New Mexico

Perfect 3 Day Santa Fe Itinerary – 72 Hours In Santa Fe

“What’s on your Santa Fe itinerary?” you ask, unfurling a sloppily penned list. 

I don’t answer. I can’t answer. My three day Santa Fe itinerary is so packed, I can barely fit one more stroke on the page. The dates, written in little groups at the top of the sheet, are choked by blurbs of activities.

Santa Fe is a laid back, lap of luxury. A place to gently stroll through art galleries, sip a hot drink, and get in tune with nature, the quiet New Mexico capital is all boho vibe and hippie flair. Santa Fe is where we can get away from it all. Breathe. Relax.

I look at the list. What was I even thinking?

In one impulsive moment, I grab a red marker and draw a big X over the text.

“How about a loose plan?” I suggest. It’s more of a statement than a question.

We start flipping through guidebooks, pamphlets, leaflets, and mini brochures.

Then, we stop. The page is only quarter filled. We’ve come up with a tidy list of things to do in Santa Fe over a long weekend.

This is it – the perfect three day Santa Fe Itinerary. Let’s dive right in.  

Day 1: Explore Art Galleries

Isn’t Loretto Chapel so pretty?

Morning: Head To Loretto Chapel

Santa Fe is a bit of a religious mishmash. On a single street, you can find tall Buddha statues, grassy meditation retreats, and larger-than-life churches.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that every place in Santa Fe has a story. Loretto Chapel’s is the most prominent. Wrapped in mystery and enigma, the chapel is a popular tourist attraction. Come to see the miracle staircase. Try to work out the puzzle yourself. Then give your brain a break, sit in the pews, and listen to the guided audio tour.

Read More: Uncovering The Mysteries of Loretto Chapel

Alternate Morning Attractions (Santa Fe Itinerary Swap): 

  • San Miguel Chapel: The oldest church in the United States, this Spanish Colonial mission dates back to the 1600s.
  • Santa Fe Community Yoga: In true Santa Fe style, start your morning with some gentle yoga flow.

Afternoon: Wander Around Canyon Road

Canyon Road is a corridor of unique galleries. From abstract landscapes to detailed statues, the exhibitions are all unique and surprising in some way. Expect a mix of wild and whimsical talent.

It’s easy to get lost in the intense eyes of the portraits and every wilt and turn of the glassworks. You’ll find rough oil paintings and clay masterpieces, side by side. Canyon Road presents a magical mix of mediums.

Most of the galleries close at 5 PM so clock out lunchtime for your visit. Take a Saturday afternoon (several galleries are also closed on Sundays) to wind through the museum-like district.

And if you’re feeling a bit thirsty, wind down at the Teahouse, a cozy hotspot serving up a selection of herbal teas.

Read More: Best Galleries In Canyon Road

Guide to Canyon Road: Tea House Mango Tea

Mango tea…yummmm….

Evening: Explore Santa Fe Plaza

Nestled within downtown, Santa Fe Plaza is the heart of the city. Beating to the rhythm of live performances and bustling pop-up markets, the Plaza is a lively community space.

Stroll around. Sample some food. Grab dinner. Dance like no one is watching.

Georgia O’ Keeffe reimagines flowers.

Alternate Evening Attractions (Santa Fe Itinerary Swap): 

  • Georgia O’ Keeffe Museum: Minimalist and awe-inspiring, the Georgia O’ Keeffe Museum (closes at 5 PM) walks you through the life and journey of the world renowned artist.
  • Delgado House: A historic landmark exemplifying residential nineteenth century adobe architecture.

Night: Check Into Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa

The Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa feels like a dream manifested into a museum. The only Native American owned hotel in the city, this eco-friendly stop is seeped in class, art, and history.

Slightly secluded, away from crowds, Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa is a one-of-a-kind luxury property. You’ll have a chance to explore all the artwork on display later. Right now, it’s time to hit the bed.

Read More: Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa Review

Day 2: Spend Some Time In The Railyard District

Even the signs in the Railyard District look a bit industrial…

Morning: Grab A Morning Coffee At Ohori’s

After grabbing some on-house breakfast from Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa, head to Ohori’s Coffee Roasters for a morning pick-me-up. Richly caffeinated, strong, and bittersweet, the coffee served at Ohori’s is a local favorite.

Alternate Morning Coffee Stops (Santa Fe Itinerary Swap): 

  • Montezuma: Montezuma has all the trademarks of a good coffee house. Locally brewed coffee. Organic beans. Friendly baristas.
  • Sky Coffee: Sky Coffee easily offers some of the best views of the Railyard district. While lines get long on Sundays, the wait is worth it.

Afternoon: Stroll Through The Artisan Market

Guide to Santa Fe's Railyard: Farmer's MarketOn Sunday, the Saturday farmer’s market pavilion is replaced with arts and crafts. From sweet and sassy jewelry to honey-scented herbal soaps, the goods sold at the Artisan Market (open from 10AM to 4PM) make for cute souvenirs.

Read More: 21 Best Souvenirs To Collect During Your Travels

Evening: (Window) Shop Till You Drop At An Upscale Boutique

Since most of the stores fall into the this-dress-is-more-expensive-than-college-tuition category, window shopping is a must in Santa Fe.

If you are planning on actually splurging (and not just peering through the glass), visit sometime between Monday through Saturday. Most stores in Santa Fe are closed on Sundays.

Best Evening Shopping Outlets (Add These To Your Santa Fe Itinerary):

  • Daniella’s: Daniella’s is a chic, upscale fashion boutique in the Railyard District. Selling soft, flirty, and feminine flattering pieces, the store’s unique outfits are oh-so stylish.
  • Casa Nova: With striking tribal art and exotic home furnishings, Casa Nova is far from an IKEA.
  •  House Of Ancestors: While Latin American furniture may seem like a niche market in Santa Fe, House of Ancestors’ museum-like set up is incredibly warm and inviting.

Night: Watch A Movie At John Cocteau Cinema

Guide to Santa Fe's Railyard: George Martin TheatreOwned by Game of Thrones author, George RR Martin, John Cocteau Cinema is a bucket list attraction for any sci-fi and fantasy lover. While the theatre plays a range of movies, from moody indie films to throwback comedy flicks, a love and appreciation of the arts stands as common ground for the different lineups and events.

Read More: Game Of Trains: Hotspots In Santa Fe’s Railyard District Revealed

Day 3: Take A Day Trip To Bandolier National Monument

Day Trip From Santa Fe: Group of Cliff Dwellings

Ancient Cliff Dwellings

Morning: Head To Bandolier National Monument

Rise and shine, lovely. Today, you’re taking a day trip from Santa Fe.

Over 30,000 acres, Bandolier National Monument is a mammoth canyon peppered with cliff dwellings. From low-lit crevices to worn petroglyphs, you can hear over 10,000 years of human history echo within the craggy cliffs.

Read More: Bandolier National Monument – The Perfect Day Trip From Santa Fe

Afternoon: Eat A Picnic Lunch

The hike is less than one and a half miles. But if you plan on climbing rickety ladders and entering the caves, the trip can easily last two hours. So pack a picnic lunch, some trail mix, and a jug of water.

Evening: Grab Dinner At Casa Chimayo

Large decorative dried chiles hang from the door, walls, and overhangs. This is Casa Chimayo, the chile expert of Santa Fe.

With deep oranges and bright navy blues, Casa Chimayo’s interior follows a traditional New Mexican color palette. The food is equally traditional, a slow cooked stew of Spanish and Native American culture.

Order anything on the menu (seriously, it’s all equally good). And if you’re asked red chile or green chile, choose Christmas.

Night: Be Amazed By All The Art At The Hotel

What is the Best Hotel in Santa Fe? Adam Sandler's Ridiculous 6 movie room.Before you check out of Hotel Santa Fe, visit the Hacienda, an adjoining luxury quarter. Hosting an extensive collection of Native American art, The Hacienda feels like less like a hotel and more like a private gallery.

While you could easily poke through the premise on the first day, strolling through the Hacienda is last on this Santa Fe itinerary for a reason. A town fueled by creativity, Santa Fe begins with art and ends with art.

In a high tech world, a passion for raw paintings and honest sculptures can be lost. But not in Santa Fe, The City Different.

Did you enjoy this Santa Fe Itinerary? Did you find it helpful? Let me know in the comments below! P.S. Feel free to modify this Santa Fe Itinerary any way you would like! I like to think of it more as a guideline than a hard and fast rule. 

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Monidipa Dutta
    November 7, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    Wow, so fun. It looks like so good. And I loved the way you described it. Lovely.

  • Reply
    Annemarie LeBlanc
    November 7, 2018 at 12:34 PM

    Wow. That is one awesome weekend you had! Thanks for sharing the list of places worth visiting. The restaurants you suggested look like they serve really good food. Hopefully I get to visit Santa Fe someday.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      November 10, 2018 at 11:32 AM

      I hope you get to visit too! It is such a pretty city! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    MELANIE EDJOURIAN
    November 7, 2018 at 4:23 PM

    I’ve never been to Santa Fe myself but I would love to visit. Casa Chimayo sounds like a great place to visit for dinner I love Spanish food.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      November 10, 2018 at 11:35 AM

      Yes! The food served there is sooooo good! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Karen Monica
    November 7, 2018 at 10:28 PM

    That seems to be an amazing weekend. Love the photos that you have shared. And you describe it so detailed. I would definitely want to visit Santa Fe one day.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      November 10, 2018 at 11:33 AM

      Thanks Karen, your comment is so sweet! Hope you get a chance to visit! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Jesusa Gilliam
    November 8, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Looks like you had an awesome weekend, visiting Santa Fe is on our bucket list. Everything looks so nice from the pics you took, I would love to visit Bandolier National Monument one day.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      November 10, 2018 at 11:33 AM

      It really is a magical place! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Kristine Nicole Alessandra
    November 8, 2018 at 3:09 PM

    You sure looked like you had a fantastic weekend! I have never been to Santa Fe and I wish I could the soonest time. You definitely fed my wanderlust for the place with your photos!

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      November 10, 2018 at 11:32 AM

      Thanks so much, Kristine! I hope you get a chance to visit soon. xx – Anshula

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