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5 Things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Come experience the heart and soul of New Mexico, beautiful Santa Fe! The city was founded in 1610 and is the fourth-largest city in New Mexico with a population of 84,683. Santa Fe is truly one-of-a-kind and unlike any other city, you’ve been to. The architecture is stunning, with its own distinctive, rustic style, you can expect to find a mix of beautiful earth-colored adobe buildings as well as Italianate, Victorian, and California Mission Revival-style buildings, and contemporary designs throughout the city.

The Plaza is the heart of Santa Fe and there’s so much to experience you won’t need a car, this historic district is great to explore on foot. With a traditional to contemporary art scene, you can soak in the rich history and culture everywhere you go. There are many outstanding accommodations and don’t forget about the award-winning cuisine and nightlife. Santa Fe offers several scenic places to visit for outdoor activities with the surrounding mountains and public lands. There are so many things offered for all ages here in Santa Fe, it really is a magical place to be, so let’s learn a little more about what Santa Fe has to offer.

Enjoy the Outdoors in the Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe National Forest is very scenic and sprawls across a staggering 1.6 million acres. It contains the headwaters of three rivers, lakes, and streams that all offer outstanding trout fishing. Take a raft ride down the Rio Grande in the summer or take to the powdery slopes of Ski Santa Fe in winter. You can explore until your heart’s content, whether it be on foot, horseback, or on a bike, there are over 1,000 miles of trails leading into some pretty spectacular wilderness areas. Make sure to pack in what you pack out and keep an eye out for spectacular wildlife, including elk, deer, and bears.

Shop Downtown Santa Fe

All around the Plaza is a great place to explore the local shops as you’ll venture into some unique historic buildings that are full of charm. The Plaza is located right in the heart and soul of Santa Fe. These shops are filled with many handmade treasures that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. You’ll come across a variety of goodies from furniture to fashion items, silver and turquoise jewelry to cowboy boots, concho belts, Spanish antiques and so much more. Here in Santa Fe, you’ll discover flea markets, independent boutiques, and the largest art markets in the country.

Visit the Puya Cliff Dwellings

A place between earth and sky is the Puye Cliff Dwellings. It’s a National Historic Landmark that once sheltered 1,500 Pueblo people who are now ancestors of the Santa Clara people today. The Pueblo people hunted game and farmed the land from the 900’s to 1580 A.D. Ten miles east on the Santa Clara Pueblo is where their descendants live today. Located in the Rio Grande River Valley, this was the first of the ancient pueblos to be excavated. The site consists of split-level caves, cliff dwellings as well as mesa-top dwellings, and connecting paths and stairways. The majesty and mystery of the site are revealed by guided tours. The tours will take you to a historic Fred Harvey House that was built in the late 1800s for tourists traveling by train. It was the only Harvey House built on Pueblo lands. The remaining structure became the exhibit hall and gift shop.

Take a Stroll Through Canyon Road Arts District

Stroll on through Santa Fe’s legendary Canyon Road and just in a half-mile, you’ll discover more than hundreds of artist studios, galleries, shops, and restaurants. Come meet outstanding gallery owners who are exhibiting spectacular work from incredible artists from all around the globe. If you peek into a studio you might just discover a jeweler placing the finishing gemstone on an exquisite bracelet or a painter setting up an easel. Be sure to check out a continuing tradition of Canyon Road’s vibrant Friday night art openings. This takes place in the very heart of the city’s long admired art scene. It’s simply a sight to see and you’ll experience how magical and creative it really is.

See the Loretto Chapel

One of the most magnificent architectural treasures of Santa Fe is the Loretto Chapel. It is located just south of the Santa Fe Plaza at 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. According to the legend, a mysterious man came to the unfinished chapel after the Sisters of Loretto prayed a nine-day novena to St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Carpenters for help to complete the project. A novena is a unique prayer that is said for nine consecutive days. Something spectacular happened on the last day of the novena, a carpenter showed up and built what is now known as the ‘Miraculous Staircase’. The incredible staircase has two 360-degree turns with no center pole for structural support. The railings were added to the stairs about ten years later to help you go up the stairs because they were so tall and tapered with no railing. He showed up with only simple tools and wooden pegs then disappeared before the sisters could pay or even thank him. Some people believe the carpenter who showed up was St. Joseph himself but others believe it was someone sent by St. Joseph. Regardless of the origin, the Sisters of Loretto prayed and their prayers were answered with the beautiful staircase for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article was created for the Spring Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early April. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

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Howdy, I'm Megan deFabry, I grew up in Reno, Nevada & I now live in Austin, Texas. I'm very passionate about digital marketing and journalism, especially within the western industry. I have a love for agriculture, rodeos, country music, and maintaining the western way of life!

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