paintings, textiles, sculpture, or photography, making The City Different a truly unique destination! And you can find them and others from around the world represented in our  250+ world-class galleries . To fully experience the scene, go at your own pace and don your walking shoes for a day along Canyon Road , a half-mile stretch featuring 100+ galleries ensconced in charming adobe homes. Open a dialogue with a gallery owner—you are bound to be enchanted by what you learn, and likely make a new friend. Round out your exploration in the downtown area, where you can engage directly with the Native American artisans under the portal of the Palace of the Governors nearly every day of the week, rain or shine, and learn about their processes and techniques. Then, make sure to hit the contemporary Railyard Arts District and the Baca Street Arts DIstrict . In terms of museums , Santa Fe has a concentration of more than 20 important institutions. Clustered in and around the Plaza and Museum Hill, opportunities include works of Indian art and culture, Georgia O’Keeffe, international folk art, the history and art of New Mexico, and more. Newer to the must-experience list are Vladem Contemporary , a second location for the New Mexico Museum of Art and SITE Santa Fe , a contemporary art space featuring ever-changing installations by influential artists of today in a building that’s a piece of art in and of itself.

8. Celebrate with Must-Experience Events

Must Have Experiences at Indian Market

We could actually rename ourselves “Santa Festival” as we always seem to be celebrating something. Consider planning your travel around a cornerstone event. While summer is a dynamic time with lots to do , including Santa Fe Indian Market , Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta , or the Santa Fe Opera , fall is great, too, with Indigenous Peoples’ Day , and winter with the Canyon Road Farolito Walk . Be part of the spirited crowd at any of these must-sees and you’ll not regret it.

9. Just Walk

Historic District Spring

Santa Fe is a highly walkable city, and on foot, you’re much more apt to make a spontaneous decision about entering a shop or a gallery AND you’re afforded a much better glimpse at the different types of architecture, including Pueblo-Spanish and Territorial styles. Definitely put Canyon Road on your itinerary—the once entirely residential neighborhood now features more than 100 art galleries along the half-mile, tree-lined road. Spend at least half a day in the Railyard-Guadalupe district , where you’ll find great art , shops (including consignment), restaurants, bars, museums, a movie theater, the Farmers’ Market, and more! And the historic Plaza is a must—the shops may have changed but the design remains the same as the original built by founding Governor Pedro de Peralta. A prominent structure you’ll see is the Palace of the Governors—built in 1610, it is the oldest public building in continuous use, and now houses the New Mexico History Museum . You can easily spend a day on the sights around the Plaza, but if you have a little extra energy, make the short walk to the New Mexico State Capitol Building , dubbed the “Roundhouse,” where there’s a great art collection.

10. Relax and Retreat

Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort

Sometimes you just want to chill out in a comfy new environment. Santa Fe offers luxurious options that allow you to actively retreat in a home away from home.

  • Consider the award-winning landmark Bishops’ Lodge Auberge Resorts Collection , where you can experiment with nature-driven activities and ancient healing arts and return to the peace of your casita in the evenings.
  • Try Ojo Santa Fe , an all-inclusive wellness retreat on 72 acres focused on healthy living, rejuvenation, and greater meaning and connection.
  • At Ten Thousand Waves , a health retreat in the mountains that began humbly as a Japanese bath house concept and now offers a full spa, an izakaya-style small plates restaurant, and 14 rooms of lodging, you’ll likely amble the property in a yukata (casual kimono).
  • Stay at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe , and you’ll be able to curate your experience with a personal adventure architect and retreat to your casita whenever you want.

May your solo adventure in Santa Fe not only be satisfying, but a chance to explore what personally brings you joy and rejuvenation. For another to-do itinerary, check out The Points Guy' s write-up of why The City Different is one of 12 top destinations for solo travel in the US.

Get a taste of The City Different! Order your Official Santa Fe Visitors Guide now or browse our deals and specials to help you plan your next trip to Santa Fe.

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How to Spend One Beautiful Day in Santa Fe, New Mexico-The Perfect Guide

July 17, 2022 June 3, 2022 | Paroma

Spending one day in Santa Fe, NM and overwhelmed with where to begin? Fear not, cause this repeat visitor to Santa Fe is here to guide you on how to make the best of experiencing Santa Fe in 1 day. Read my 24 hours in Santa Fe guide and top tips for covering what this magical city has to offer in a short time, so that you can leave with everlasting memories with a hankering for more!

How to spend one day in Santa Fe, New Mexico: the perfect guide

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Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and is not only a capital city that looks unlike any other in the lower 48 states of the union, but is also the proud owner of many “first” titles. Established as a capital in 1610 by the Spanish of the then “Nuevo Mexico” territory, it is the oldest capital city in USA and also the highest, perched at 7,199 ft above sea level (sorry Denver!) in the shadows of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, which constitutes the southernmost range of the Rockies.

Besides the rich history and unique geography, what sets this city apart from other state capitals is its aesthetics-330 days of clear sunshine drenching Pueblo revival style Adobe buildings and houses with splotches of bejeweled red ristras (dried red chili bunches) framing the entrances and windows, hundreds of art galleries jostling for your attention (Santa Fe in fact has the highest number of art galleries per capita in the nation), red and green chili sauce smothered food and a way of life that has at least culturally retained much of the Native American influence, who were the original stewards of the land. 

Visiting Santa Fe is a magical experience and one that is no way identifiable with what we associate with other state capitals. It is modern yet firmly ensconced in the bygone times and retains the old world, historical charm from the pre Mexican-American war days when it was yet to be annexed to the union. Plus who can escape the irresistible pull of the arts, crafts, pottery, weaving and history that hangs so thick in the air, not to forget the delicious chili (red and green) stews and sauces?

There is a lot to do if you’re visiting Santa Fe for one day and after having visited three times for different durations, I am here to craft the perfect itinerary for you to make sure you see the very best of Santa Fe in 1 day. Keep on reading to find how to make the most out of your 24 hours in the capital with this super detailed and authentic guide filled with what to do, see, eat and where to stay. Trust me, this one day in Santa Fe guide is all you need for a day trip or an overnight stay in New Mexico’s capital city.


What to do and things to see in Santa Fe in one day

I know you want to skip this section to move onto what to do in Santa Fe in one day, but if you’re a first time visitor, this stuff here is important to ensure you have a hasslefree trip. Keep these tips handy so that you don’t have to waste any time during your short stay in the city (you are welcome in advance!).


Santa Fe has a tiny regional airport that has limited flights coming in from Denver, Dallas and Phoenix. The airport is about 20 minutes drive or 12 miles from the city center/downtown Santa Fe which is commonly referred to as Santa Fe Plaza. If you’re not flying in from one of these three cities or are looking for more options, then your best bet is to fly into Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ) and taking a taxi, rented car, rideshare or pre-reserved shuttle to the Santa Fe Plaza.

ABQ airport is 66 miles south of Santa Fe plaza and if you’re not driving, then hailing a taxi or rideshare (Uber/Lyft) can get expensive. I highly recommend pre-booking one of the many shuttles that will take you to the plaza from the arrival terminals, my favorite being Groome Transportation (formerly known as Sandia Shuttle). Their shuttles are clean, drivers are polite and punctual and they pick you up right from your hotel! You can book your transportation in advance both ways to save yourself any and all transportation headache.


Having visited the capital in three different seasons (Spring, Summer and Fall), my vote goes hands down to a Fall visit when the air is cool and crisp and there are spectacular fall colors everywhere vying for your attention. That would be the month of October-November which is when we drove from Santa Fe to Taos which is easily one of the most memorable US road trips in my travel life.

Spring, i.e. April and May are good options to visit Santa Fe when the mercury continues to hover around a reasonable 75-80F (high) and 50-60F (low). Winter sees a noticeable dip in mercury with bright days (40-45F) but cold nights (19-20F) and snowfall (because of the altitude).

Summer is undeniably the most popular time to visit thanks to the International Folk Art Market (July) and the mega Santa Fe Indian Market (August) that draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. But summer is hot as hell, with temperatures easily rising above 95F. Coupled with the high altitude, the sun’s intensity is really something to reckon when visiting from June-September. 


As someone who’s visited Santa Fe solo without driving anywhere (I will not drive even if my life were in mortal danger), I can tell you one thing: you don’t need to drive everywhere to make the best of your one day stay.

Santa Fe is a small town and extremely walkable with most attractions centered around the plaza. As long as you’re staying at or near the plaza (which by the way has many, many hotels), you’re good. You can always hail an Uber/Lyft if you absolutely must go anywhere further, such as on one of the several fantastic day trips listed in this post.

How to spend 1 day in Santa Fe: 24 hours in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Don’t be fooled by its size, one day is definitely not enough to see everything in Santa Fe. However, if you follow my super-duper tried and tested guide, you will see the very best that the city has to offer in 24 hours including where to eat and drink. I am here to guide you through what you need to see and do to make every hour count during your short stay!


If you’re pulling an overnighter, I recommend staying at or near the Plaza. Not only will you be near the galleries, restaurants etc but most hotels at the Plaza have their own restaurants serving excellent food! There are hotels for all sorts of budgets as well. I stayed at Hotel St. Francis which is right on the plaza on Don Gaspar Avenue which is an unbeatable location. This is a dog friendly hotel.

The hotel is a work of art (the lobby decor is simply elegant with statues of St. Francis of Assisi, ornate candelabra and a gallery wall) but the rooms are on the smaller side with no kitchenette. And, although self parking may be subject to surcharge (you are better off parking on the plaza in less busier streets), the hotel has a fantastic restaurant (Market Steer Steakhouse) , Santa Fe’s best bar (Secreto), massage/spa services and Gruet Tasting room showcasing Santa Fe’s wines.

Besides Hotel St. Francis, the other two hotels that I highly recommend for their amenities are the historic hotel La Fonda on the plaza celebrating its centennial year in 2022 and Inn and Spa at Loretto . Both are on the plaza, are built in the puebla revival style and are simply a stone’s throw from all the Plaza attractions. 


Thanks to its unique geography, i.e. being perched 7,199 ft above sea-level, a lot of visitors (unless you’re from Denver or a city with similar high altitude), experience shortness of breath due to lack of oxygen. Santa Fe is also very dry and experiencing severe dryness (nosebleed, chapped lips and dry skin) or even dehydration is not uncommon. Finally, the sun really shines down on you at this altitude, so sunburns are a major worry.

As a San Francisco resident happily residing next to a beach, all I can tell you from experience is that all of these conditions are real and you need to be prepared. Don’t forget to pack in sunglasses and a hat for extra protection, sunscreen, vaseline, body lotion and a moisturizing lip balm/chapstick. Also, carry plenty of water with you at all times. Don’t try to tackle advanced level or tedious hikes on day 1-let your body get used to the altitude and change in weather.


Finally, here is the section that you’ve been waiting for to answer the burning question of what is there to see in Santa Fe in 1 day. Here is my nearly hour by hour guide to maximize your Santa Fe sightseeing if you have only one day in hand. All these recommendations are based on my personal experience, so rest assured that I have done everything that I am about to share with you. Let’s get started!


Start your day bright and early at Santa Fe with a brisk morning walk right before breakfast to a historic monument located in the Old Fort Marcy Park, about 0.8 miles northeast of the Plaza (12 min walk). This huge white cross, dedicated to the 21 Franciscan friars who lost their lives in the Pueblo revolt of 1680 , stands atop a hill with sweeping views of Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. 

The “hike” up is along a paved path that winds up gradually and is dotted with plaques describing the history of Santa Fe in a chronological order (from 1598-present times) donated by city businesses and churches which will provide a snapshot of historic information as you climb up the path while taking in the views. This is not a strenuous hike at all and is great as both a sunrise and or a sunset spot, all the while being very close to the plaza.

One day in Santa Fe: Go to the Cross of the Martyrs


Once you’re done with your early morning walk, head straight to what is considered Santa Fe’s most popular breakfast spot-a tiny cafe in the heart of the plaza known as Cafe Pasqual’s (did you know that San Pasqual is the patron saint of the kitchen?). Word to the wise: arrive by 8:30 AM for a seat since this tiny place gets filled up pretty quickly.

Loved by locals and visitors alike, this cafe opens at 8AM and serves breakfast, lunch and also dinner. Not only is the coffee and food fantastic, the inner decor replete with colorful murals by Oaxacan artist Leovigildo Martinez   instantly cheers you up. They also have a dedicated art gallery open from 10AM-5PM on the second floor of the cafe that is worth visiting!

If you’re one of those early risers feeling hungry after watching a sunrise from the Cross of the Martyrs, then you can head to French Pastry Shop and Restaurant inside the La Fonda on the Plaza that opens its doors at 6:30AM. The coffee is good, the crepes decent and the pastries are delicious. Having said that, I still recommend Cafe Pasqual’s for the ambience and food if you can make it.

Breakfast in Santa Fe: Cafe Pasqual's


I am going to let you on a life changing Santa Fe travel hack right now, and that is precisely this-if you can make it to Santa Fe either on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday then whatever you do, book the Historic Architecture and Interiors Walking tour of the Plaza, courtesy of Heritage Inspirations . The tour ends with a complimentary wine tasting at Gruet wine tasting room in Hotel St. Francis, but this is optional (although I cannot think of a reason as to why you’d pass up on this option unless you are a teetotaller or are driving).

First of all, the tour is not necessary for your one day in Santa Fe sightseeing since you can wander aimlessly around the plaza on your own. But if you don’t, you will miss out on one of the best tours that you can ever go on to learn about the ins and outs of Santa Fe’s fascinating history, arts, culture and architecture. In a nutshell, if you want to make the most of your 1 day in the city, take this tour. I guarantee it will one of the best $$ you’ll ever spend.

In the three hours between 9:30-12:30 PM, your guide Daniel (writer, editor and guide born and raised in New Mexico) will keep you riveted with facts, stories, anecdotes, suggestions (on where to eat, see and shop in the plaza) and the rich layered history of the city, the plaza businesses and the churches and how things came to be, all while taking you through different stops in the plaza (you will also enter a few places for added effect).

Once you’re done with the tour, you will know exactly how to spend the remaining precious hours in the plaza-the galleries to visit, the museums to explore, the shops to spend money at and of course where to find the best red chili sauce in town. Wear comfortable shoes and sunglasses, bring some water and be ready to learn about Santa Fe in the most entertaining way possible. Having done food tours and walking tours over my many years of travel, I cannot stress enough on how good this one is! 

This tour was not sponsored in any way. I spent my own hard-earned money and so I can vouch for the authenticity of my experience

If by some terrible stroke of misfortune, you cannot snag a ticket to the tour or are visiting Santa Fe on some other day, read my post on best things to do in Santa Fe Plaza for wisdom nuggets on what to see, do and where to eat and shop on the plaza based on my experience (and Daniel’s suggestions that I made keen mental notes of during our tour).

Go on a heritage inspiration walking tour of Santa Fe Plaza during your one day in Santa Fe


Santa Fe is blessed with 330 days of sunshine and some charming courtyards where you can take advantage of the weather and enjoy an al fresco lunch post your walking tour. I recommend tacos (or anything else) with a side of red chili sauce at the Shed , Mediterranean food at the tranquil La Casa Sena or New Mexican specialities at La Plazuela inside La Fonda Inn Plaza.

Enjoy Patio Lunch in Santa Fe


Santa Fe is a city steeped in art and history and if you’re a fan of either or both, you cannot leave the city without spending some time in at least one of its many museums which are some of the finest and most unique in the nation. There are at least four prominent museums in the plaza itself or you could drive down to Museum Hill, which is 1.7 miles from the plaza, for even more. However, for the sake of time I suggest sticking to the plaza for your fill of museum exploration.

With only the latter half the day at your disposal (assuming you opted for the tour that I’ve been ardently begging you to go on), I recommend taking your pick of only one of the four museums on the plaza. These are the Georgia O’ Keeffe Museum (open Thursday-Monday), New Mexico Museum of Art (open everyday 10AM-5PM except Monday), New Mexico History Museum (includes entry to the Palace of the Governors and open everyday 10AM-5PM and up to 7 PM on Friday) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (see hours).

If you’re a history buff, then the 3 levels of historic artifacts, records and collections at the New Mexico History Museum is what you should opt for, which will take at least 2 hours to explore meaningfully. However, if your proclivity towards arts is stronger, I suggest choosing either the stunning O’Keeffe museum or heading straight to the New Mexico Museum of Arts. 

Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most celebrated 20th century artists in the world and possibly the most famous North American female painter. She moved to New Mexico permanently in 1949 and stayed here for the next four decades producing stunning works of art depicting the NM landscapes at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, her homes. Advanced ticket reservations are required to enter the museum, thanks to its popularity.

The O’Keeffe museum showcases the entire collection of her works-from her early days in Texas and New York and her famous “flower paintings” to the works produced in New Mexico, depicting the natural beauty of northern New Mexico. The museum also provides tickets to her Abiquiu home and studio tour (you have to reserve tickets online) which I went on during my recent most trip (it was an unforgettable experience).

The New Mexico Museum of Art is one of the very best in the country and one that you must visit if you are an art lover. You will be transported to a different world once you step inside the absolutely beautiful courtyard of the building showcasing the Pueblo Revival architecture. The courtyard is adorned with six frescos by master painter Will Shuster depicting native american traditions pertaining to the four elements of fire, air, water and earth as well as day to day activities such as wheat winnowing and pottery making. 

Besides these frescos, there are two levels of galleries showcasing over 20,000 paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints, drawings and mixed-media works of celebrated New Mexico artists and beyond as well as a beautiful sculpture garden. A hidden gem of this museum which is often overlooked by people is the St. Francis auditorium to the very left of the entrance where you have some jaw-dropping murals. This auditorium looks like a church but is not really one-concerts are held here.

Pro tip-If you want to get an art museum experience minus the ticket price, head straight to the New Mexico Capitol building which is a mere 0.5 miles south of the plaza. The Capitol Arts Foundation has curated and showcased over 450 artworks (painting, photos, sculpture) of contemporary New Mexico artists that is spread all over the four levels and is completely free to the public!

Museums in Santa Fe: best things to do in Santa Fe in 1 day


Santa Fe plaza is home to three prominent churches built at different times by the Spanish Missionaries as part of the conquerors efforts to spread Christianity amongst the Native Americans. Each of these three churches have their own history and have different architectural styles along with stunningly beautiful interiors. If you can spare an hour, I recommend visiting all three of them despite your religious leanings (or lack of it like mine).

These churches are the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Roman Catholic Cathedral built in 1714) named after St. Francis, an Italian Friar who is also the patron saint of Santa Fe, The Loretto Chapel known for its miraculous stairs (you need to pay $5 to see this winding staircase) and the San Miguel Chapel , known as the oldest chapel in USA whose foundations date back to pre-Columbian times. 

Daniel’s heritage walking tour provides a lot of interesting facts about the history of these chapels and their construction with entry to the St. Francis cathedral to show the oldest statue of the Madonna and Child in USA, who was brought in 1625 to Santa Fe. Although she is now known as the “Lady of Peace”, her original title was that of La Conquistadora (i.e. the one who conquered) since Spanish soldiers attained victory in key battles after praying to her.

The oldest house in USA (built in 1626 but with foundations pre-dating arrival of the Spaniards) is right across San Miguel Chapel and is home to a free museum and a gift shop. You can explore this on your own if you visit the chapel (chapel is open for only a few hours everyday) or go on the walking tour since it is one of the stops.

Churches of Santa Fe


If you’re visiting Santa Fe over the weekend, then skip lunch at the plaza and head to the Railyard to experience a vibrant farmers market (Saturdays from 8AM-1PM year round and Tuesdays 8AM-1PM, May-November) or the Railyard Artisan Market on Sundays (10AM-3PM) where dozens of artists exhibit their art in booths in the farmers market pavilion. You can always have lunch at Second Street Brewery and taste local craft beer on the tap along with their famous green chili cheeseburger (listed as “original alien burger” on the menu).

Santa Fe Railyard: visit on weekends for farmers market


With over 220 galleries vying for your attention, it can seem pretty daunting as to which one to have a dekko during your one day in Santa Fe visit. Luckily, I have snooped around quite a bit and am here to help you solve this dilemma. Most art galleries are in Santa Fe Plaza or along the artsy Canyon Road. Walking along Canyon road can take up an entire afternoon, so I suggest doing so only if you’re genuinely interested in a particular gallery or are staying for longer in Santa Fe.

I recommend visiting Manitou Galleries and  Sorrel Sky Gallery on the Plaza for their art, Native American pottery and jewelry and sculptures (Sorrel Sky has some lifelike black and white David Yarrow photographs of the wild west). Shiprock Gallery is another gallery worth stopping by to admire their vast collection of Navajo woven textiles.

Visit art galleries in Santa Fe


You cannot (or should not) leave Santa Fe without at least a souvenir or two. Galleries can be terribly cost prohibitive for shopping unless you have $$$ to spare and many souvenir shops are just jammed with the usual pottery, jewelry and textiles that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. I got some solid recommendations from Daniel where I went for shopping and loved everything that I purchased (small pottery items, wooden tchotchkes, chocolates and ceramics) 

Some of the places where I shopped from are: the Detours gift shop inside the La Fonda Plaza, The Rainbow Man (doubles up as a repository of rare Edward Curtis photographs of Native American life in Santa Fe), Chocolate + Cashmere (get their truffles) and El Nicho Folk Art gift shop.

If you want to directly put money in the pockets of Native American artists and craftsmen, then head onto the Portal of the Palace of the Governors that runs along one end of the plaza right next to the history museum. The portal is a shaded portico where Native American artists showcase their wares (authentic turquoise jewelry, art, pottery etc) every day. Grab some cash and buy these souvenirs to take home.

Kakawa is Santa Fe’s most famous chocolate shop serving chocolate elixirs (drinks), bars, barks and truffles. Their nearest location is on Paseo de Peralta Avenue which is about 0.6 miles away from the Plaza. If you have time, do pay a visit for a red chili chocolate drink and buy their 80% dark chocolate chili truffles. Their chocolate bars are also sold at Detours in case you cannot go all the way to their store.

where to go shopping in Santa Fe


Unwind after a busy one day in Santa Fe with pre dinner drinks and maybe some small bites at the Bell Tower Bar, which is the rooftop bar in La Fonda (and you don’t have to stay at the hotel to access the bar on the 5th floor). Drinks maybe pricy but the ambiance and views are top notch. Come around sunset to see pink skies unfold before your eyes as you sip on your drink.

Bell tower Bar Santa Fe at La Fonda on the Plaza


Santa Fe is no San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York City when it comes to fancy dining or diversity, but there are at least two establishments that everyone swears by when it comes to having a good time and a memorable feast. I am talking about Geronimo on Canyon Road or Saźon on the Plaza, both of which epitomize fine dining in the city and require advance reservations.

Both restaurants incorporate New Mexico flavors in their food and have an extensive wine list to choose from. I particularly enjoyed the “opening dish” of my dinner at Sazon which was a complimentary tasting of a trio of moles, i.e. Oaxacan sauces that reminded me of my good times in Oaxaca city . 

Dinner at Sazon on Santa Fe, 1 day in Santa Fe


This is completely optional (I never really enjoyed it during my visit because I was too sensorily overwhelmed), but if you’re looking for an evening activity either pre or post dinner, then get tickets to Meow Wolf Santa Fe , a 70+ room of immersive art experience labeled as “House of Eternal Return” which is a mystery waiting to be solved through various portals.

Psychedelic colors, sounds, effects and installations will greet you at every turn which are funky and playful. I kind of could not figure out what was happening and lost my way through the installations, but I recommend it nevertheless since it is a very unique experience and it has rave reviews from visitors.

Meow Wolf, Santa Fe

This brings me to the end of my one day in Santa Fe guide. I have visited Santa Fe three times and am already planning my fourth visit as I type because I am enthralled by all that it has to offer, which is a far cry from San Francisco or any other modern US city. Seeing Santa Fe in one day is a daunting task but I hope this guide has given you plenty of inspiration on how to make the most of your 1 day Santa Fe itinerary. Thanks a lot for stopping by and safe travels!


Looking to spend one perfect day in Santa Fe, New Mexico? Then read this guide on the best things to do, see and eat with bonus tips on tours and hidden gems #newmexico #santafe #southwestUSA #America #Southwest #SantaFeNM

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14 Best Day Trips from Santa Fe (New Mexico)

By: Author Susan Moore

Posted on Last updated: March 13, 2024

New Mexico has a diversity of cultures, with a clear Native American, Hispanic, and Latino influence that has shaped everything from the architecture to the region’s customs.

Santa Fe is surrounded by jaw-dropping landscapes, stunning abode architecture, and relics from pre-colonial communities.

It’s the perfect place to explore New Mexico from, as you can get to such a variety of sites and landscapes all within a short drive from the city.

Whether you’re looking for cultural experiences, hiking in the mountains, or a Route 66 road trip you’ll find it all near the capital of New Mexico.

So let’s have a look at the best Santa Fe day trips .

14 Best day trips from Santa Fe.

Best Day Trips from Santa Fe (New Mexico)

1.  bandelier national monument.

Historians and nature lovers alike will find Bandelier National Monument an enthralling day trip.

The landscape includes rugged reddish color stone and rocky hills dotted with pine trees. There are plenty of hiking opportunities too.

Tsankawi Ruins Trail is a short 1.6 mile loop of moderate difficulty where you will see cave dwellings and petroglyphs.

For short easy hikes try the Pueblo Loop Trail (Main Loop Trail) or the Alcove House Trail.

The main thing that attracts visitors to this spot are the ancient cave-dwellings and ruins left behind by the Ancestral Puebloans who called this area home.

Bandelier is an interesting day trip from Santa Fe with a good selection of hiking trails.

Big Kiva at Bandelier National Monument.

The Big Kiva at Bandelier is one of the points of interest on Pueblo Loop Trail

2.  La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs

Technically La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs site is in Santa Fe, but you’ll feel worlds away when you get lost exploring one of the largest collections of rock art in the US.

Walk for a short while through the dry New Mexican landscape and you’ll arrive at the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs Site and thousands of petroglyphs.

This educational day trip from Santa Fe combines nature and history in equal parts.

Take in the pre-colonial petroglyphs carved into tall boulders.

You’ll notice that birds and flute players are some of the most prominent images sketched into the rock, though their meaning remains a mystery.

3.  Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

(Tent Rocks remains closed in 2024 – allegedly due to C0vid-19)

When Tent Rocks reopens you can explore the stunning rock formations hidden away in the Jemez Mountains. These are the ancestral homelands of the Cochiti.

The Slot Canyon and Cave Loop trail leads through interesting terrain with cone-shaped rock formations (hoodoos) and excellent views at the top. It’s a bit of work to get to the top but so worth it, the views are great and I enjoyed doing this hike in 2016 and I would like to visit again when they reopen… if they ever reopen!

The area is known for its sparse landscape, imposing rocks and cliffs, and beautiful views.

Tent Rocks slot canyon hike Santa Fe.

Tent Rocks Slot Canyon Hike is one of the most popular hikes near Santa Fe

4.  Albuquerque

In only an hour you can drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque to spend a day exploring New Mexico’s largest city.

Albuquerque is famous for its annual hot air balloon festival in October. But you’ll find lots of things to do in Albuquerque during any season of the year.

Spend some time in the museums of Albuquerque including the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science which has cool dinosaur skeletons.

If you’re traveling with the kids then be sure to let them have some hands-on fun at the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum .

Learn about the Pueblo culture while exploring the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on a guided tour. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop.

And you can finish up your day watching the sunset from Sandia Peak Tramway.

5.  Taos

From afar this little town in New Mexico doesn’t look like much but spend a little time and you’ll discover exactly why Taos is such a popular day trip from Santa Fe.

A must-see is the Taos Pueblo , which has numerous 14th century buildings. The village is still inhabited by the Taos Indians, whose ancestors lived here over 1,000 years ago.

Fans of architecture will want to visit the San Francisco De Asis Mission Church on the main plaza of Ranchos de Taos about 4 miles south of Taos.

And outdoor adventure seekers can enjoy zip lines, rock climbing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and even hot air balloon rides.

In wintertime Taos Ski Valley is one of the top places to hit the slopes in New Mexico.

Taos is always a fun day trip from Santa Fe.

Taos Pueblo ancient adobe buildings.

Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark

6.  Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

Nothing is quite as enticing as a long soak in a natural hot spring surrounded by New Mexico’s barren and expansive landscape.

The tradition goes way back to when indigenous communities bathed here as they believed the mineral rich water had healing properties.

Plus, if you head to the outdoor hot springs at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa you can experience a luxurious clay bath along with your soak.

A restorative and rejuvenating afternoon is just over an hour away from Santa Fe.

7.  Ghost Ranch

Only an hour’s drive from Santa Fe there is a fascinating Education and Retreat Center, the Ghost Ranch.

There are both indoor and outdoor activities at Ghost Ranch so it’s a good day trip choice in various types of weather.

It’s 21,000 acres is set among burnt orange and red mountain landscapes and typical New Mexico flora.

For an educational experience you can visit the Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology , the Florence Hawley Museum of Anthropology , and the Ghost Ranch Library .

From the museum buildings you can head out into the hills on a horseback trail ride , a fun activity for ages 8 and up.

The hiking trails at Ghost Ranch range from easy to difficult so there’s something for every skill level.

Chimney Rocks Trail is a good choice with magnificent views (2.5 miles round trip) and the trailhead is right behind the museums.

If you’re an art enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know you can also take a tour into the little town of Abiquiu and visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s home.

Abiquiu Ghost Ranch - Kitchen Mesa Trail red rocks with blue sky.

You’ll find amazing views on a Santa Fe day trip to Abiquiu Ghost Ranch

8.  Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home & Studio in Abiquiu

Georgia O’Keeffe’s home is surrounded by classic New Mexican landscape and boasts a unique view from each window.

The inside of the home is elegant and classic, the perfect environment to slow down and reflect.

Tranquil and inspiring, her house and studio were a source of inspiration. It’s just outside the town of Abiquiu.

9.  Madrid

Looking for a unique experience in New Mexico? Then head for a day in trendy Madrid.

The city was a coal mining town but now is transformed and rebuilt into a hip and urban city.

Explore the quaint galleries and adorable boutique shops in town or come for the Crawdaddy Blues Festival in May and enjoy the city’s live music and fun events.

10.  Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Are you a sucker for good views? Then get yourself down to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and check out the cool vistas.

Standing almost 600 feet above the gorge, the bridge gives its visitors the impression it’s floating up in the air.

As if that wasn’t enough to make you want to get your camera out right away, the bridge also has views of New Mexico’s tallest mountain, the Wheeler Peak .

Visit at sunset for those amazing New Mexico skies.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge at sunset.

Take a road trip from Santa Fe to Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to watch the sunset

11.  Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs is a great day trip choice for two reasons – you get to visit a traditional New Mexican town and soak in hot springs in one place.

The town has lots of retreats and a spiritual scene that draws from Native American beliefs and customs.

This charming village is just under two hours’ drive from Santa Fe.

Pack your bathing suit and enjoy a soak in the soothing hot springs for a day of rejuvenation and relaxing.

12.  Chimayo

Chimayo is small, but it sits across two counties in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Don’t miss the 19th century adobe chapel, El Santuario de Chimayo , built in 1816.

The town is just off the High Road to Taos, and it’s particularly interesting to visit in Holy Week when thousands of pilgrims line the road from Santa Fe.

13.  Sandia Peak Tramway

Spend a day in the Cibola National Forest. You can hike the trails, enjoy the best view of the Sandia Mountains, and ride the highest aerial tramway in the country.

From the summit of the Sandia Peak 360 panoramic views of the mountains greet you.

You can buy one-way or round-trip tram tickets.

Hike up to Sandia Peak and take the tram back down the mountain or take the tram up and hike down.

If you plan on doing a lot of hiking from Sandia Peak then buy the round trip tram ticket and save your energy for those trails.

Outdoor enthusiasts note that Sandia is not open for skiing in 2022/2023 but the tram is still operating and you can still do winter hikes – remember to bring crampons or microspikes for icy conditions.

14.  Drive Route 66 New Mexico

Take yourself on an iconic American road trip on the historic Route 66 in New Mexico.

Although the original Route 66 across central New Mexico is now traveled via Interstate 40 by most drivers, you can still drive a lot of the old road too.

Enjoy some of the unique highlights of New Mexico with these Route 66 stops:

  • Santa Rosa – Route 66 Auto Museum
  • Tucumcari – Route 66 Monument
  • Glen Rio Ghost Town
  • Gallup Cultural Center
  • Acoma Pueblo – Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum
  • Pecos National Historical Park

Historic Route 66 sign in New Mexico with sunset sky.

Get your kicks on Route 66 with an iconic road trip in New Mexico

Final Thoughts on Santa Fe Day Trips

Whether you are looking for a relaxing day soaking in hot springs or a day of strenuous hiking you will find something close by Santa Fe. With a selection of cultural experiences, historic sites, and iconic roadways you have plenty of choices in this list of best day trips from Santa Fe. The hardest part is deciding which one you want to do!

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14 Perfect Day Trips from Santa Fe, including Route 66, Abiquiu Ghost Ranch, and Taos Pueblo.

More Things to Do in New Mexico

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Linda Lorang

Saturday 8th of October 2022

You should include Pecos National Historical Park in your places on Old Route 66. If you go to click on Learn about the Park and then Photos & Multimedia. There’s a rap video, “Glorieta”, which encapsulates the history. (Disclosure: my daughter is one in the group in the last scene.)


Linda, Thank you for commenting! Pecos National Historic Park will be the first place I visit next trip to Santa Fe, it looks amazing. I can't wait to go there! Cheers, Susan

Solo Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico

santa fe solo travel


Solo travel, once considered unconventional, has become a rising trend in the world of exploration. More and more individuals are embracing the freedom and self-discovery that come with traversing new territories alone. In this blog, we’ll unravel the charm of solo travel specifically in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a destination that offers a perfect blend of cultural richness and artistic vibes.

The Allure of Santa Fe

Santa Fe, nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, beckons solo travelers with its rich cultural heritage and artistic allure. The city, known for its adobe architecture and vibrant traditions, provides a unique backdrop for those seeking an unconventional journey.

Planning Your Solo Trip

Before embarking on your solo adventure, thorough planning is essential. Researching accommodations that align with your preferences, creating a flexible itinerary to allow for spontaneous exploration, and considering safety aspects are key components of a well-prepared solo trip.

Must-Visit Places in Santa Fe

Santa Fe boasts a myriad of attractions that solo travelers shouldn’t miss. From the historic Plaza, where the city’s pulse can be felt, to the captivating Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the artistic haven of Canyon Road, every corner has a story to tell.

Solo Dining Adventures

One of the joys of solo travel is indulging in culinary delights without compromise. Santa Fe’s diverse food scene caters to every palate, and solo-friendly dining spots offer an opportunity to savor local flavors at your own pace.

Embracing the Local Culture

Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in events and engaging with the community. Santa Fe frequently hosts festivals and gatherings that provide a glimpse into the city’s soul, creating memorable experiences for solo travelers.

Outdoor Exploration

For nature enthusiasts, Santa Fe offers a plethora of outdoor activities. Explore hiking trails that showcase the region’s natural beauty, providing solo travelers with a chance to connect with the environment.

Navigating Santa Fe’s Unique Transportation

Getting around Santa Fe is a breeze, thanks to its walkable streets and efficient public transportation. Solo travelers can easily navigate the city, allowing for seamless exploration of its various neighborhoods.

Capturing Memories

Document your solo adventure by capturing the picturesque landscapes and culturally significant spots in Santa Fe. Whether through photography or journaling, preserving your experiences ensures lasting memories.

Budget-Friendly Solo Travel Tips

Traveling solo doesn’t have to break the bank. Discover affordable attractions and implement money-saving strategies to make the most of your Santa Fe experience without compromising on quality.

Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

While Santa Fe is generally safe, it’s crucial for solo travelers to stay vigilant. Inform someone about your itinerary, and take necessary precautions to ensure a secure and enjoyable journey.

Connecting with Fellow Travelers

For those seeking social interactions, hostels and local meetups provide excellent opportunities to connect with fellow travelers. Share experiences, make new friends, and enhance your solo adventure.

Unforgettable Sunsets in Santa Fe

As the day winds down, Santa Fe unveils its breathtaking sunsets. Explore ideal spots for sunset views and relish the beauty of the city bathed in warm hues, creating a magical solo experience.

The Solo Traveler’s Mindset

Embrace solitude as a companion on your journey. Solo travel offers a unique chance for personal growth and self-reflection. Discover the strength within yourself as you navigate the unfamiliar with confidence.

In conclusion, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a haven for solo travelers seeking a blend of cultural immersion, artistic inspiration, and outdoor exploration. Embrace the solo travel mindset, capture memories, and indulge in the unique experiences this enchanting city has to offer.

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Solo Travel in Saratoga Springs, New York: Embrace the Adventure

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Exploring the Charm of Solo Travel in Burlington, Vermont

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A wellness haven for solo travelers

santa fe solo travel

Santa Fe New Mexico is a tourist destination, and with solo travel on the rise, many of our visitors are coming to “The City Different” alone. But not lonely.

BODY is a wellness destination for elevated living in Santa Fe. We approach self-care holistically, and believe that connection and community are important ingredients to feeling good. Haven Lindsay, a journalist from Texas Lifestyle & Travel Magazine recognized this during her recent visit:

“Before leaving the City Different, I made one final stop at BODY Santa Fe. There is a reason regulars travel from out of state to spend time at this combination yoga studio, boutique, art gallery, award-winning spa. Owner, Lori Parish, founded the business 18 years ago and makes sure her clientele understands that integrated self-care includes authentic connections . I am looking forward to my return visit to this one-of-a-kind welcoming, wellness experience.” Read the full article

BODY has long had a reputation of being “where the locals go”. Unlike other high-end spas in Santa Fe that cater almost exclusively to tourists, the spa at BODY is an extension of Santa Fe’s wellness community, attracting locals and transplants seeking ongoing self-care. As you await your massage or facial in the relaxation room, you’ll likely to meet a regular in for deep tissue bodywork, an herbal enzyme peel, or Vinyasa Flow yoga class. BODY feels less transient than a hotel experience, and more grounded in life in Santa Fe.

Perhaps what makes travelers feel so welcome is that we treat them like locals. A group of tourists who stopped in for a yoga class yesterday, said that after shuffling around elbow-to-elbow in tourist stops all week, their time at BODY finally allowed them to experience Santa Fe.

Our response? “Welcome to the Body family!”

santa fe solo travel

Paloma and Sarah from Guest Services (left) with owner Lori Parrish (right)

Is a Jessner Peel worth the hype?

Next door to santa fe’s favorite french café.

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24 Things a Woman Should Know Before Visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico

by Guest Writer | Dec 9, 2019

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Last updated on March 27th, 2024

A Local’s Tips on Sante Fe: Slow Down and Smell the Desert Flowers

by Billie Frank, Guest Writer 

Santa Fe is a small, intimate city that offers way more than you probably expect from a city this size. Nicknamed The City Different , it offers world-class music and art and a sophisticated dining scene. The shopping here – everything from funky cowgirl boots to wonderful pieces of art – will make your heart sing. Santa Fe is a perfectly comfortable place for solo women travelers and one that I recommend highly. As a local let me share with you what I know about this city.

  • Staying here: Pick lodging close to downtown. It’s the area you will want to explore and dine in. There are a few more moderate and budget options close to town but also check rates the on-line discounters are offering. The Hotel Santa Fe , the city’s only native-owned hotel sometimes offers bargains and has shuttle service to the Plaza area as does the basic and budget Santa Fe Sage Inn .
  • Acclimate: Take your time. Spend your first day in our city acclimating. In Santa Fe, we’re at 7,000 feet. It’s very dry here in the high desert.
  • Hydrate: Drink lots of water. Minimize coffee and alcohol consumption until you have acclimated to the high and dry. And by the way, because of the altitude, alcohol affects you faster. One drink here is the equivalent of two at sea level.
  • Slather with a Capital S: Sunscreen and a hat are very important in Santa Fe. We are closer to the sun and the air is thin. Trust me; you will burn faster than you think.
  • Expect an interesting climate: Santa Fe is not Phoenix. People are often surprised that it gets cold here. In winter people arrive not realizing that, yes, we do get a real winter. While it feels warmer than it does in humid places, come prepared for cold and snow. In winter, we can get warm days and even if it’s cold (unless it gets into the low 20s or the wind is blowing), it feels warmer than the thermometer leads you to believe. Since it’s sunny and dry (over 300 sunny days a year) you don’t get that bone-chilling cold that happens in places with humidity. And be prepared; it can snow into May.
  • What to bring: When packing for Santa Fe, think layers. Even in the summer, evenings can be chilly and you’ll need a sweater. Anything goes in terms of dress. It’s mostly a casual town, but many visitors (and locals) can be seen decked out in turquoise and silver and fabulous cowgirl boots.
  • Relax in a spa or hot spring: If you want to soak in a Japanese-style hot tub, check out Ten Thousand Waves . Splurge on a private tub if you can. The public, clothing-optional pool, is not for everyone and neither is the women’s pool. Like natural hot springs? Check out the mineral pools at  Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs about an hour and a half drive from Santa Fe. Treat yourself to one of their private (and huge) soaking pools with kiva fireplace.
  • Explore the historic downtown: Santa Fe is a great walking city. Check out the historic downtown Plaza area. The city is compact and full of history; there are lots of nooks and crannies to explore on your own. Want some company? You can take an organized historic walking tour with Historic Walks of Santa Fe . From April through October, there are also open-air tram tours such as Loretto Lines . The Santa Fe Traveler offers historic tours by appointment and will also design a custom tour for you either to do on your own or with a knowledgable (and fun) guide.
  • Free history, art and culture: Santa Fe has great museums. The state-run New Mexico History Museum and New Mexico Museum of Art are free on Friday evenings from 5 to 8 pm. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Art and Culture , both on Museum Hill, are also free on Friday nights. There’s a bus from town if you don’t have a car. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is free the first Friday of the month from 5 to 7 pm.
  • There are galleries galore: Santa Fe has over 200 galleries; you can see ‘free’ art every day. Friday night gallery openings are a great way to get a glass of wine, a nibble and a look at what’s new on the Santa Fe art scene. There’s a First Friday Walk shared by the West Palace and Lincoln Avenue Galleries and Canyon Road have a Fourth Friday Walk. Pasatiempo, the Friday weekend magazine insert in the Santa Fe New Mexican , our daily paper, lists the openings and other happenings throughout the week.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe: If you are coming here because you are a Georgia O’Keeffe fan, here are a few tips: The museum closes several times a year for about two weeks to mount new shows. Plan your trip accordingly. The Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio and Ghost Ranch are both in Abiquiu, over an hour’s ride from Santa Fe. You will need a car to get there. The home tour and the O’Keeffe landscape tours at the ranch are offered seasonally and tend to book up. Make arrangements well in advance.
  • Go back in time: Take a trip to one of the cliff dwelling or other Pueblo archeological sites. Visit one of the two historic Pueblos ( Acoma Sky City , southwest of Albuquerque, or Taos Pueblo , north of Santa Fe) where people live today much as they did before the Spanish arrived.
  • Take a guided hike: The bad news is that unless you know the area well solo hikes in the wilderness or the desert are not recommended. You could on occasion encounter bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. You could also get very lost. The good news is that I can recommend two companies that have trained, knowledgeable guides who can explain our state’s exceptional flora and fauna and take you through some interesting terrain. They are Outspire and Santa Fe Walkabouts . P.S. If you choose to go alone, take your cellphone and let your hotel know your destination and proposed return time.
  • Get out on the water: In late spring and early summer, book a rafting trip on the Rio Grande. If you are moderately adventurous, the Race Course offers class two and three rapids. For the more intrepid, The Taos Box offers class three and four rapids in the spring. If you aren’t looking for adventure or a potential dip in the water, try a float trip. The chance of the raft flipping over on these is slim. KoKopelli and New Wave have both been running rafting trips for years.
  • Shopping: If you want to own a piece of authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, a Navajo rug, kachina, etc. the town is loaded with world-class pieces. There are also lots of reproductions so beware if you are purchasing a costly item. This is also the place to buy traditional Spanish Colonial art.And if you’re a fan of cowgirl boots, some great examples can be had. If price is not an object Back at the Ranch (209 East Marcy Street) is the place to go. They carry really unusual boots and also do custom-made ones. For used boots (resole them and they’re as good as new) check out Double Take (321 South Guadalupe Street) or Kowboyz for great selections. Interesting clothing store s abound in Santa Fe. My favorites are Origins (135 West San Francisco Street) a shop specializing in flowing timeless clothes, Spirit of the Earth where you can find unusual clothing especially great velvets and cashmere in season and Zephyr (125 East Palace Avenue) a small gem offering an interesting mix. Lucille’s (223 Gallisteo Avenue) is a popular place for more reasonably-priced clothing. If you are a resale-shop fan, vintage western wear and more can be found at Double Take (321 South Guadalope Street) and there are great finds at The Beat Goes On (333 Montezuma Avenue, Suite 102). There are also wonderful boutiques tucked all over town offering unique things that maybe you can’t live without. The museum shops have some treasures. And don’t miss the Native Americans who sit under the portal at the historic Palace of the Governors. Everything is authentic and made by the vendor or a family member. It’s a great place to browse for gifts.
  • Introduction to Northern New Mexican cuisine: Try the local cuisine while you are here. Just remember, New Mexicans like it hot and the food can be spicy. Ask to taste the chile before you get your food “smothered” in it. Most restaurants won’t take the dish back if it’s too hot for your palate. I prefer green chili, but many like red. Ask for “Christmas,” you’ll get both. And remember, sour cream can tone down the heat, and beer or a frosty Margarita go a long way to cooling down your burning mouth. The Shed a block from the Plaza is great fun. Want company? Eat at the bar. All the locals do it.
  • Solo dining: Women dining alone will be comfortable at most restaurants here. Try the community table at Café Pasquals . If you have a car or don’t mind the bus, Jambo Cafe serves up inexpensive African comfort food in a very casual atmosphere. Del Charro Saloon  is a great place to go for bargain food and it’s always bustling. For a splurge, try 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar . If you feel isolated at a table in this restaurant, consider sitting in the bar section. It’s where people come and go and sometimes chat.
  • Our breakfast treasure: Try a breakfast burrito while you’re here. They are different from the ones you’ve encountered in California, Arizona, and Colorado. They are the best ones I’ve tasted. It’s that New Mexico chile that makes the difference. Guadalupe Café (422 Old Santa Fe Trail) and Tia Sophia’s (210 West San Francisco Street) are great in-town spots to grab a burrito. Have it smothered in chile. Remember, not all breakfast burritos are created equal. Read restaurant reviews, chat with locals or put “breakfast burrito” in the search bar at .
  • The hills are alive with the sounds of music and more: Santa Fe has great music year-round. In summer, there’s the Santa Fe Opera , The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival , Music on the Hill and Santa Fe Bandstand . If you want to know what’s going on in the culture scene, check Tickets Santa Fe . Their website has a schedule of upcoming concerts. They sell tickets to just about everything except the Santa Fe Opera.
  • Free info: Free publications and guides can be found all over town. Some will have information about Santa Fe events. Pasatiempo (see above) has a wealth of information on events as does the weekly Santa Fe Reporter . Local Flavor , published monthly, can give you a feel for The City Different. Check out the Buzz column, there’s always interesting info about new places there.
  • Annual events: Santa Fe has many annual events that you can plan a trip around. Christmas here is very special . There are three major markets here in the summer: International Folk Art Market , Spanish Market, and Spanish and Indian Market . There’s the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta in September, ArtFeast in February and El Rancho de los Golondrinas , a Spanish Colonial Arts era hacienda has wonderful weekend festivals throughout the summer.
  • Don’t drink and drive: Besides the obvious safety issues, Santa Fe periodically puts up sobriety roadblocks and getting caught will ruin your vacation. If you enjoy a drink or two with dinner, call a cab or stay at a hotel with a shuttle service. Santa Fe also has radar camera vans that move around town as well as red-light cameras.
  • Be safe out there: As in any other place you travel, solo women travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings especially at night. Stay on crowded streets, if you have to go a distance, call Capitol Cab 505-438-0000 (you can’t hail them on the street). Don’t flash money and jewelry. Use the general common sense you use whenever you are traveling.
  • And remember: You’re visiting the Land of Enchantment and The City Different. The pace here is governed by ma’ana. So, slow down, smell the desert flowers and have a margarita. Welcome to Santa Fe, ladies.

JourneyWoman Billie Frank lives and works in Santa Fe. She is co-owner of The Santa Fe Traveler , a travel consultant company specializing in customized Santa Fe experiences. She also blogs about her adopted city at Santa Fe Travelers and is currently updating a Santa Fe travel guide for a major publisher.

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Irene Levitt

Great advice. I have lived in Santa Fe for 20 years and agree with all advice printed here.


Terrific article in my opinion. I had one delightful solo visit there two years ago. It was a four night stay and I got around by walking in the local buses. I could relate to almost all of the tips and beware’s in this article. Highly recommend.

Eleanora Furst

Very informative. Visiting for 6 days in mid December to enjoy the magical Christmas in Santa Fe. Staying in the historic plaza area, and look forward to exploring churches nearby. We will be attending Mass on one Sunday; any suggestions?

We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know. Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. JourneyWoman is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you! We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at [email protected] .

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Your Colorful Guide to Santa Fe, New Mexico

06/02/2022 by Emily Becker Leave a Comment

When it comes to the American Southwest , Santa Fe will always be on my list. This artist’s haven has a beautiful aesthetic that captures the whimsy of the region while offering its own unique flair. Compared to other places in New Mexico , it definitely has a more upscale vibe, with an impressive array of restaurants, cafés, and art galleries.

Read on for some awesome things to do in Santa Fe, along with my favorite eateries and accommodations:

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Santa Fe

Meowwolf museum.

santa fe solo travel

We had high hopes for MeowWolf and (spoiler alert) it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Created by Santa Fe–based artists, this is an interactive art museum like no other. It’s as quirky as it is imaginative, full of surprises, and one of my favorite things to do in Santa Fe.

Each room is different, from wacky technicolored spaces full of neon lights and mirrors to oddly shaped cave corridors. It’s nearly impossible to describe, but I’d say it’s a madhouse, but in the best way. You have to visit for yourself to truly understand its glory.

Enjoy a salt cave experience

If you’re the owner of a Himalayan salt lamp and swear by its benefits, this is going to be very exciting for you. The Santa Fe Salt Cave is essentially a manmade, indoor, cave-like room lined with Himalayan pink salt crystals. Inside, you’ll find zero-gravity chairs, soothing music, and a calming atmosphere in which you can sit back, relax, and take in the healing properties of the space.

The Salt Cave uses halotherapy (salt therapy) to promote wellness. The claim is that the salt helps people improve conditions such as “chronic bronchitis, asthma, sinus congestion, COPD, allergies, lung diseases, and skin ailments.” I surprised Garrett with a visit, and we both thought it was relaxing and well worth it.

Art peep at Institute of Contemporary Native Arts

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This art museum is unlike any other, as it’s the only one in the country that is dedicated to showcasing progressive works from contemporary Native artists. The Institute of Contemporary Native Arts is THE place to gain insight into the unique voices of Native artists from the area, with bold exhibits and thought-provoking events all year long.

Walk through Ra Paulette’s psychedelic hand-carved caves

Just north of Santa Fe, smack-dab in the desert, is Ra Paulette’s mysterious hand-carved caves. This imaginative artist has been chiseling away for more than 25 years, creating caves in the sandstone cliffs near his home. Now there are 14 caves, each with its own distinct personality. Some have skylights built in while others feature intricate patterns and even benches.

Within the last decade, access to the caves has become more and more exclusive. Now one of the only ways you can see them is by booking a private tour through the Origins resort .

Admire the gorgeous architecture

santa fe solo travel

New Mexican architecture has its own specific style, which you won’t want to pass up learning about in Santa Fe. Mixing venerable techniques like adobe with Spanish colonial architecture, the buildings around town tell its story brilliantly.

Not only are the architectural styles notable here, but Santa Fe is also home to a famous acequia (watercourse), which is still used for irrigation. Find out about it on this awesome Santa Fe architecture and wine tasting tour .

Stroll through the Santa Fe Botanical Garden

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I love a good botanical garden, and this one certainly won’t disappoint. Because the Santa Fe Botanical Garden is meant to showcase varieties of local plants, you won’t find lush green lawns or row upon row of flowers here. Instead, it replicates the region’s arid environment by highlighting plants that grow naturally in the desert surrounding Santa Fe. You’ll see a vast array of succulents, cacti, desert bushes, and more, with beautiful sculptures nestled among them.

The garden is big enough to spend several hours in, and there’s very little shade, so come prepared with plenty of sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.

See ancient petroglyphs at La Cieneguilla

Home to the one of the largest collections of glyphs in the American West, the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site is a spectacular look into Santa Fe’s past — and I mean way, way back. Archaeologists believe that some of the petroglyphs date back to nearly 8,000 BCE.

Finding the glyphs is easy and just a short hike from the highway on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. You can find out how to get to La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site here.

Try the famous chile sauce

santa fe solo travel

You can’t leave Santa Fe without trying at least one of the famous chile sauces here. New Mexican cuisine has a unique flavor of its own, thanks to these special sauces. There are three main types: red, green, and Christmas. The chile itself is the same, though, with green being the less ripe version. Red chiles are the ripe ones and have a sweeter flavor. Christmas chile sauce is just a combination of the two.

You’ll find New Mexican chile sauce on just about everything from breakfast burritos to steaks, so why not try each one and decide which is your favorite?

Rafting in the Rio Grande Gorge

If you are looking for an adrenaline boost while exploring Santa Fe, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go whitewater rafting in the stunning Rio Grande Gorge! Each of the rapids has its own name; you can join an expert guide who will tell you all about each one on this exciting rafting tour . As you paddle along the river, you might also be able to see wildlife, such as bighorn sheep and large birds of prey.

Explore the art galleries and cafés of Canyon Road

santa fe solo travel

Canyon Road in downtown Santa Fe is perhaps the bougiest part of town, with chic cafés and galleries lining the street one after another. As you walk, you’ll see impressive sculptures and art installations outside, with gorgeous landscaping and cacti galore. This is by far the most Instagrammable part of Santa Fe, so make sure you have your camera ready!

Get the most out of Canyon Road with this curated art tour .

You might be surprised to know that there are snowy slopes in New Mexico, but wintertime in Santa Fe lends itself to some superb skiing. The season starts at the end of November and extends through most of April at Ski Santa Fe , which has slopes for beginning and advanced skiers alike.

Visit Loretto Chapel

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This gothic-style wedding chapel is more than meets the eye. Legend has it that the famous spiral staircase was built by a mysterious stranger who appeared out of nowhere one day, and then promptly disappeared without receiving payment for his work. This is just the beginning of the mysteries of the staircase , however. Visit Loretto Chapel to find out more.

Check out an ancient meteor strike at Santa Fe Shatter Cones

Scientists believe that modern-day Santa Fe sits on the site of a meteor strike from 1.5 billion years ago. Today, the only evidence of this colossal impact is at the Santa Fe Shatter Cones, where you can see sharp, cone-like rocks that indicate the strike.

You can find these interesting rock formations just past the Chamisa Trailhead off Highway 475, only about five miles northeast of downtown Santa Fe.

See a show at the Lensic Performing Arts Center

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This nonprofit performing arts center is just as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside, with a history that dates back to the 1930s. You can catch a number of performances here, from ballet to theater to concerts. Find out what events are happening at the Lensic Performing Arts Center during your visit here .

Where to Eat

santa fe solo travel

Palacio Café for breakfast

In the heart of downtown Santa Fe, you’ll find Palacio Café. This top-rated joint serves breakfast all day, so you can get your fix any time. It serves indulgent plates, like french toast and super-stuffed breakfast burritos, that make my mouth water just thinking about them. With prices hovering around $10 per plate, this is the ultimate cheap-yet-delicious spot.

Kakáwa Chocolate House for a sweet treat

From interesting truffle flavors like mezcal and horchata to some of the best hot chocolate you’ll find in town, you’ll definitely be able to satisfy your sweet tooth at Kakáwa Chocolate House.

Zacatlán for dinner

Incorporating Southwestern and Mexican influences, Zacatlán offers a delicious array of tasty dishes bursting with flavor. We started with the burrata salad, which was a nice fresh start to the meal. The steak tacos and braised beef short ribs were awesome. I would definitely go back again to try more of the menu.

Where to Stay

The most charming adobe-style airbnb.

Equipped with a sweet outdoor patio perfect for soaking up those glorious New Mexican rays, our Airbnb was dreamy and comfortable.

The house has a full kitchen, cozy living room, a bedroom with a fireplace, and homey touches throughout. This is definitely the place to stay if you’re looking for a more authentic experience in Santa Fe. Book here . Want more options? We rounded up the 10 best boutique hotels in Santa Fe for you . If you are considering camping your way through, this New Mexico camping guide has everything you need to know.

I’m already feeling nostalgic for Santa Fe’s outstanding cuisine, vibrant architecture, and artsy vibe. If you’ve been, what are your favorite spots that we missed? (Please, give me another reason to go back!)

*Some links in this post are affiliate links for products and services we personally use and love. Any purchase you make through them supports us at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much!

About Emily Becker

Emily Becker is a digital nomad based in Costa Rica. She's been traveling on and off since 2014 and has visited 15 countries—planning to tick many more off her bucket list. In addition to writing for BMTM, she works as a copywriter and project manager.

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Solo Traveler

Solo travel tips, destinations, stories... the source for those who travel alone.

santa fe solo travel

Solo Travel Destination: New Mexico Road Trip


January 19, 2018 by Tracey Nesbitt

I am pleased to present a new  Solo Travel  Destination Post from Joanie, a member of the  Solo Travel Society  on Facebook. Joanie is from the United States, and submitted the following report about her New Mexico road trip.  Do you have a solo  travel  destination that you would like to recommend?  Submit your description here , along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel  rating: 1  (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: English

Costs at Destination: Reasonable  (local transportation, dining, tours, events, and attractions)

photo, image, red mountains, new mexico road trip

Red Mountains at Ghost Ranch

Reasons to Take a New Mexico Road Trip

I was looking for some natural beauty and solitude and I found it in the mountains of Abiquiú, New Mexico.

After flying into Albuquerque, I rented a car for an exquisite road trip up the Turquoise Highway. I stopped in the funky art town of Madrid, continued on to Santa Fe, then took the high road to Taos. I drove to Abiquiú, staying at Ghost Ranch (Georgia O'Keefe territory), and finally back to Albuquerque after a quick stop at Bandelier National Monument.

Santa Fe filled my need for art and local Indian culture. There are lots of galleries, museums, and shops to wander through.

When in Taos, I walked across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge where I saw a family of long horned sheep resting on the side of a mountain. I visited the Taos Pueblo, and enjoyed the tremendous public art and galleries.

I drove the Rio Chama corridor to Abiquiú. I had tea at the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm and purchased some Herbs de Abiquiú. I stayed at Ghost Ranch, where I rode a horse through the O'Keefe Landscape and basically chilled out in awe of my surroundings while exploring the ranch.

The spiritual nature of this trip was punctuated by respect for the land, learning about the Pueblo Indians, the art and light, and the generosity of the people I met.

photo, image, horses, ghost ranch, new mexico road trip

The stable of horses at Ghost Ranch

photo, image, shadow, new mexico road trip

Artists love the special quality of the New Mexico sunlight.

Solo Travel  Destination Rating System

Safety   – 1  (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language   – 1  (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1  (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1  (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1  (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)

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santa fe solo travel

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Solo Travel in New Mexico

Solo travel in New Mexico

New Mexico in the USA is an interesting and safe region for women travelling solo. Not only has it got a quirky character but it offers culture and music too. The only problems you may face is acclimatising to the climate and the height, or being spooked in one of the ghost towns. Solo travel in New Mexico for good wine, deserts, aliens and ghost towns.

New Mexico is called ‘The Land of Enchantment' for many intriguing reasons. Below is our New Mexico travel guide for solo travellers including where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around.

Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article for your trip to New Mexico. 

About New Mexico

New mexico tours, accommodation in new mexico, conscious travel in new mexico, getting around new mexico, from the airport, how long do you need.

  • Travelling Onwards

Map of New Mexico

Plan a trip to new mexico.

As your journey begins in the New Mexico state, signs welcoming you to “The Land of Enchantment” accompanied by chile peppers, lead the way. It’s almost as if you feel instant refreshment upon being in this delightful place.

When planning a holiday to the US, a road trip in New Mexico should absolutely be on your list. There are options for public transport; however, renting a car is the best way to experience all that this region is waiting to show you.

New Mexico is located in the southwest/western region of the United States, offering a unique and relaxing stop while visiting its neighbouring states. From picturesque mountainous landscapes, to hot springs, rivers, forests, and deserts, yet also city life, this state has it covered. Its Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences offer an incomparable place to dive in and get cultured.

One of New Mexico's attractions is the number of ghost towns. Home to more than 400 ghost towns, many of which were former mining towns which mysteriously vanished. It’s also said that the wine industry here is older than in California and the best places to visit the wineries are in the Northern and Central regions.

If traveling by car and starting in northern New Mexico, take a ride through the Enchanted Circle , a 83 mile scenic byway along mountainous views, valleys, mesas, and national forests. The highest point in New Mexico is Wheeler Peak, which the bypass is carved around.

You can find seven communities along the bypass: Taos, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Red River, Taos Ski Valley and Questa. In the winter there are opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowmobile tours, and in the summer, the areas offer golf, rafting, horseback riding, hiking, and camping.

Make your way over to Taos and its surrounding areas. Arroyo Seco is a beautiful little village just seven miles north of Taos. The village is lined with small shops and eateries, and offers the most stunning view of stars in the evening.

This is where you'll find Black Rock Hot Springs, a short walk from John Dunn Bridge, where you can bask in the beauty of their mineral pools and cover yourself in mud for an organic beauty treatment.

The  Earthship Biotecture in Taos is a must see. Here you can experience sustainable living and visit their demonstration Earthship made from natural and recycled materials. Admission is only $7 and it is literally ‘out of this world.' Along your way back to the main center of Taos, it's worth a stop to admire the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and the street vendors selling crystals, arts and stone.

If you are interested in the history of the Native Americans, enjoy a tour of Taos Pueblo , with adobe structures said to be over one thousand years old. In Taos’ Historic District you will find museums, fine art galleries and studios, jewellery, clothing shops, and restaurants.

Solo travel in New Mexico

Heading south to Santa Fe , stop at Santuario de Chimayo. This Roman Catholic Church, which appears to be in the middle of nowhere, is a part of New Mexico you won’t want to pass up. Once in Santa Fe, the state’s capital, check out the historical center and plaza area.

Named by UNESCO as one of the nine “Creative Cities” in the world, the city is oozing with beauty and art. From galleries and museums to great shopping and dining, this vibrant city has activities to keep you busy for a few days.

Drive down scenic and homey Canyon Road , which is now filled with art galleries and studios, which used to be an old trading route. Head over to the Santa Fe Railyard which is Santa Fe’s proud new district including a plaza and pedestrian promenade.

Here you will find a farmers market on Tuesdays (be sure to check if it is running when you are visiting), full of roasted chile peppers, veggies, fruits, crafts, herbs, breads, and much more, along with artists displaying their work for sale. If you didn’t get your spa fix in Taos, spend the day unwinding at Ten Thousand Waves .

The metropolis of  Albuquerque , differs from Taos and Santa Fe with its high rise buildings. Although this is a thriving city in New Mexico, home to some major high-tech research facilities, there are still attributes that link Albuquerque to its past.

One being the Petroglyph National Monument , ancient rock carvings, and also Old Town Albuquerque , about ten blocks of original adobe buildings filled with restaurants, stores, and art galleries.

Historic Route 66, which is now Central Avenue , is the main strip guiding you throughout the city, from the chic Nob Hill area, to the Biological Park with four different attractions: the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanical Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Beach.

Two hours Southwest of Albuquerque is another Pueblo worth visiting; the Acoma Pueblo , also called “Sky City”. The Acoma Pueblo has been crafted atop a 367-foot mesa, and has been called the “oldest continuous inhabited community in North America”.

New Mexico is home to many National Monuments and Parks worth visiting, one being White Sands National Monument , 3.5 hours south of Albuquerque. Sand dunes glistening like snow, made from gypsum, have covered 275 square miles of desert ad are definitely a sight to see.

Chaco Culture is a National Historical Park to experience, with history dating back to the 800’s, where the Chacoan people lived for more than 300 years. Here you will find guided tours, hiking and biking trails and camping. This is located northwest of Alberquerque and Santa Fe.

One of the top places to see in New Mexico is Roswell, the city where the infamous alien incident occurred in 1947. Roswell is full of hokey alien paraphernalia, alien faced-lamp posts, and the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Other points of interest in New Mexico is Carlsbad Caverns National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, two hours south of Roswell, decorated in limestone. With white sands, alien memorabilia and ancient rock carvings, New Mexico USA certainly is a land of enchantment.

* Click here to discover all activities and things to do in New Mexico

Intrepid Travel  – If you’re searching for some company to explore the USA with, Intrepid Travel is a responsible travel company that offers a New Mexico Discovery tour. Over 6 days experience the American Southwest on a desert adventure packed with history and art. Intrepid operate a flexible booking policy so you can change your travel plans up to 21 days before departure. Read our   Intrepid Review here   or click on the link below for their tours. 

*  Click here for the Intrepid itinerary, price and start dates

Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated New Mexico activities and tours in New Mexico. Choose from a hot air balloon ride in Rio Grande Valley, Albuquerque tours such as a walking tour of Albuerque Old Town learning about the history and the legends, or a Breaking Bad city tour to visit the filming locations from the hit series. Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people but there are several to book as a solo and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.

* Check all Get Your Guide tours, availability and prices here

New Mexico has a variety of accommodation choices. From spa resorts to motels, inns and mountain lodges. If you are visiting New Mexico on a budget, there are few hostel options in New Mexico or you can just take a tent and pitch up. If you plan on camping, make sure to check the weather before you go. Below are accommodation options recommended by our solo female traveller community. For all other accommodation, click on the link below.

  • To book, check prices or availability for all accommodation in New Mexico

Santa Fe – Hotel Santa Fe

Located in Santa Fe, just a 10 minute walk to downtown, this Native American-owned 4 star hotel is a good choice for solo travellers. Not only does it have fantastic Native-American food and service to match but there is plenty of cultural entertainment too. From historical storytelling to ceremonial dance performances and Native American music, you don’t even need to leave the hotel to experience the indigenous culture and mingle with others.

It’s sociable, has a shop with hand-made crafts, a warming outdoor fireplace, a hot tub and a pool, and you can pamper yourself in the spa or enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Plus, there is free tea and coffee every morning too. And did we mention the professional butlers? What more could you need from a New Mexico hotel! Choose from a traditional king or double room or upgrade to a suite. Breakfast is included in the rate.

  • Prices start from US $180 for a traditional king room
  • Check prices, dates and availability: Hotel Santa Fe

Las Cruces – Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

This elegant 3 star hotel in Las Cruces is ideal for those wanting to explore La Mesilla Historic District. The decor is beautiful and reflects the Spanish and Mexican colonial traditions. Relax by the pool in the day or at the spa, and around the fire pit at night or mingle with the other guests at the onsite nightclub.   You can even take your dog with you. As it is the preferred hotel of Virgin Galactic in the region, you may even spot an astronaut or two! Choose from a king room or double room.

  • Prices start from US $137 for a king room
  • Check prices, dates and availability: Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa

If you are looking for somewhere to pamper yourself, you can’t get better than La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa located in Truth or Consequences. With 2 outdoor pools and 5 foot tubs all at different temperatures, this historic site with historical bathhouses and murals is such a sacred place, and has 9 cabins to choose from.

Each comes with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals then lay in a hammock in the gardens and courtyard and enjoy the fire pit at night after experiencing a soak in the hot artesian water. You can treat yourself to a massage and facial too. Even the rooms have inspiring names such as ‘Faith’ or ‘Serenity’ and some come with a view of Turtleback Mountain. Choose from a historic cabin or a suite.

  • Prices start from $240 for a 2 night stay in the Vista Bonita room
  • Check prices, dates and availability: La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa

santa fe solo travel

Stay Eco in New Mexico

Los poblanos historic inn & organic farm.

Los Poblanos offers 50 guest rooms and is also a working organic farm. Three generations of the Rembe family have been keeping history, art, craftsmanship, and architecture alive within the estate. The inn is a staple of the community, having partners within the arts and culture sector, as well as the agricultural sector. They also contribute to various non-profit and charitable organizations.

  • Prices from £226/$314 per night for a standard room
  • To book, check prices or availability for Los Poblanos Historic Inn

Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa

Bishop’s lodge offers a range of activities for guests including an art tour to support the local art landscape, as well as gorgeous hiking trails. They also recycle water and employ other eco-friendly methods. 

  • Prices from £628/$874 for a king room
  • To book, check prices or availability for Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort

Social Impact Programs

Three Sisters Kitchen

A non-profit organization located in Albuquerque, the Three Sisters Kitchen offers locally produced meals, as well as a Food Business Training Program for food entrepreneurs and community cooking classes. Support them by buying a delicious meal or by buying their own brand of granola.

Kitchen Angels

If you are staying in Santa Fe for a while, why not join Kitchen Angels, a non-profit organization which aims to deliver free, nutritious meals to homebound individuals. They have been operating since 1992 and have served over 1.5 million meals!

Articles to read before travelling to New Mexico

• THE BOOK HUNTER : After falling in love with New Mexico, an East Coast author scours used book racks to rescue tomes about it by Maida Tilchen

• Reading New Mexico — literature that reveals life at a cultural crossroads by Rigoberto González

There is only good public transport between Albuquerque and Santa Fe so hiring a car is the best option to travel New Mexico and get around this scenic state. 

For those who prefer the freedom of the open road consider hiring an RV and driving yourself around the USA stopping in New Mexico on the way. As a solo traveller, you’ll have plenty of space for your accommodation, your own transport and possibly a kitchenette too. RVshare allows you to compare RV rates from different brands and find local owners near you. In most cases, they deliver to a specific location or park, so the home-away-from-home will be ready and waiting for you on arrival. Plus, you can bring your pet! Prices start from $75 a night. * Book a campervan with RVshare

From Albuquerque – Bus 350 is a free bus to Downtown but it doesn't run regularly. Bus 50 runs Monday to Friday 07.00 to 20.00 every 30 mins, Saturdays 10.00 to 19.00 every 70 minutes. A taxi cost $20 for the five mile journey.

From Santa Fe – Taxis cost $20 for the 15 minute ride.

A week is plenty of time to visit New Mexico and explore this region.

Where can I go from here?

  • Las Vegas 1.5 hrs
  • Phoenix 1.5 hrs
  • Los Angeles 2 hrs

* All flying from Albuquerque Airport

Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)

New Mexico is surrounded by a vast variety of options for onward travel. From here you can easily head to Las Vegas, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California.

The 4 Corners Monument, which marks the quadripoint where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, is worth the quick photo, if driving in that direction. You may also choose to head south to Mexico (check visa information before travel).

  • Can I drink the water?  Yes
  • Is tipping expected?  Yes, 20% is pretty standard in the US.
  • Fixed price or barter?  Fixed price.
  • Any ATMs?  Yes.
  • Which side of the road do they drive?  Right.
  • Good for vegetarians?  Yes.
  • Any seven wonders of the world?  No.

Budget – £60 a day

Capital of New Mexico – Santa Fe

Population – 2.1 million

Language spoken – English, Spanish and Navajo

Local Currency – US Dollar

Do I Need a Visa?

Vaccinations Required

Flying Time to New Mexico – 15+ hrs from London (non-direct)

Useful Info

Airlines to New Mexico

Best Time to Go – September to Nov

What Plugs Do I Need?

UNESCO Sites in New Mexico

National Forests in New Mexico

National Parks in New Mexico

Local Cost Guide

Local Customs & Etiquette

Did you know? Albuquerque is known as the ‘ballooning capital of the world’ as it hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival each October. 

Lingo – People speak English

Astronomy Adventures

New Mexico Wine Tours

Ghost Town Tours

Rio Eco House in Taos


The Nature Conservancy

Mind Body & Soul

Personal Development Retreats at Mandala Center 

Stay at a Mineral Springs & Spa

Spa Treatments at Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Weather in New Mexico – Below is an annual weather chart for New Mexico from January to December.

weather in New Mexico

2 thoughts on “ Solo Travel in New Mexico ”

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The first Saturday in April and October there are pulblic tours of the Trinity Site and you can visit the first nuclear bomb site. It’s an odd and friendly gathering. You’ll need a car for it.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque is facinating attraction.

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Great tips. Thanks Andrew 🙂

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santa fe solo travel

Santa Fe Welcomes Solo Travelers

santa fe solo travel

Solo travel continues to be the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry.

With the pandemic tides seeming to ebb, the itch to explore and discover has returned. it was once again time to travel, solo style. new mexico had opened her doors and santa fe, our nation’s oldest capital city, was calling..

For more than 100 years, Santa Fe has been called ‘the City Different’. For a comparatively young country, it can be hard to fathom a U.S. city with a 400-year history. The Pueblo-Spanish were its first known inhabitants in 1610, and in a short walk through one of its five historic districts, you’ll see Spanish, Mexican, and Native American influences. Architecture includes Italianate, New Mexico Vernacular, Colonial Revival, Bungalow and Hipped Roof, Romanesque, and Gothic Revival.

The wise old city of Santa Fe knows how to open her doors to travelers but the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi , located steps away from the historic Plaza, galleries, and restaurants, takes the welcome up a notch. The small, luxury boutique hotel celebrates its Spanish heritage with handcrafted furnishings, wood ceilings, and kiva fireplaces throughout. With a full-service dining room and bar (including an opportunity to partake in a ‘Tequila Experience’ flight tasting), the vibe is intimate and friendly. With limited parking, be prepared to valet your vehicle but you’ll soon realize, you won’t need your car.

santa fe solo travel

The City Different is an international destination for art collectors and enthusiasts and Canyon Road is arguably the heart of it all. More than 100 art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and shops are tucked into this half-mile area. Despite its popularity, the pace of life seems slower here as everyone meanders in and out of galleries and shops. A Museums and Historic Sites Pass can be purchased which provides easy access to four cultural institutions. The popular  Georgia O’Keeffe Museum  requires a separate ticket but you don’t want to miss seeing her inspiring artwork.

In addition to art galleries and the Saturday morning Farmers Market, the district also hosts a Saturday Art Market which affords the opportunity to meet and talk with the artists about their work. Stores and quaint shops are around every corner and for this solo traveler who has an affinity for cowboy boots, I was drawn to the numbers of stores showcasing the varied styles. If you’re ready to up your ‘boot game’, talk to Alex at Mavericks (you can tell her I sent you).

santa fe solo travel

The culinary opportunities in Santa Fe are every bit as rich as the art and history. Perhaps the hardest decisions I had to make were narrowing down where and what to eat. I enjoyed a delightful, go-where-the-locals-go breakfast at Iconik Lupe . The high-ceiling, brick wall establishment with eclectic furnishings is a bit hard to find, but well worth the effort. The Santa Fe School of Cooking , is a short walk from Iconik Lupe and I spent a few hours there learning the nuances of cooking traditional southwestern meals including the state cookie, the bizcochito.

For a foodie, the dinner options alone qualify for a return trip. Solo travelers can decide to be social at the dinner hour, or tuck in a bit to enjoy a more intimate, solitary meal. I chose both. The Compound is a favorite of locals who know that Owner and Chef, Mark Kiffin, consistently creates masterpieces. The James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest in 2005, is now in his 22 nd year of culinary excellence. Chef Kiffin’s lobster tail was the best I have eaten which says a lot given the fact I lived in Maine for two decades. The vibe feels like you’re surrounded by friends, because you are. I walked in alone but that didn’t last long. By the time desert was served, I was sitting with new friends.

santa fe solo travel

My choice for a more intimate meal was equally rewarding. Sitting under a canopy of trees, climbing vines, and string lights, the Market Steer Steakhouse did not disappoint. Al fresco dining is always special and this European-inspired patio is one of the best in the city. Co-owner and Executive Chef, Kathleen Brook, could write the manual on preparing steaks and her impressive menu includes hand cut pork bacon and beef bacon that can be purchased to take home. The ala carte menu with sides meant to be shared may not seem well-suited for a solo diner, yet I had no trouble devouring my choices. After hearing my waiter describe Chef Brook’s signature bread pudding that requires three days to make, I had to go there. I’m glad I did.

santa fe solo travel

Before leaving the City Different, I made one final stop at BODY Santa Fe . There is a reason regulars travel from out of state to spend time at this combination yoga studio, boutique, art gallery, award-winning spa. Owner, Lori Parish, founded the business 18 years ago and makes sure her clientele understands that integrated self-care includes authentic connections. I am looking forward to my return visit to this one-of-a-kind welcoming, wellness experience.

santa fe solo travel

I had been excited to relaunch this exclusive solo-travel series and Santa Fe was an obvious choice. Little did I know, I would fall in love with this historic city filled with remarkable people and I just scratched the surface.

Cover Photo from Tourism Santa Fe

Haven Lindsey  resides in Taos, NM. She is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics including healthcare, addiction, public policy, education, travel, food and human interest stories. She was recognized by NPR for her solo travel series exclusive to Texas Lifestyle Magazine. Haven is working on her second book, a follow up to, ‘The Blue Dog and The White Horse Adventures on A Texas Ranch’, a children’s book about the friendship between her dog and a horse.

santa fe solo travel


santa fe solo travel

Santa Fe Trips for Solo Travelers

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  • Scuba Diving
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  • Village Visits
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  • Santa Cruz II
  • Seaman Journey
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  • Treasure of Galapagos

Santa Fe Island

  • Explore Santa Fe's resident species
  • Jump on the white sand beach
  • Experience a swim in the Encañada

Galapagos Islands Circumnavigation

  • Visit the Charles Darwin Station
  • Snorkel & swim at Bartolome Island
  • Visit Mosquera Islet's sea lions
  • Hike across Española Island

North and South Islands

  • Practice aquatic activities
  • Hike to Pinnacle Rock
  • Enjoy the sighting of wildlife
  • Snorkeling & diving on Kicker Rock

Islands Circumnavigation I

  • Appreciate landscape on Isabela
  • Observe ecosystems of Santiago
  • Snorkeling in Kicker RockS

Southern Islands

  • Snorkel with fish and sea lions
  • Send a mail from Post Office Bay
  • Learn about the island's past

Private Charter - Galapagos Eastern Islands Aboard Corals

  • Walk in South Plaza's cactus forest
  • Swim and snorkel at Devil's Crown

Private Charter - Galapagos Western Islands Aboard Corals

  • Discover Vicente Roca Point
  • Take a dinghy ride along Isabela
  • Explore the volcanic Urbina Bay
  • Visit Santa Fe's sea lion colonies

Western Islands

  • Witness giant tortoises
  • Follow a path to a forest of cacti
  • Hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Explore coastal lagoons

Island Circumnavigation

  • Visit a flamingo lagoon
  • Snorkel with white-tipped sharks
  • Explore the red beaches of Rabida
  • Watch sea lions relax on the shore

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Top Solo Travel Deal-Santa Fe, New Mexico

santa fe solo travel

Top Solo Travel Deal-Santa Fe, New Mexico. Enjoy a pet friendly Santa Fe spa and free Wi-Fi for your stay!

Top Solo Travel Deal-Santa Fe: How to Get There:

Fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Take a rental car or commuter van to nearby Santa Fe.

My Solo Holiday in Santa Fe:

My solo Christmas in Santa Fe was great. There was just enough snow for a White Christmas. The room i booked had a wood-burning fireplace. (Be sure to ask ahead of time if you would like to have a fire in your room rather than in the communal lobby.)

Everything was walking distance. There were endless cafes and shops to explore. Better yet? Santa Fe has retained much of its original architecture. Most impressive was the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.

A Sampling of Fast Facts on Santa Fe:

  • Serves as New Mexico state capitol and America’s oldest continuing state capitol.
  • Combines colonial Spanish and Native American cultures.
  • Second oldest city in the United States. (Saint Augustine is the oldest.)
  • Spanish explorers arrived in the seventeenth century. New Mexico was freed from Spain but from 1821 to 1846 was dominated by Mexico and served as the capitol of the province of New Mexico.
  • In 1848, the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. That shifted both  New Mexico and California from continuing to be Mexican territories to become part of the United States.
  • In 1912, New Mexico became an official US state.

Solo Travel Vacation Package-Santa Fe: Things to Do :

Start with the fabled Canyon Road for an arts-centered tour.

Spend time at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum to learn more about this pioneer of modern art in the United States.

Sign up for an art class, and try your own hand at sketching dessert sunsets.

Go for a hike along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. Consider joining a local hiking group while you are there. (Before you head out, see our “ Solo Travel-10 Hiking Safety Tips “.) You can even combine a hike with a food tour of local dishes at Atalaya Mountain Hiking Trail (Santa Fe).    Other popular and easy trails are:  the Aspen Vista Trail, the Chamisa Trail, the Dale Ball Trails and the Canyon Trail At Tent Rocks.

Check out the awesome Sangre de Cristo mountains that loom behind the town of Santa Fe.

Ski in nearby Taos for challenging slopes and black diamond runs, or go snowshoeing through the area.

Have the thrill of whitewater rafting or with Santa Fe River kayaking.

Take a day trip to state and national parks, including Pecos National Park.

Shop the Native American handicrafts and silver jewelry.

Visit the local boutiques.

Sample numerous cafes and restaurants.

Have a relaxing spa day.

Tour the historic cathedral and colonial buildings, such as the enchanting Loretto  Chapel. Popular as a wedding chapel, it also serves as a museum.

See the San Miguel Mission to find out more about the Spanish colonial period in the United States Southwest.

Take a day tour of the Ranch of Swallows or as it is known in Spanish, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, to see how ranch living continues today.

Foodies: Sample local dishes at the Plaza.

Solo Travel Vacation Package-Santa Fe-More Things to Do Nearby:

  • The New Mexico State Capitol :  This is the only United States state capitol that is completely round. It combines a mix of architecture of Pueblo adobe architecture, New Mexico Territorial style, and Greek Revival adaptation. The Capitol was dedicated  in 1966. 0.4 miles
  • Lensic Performing Arts Center 0.5 miles
  • Georgia O Keeffe Museum 0.6 miles
  • The Plaza 0.6 miles
  • New Mexico History Museum 0.6 miles
  • Museum of International Folk Art 1.6 miles
  • Santa Fe Institute 2.5 miles
  • Santa Fe University of Art and Design 2.5 miles
  • Santa Fe Place Mall 5 miles
  • Santa Fe Opera

Top Solo Travel Deal-Santa Fe: Where to Stay:

Hotel Santa Fe:

Located in Santa Fe’s Railyard District, this Native American-owned hotel features on-site spa services and gourmet dining options. Free WiFi is provided. Guests can enjoy a pool and a hot tub and outdoor gardens. The Plaza is 2,950 feet from the property.

Each Hacienda-style guest room feature fireplaces and seating areas. Professionally trained butlers are available.

Hotel Santa Fe features on-site ceremonial dance performances, historical storytelling and an on-site gift shop featuring hand-made crafts. Guests can also enjoy relaxing around the outdoor fireplace and listening to live Native American music.

Guests at the Hotel Santa Fe can also enjoy Native American-inspired cuisine at Amaya Restaurant or cocktails at Amaya Bar. Historic Santa Fe is a 5-minute drive away

 For other options and solo travel vacation packages in Santa Fe and the Southwest USA, please go to our home page. Enter your dates in our booking engine. Choose from over 800,000 world wide lodgings from 5 star to economical home stays. Follow the link . Then be sure to use the filter on the left margin to get what works best for you and see the verified solo travel reviews.

To see a very different historic United States destination, go to our Solo Travel Package-Williamsburg .

(For other information on solo travel with no single supplements and solo-priced lodging, go to our free search tool, the , and for our complimentary “Updated 2020-2021 Solo Travel Guidebook”, be sure to register while there.)

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