What to Do

Santa Fe has more good restaurants, bars, galleries and shopping per square foot, and you can see most of it by foot, than most any other place in the South Western USA.  This place will definitely put a smile on your co-pilots face.  The town smells of great food 24 hours per day.

This is a walking town.  We were there in February and it was brisk, but still a lovely time to walk the town.  There are too many shops to mention as well as too many galleries, all first class.  On the weekend, there were Pueblan native people in the plaza with their handmade crafts (not made in China).

The Loretto Chapel has an engineering miracle in its spiral staircase of 2 360-degree spirals with no visible means of support.

If you have a car, there are a few places that we recommend.  A day trip to Taos is a must.  Taos is another smaller community with restaurants and shopping.

We took a big loop to the west on Highway 64, then south on Highway 84.  There is some spectacular country to see if you want to spend a days trip.  We drove over a huge canyon cut by the Rio Grande River just west of Taos.  Then we drove into some higher country and past a lake which happens to be a huge volcanic caldera.  As we headed south to Bandelier, you drive through great canyon lands.

We drove through famous Los Alamos with the Bradbury Science Museum and saw Fat Man and Little Boy.  This is the place that Oppenheimer built.  It's pretty informative and a worthwhile short stop.

After that, it's onto the ancient Pueblan cliff dwellings.  We stopped at a place on the way to Bandelier National Park that had some easy hiking to some cliff dwellings.  If you have time, be sure to stop when you see the sign for the dwellings.  There are some fantastic vistas along the trail as well of the high New Mexican landscape.

Bandelier National Monument is a fabulous place to wander through the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings.  This is definitely worth 1/2 to a full day's visit.  The Main Loop is an easy, mostly flat trail, that brings you to a very large Kiva, cermonial circular structure, and then into the actual cliff dwellings that requires you, if you choose, to climb a few short ladders.  It's well worth it.  About half way around the loop, you can decide to continue a little further (about 1/2 mile) to the Alcove House, which has a few taller ladders to more and varied dwellings and an enclosed Kiva.  Bring a lunch or snacks and make an afternoon of it.