Beautiful Places in Santa Fe, NM: A Guide to the City’s Most Stunning Destinations

Welcome to Santa Fe, NM where vibrant culture meets breathtaking natural beauty at every turn of this enchanting city nestled in the heart of the Southwest. From the majestic peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the adobe-lined streets of the historic downtown, Santa Fe offers both tranquility and adventure to its residents. 

In this Redfin article, we’ll delve into 16 beautiful places in Santa Fe, NM that showcase the unique charm of this gem. So whether you are looking to rent an apartment in Santa Fe, rent a home in the area, or just in the beginning phases of imagining life in the city, we’ll explore just a glimpse of what Santa Fe has in store for you.

Sandia Mountains

1. Annual International Folk Art Market

The annual International Folk Art Market, held at the Railyard Park in July, captivates visitors with its vibrant celebration of global cultures and traditions. As the world’s largest event of its kind, it provides a unique opportunity to directly engage with skilled artisans from diverse backgrounds. Looking for handmade treasures? Browse through a stunning array of textiles, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, and more, all crafted using traditional techniques passed down through generations.

The Market’s enchanting atmosphere, rich with music, dance, and culinary delights, fosters cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, making it a beloved destination for art enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike.

2. Ski Santa Fe 

If you enjoy skiing amongst stunning alpine scenery, be sure to check out Ski Santa Fe, a premier winter destination.

“Our beautiful ski mountain is on the western slope high above Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Northern New Mexico,” explains The Santa Fe VIP, a local business offering private guided tours through Santa Fe. “The views of the Rio Grande valley are mind blowing. In one spot you can look as far as Albuquerque, Los Alamos, many of the Pueblos up to the San Antonio mountain over the Colorado border. So come for the fun, come for the sun. See you soon in Northern New Mexico.”

“Ski Santa Fe is easily my favorite place to visit in Santa Fe,” shares Eric Angerer of EZ Moments, a local photographer. “Besides the amazing Skiing the area offers, the views are unbeatable and the variety of trails in the area is abundant. Another amazing part of visiting the area is that the road up to the basin is one of the best spots in Santa Fe to see an abundance of Aspens, especially in Fall.” 

Ski Santa Fe

3. Edition ONE Gallery

If you happen to be renting in Santa Fe near the Edition ONE Gallery, you’ll have to check out their contemporary fine art and photography gallery, which is housed in an adobe building that exemplifies the Santa Fe style in the historic arts district of Canyon Road. This gallery showcases many regional photographers, painters, and sculptors who have received worldwide acclaim and doubles as an event space where guests can enjoy cocktail parties, workshops, and receptions in its spacious main room featuring a skylight atrium.

In addition, Neptune Event Space is a beautiful historic home with gardens directly across the street from Edition ONE Gallery. Casually elegant, Neptune is an indoor/outdoor space featuring private gardens with shaded flagstone patios and a tent – perfect for intimate events, weddings, receptions, cocktail parties, creative workshops, dinners, and more. 

4. The Railyard Park

The Railyard Park is a unique park located in the heart of the city, designed with a focus on environmental sustainability and community engagement. It boasts a diverse range of features, including native grasslands, a pollinator garden, an orchard, a cottonwood bosque, two food gardens, and a rose ramada. The Railyard Park Conservancy ensures there’s plenty of free programming, including  volunteer gardening, community celebrations, and nature-based play such as Sand Play Saturday and Pop-Up Playground.

The Railyard Park, one of the many beautiful places in santa fe, nm
Photo courtesy of The Railyard Park

5. San Miguel Chapel

“While in Santa Fe do not miss the San Miguel Chapel,” says WalknTours, a smartphone guided walking tour app. “The outside takes you back to 1610, when Santa Fe was established by the Spanish conquistador Don Pedro de Peralta. It’s a must-see to understand its history and only a short walk from downtown on the Santa Fe Trail.”

The chapel is believed to be the oldest church structure in the United States and boasts adobe walls and wooden vigas that showcase traditional Pueblo architectural influences. Inside, visitors are greeted by a serene atmosphere, adorned with original Spanish colonial artwork, including a revered statue of San Miguel, the chapel’s namesake. 

6. Manhattan Project – Building at 109 East Palace Ave

WalknTours also recommends 109 East Palace Ave, constructed in the 1600s and holds an atomic history. “Thousands of people that worked on the Manhattan Project making the first atomic bomb passed through this door to their secret mission location at Los Alamos, also known as ‘The Hill.’ To date, it’s one of the most photographed spots in Santa Fe, and a must see.”

Today, while the building no longer stands, its historical importance is commemorated, and visitors can appreciate its significance to one of the most transformative periods in human history.

7. Billy the Kid – 208 W. San Francisco St.

According to WalknTours, if you love wild west history, you can’t miss 208 W. San Francisco Street. 

“The wild west legend Billy the Kid was captured here in Santa Fe and imprisoned for the last time in the downstairs jail of 208 W. San Francisco St. from December 27, 1880 to April 3, 1881,” shares WalknTours.  

8. Canyon Road

Visiting Canyon Road in Santa Fe is an immersive journey into the heart of the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

“One of my favorite things about Santa Fe is Canyon Road,” says Michael Carroll, co-owner of fine art gallery, Turner Carroll Gallery. “It’s the heart of Santa Fe’s art galleries, and it’s where Santa Fe’s world-renowned art colony first started. There are little-known places of interest such as Georgia O’keeffe’s former studio, and Santa Fe’s oldest bar, El Farol. Collectors can find exceptional contemporary art as well as traditional hand arts on this uniquely charming street.”

The Container
Photo courtesy of Turner Carroll Gallery

9. Bandelier National Park 

“If you’re new to Santa Fe, you can’t skip a visit to Bandelier National Park for a glimpse of the ancient past,” states local wedding planner Taylor Chase Weddings. “I love this 11,000-year-old ancestral pueblo with its easy walkable trail that loops through a beautiful canyon with a winding stream, surrounded by petroglyphs and ancient cliff dwellings optionally reachable by ladders. The path and visitor center provides information and educational dioramas on the land, its vegetation, and former peoples engaging to all ages.” 

Taylor continues that “The picturesque drive from Santa Fe fills the senses with spectacular views from Bandelier lookout. On your return to Santa Fe, stop at Gabriel’s restaurant for their delicious tableside prepared guacamole and the lively sounds of Mariachi music.”

10. Rio Grande

The Rio Grande is one of the most historically significant rivers in the country and the whitewater is world class,” explains Matthew Gontram, owner of New Mexico River Adventures, offering whitewater rafting, kayaking, climbing, and many other activities. “There is a reason it is the most popular outdoor guided activity in Northern New Mexico. Afterwards, I always recommend a stroll around the historic Plaza.  There are many photographs of the Plaza from the 19th century and as you will see, very little has changed. Take a stroll through the heart of the country’s oldest capital.”

River rafting down the Rio Grande
Photo courtesy of New Mexico River Adventures

11. Sunset Terrace event venue

Downtown Santa Fe’s Sunset Terrace is a hidden gem. With its stunning views of the city’s historical architecture and the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it offers one of the best sunset vistas in town. The venue boasts inviting features such as cozy lounge areas, fire pits, a well-stocked bar, an open kitchen, and a stage, while its wrap-around portal provides unparalleled views of the mountains and sunset, truly living up to its name.

Beautiful sunset from a rooftop
Photo courtesy of the Sunset Terrace

12. El Rey Court

Discover live music, events, and a modern stay just down Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. El Rey Court is a renovated classic Route 66 motor court that has been open since 1936, boasting five acres of gardens and event space. Stop by the cozy and cool onsite bar La Reina and sip from their generous selection of Mezcal and Tequila. 

Event space at El Rey Court
Photo courtesy of El Rey Court

13. The Randall Davey Audubon Center

The Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe is a historic bird sanctuary and Important Bird Area (IBA), offering stunning surroundings and rich conservation efforts,” says wedding photographer duo, Carissa And Ben Photography. “Once home to artist Randall Davey, its picturesque grounds now provide a haven for diverse avian species and visitors alike. It’s a place where nature, history, and conservation converge, inviting exploration and appreciation for the natural world.”

Visiting The Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in nature while also experiencing the rich history and conservation efforts of the area. 

14. Santa Fe Plaza

“A favorite spot that has really grown on us is the Santa Fe Plaza itself,” states Carissa And Ben Photography. “Still standing after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the War for Mexican Independence, ending in 1821, the plaza is a space for the New Mexican community to gather, enjoy food, music, and culture together. Home to some of our favorite must-try restaurants, bars and museums, the Santa Fe Plaza also boasts the beautiful La Fonda on the Plaza Hotel, and of course, the St. Francis de Assisi Cathedral, which was built after the Pueblo revolts of 1680.”

St. Francis de Assisi Cathedral
Photo Courtesy of Carissa & Ben Photography

15. Watching the sunset from anywhere

Whether seen from a hilltop, the Rio Grande’s banks, or downtown, each sunset in Santa Fe is a moment of pure enchantment, showcasing the city’s natural beauty.

“One of my favorite experiences in Santa Fe is watching the sunset,” declares Victoria Bruneni, owner of food catering service, WHAT The TRUCK. “The sky transforms into a breathtaking display of colors, creating a moment of quiet awe and appreciation for the beauty of nature. Whether I’m atop a hill or nestled in the city, each sunset reminds me of the wonder of the world around us.”

16. Outdoor activities with a remarkable background

Bob Ackenhausen, founder and tour guide at Santa Fe Footprints, highlights a handful of attractions in Santa Fe, NM. “Santa Fe offers a wealth of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and skiing, all against the backdrop of stunning mountain vistas, just minutes away. From exploring scenic trails to hitting the slopes in winter, the city’s natural beauty is always within reach.”

Beautiful places in Santa Fe, NM: Final thoughts

Santa Fe’s allure lies not only in its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene but also in its breathtaking natural landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. From the historic charm of Canyon Road to the serene beauty of the Randall Davey Audubon Center, and from the enchanting sunsets to the adrenaline-filled ski slopes, Santa Fe is a good place to live with an abundance of beautiful places waiting to be explored. 

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