What is Santa Fe Known For?

The art scene in Santa Fe spotlights the best of what’s weird

What is Santa Fe known for? In addition to its world-famous cuisine and rich history as the oldest state capital in the U.S., Santa Fe is home to the 3rd largest art scene in the country. If you’re looking to get the most out of your time in Santa Fe, here are four can’t-miss spots you’ll want to visit. 

1. Art House Santa Fe/ Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation

Canyon Road Arts District contains over 100 art galleries but our favorite is situated right at the beginning of the neighborhood. Exhibitions found at Art House Santa Fe are curated through the local non-profit Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. The building itself once served as a farmhouse and there’s always a thought-provoking selection of works and installations to take in. Book a curated art tour of Canyon Road or take in its galleries at your own pace. Either way, the district and Art House in particular, are easily among the top things to do in Santa Fe.

2. SITE Santa Fe

The back of the SITE Santa Fe building - Santa Fe is known for its art scene

Attribution: Paul Sableman/Flickr 

If you head out to the Railyard Arts District just southwest of downtown, you can’t miss the spectacular aluminum exterior façade of SITE Santa Fe—easily one of the best things to see in Santa Fe. Launched in 1995 as the first international biennial of contemporary art, SITE showcases a massive collection of engaging thematic exhibitions that will expand your understanding of contemporary art spaces. The friendly knowledgeable guides you’ll meet here are adept at finding new ways to enrich the visitor experience with innovative art, while welcoming immerging artists through an educational program aimed at encouraging community involvement.

3. Santa Fe Plaza

Now a National Historic Landmark, Santa Fe Plaza has been The Heart of Santa Fe since its founding over 400 years ago. Visit any time of year and you’ll find The Plaza bustling with various markets, restaurants, fiestas, music, and more. Architecture is often considered a form of art expressing how we present ourselves in relation to our surroundings. The historical buildings that surround The Plaza such as the Palace of the Governors (1610), San Miguel Mission (1628), and Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (1886) clearly make it one of the top New Mexico attractions. Its central location to downtown and other local sites also makes it a great place to stay in Santa Fe. If something big is happening in Santa Fe today, there’s a good chance it either starts, ends, or is being held at Santa Fe Plaza.

4. The House of Eternal Return – Meow Wolf

The black light forest in Meow Wolf - Santa Fe is known for its art scene

Attribution: The Chamanas/Flickr

This list would not be complete without mentioning Meow Wolf in the Siler-Rufina Nexus of town. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Santa Fe, this should top your list. Housed in an old bowling alley, Meow Wolf partnered with Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin and over 200 artists to create fully-interactive experiences unlike any you’re likely to have encountered before. Step into the refrigerator or slide through the dryer (yes, you read that right) and you’ll be transported across time and space within 20,000 square feet of immersive installation pieces you can poke, pull, and shuffle through. The funhouse art space brazenly explodes through every expectation of what you might have believed art can be.

What’s so special about Santa Fe? Santa Fe has come a long way from turquoise jewelry and sunset paintings. Oh, you’ll still find those, but there’s so much more to enjoy in place that’s come to be called The City Different. The best time to visit Santa Fe is usually during the fall season, when the climate is more temperate and the fiesta season is in full swing.

Think you’re ready for a trip? Clear your mind, grab your sunscreen, and book your flight to Santa Fe. It’s time to enjoy the wonders the Land of Enchantment has to offer. 


Header image: Via CAVORT/Shutterstock.com