How to Spend One Day in Santa Fe

one day in Santa Fe
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Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital is one of the cooler cities that I’ve visited in America.  With a bustling art scene, a breakout food scene, and its rich history, Santa Fe is a must visit.  Aside from all that Santa Fe has to offer, the city itself is beautiful, adorned in adobe style buildings and sitting at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo foothills.

While Santa Fe is a destination that deserves to be deeply explored, if you only have one day… that’s okay!  You can still get a good feel for the city even if you don’t have much time.  Here’s how to spend one day in Santa Fe…


One Day in Santa Fe


How to Get to Santa Fe

Santa Fe does have an airport so you can fly directly into there or fly into Albuquerque, rent a car, and make the hour drive northwest to Santa Fe.  I personally would choose the latter as the airport in Albuquerque is bigger so flights tend to be cheaper than flying into Santa Fe.  Plus, having a sister that lives in Albuquerque – I must say, the city is quite cool.  Both Santa Fe and Albuquerque deserve a chance to be visited if you’re traveling to New Mexico.  (By the way, I recommend using Skyscanner to search for cheap flights).




If you’re visiting Santa Fe, don’t miss your chance at exploring Albuquerque!  Don’t miss…

A Complete Guide to Visiting Albuquerque

How to Spend the Weekend in Albuquerque


Santa Fe Railyard

Start your day early at the Santa Fe Railyard.  It’s a fun area with coffee shops, restaurants, and boutique stores; and every Saturday there is a farmers market!  I suggest grabbing a coffee at Opuntia Cafe before heading out to walk around the area.  (If you’re interested in keeping up with the activities at the railyard, this is a great resource).

Pro tip:  Before leaving, don’t miss your chance at stopping in at Kowboyz to try on some “western apparel”!


Santa Fe Plaza

For the rest of the day in Santa Fe, head to the historic Santa Fe Plaza to shop, eat, and learn about the history of New Mexico.  My favorite part of the plaza is popping into the different art galleries that line the streets – the art is beautiful and unique to the area.

While you’re on the plaza don’t miss your chance to learn about the history of New Mexico at the New Mexico History Museum.  Entrance is $12 for tourists and $7 for New Mexico residents.  Make sure to also swing by The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (entrance is free), and the Loretto Chapel where the spiral staircase has been featured on Unsolved Mysteries (entrance is $5).

For lunch, stop by The Shed, a the wildly popular southwestern restaurant.  Here you can taste traditional food native to the region like red and green chiles, posole, and more.

If you’re visiting Santa Fe during the summer months, make sure to swing by The Bell Tower Bar in the La Fonda Hotel for a drink and a rooftop view of Santa Fe.


Should You Spend the Night in Santa Fe?

While I explored Santa Fe on a quick and easy day trip from Albuquerque, if you’re coming from further out of town you might want to consider spending the night in Santa Fe so that you have more time to explore its charm.  If that’s the case, browse the map below for hotels and rental properties throughout the city!



Pro tip:  If you’re visiting Santa Fe and love margaritas, take a look at the Santa Fe Margarita Trail!



While there’s so much more to see and do in Santa Fe, this small taste will surely intrigue you enough to plan another visit.  Because in my opinion, one day in Santa Fe just isn’t enough time!


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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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