6 Places to Visit Around Santa Fe & Albuquerque, New Mexico This Summer

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - hanging red chile - Two Worlds Treasures

Are you planning to visit Santa Fe & Albuquerque this summer but not sure where to go or what to do?

For out-of-state people like us, it’s hard to choose what places to visit when we are in Santa Fe & Albuquerque for only 2-3 days. Not only because both cities have so much to offer, but also because everyone in the family has their own preferences. One like nature, one like art, one like the museum, one like food, and one like history. And both cities and surrounding area have plenty of them.

But, you don’t have to worry! It happened to our family before. After 2 visits to Santa Fe & Albuquerque during summertime, I come up with this list of places to visit around Santa Fe & Albuquerque. On both visits, we spent 3 days and 2 nights were on the third day we left for another adventure in different cities.

Hope this will help you in making a decision.

6 Places to Visit Around Santa Fe & Albuquerque, New Mexico This Summer

  1. KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument - Two Worlds Treasures

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is where you can see remarkable cone-shaped tent rocks formation. There are 2 hiking trails here: Slot Canyon Trail (3-miles round trip) and Cave Loop Trail (1.2-miles).

I recommend you do Slot Canyon Trail first. It starts with a flat trail and turns to steep and require climbing at the last part of the trail. This path is popular, and despite its above average difficulty, most people managed to get to the top. This is where you can see the cone-shaped tent rock formations that look amazing from above. Even within minutes of your hike, you will face with incredible rock formations.

After that, you can do the Cave Loop Trail, or skip it if you must move to another location.

Best time to visit Early in the morning when it is still cool and not crowded. There aren’t too many shades on the trail and New Mexico’s sun in the summertime is not too friendly.

Hours of Operation Mon-Sun: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What to bring/wear – Good hiking/walking shoes – Hat/sunglasses – Plenty of water – Snacks – Sunscreen – Camera

Admission $5 per vehicle unless you have a big group. Or, free with your National Park Pass.

Address Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe on Indian Service Rte. 92, Cochiti Pueblo, NM 87072. Ph: (505) 331-6259.

Note: dogs are not allowed on the trail.

 

  1. BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Bandelier National Monument - Two Worlds Treasures

This is a great place by Santa Fe to see cliff dwellings built by the Pueblo people as well as Pueblo village ruins and petroglyphs.

Although Bandelier has over 70 miles of trail, the Main Loop Trail (1.2-mile loop trail) is the right choice for your family on your first visit. This trail will take you through the archeological sites. In addition, ladders along the trail allow visitors to climb into cavates (small human-carved alcoves).

If you’re not afraid of heights, instead of taking a turn towards the visitor center, continue to Alcove House for another ½-mile. This alcove is located 140-feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon that can be reached by 4 wooden ladders and several stone stairs. These ladders are straight up and fairly long. Once you reach into the Alcove House, you will see a reconstructed kiva, the underground room that used by Pueblo people for the religious ceremony and other purposes. But since 2011, tourists are no longer to go down the kiva. You still can enjoy the beautiful view from the top though.

Best time to visit In the morning. However, between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. you must take a shuttle bus provided by the park. The bus runs approximately every 30 minutes weekdays and 20 minutes weekends.

What to bring/wear – Good hiking/walking shoes – Hat/sunglasses – Plenty of water – Snacks – Sunscreen – Camera

Admission $20 per vehicle for a 7-day entry permit, even when you arrive between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Or, free with National Park Pass.

Address 15 Entrance Rd., Los Alamos, NM 87544. Ph.: (505) 672-3861 ext. 517.

Note: dogs are not allowed and make sure you grab the Junior Ranger Program for the kids.

 

  1. PETROGLYPH NATIONAL MONUMENT

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Petroglyph National Monument - Two Worlds Treasures

Adjacent to a subdivision on the west side of Albuquerque is one of the largest petroglyphs sites in North America. The petroglyphs carved on volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago.

There is 3 popular hiking trails area where you can see the petroglyphs, but I recommend you do Boca Negra Canyon. In this developed area, there are 3 short trails that take you about an hour to do all of them.

After you arrive at the Information Center, grab the map and Junior Ranger program for the kids. Then start with the Mesa Point Trail right next to the building. The trail requires climbing and there’s no shade at all. So, do it early in the morning and don’t forget to wear a hat, sunglasses, and bring plenty of water.

From here you continue to Macaw Trail and Cliff Base Trail, either by foot or by car. Once you’re done, go back to the Information Center for your kids to be sworn in as a Junior Ranger.

Best time to visit Early in the morning because this is an open area and there’s no shade at all.

What to bring/wear – Good hiking/walking shoes – Hat/sunglasses – Plenty of water – Snacks – Sunscreen – Camera

Admission A $1 parking fee on weekdays and $2 on weekends.

Location Off of Unser Blvd., ¼-mile north of Montano Road, west side of Albuquerque.

Note: dog on a leash.

 

  1. LORETTO CHAPEL

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Loretto Chapel - Two Worlds Treasures

Here in Loretto Chapel, you will see the Miraculous Staircase that has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Some believed it was St. Joseph, the patron of carpenter himself who came to build the stairs. It was a former Roman Catholic church but now is used as a museum and wedding chapel. But, you still can pray and light a candle inside the chapel.

Best time to visit Anytime between 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Monday to Saturday or 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. However, it may close without notice for special events. Call in advance. And, make sure you stroll around the chapel area.

What to bring/wear – Good attitude – Camera

Admission Free of charge.

Address 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Ph. (505) 982 0092.

Note: while here, venture to the neighboring Canyon Road. A street full of art galleries and studios exhibiting a wide range of art. Then drive to Cowgirl for lunch or dinner on S. Guadalupe St.

 

  1. EXPLORA – SCIENCE CENTER & CHILDREN’S MUSEUM of ALBUQUERQUE

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Explora, children museum - Two Worlds Treasures

Like they said on their website, Explora is part science center, part children’s museum, part free-choice school, part grandma’s attic, part grandpa’s garage, part laboratory, part neighborhood full of interesting people, and part of many people’s lives. Furthermore, exhibits are designed to engage visitors of all ages.

I couldn’t agree more with their description. We could have stayed at Explora until its close time. Our family had fun exploring all the exhibits. From the engineering gravity, life of water, moving air, light, color, shadow, math moves, to electricity and sound. And they have science experiment led by staff at least twice a day. Surely you must bring your family here.

 Best time to visit When they open in the morning.

 Hours of Operation Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

 What to bring/wear – Your curiosity – Camera

Admission

Explora members: Free.

Children (under age 1): Free.

Children (1-11): $4.

Adults (12-64): $8.

Seniors (age 65+, with ID): $5.

Students or Military (with ID): $5.

Address 1701 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. Ph.: (505) 224-8300.

Note: When we went there in 2014, we could use our museum membership card from Ft. Worth Science & History Museum. If you have one, call ahead of time to find out if they accept your card.

 

  1. NEW MEXICO MUSEUM of NATURAL HISTORY & SCIENCE

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science - Two Worlds Treasures

Another museum in Albuquerque that you shouldn’t miss on your visit. Located right across Explora, New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science mission is to preserves and interprets the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of New Mexico state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning.

Immediately we fell for this museum after we found ourselves face to face with Stan the T. Rex, stood in full mode attack in the atrium. You will learn a lot from their permanent exhibits as well as from the Naturalist Center, Fossilworks, and temporary exhibits.

Best time to visit When they just open.

Hours of Operation 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday through Sunday. Closed on Tuesdays.

What to bring/wear – Curiosity – Camera

Admission

Children (3-12): $5.

Adults (13-59): $8.

Seniors (60+): $7.

There’s extra charge for Dynatheater and Planetarium.

Address 1801 Mountain road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. Ph.: (505) 841-2800.

Note: when we went there in 2014, we could get in for free of charge with our Ft. Worth Science & History Museum membership card. If you have one, call ahead of time to see if they still accept your card.

 

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