Santa Fe, Mexico is a magical place that offers visitors endless fun and terrific activities. For instance, you can visit historical sites, try Mexican dishes, stroll through the city’s streets, and immerse yourself in Mexican culture.
I’ve put together this list of the best things to do with the kids in Santa Fe so you can start planning the ultimate family vacation.
1. Santa Fe Children’s Museum
Visiting the Santa Fe Children’s Museum is a must for families. The museum is packed with interactive and engaging exhibits that help build a child’s sense of discovery in arts, humanities, and science.
Your little ones can star in a puppet show or engage in hands-on scientific experiences. Most exhibits encourage cooperative play; the kids will have fun and make new friends.
The fun in this museum also extends outside, where you will find a spacious play area, wooden ships, Whispers Dishes, and the gigantic Rubiks Cube. Allocate enough time for the little ones to have a quality, fun-filled time.
2. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Located in downtown Santa Fe, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is a unique and memorable thing to do with the kids. It’s popularly known as Saint Francis Cathedral and is the mother church of the Santa Fe Archdiocese.
Tour this magnificent cathedral or attend a mass with the kids and discover its history of faith. You will fall in love with its Romanesque architecture.
The cathedral also boasts beautiful and well-manicured gardens where you can relax and contemplate. There is no entrance fee, but visitors are encouraged to make donations of any kind.
3. Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument sits on 33,677 acres near Los Alamos. While you may have read about it in the history books, you will have a different experience walking amongst it with your kids.
This monument offers you an opportunity to get an up-close experience of how Pueblo ancestors lived their lives. Explore their dwellings carved into the cliffs, standing masonry walls, and petroglyphs among the ancient ruins still dominating the surrounding communities.
There is a visitor’s center in the monument where you can learn more about its rich history and pick up some trail guides and maps. You will find a restaurant outside the visitor’s center as well.
This place is ideal for hiking, snowshoeing, and picnicking. Remember to bring sun protection during summer because the area can be hot.
4. Santa Fe Plaza
The Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark built in 1821 in the city’s downtown district.
Take a stroll, rest and contemplate on the bench, or be entertained by various street performers.
This plaza borders several shops, local cafes, and restaurants that you can explore with your loved ones.
Pop into the Kakawa Chocolate House and enjoy some hot chocolate with a snack of your choice.
5. Santa Fe Market
Santa Fe Market is a must if you happen to be in the area on a Saturday. The market is dominated by food, crafts, jewelry, and clothing stalls. You will love the local fresh farm produce sold here, so come ready to support the growers.
If you enjoy spicy food, this market is your number-one plug for the best spices in Mexico.
Plan for an early visit to the market because it gets crowded and the parking may be full.
6. Meow Wolf Santa Fe
Take your loved ones to Meow Wolf Santa Fe and let them enjoy an immersive experience in the museum’s themed rooms.
This famous art production company creates immersive art installations and multimedia elements that carry audiences of all age groups into memorable realms of storytelling.
The experience features a mystery house, jungle gym, children’s museum, and a hands-on, immersive art exhibit.
One of the most mind-blowing experiences for kids is the House of Eternal Return. This permanent and interactive narrative unfolds through the discovery, exploration, and interactivity of the 21st century.
During the narrative, your kids will choose their paths, climb, walk, and crawl through the themed rooms whose work has been done by over 500 artists.
The production museum also hosts various artistic events so remember to check their calendar for the upcoming artists in your family.
7. Santa Fe School of Cooking
At the Santa Fe School of Cooking, the hands-on cooking classes are geared to inspire those interested in making southwestern foods.
Your kids will appreciate spending time in the kitchen creating and eating the food they have cooked.
If time allows, allow them to participate in the school’s food tours. They will forever be grateful for thinking highly of them. You will love the new taste of food from your kitchen once you return from your vacation.
8. Bee Hive Bookstore
Bee Hive Bookstore on Montezuma Avenue boasts a lovely atmosphere for kids. It is usually stocked with excellent books for adults and children alike.
There is no other place in Santa Fe where kids can celebrate reading, writing, and community than right here.
9. Museum of International Folk Art
When looking for things to do with the kids in Santa Fe, drive to the Museum of International Folk Art. It is located on Museum Hill and is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
This museum is home to the world’s largest collection of folk art. It is also one of the most famous museums in New Mexico that has continued to gain local and international recognition.
It has grown to four wings, with an extraordinary collection of over 150,000 artifacts and exciting pieces to view. All the collections are from more than 150 nations.
Some lovely exhibits include paintings, beadworks, textiles, costumes, and much more. Some galleries also feature toys and dolls from different cultures, and your kids will specifically love them.
10. El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Show your children how life looked like for Mexicans in ancient days by taking them to the El Rancho de las Golondrinas.
Also known as “The Ranch of the Swallows”, this museum represents a rich history of the region dating back to the early 1700s.
Your kids will be over the moon as the guides take them through an immersive kid-friendly tour of the museum while dressed in ancient clothing.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of water since the tour takes time. Stop by the museum’s gift shop and purchase souvenirs such as dolls, toys, games, and clothes for your little ones before going home.
11. La Lecheria Ice Cream Shop
Treat your family to some heavenly scoops of New Mexico’s tastiest ice cream flavors at the La Lecheria ice cream shop.
The shop offers 12 different flavors. The ice creams are not only smooth but delicious thanks to the organic ingredients that make them.
You can be sure that this ice cream shop will be one of the top highlights of your visit to Santa Fe, especially for the kids.
12. Loretto Chapel
Loretto Chapel combines architectural, spiritual, and historical elements. The chapel is a former Roman Catholic Church constructed in 1878 but has now been turned into a museum. It’s also a famous wedding venue!
One of the most stunning areas of the chapel is the staircase, which is believed to have been built by a mysterious man for free. The staircase features 360-degree turns and has no structural support, further adding to its mystery.
This place is open the whole year.
13. Ski Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe is a major ski resort in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains east of Santa Fe.
This resort features skiing options for all skill levels, and you can book your family for private lessons as well.
There is a sports shop within the resort, so buy all the gear you need for winter sports.
Once done for the day, head to the Terrace Grill at the base of the resort and treat your family to a hot Mexican lunch before calling it a day.