As you make your way to the Inn and Spa at Loretto in downtown Santa Fe, opt to drive along the Old Santa Fe Trail – once a vital trade route that connected western Missouri to Santa Fe – this path will lead you right to the grand entrance of the property. With the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as the backdrop, the Inn rises out of the ground like the earth reaching for the sky. The beauty is deep, and it touches a special part of every guest who journeys to this magical setting.
Image: Inn and Spa at Loretto. All rights reserved.
As you enter the pueblo-style building (a recreation of the famed Taos Pueblo, the oldest inhabited dwelling in the U.S.) you feel time begin to stand still. Each element within the adobe walls reflects the ancient culture of New Mexico’s first inhabitants and each moment is blessed by the sound of the Cathedral bells ringing in the distance. A place where the Old Santa Fe Trail ends and discovery begins, the Inn welcomes you with a warm spirit and endless opportunities to experience all that is Santa Fe.
Image: Loretto Chapel, property of Loretto Chapel. All rights reserved.
From ancient culture to modern amenities Santa Fe’s offerings are as rich as its history. Whether you’re on a quest to unleash your inner creative, embarking on a soul journey, trekking through the countless mountain trials, or simply strolling the adobe lined streets in search of one-of-a-kind treasures, the City Different is sure to please. Finding your way through a new city is half the journey, but experiencing a place through the eyes and spirit of the locals is the ultimate reward. So to help you navigate your way through Santa Fe, the Inn and Spa at Loretto has compiled a list of the best places to dine, a few of the top must-see attractions, and opportunities to get off the beaten path. We invite you to explore and discover the many offerings of America’s oldest capital city, creating your own personal adventure, and memories to last a lifetime.
A visit to Santa Fe is not complete without a good dose of Chile! You’ll want to start first thing in the morning with a no-frills breakfast at the famed Tia Sophia’s on W. San Francisco Street (just two blocks from the Inn and Spa at Loretto). This family owned restaurant has been delighting locals and travelers alike for decades with their authentic Chile and down home cooking. We recommend the Huevos Rancheros or Breakfast Burrito Christmas style – which means smothered in red and green Chile.
For lunch, head to the Plaza for some street food and enjoy a Frito Pie from the Five & Dime – an absolute must and true local tradition! Dine alfresco on the plaza as you people watch and take in the soothing Santa Fe sun. As dinner rolls around, make your way back to the Inn and Spa at Loretto for an intimate dinner at the Inn’s signature Luminaria Restaurant, where Executive Chef Marc Quinones cooks up progressive cuisine with regional Santa Fe flair. The menu changes seasonally, so be sure to order any of the dishes that feature red or green Chile – we promise you won’t be disappointed. A favorite right now is the Sous Vide Kurobuta Pork Chop with Green Chile Cheddar Grits, a hearty plate of pure bliss! Dine on under the stars on the tranquil patio in warmer months or indoors next to a roaring fire during winter.
Image: Luminaria Restaurant, Inn and Spa at Loretto. All rights reserved.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, head to Kakawa Chocolate House on Paseo de Peralta for a red Chile chocolate elixir or Senor Murphy’s on E. San Francisco Street for green Chile pistachio brittle. Both located walking distance from the Inn.
Start at the iconic Loretto Chapel. Located adjacent to the Inn, this Gothic Revival-style chapel built in 1878 was patterned after King Louis IX’s Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, a striking contrast to the adobe churches already in the area. Inside houses the famed miraculous staircase, with two 360 degree turns and no visible signs of support the legend of this ornate wooden stair case still mystifies historians today.
Image: Miraculous Staircase. Property of Loretto Chapel. All rights reserved.
Next, head to Canyon Road for a day of gallery hoping. Located just one block from the Inn, this famous street houses over 200 galleries ranging from local Native American art, to contemporary sculpture and international masters. A few recommendations to get you started are Winterowd Fine Art, InArt Santa Fe, and Manitou Gallery and Wiford Gallery. Stop for lunch at the Compound Restaurant; once the centerpiece of a group of houses on Canyon Road known as the McComb Compound that were later converted into a restaurant and graced with art deco design by the late Alexander Girard, the adobe villa is now a Santa Fe icon.
Image: Property of Winterowd Fine Art on Canyon Road. All rights reserved.
Next, step back in time as you spend a day at Museum Hill exploring four world-renowned museums including the International Museum of Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, The Spanish Colonial Museum and The Wheelwright Museum of the Native American. Shop for one of a kind treasures at the museum stores, and don’t miss the opportunity to snap a selfie with this guy!
Image: Property of Museum Hill. All rights reserved.
Anything outdoors! With over 300 days of annual sunshine, and 1.6 million acres of national forest to explore, you’ll want to be sure and pack your gear. If you are in to mountain biking head to the Sierra Del Norte trail head off Hyde Park Road and have a blast as you pedal through the Dale Ball trail system offering over 22 miles of intertwining hiking and biking trails. If hiking is more your speed then continue up Hyde Park Road about 30 minutes to the Aspen Vista Trail head.
From there you can opt to hike the fire road offering a gentle incline and stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo’s majestic aspen vistas (note: this is also a great trail for fall foliage hikes, offering some of the best leaf peeping in the state). Or, for the more seasoned hiker – veer to the left at take the Alamos trail, a steep 1.5 mile hike that takes you straight through the dense aspens and ends at the top of Ski Santa Fe’s quad chairlift. The views at the top are unparalleled and well worth the trek. Stop for lunch and relax as you take in the vast beauty of New Mexico.
A day trip to the Bandelier National Monument will provide you with not only time in the great outdoors, but a glimpse into the life and culture of New Mexico’s cliff dwellers. Located just a short one hour drive from the Inn, Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country, as well as evidence of human presence dating back over 11,000 years. You’ll see petroglyphs, climb cliff dwellings and stand in awe of grand masonry walls that pay tribute to the early days of a New Mexico’s Native American culture.
Be sure to make time for a little R&R. The Spa at Loretto offers signature treatments that will re-connect and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Opt for the Native Reflections Ritual to truly be immersed with the spirit of Santa Fe. The treatment includes a ritual sage clearing and blessing, followed by an undisturbed soak in a sage oil infused bath, and finished with a signature Sacred Stone Massage using the spa’s house-crafted Spirit blend aroma therapy oil.
Image: The Spa at Loretto. All rights reserved.
And, don’t forget to end each day by taking in the majestic Santa Fe sunsets. One of the best places in town to enjoy the show is the Cross of the Martyrs – an often overlooked, but important monument. As you make the moderate climb to the top you’ll be beckoned by twenty plaques that provide important points in history dating back from 500 AD to the modern era. At the top a grand steel cross stands with grace in honor of the 21 Franciscan priests that gave their lives during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 – an integral moment in history that shaped the city today. As the sun sets, the horizon glows in vibrant colors of red, gold and blue - reminding you to stop, rest, and reflect on the true spirit of this magical destination.