10 Free Things To Do In Santa Fe That Will Amaze You!

free things to do in santa fe

Santa Fe, a city that is renowned for its art, culture, and heritage, has so much to offer for those who are looking for free things to do. The city is a hub of museums, galleries, and cultural landmarks that attract visitors from all corners of the world. Whether you are a history buff, art enthusiast, or nature lover, there is something for everyone in Santa Fe. In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 free things to do in Santa Fe that will amaze you and leave you wanting more. So, get ready to explore the city on a shoestring budget and discover the beautiful treasures that await you in Santa Fe.

Activity Description
Santa Fe Railyard Park A 13-acre park offering public art, gardens, walking trails, and a farmers market.
Museum Hill A cultural district featuring four different museums showcasing the art, history, and culture of New Mexico.
Canyon Road Art Walk A free self-guided walking tour of over 100 art galleries showcasing local and international artists.
Santa Fe Farmers Market A popular farmers market featuring local produce, food, and artisanal goods.
Santa Fe Plaza A historic gathering place featuring shops, restaurants, and live entertainment.
Atalaya Mountain Hike A 6.3-mile roundtrip hike to a summit with spectacular views of Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
New Mexico State Capitol Building A beautiful building with a rotunda, art exhibits, and guided tours available.
Santa Fe National Forest A beautiful wilderness area with numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic vistas.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi A beautiful cathedral dating back to the early 1800s with gorgeous stained glass windows and religious artworks.
Museum of Contemporary Native Arts A museum showcasing contemporary Native American art in a beautiful contemporary building.


Explore the historic Santa Fe Plaza

Source: www.santafe.org
Characteristic Description
NameSanta Fe Plaza
TypeHistorical landmark in Santa Fe, New Mexico
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.7 / 9,134
Address63 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone(505) 955-6200
HoursFriday - Open 24 hours
Saturday - Open 24 hours
Sunday - Open 24 hours
Monday - Open 24 hours
Tuesday - Open 24 hours
Wednesday - Open 24 hours
Thursday - Open 24 hours

If you're looking for a fun and free activity in Santa Fe, look no further than the historic Santa Fe Plaza. This vibrant outdoor space is filled with history, culture, and plenty of opportunities to explore.

The Santa Fe Plaza has been a hub of community activity for over 400 years. Today, it is home to art galleries, museums, restaurants, and shops. Visitors can wander through the plaza, admiring the adobe architecture and taking in the sights and sounds of this lively city center.

One of the highlights of the Santa Fe Plaza is the opportunity to experience the city's rich Native American and Hispanic cultures. There are a number of vendors selling authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, and textiles, as well as traditional Hispanic crafts like tinwork and woodcarvings.

If you're interested in learning more about the history of Santa Fe, be sure to visit the Palace of the Governors. This historic adobe building was built in the early 1600s and served as the seat of government for the Spanish, Mexican, and American territories. Today, it is a museum showcasing the history and culture of New Mexico.

Another must-visit attraction on the Santa Fe Plaza is the New Mexico History Museum. This modern museum tells the story of the state, from the prehistoric era to the modern day. Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the history of New Mexico to life.

Of course, no trip to the Santa Fe Plaza would be complete without sampling some of the city's famous cuisine. From traditional New Mexican dishes like chile rellenos and enchiladas to fusion cuisine that blends local and international flavors, there's something for every palate.

Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or a foodie, the Santa Fe Plaza has something to offer. So put on some comfortable shoes, grab a bottle of water, and spend a day exploring this iconic destination. You won't be disappointed!


Admire the stunning artwork at the New Mexico Museum of Art

Source: www.nmartmuseum.org
Characteristic Description
NameNew Mexico Museum of Art
TypeArt museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 481
Address107 W Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone(505) 476-5063
HoursFriday - 10 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 10 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 10 AM–5 PM
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Wednesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 10 AM–5 PM

If you're looking for a free Santa Fe attraction that combines art and history, the New Mexico Museum of Art should be at the top of your list. This stunning museum showcases a vast collection of art and exhibits, representing both the state's rich artistic history and its contemporary art scene.

One of the highlights of the New Mexico Museum of Art is its impressive collection of Southwestern art, with pieces dating as far back as the 19th century. The museum houses some of the most significant works from early artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, who made New Mexico her home and a lifelong source of inspiration for her art. Many other artists are also represented, including many indigenous artists whose works reflect the intricate traditions and diverse cultures of the region.

In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the year, which provide visitors with fresh perspectives and insights into the world of art. The exhibitions showcase a wide range of media, from paintings and sculptures to photography and performance art. As such, visitors are given a more profound view of the museum's collection and its focus on diverse cultural and artistic expressions.

Apart from the exhibits, the New Mexico Museum of Art also offers guided tours and special events, including workshops, lectures, performances, and other educational activities that immerse visitors in the art and culture of New Mexico, both past and present.

One more aspect that makes the New Mexico Museum of Art a unique destination is its stunning architecture, which blends classical, Pueblo Deco and other Southwestern styles to create a breathtaking aesthetic appeal. The museum's building, completed in the late 1910s and designed by local architect Isaac Hamilton Rapp, has been designated as a historic landmark and a fine example of neoclassical architecture in New Mexico.

In conclusion, if you're interested in soaking up the culture and history of Santa Fe and New Mexico through art, then you should head to the New Mexico Museum of Art. Its impressive collection, wonderful exhibitions, and unparalleled architecture make for an unforgettable experience, and with free admission on Fridays, there's no excuse not to visit.


Hike the beautiful Dale Ball Trails

Source: en.wikipedia.org

If you're looking for a way to experience the stunning natural beauty of Santa Fe without spending a dime, we recommend taking a hike on the Dale Ball Trails. These trails offer a unique combination of peaceful serenity and exhilarating adventure, making them a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors.

The Dale Ball Trails are named after their creator, who was an avid hiker and conservationist. They are located just a few minutes from downtown Santa Fe, and are easily accessible by car or public transportation. There are several trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate, so there's something for everyone.

One of the most popular trails on the Dale Ball network is the Foothills Trail. This trail offers stunning views of Santa Fe and the surrounding mountains, and is a great choice for hikers of all experience levels. Another popular option is the Atalaya Trail, which takes you up to the top of Atalaya Mountain and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond.

No matter which trail you choose, you'll be treated to an unforgettable hiking experience in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the country. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of flora and fauna, from wildflowers and cacti to hawks and other birds of prey.

If you're interested in hiking the Dale Ball Trails, make sure to come prepared with plenty of water, comfortable shoes, and appropriate clothing for the weather. You may also want to bring a map or trail guide to help you navigate your way through the network of trails.

So why wait? Lace up your hiking shoes and hit the trails for a free and unforgettable adventure in Santa Fe's beautiful outdoors. The Dale Ball Trails are waiting for you!

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Visit the Loretto Chapel and its famous spiral staircase

Source: www.lorettochapel.com
Characteristic Description
NameLoretto Chapel
TypeChurch in Santa Fe, New Mexico
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.7 / 3,215
Address207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone(505) 982-0092
HoursFriday - 9 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 9 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 9 AM–5 PM
Monday - 9 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 9 AM–5 PM
Wednesday - 9 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 9 AM–5 PM

If you're looking for a fun and free activity in Santa Fe, look no further than the Loretto Chapel and its famous spiral staircase.

The Loretto Chapel, located in the heart of Santa Fe, is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. The Chapel was built in the late 1800s and is best known for its unique spiral staircase. What makes the spiral staircase so special is the fact that it has no visible means of support - there are no pillars or beams holding it up. Instead, the staircase appears to be held up by magic.

Legend has it that the staircase was built by a mysterious carpenter in the late 1800s. The chapel's nuns needed a staircase to reach the choir loft, but the chapel's narrow size made it impossible to build a traditional staircase. The carpenter arrived in town and offered to build a staircase that would be both functional and beautiful. He worked in near-total seclusion for several months, and when he was finished, the spiral staircase took everyone's breath away.

The Loretto Chapel and its spiral staircase are open to visitors every day, and there is no admission fee. Visitors are free to explore the chapel and its beautiful stained glass windows, but the real highlight of the trip is the spiral staircase.

Although the staircase appears to be constructed without any visible means of support, it is actually very sturdy. It has been standing for over 100 years and has withstood numerous earthquakes. There are countless theories about how the carpenter managed to build such a sturdy and unique structure, but the truth remains a mystery.

The Loretto Chapel and its spiral staircase are not to be missed when visiting Santa Fe. This unique and captivating piece of history is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just someone looking for a free and fun activity, the Loretto Chapel and its spiral staircase are sure to impress.

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Take a self-guided tour of the Santa Fe Railyard

Source: www.santafe.org

Santa Fe is a vibrant and culturally-rich city in New Mexico that offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy. One of the most exciting experiences you can have in Santa Fe is exploring the historic Railyard district. The Railyard was once a bustling hub of activity for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and now it has been transformed into a lively arts and entertainment district.

One of the best ways to experience the Railyard is by taking a self-guided walking tour. This allows you to explore at your own pace and take in all the sights and sounds of this unique neighborhood. Here are some of the highlights you won't want to miss:

Start your tour at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, which is held here on Saturdays and Tuesdays. This is a great place to grab a hot drink or a bite to eat before you set off on your adventure.

Stroll down the Railyard Park, which offers 13 acres of green space in the heart of the city. You can enjoy a picnic or take a walk along the walking trails that meander through the park.

Next, head to the Railyard Plaza, where you'll find a collection of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Make sure to stop at the Railyard Performance Center, which hosts live music and theater performances throughout the year.

If you're an art lover, be sure to visit the SITE Santa Fe contemporary art museum. This stunning space showcases cutting-edge work from international artists and is always worth a visit.

Finally, don't miss a chance to take a walk across the Santa Fe Railyard Bridge, which offers spectacular views of the city and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance.

Overall, the Santa Fe Railyard is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city. With its rich history, dynamic arts scene, and beautiful green spaces, it offers something for everyone. So grab a map and take a self-guided tour of this fascinating neighborhood today!


Stroll down Canyon Road and browse the art galleries

Source: outsidesuburbia.com
Characteristic Description
NameCanyon Road Contemporary Art
TypeArt gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 326
Address622 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone(505) 983-0433
HoursFriday - 10 AM–5 PM
Saturday - 10 AM–5 PM
Sunday - 11 AM–4 PM
Monday - 10 AM–5 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Wednesday - 10 AM–5 PM
Thursday - 10 AM–5 PM

If you're looking for a free way to enjoy Santa Fe, then a stroll down Canyon Road is a must-do activity. Canyon Road is a historic district that is famous for its art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. The road stretches about a mile and a half, and it's easy to get lost in the maze of winding streets and adobe buildings. But don't worry, every turn holds a new discovery.

There are around 100 galleries and studios on Canyon Road, and each one is unique. Some specialize in traditional Southwest art, while others feature contemporary pieces. You'll find everything from paintings, sculpture, pottery, and jewelry to photography and textiles. It's a great opportunity to see works of art from local artists, and you might even get the chance to meet and talk with some of them.

Many of the galleries offer free admission, and there's no pressure to buy anything. You can simply stroll in and browse the artwork, enjoying the ambiance of the adobe buildings and the beautiful gardens that often accompany them. Many of the galleries also have special events, such as art openings, book signings, or live music.

In addition to art galleries, Canyon Road is also home to a variety of restaurants and cafes. Whether you want a quick coffee or a relaxing meal, there are plenty of options to choose from. The street is also lined with trees and flowers, making it a pleasant place to take a stroll at any time of year.

If you're interested in history, be sure to check out the many historic buildings on Canyon Road. Many of these buildings date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and they are a reminder of the city's rich past. You might also want to explore the nearby Santa Fe River Trail, which runs parallel to the road and offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Overall, a stroll down Canyon Road is one of the best ways to experience the beauty, culture, and history of Santa Fe. Whether you're an art lover or simply looking for a free way to enjoy the city, this historic district is sure to delight.

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Enjoy the scenic views from the top of Atalaya Mountain

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a beautiful place full of adventure, culture, and history. But did you know that there's a stunning viewpoint that's free for everyone to enjoy? Atalaya Mountain is one of the most popular hiking trails in Santa Fe, and it's a must-visit destination for anyone who loves panoramic views of the city and its surrounding mountains.

Atalaya Mountain is located in the Santa Fe National Forest, and it's a 6.4-mile round trip hike that's perfect for people of all fitness levels. The trailhead is located just a few miles east of downtown Santa Fe, and once you're on the trail, it's a steady climb to the top. It takes about 2-3 hours to complete the hike, so be sure to bring enough water, snacks, and sunscreen.

As you hike up Atalaya Mountain, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Jemez Mountains. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, so you won't have any trouble finding your way. Along the way, you'll pass through beautiful forests of pinon and juniper trees, and you'll even see the occasional deer or rabbit.

Once you reach the top of Atalaya Mountain, you'll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking views in Santa Fe. From this vantage point, you'll be able to see the entire city, as well as the Ortiz Mountains and the Sandia Mountains in the distance. It's a great spot for taking photos, enjoying a picnic lunch, or simply taking in the beauty of the natural world.

In the fall, the views from Atalaya Mountain are especially stunning, as the leaves of the aspen trees turn golden yellow and orange. And in the winter, the trail is a popular spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. No matter what time of year you visit, Atalaya Mountain is a must-see destination for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to experience the natural beauty of Santa Fe.

So, if you're looking for a fun and free activity to do in Santa Fe, make sure to put Atalaya Mountain on your list. The hike is challenging but rewarding, and the views from the top are some of the best in the city. It's a great way to experience Santa Fe's natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time.

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Attend a free concert or event at the Santa Fe Bandstand

Source: www.santafefiesta.org

If you're looking for something fun and free to do on a warm summer evening in Santa Fe, look no further than the Santa Fe Bandstand. This outdoor concert series takes place in the historic downtown Santa Fe Plaza and features a wide variety of performers, from local musicians to nationally acclaimed acts.

Every summer, the Santa Fe Bandstand presents a diverse lineup of music, including jazz, blues, rock, country, reggae, and more. Some of the bands and musicians who have performed at the Bandstand in recent years include The Mavericks, Taj Mahal, Toots and the Maytals, DJ Logic, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Best of all, every single concert is completely free and open to the public.

In addition to great music, the Santa Fe Bandstand also hosts other fun events and activities throughout the summer. These might include dance performances, theater productions, and poetry readings. Whatever your interests may be, there's sure to be something at the Santa Fe Bandstand that you'll enjoy.

Of course, the beautiful setting of the Santa Fe Plaza is also a major draw for visitors to the Bandstand. Bordered by historic buildings, sculptures, and fountains, the Plaza is a perfect spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Santa Fe. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs and settle in for a fun and memorable evening.

If you're planning to attend the Santa Fe Bandstand, be sure to arrive early to stake out a good spot. The Plaza can get quite crowded on concert nights, and you'll want to have plenty of room to dance and enjoy the music. You may also want to consider bringing a jacket or sweater, as evenings can get cool in Santa Fe, even in the summertime.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun and free way to spend a summer evening in Santa Fe, don't miss the Santa Fe Bandstand. With great music, beautiful surroundings, and a welcoming atmosphere, it's a must-see for locals and visitors alike. Check out the Bandstand schedule online to see what's coming up, and get ready for a night you won't forget.


Wander through the Santa Fe Farmers Market

Source: santafefarmersmarket.com
Characteristic Description
NameSanta Fe Farmers Market
TypeFarmers' market in Santa Fe, New Mexico
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 1,582
Address1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone(505) 983-4098
HoursFriday - Closed
Saturday - 8 AM–1 PM
Sunday - Closed
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Closed
Wednesday - Closed
Thursday - Closed

Santa Fe is known for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and a rich history that dates back centuries. However, not everyone may have the budget to indulge in the city’s luxurious amenities. Fortunately, there are plenty of activities that you can enjoy in Santa Fe that won’t cost you a dime. One of the must-visit places on this budget-friendly list is the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

The Santa Fe Farmers Market is an outdoor market located in the heart of the city. It’s been operating for 50 years and has over 150 vendors. You’ll find an array of fresh, locally grown produce, handmade crafts, and artisanal food products. The market runs all year, but the best time to visit is during the summer when the market is bustling with activity.

Wandering through the Farmers Market will give you a glimpse of everyday life in Santa Fe. You’ll see locals buying their weekly groceries, chatting with farmers about the day’s harvest, and artisans showcasing their wares. The market is a hub of activity and a great place to interact with the community.

Apart from food and crafts, the market also hosts live music performances, art exhibitions, and cooking demonstrations. Be sure to check their website for upcoming events that align with your interest.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven at the Farmers Market. The market offers a vast selection of fresh produce that includes vegetables, fruits, dairy, and meats. You can pick up some delicious treats such as fresh baked bread, artisanal cheeses, and handcrafted chocolates. Many vendors offer samples, so be sure to try the products before you buy them.

The Santa Fe Farmers Market is more than just a market; it’s an experience. Wandering through the vibrant stalls is a great way to spend a morning, and it won’t cost you a penny. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, unique handmade crafts, or an opportunity to mingle with locals, the Farmers Market has something for everyone. So why not add it to your itinerary of budget-friendly activities in Santa Fe?


Learn about Native American culture at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Source: www.visitalbuquerque.org

If you want to get a taste of Native American culture and history, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a must-visit destination. Located just minutes away from the city's downtown area, the center offers a wide range of exhibits, events, and activities that celebrate the rich heritage of the Pueblo peoples who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. And the best part? Admission to the center is free!

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the traditions, art, and customs of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. Inside the center, you'll find an impressive collection of artifacts, artworks, and interactive displays that showcase the history and culture of the Pueblo peoples. There are also live cultural performances, storytelling sessions, and workshops that give visitors the chance to learn more about traditional dances, songs, and crafts.

One of the highlights of the center is the Pueblo House exhibit, which features a recreated traditional adobe home that provides an immersive experience of Pueblo life. Inside the house, you'll see how families cooked, slept, and worked in traditional ways, using materials and tools that have been passed down through generations. The exhibit also includes commentary from Pueblo elders, who offer insights into the meanings and significance of various cultural practices.

Another popular attraction at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the museum store, which offers a wide selection of authentic Native American art, jewelry, and other handmade items. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir or a unique gift that supports local artisans and their communities.

If you're planning a visit to Santa Fe, be sure to add the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to your itinerary. With its wide range of exhibits and activities, this center is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Native American peoples in New Mexico. Plus, with free admission, it's an affordable and accessible way to experience something truly special!

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Frequently asked questions

There are many free things to do in Santa Fe that are kid-friendly. You can explore the historic Santa Fe Plaza, visit the Children's Museum or the Museum of International Folk Art. You can also take a hike at the Atalaya Trail or the Dale Ball Trails and enjoy the scenic beauty.

Santa Fe is known for its vibrant art scene, and there are many free art galleries and museums to explore. You can visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, or the New Mexico Museum of Art. Also, the famous Santa Fe Indian Market in August is free to attend and features over 1,000 native artists displaying their art.

Santa Fe offers a wide variety of outdoor activities that are free to enjoy. You can take a stroll along the Canyon Road Art District, visit the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, or explore the Santa Fe National Forest. You can also attend one of the many free outdoor concerts or festivals that happen throughout the year.

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Darius Gamble

I recently visited Santa Fe and I was amazed at how many free things there are to do in the city! One of my favorites was exploring the Santa Fe Plaza, where you can take in the stunning architecture and vibrant atmosphere without spending a dime. I also loved hiking the trails in the surrounding area, like the Dale Ball Trails or Atalaya Mountain, which offer breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding nature. Another highlight for me was visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, which offers free admission to New Mexico residents on Friday evenings. Overall, Santa Fe is a great destination for budget travelers who still want to experience the beauty and culture of the city.

Elsa Evans

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Santa Fe and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many free activities to enjoy! One of my favorites was exploring the Palace of the Governors, which houses the New Mexico History Museum and offers free admission on certain days. I also enjoyed strolling through the historic downtown area, where you can admire the adobe architecture and browse the many art galleries and boutiques. Another highlight was visiting the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, a beautiful church with stunning stained glass windows and peaceful atmosphere. Santa Fe truly offers a wealth of free activities that allow you to truly immerse yourself in the city's rich culture and history.

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