There are dozens and dozens of things you should do when you visit Santa Fe. But if you do find your time here is limited, here are some of our favorite things to do in Santa Fe if you only have one day.
Breakfast at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market
Waking up in Santa Fe is glorious. Even in summer the morning temperatures are cool, the sky is almost always clear. And the whole day is ahead of you!
Our one-day-in-Santa-Fe trip starts with one of the locals’ favorites, the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. Even if you don’t need or want to buy the amazing produce, meat and other delectables, the Farmer’s Market is a great place to get a bite of breakfast that was grown here in New Mexico. We take pride in our food, so no matter what you eat from the market, it’s going to be good. (Not your speed? Try these Santa Fe Breakfast Spots.)
But even better than the food is the people watching. Santa Fe is a diverse community and it is entirely evident here. Many of the farmers come from families who have been in New Mexico for hundreds of years. You’ll pick up on the accent that is a legacy of Spanish settlers who came here in the 1600s and maybe get some great stories about the old days
You’ll see plenty of artists, old hippies, families and more. You’ll probably also spot lots of local chefs who are ordering produce for the week. If you see someone stocking up on a particular ingredient, ask them where they are cooking tonight. (Check out our restaurant guide!)
Morning on the Santa Fe Plaza
After breakfast, it’s time to take the 10-15 minute walk to the historic Plaza. The Plaza is the heart of Santa Fe, where there’s more than enough to see, do, eat, and buy. You won’t need your car — the downtown historic district is easily (and best) navigated on foot.
On the Plaza, locals play and tourists gather. First, take a moment to appreciate that you’re standing in the heart of the oldest capital city in the United States, which was founded in 1610. On the north side of the Plaza is the Palace of the Governors, which was built the same year.
Shopping in Santa Fe
Who could leave Santa Fe without taking home a keepsake or two? Since you’re right here on the Plaza, the Native American vendors along the Palace of the Governors offer jewelry, art, and other items made of natural materials from their pueblos. Many drive from hours away every day to display their hand-made wares. If you see something interesting, make sure to ask about how the piece was made or the particular symbols you see. The vendors are generally happy to talk to you and quite often tell interesting stories about where they are from and how they get their inspiration. Prices can be quite reasonable, too.
There is no shortage of shopping in Santa Fe! Wander up Lincoln Avenue to the west of the plaza to explore its many shops, then turn onto Marcy for even more. The area south of the Plaza — including Galisteo and Water streets — has some amazing shopping as well. You’ll find everything from boutique women’s clothing to Spanish antiques to authentic Zuni fetishes in the downtown area.
When Santa Fe was still part of Spain, Canyon road was where the first families in Santa Fe settled. Their small farms were nourished by the Santa Fe River (really a creek) and framed by the beautiful foothills. When artists began to flock to Santa Fe in the early 1900s, many chose Canyon Road as their home.
Today Canyon Road is home to dozens of art galleries and shops, ranging from fun and funky to seriously pricey. Regardless of the gallery’s pedigree, everyone is welcome to walk through each gallery and take in some of the best art you’ll find in the United States. Give yourself plenty of time to make the walk as there are more than 80 galleries in all. (Here are some of our favorites)
Pro tip: There are a couple small parking lots on Canyon Road, but if you are staying downtown, just walk. Make sure you have comfortable shoes, because the gallery row is about a mile and the sidewalks are uneven. If you are driving, go slow as there are people in the road and they are looking at the scenery.This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead