36-Hour Itineraries

Enjoy your brief visit to The City Different with these three itineraries, designed to ensure you get the highlights of Santa Fe's cultural, culinary, and artistic experiences. Though you are here for a short time only, with these suggestions, you can easily say, "I've been to Santa Fe, and I love it!"

Historic & Contemporary

Meow Wolf

Say you’ve arrived in Santa Fe just in time for an early dinner! Check into your hotel and then walk to any number of restaurants offering Northern New Mexican cuisine, highlighted in the Santa Fe Menu Magazine. Fortified and charmed by some expression of our resident red and green chile dishes, get out on the town. Summer evenings are full of free music from local and national acts, while the Lensic Performing Arts Center, located on the historic Santa Fe Plaza, never disappoints with events ranging from dance to classical to comedic to theatrical. If you are fortunate to be visiting in the summer, be sure to check out the live, free music on the bandstand in the Plaza, brought to you by the Summer Scene! If you are still going strong after a fun performance, find yourself a nightcap at your hotel bar, many of which are stops along the Santa Fe Margarita Trail.

The next morning, be honest with yourself: You likely have not had enough of our Northern New Mexican cuisine, so definitely do a little research on the spot you’d like to go for a Breakfast Burrito. You just can’t go wrong! Ready for the day, start at the Palace of the Governors, built in 1610 to house the Spanish administration and reopened in the spring of 2024 after a multi-year restoration. You’ll get a great lesson in our past there and at the adjacent New Mexico History Museum. Don’t miss the Native American artisans under the portal of the Palace of the Governors to learn about their processes and techniques. If you don’t find a piece you want there, try any number of Plaza boutiques, shops, and galleries. You might just want to sit in the tree-canopied Plaza and reflect on the fact that it resembles its origins more than 400 years ago! Speaking of history, for an awe moment, check out the Loretto Chapel, built by the Sisters of Loretto in 1878. The Gothic-Revival-style chapel, which includes a mysterious spiral staircase, built with no apparent means of support! After lunch or at one of the many cafes or patios, walk to the New Mexico State Capitol Building, dubbed the “Roundhouse,” where you can view the extensive New Mexican contemporary art at the Capitol Art Collection.

For a dose of our contemporary self, next check out Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, a 70+-room immersive art experience. There are generally food trucks on site or fun restaurants in the neighborhood that also offer music and craft beers and spirits.

Wake up early for your final morning in Santa Fe with a short walk for a commanding view. As you ascend to the Cross of the Martyrs, read the intermittent plaques for even more of Santa Fe’s history. It is easy to pick out landmarks, such as the New Mexico State Capitol, Scottish Rite Temple, and the historic Plaza. Afterwards, get a coffee and some confection for the road by choosing from our Coffee Lovers’ Tour.

Railyard & Guadalupe Districts

Visiting Santa Fe_Railyard

It’s fun to arrive in Santa Fe when the day is already in full swing. Perhaps you are the bed and breakfast type and you’ve arranged checking in a bit early at one of the many in our funky, contemporary Railyard Arts District. If it’s a Tuesday or Saturday, during the late spring through the fall, grab a bite at our award-winning Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, celebrating a mission of supporting regional farmers' endeavors to bring fresh produce to market for more than 50 years. Try The Farmers’ Market Café Hall or Café Fresh and sit out along the tracks in the Railyard Plaza under the water tower.

Quite close is SITE Santa Fe, where guest curators present year-round, groundbreaking local and international exhibitions. Admission is free!

Next, amble in and out of the variety of contemporary art galleries in the Railyard Arts District, Because of their proximity, you’ll be able to visit them all. The newest kid on the block is Vladem Contemporary, the second location of the New Mexico Museum of Art. While walking around, you’ll notice tons of boutiques along Guadalupe Street. Don’t miss the chance to pop in and poke around. There are some particularly great consignment deals in the area.

Rest a bit (yes, our elevation can require an adjustment) in your bed and breakfast before dinner in the neighborhood. Choose from Italian, Mexican, Northern New Mexican, Pizza, gastropub fare, and fusion. If you are into a little nightlife, check out Cowgirl BBQ for music, pool, or a nightcap.

City Tour, Canyon Road, Award-Winning Cuisine & Hikes

Walking Canyon Road

You may have a bit of time before you can check in to your hotel, so make good use of it and grab yourself a Breakfast Burrito, the concept of which was arguably born in Santa Fe! Red, green or Christmas, you’ll enjoy every bite and it will fortify you for your 36 hours ahead. A great introduction to Santa Fe is a tour, offered hourly from the historic Plaza, with a seasoned guide. Whether it’s a walking tour or on the open-air tram, you’ll be in great hands and deepen your appreciation for The City Different instantly.

Perhaps you can check in a bit early and freshen up (and hydrate!) for the next part of the itinerary. Not to be missed is what’s lovingly called The Oldest Church, whose formal name is San Miguel Chapel, originally constructed in the early 1600s by Spanish-allied Indigenous Tlascalans from Mexico.

You’re likely a bit peckish at this point. Your next best stop is a restaurant or bar along the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. You can download the app or purchase a Passport to help you find precisely the one you desire and to track your tasting. Some chips with queso is a great accompaniment.

As we truly are a walking city, don your comfy shoes for a short walk to Canyon Road from wherever you are on the Plaza. There’s nothing like seeing Santa Fe on foot. And you surely will have a feast for your eyes once you reach Canyon Road, a charming half mile of 100+ galleries. If it wasn’t clear already, you’ll now know why Santa Fe is considered one of the three major art markets in the United States.

Did you know that Santa Fe is home to five AAA Four Star restaurants (Sazon, Sassella, Geronimo, Terra, and The Compound) and several James Beard Foundation Award winners, finalists, and nominees? Do your research and make your reservation.

In the morning of your final day in Santa Fe, get up bright and early and forego breakfast for an invigorating hike along a handful of miles of our more than 300 in Santa Fe County. This handy trailmap gives you excellent orientation to what’s available within a few minutes drive of the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Either pack a lunch with provisions from nearby Kaune’s Market or make a stop on your way out of town at the collection of food trucks directly across the street.