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Our Guide On What To See and Do in Santa Fe New Mexico

How to Make the Most of 4 Days in Santa Fe

a view of Santa Fe, NM, and the surrounding mountains

The City Different offers so many experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you’re here for a weekend or an extended stay, there are endless ways to enjoy your vacation in the second oldest city in America. If you’re spending four days in Santa Fe, we crafted a day-by-day itinerary so you can experience our favorite aspects of our great town. From the great outdoors to the adobe architecture, there are so many wonderful ways to see Santa Fe! If you need more ideas and inspiration for how to enjoy your trip, consult our free Vacation Guide!

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Your Guide to 4 Days in Santa Fe

Day One – Dive Into Santa Fe History 

If you only have four days in Santa Fe, you need to spend the first 24 hours diving into the incredible history. You’ll find an astonishing array of architecture, attractions, and sights that make the City Different one of the most interesting towns in the entire country. Add in the fact that it’s the second oldest city in America and you can easily fill up to several days of exploring all of the historical highlights here. 

Start the day with a walking tour of the city center. The Santa Fe Plaza, Palace of the Governors, and  Loretto Chapel are just a few of the must-see attractions during the morning. Take a break at one of the restaurants near the heart of town, where you can sample one of our local favorites—the green chile cheeseburger. Spend the second half of the day perusing the many buildings featuring the famous adobe-style architecture that is now a calling card of Santa Fe. Who knows, you may even discover a couple of the hidden gems around the downtown area before walking back to your room at Four Kachinas.

Day Two – Explore the Great Outdoors 

Venture outside of the city on day two of your four day trip to Santa Fe. There are many outdoor adventures awaiting you in the surrounding mountains and plateaus. Pack a picnic lunch and choose your excursion(s). You can head east into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where there are miles of hiking trails weaving through the beautiful and rugged terrain. Pecos National Park is further afield but also offers plenty of hiking opportunities in addition to some unique Civil War history. 

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is an otherworldly adventure through tall, cone-shaped rocks. It’s about a 45-minute drive west of town, but it’s well worth the trip. Another must-see place during your four days in Santa Fe is Bandelier National Monument. Not only are there tons of hiking trails here, but you can get an up-close look at homes and communities carved into the sides of a canyon by the Ancestral Pueblo people in the 12th-century. If you head south of the Santa Fe, you can also see ancient writing and symbols at La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs. There are endless ways to see the great outdoors in Northern New Mexico!

Day Three – Take a Day Trip

Sure, four days in Santa Fe isn’t a long time, and you may want to dedicate the entirety of your trip to seeing everything the town has to offer. But there are more than a handful of places that are perfect for a day trip. 

Two of our favorite day trips are the Turquoise Trail and Taos. The Turquoise Trail runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and has several fantastic stops along the way. The mining towns of Golden, Madrid, and Los Cerrillos each have their own unique feel. If you only want to stop at one, we recommend Madrid for its cool art vibe. If you want to complete the route and head into Albuquerque, make sure you take the trip up to Sandia Peak via the tram. The views from the 10,000 mountain are spectacular (and the skiing during the winter months is great). Taos is one of the more popular excursions from the City Different. Historic Taos Plaza and San Francisco de Asis Church are incredible sights, but the main attraction here is the Taos Pueblo. These impressive adobe structures were the ancient predecessors to apartment buildings today. Needless to say, this longtime artist colony is a great place to spend a day. 

Los Alamos is a fun visit nearby if you are interested in the atomic history of World War II. There are a few other places further afield like The Very Large Array of radio astronomy satellites and White Sands National Monument, but you need at least a couple of more days to explore those.

Day Four – Discover the Art and Foodie Scene

Treat your eyes and your palate on the final day of your four days in Santa Fe. The renowned art scene here is on display in the many museums around town. Start at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which houses an extensive collection of one of New Mexico’s most beloved daughters. Other places like the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture are excellent spots to soak in Southwestern history, art, and culture. If you’re searching for something unique, stop by Meow Wolf to solve a fun and interactive science-fiction mystery involving technology and art. 

In between these museums, savor Santa Fe cuisine at local dive bar Tune-Up Cafe or New Mexican specialties at Casa Chimayo. If you want to treat yourself to a finer dining experience, book a reservation at La Casa Sena or the Coyote Cafe. There are countless venues around town providing nightly live music from local bands and artists, which can be a fantastic way to relax and enjoy your evening in the City Different. If you’re here during opera season, finish off your last day here with an evening performance at the Santa Fe Opera, where the sunset views are second to none.

Plan Your Santa Fe GetawayThe interior of Kachina Room 1

Four Kachinas Inn has everything you need for the perfect trip to the City Different. Our beautiful rooms feature authentic Southwestern art and decor, along with comfortable beds and furnishings. You can wake up every morning to a delicious complimentary breakfast before stepping out of your room and walking to the heart of downtown in less than 15 minutes. We also have a vacation rental available in the foothills about 20 minutes outside of the city. 

Book one of our accommodations and start planning your Santa Fe getaway today! We look forward to welcoming you to our Inn.

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