70th Annual Natural Resources and Energy Law Institute

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • July 18-20, 2024

Fun Things to do in Santa Fe

Bandelier National Monument

For centuries before the Europeans came to North America, ancestral Puebloan peoples lived in permanent settlements across the southwest. At the Bandelier National Monument, visitors can explore the remnants of one of these settlements. At the base of Frijoles Canyon are a collection of ancient cave dwellings and other stone structures belonging to ancestors of today's Pueblo peoples.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

If you're an architecture buff, take some time to check out the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which was constructed beginning in 1869. Located a block east of the Santa Fe Plaza, this breathtaking French Romanesque Revival cathedral stands out among the city's adobe skyline. Adjoining to the cathedral is the small adobe chapel – all that remains of a previous church that was destroyed during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt – which contains the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States.

This historical church receives plenty of praise from travelers and Santa Fe residents alike. Visitors said you should stroll through the inside, take in the beautiful stained-glass windows and find a docent to help explain some of the history of the church. They also remind visitors that the church is active and to be respectful of services.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum explores the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe through intentionally curated galleries. Selected works from every era of O’Keeffe’s esteemed career, a collection of personal belongings, and a self-guided audio tour combine to tell O’Keeffe’s bold story. Follow the galleries through O’Keeffe’s early work as a student and teacher, groundbreaking paintings from her time living on the East Coast and her artistic revelations inspired by New Mexico. Nestled in historic downtown Santa Fe, the jewel box Museum is an intimate experience you can’t get anywhere else. Guests are welcome to enjoy the Museum at any pace, average viewing time is 60 minutes.

Meow Wolf Santa Fe

The original permanent Meow Wolf exhibition, House of Eternal Return, is a monumental achievement in DIY world creation and collaboration, featuring over 70 rooms made by local and community artists. House of Eternal Return is an unique & immersive art installation with multimedia elements and a mysterious narrative throughout.

River Rafting

The rivers in our region are famous, appealing to serious river rats seeking whitewater thrills as well as those who prefer to leisurely float along calm waters. Ride the legendary Rio Grande or the Rio Chama, both designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers, and you'll experience unsurpassed beauty and a remarkable adventure. Santa Fe is located just 40 minutes south of the Pilar put-in on the Rio Grande, and you can find various local outfitters to accommodate all skill levels, from novice to expert.

Canyon Road

Situated less than a mile east of the Santa Fe Plaza, Canyon Road is home to more than 80 art galleries selling works from famed creatives, such as members of the Taos Society of Artists, and treasures like handmade Pueblo pottery, and kinetic sculpture. During the summer, there is an Art Stroll on Fridays. Pop into the different galleries and boutiques along the street and you'll find everything from jewelry to paintings. Many of the galleries found here are housed in historic adobe buildings laced with brightly colored flowers; art installations are often showcased outside, and the aromas emanate from the doorways of top-notch eateries like Geronimo Restaurant and The Compound. Experience art without being stuck indoors or inside a single museum. The free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle stops nearby and is your best option for visiting Canyon Road - the streets in the surrounding area are narrow and parking can be a challenge. Galleries are typically open daily from 10am to 5pm, but specific business hours may vary.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas

El Rancho de las Golondrinas, or the Ranch of the Swallows, is a living history museum that endeavors to show what life was like in the rural area south of Santa Fe in the 18th and 19th century. The 200-acre complex has buildings dating back to the early 1700s as well as reconstructed buildings from other areas of the state. Volunteer docents wear clothing reflecting the period and demonstrate lifeways from the era. The site stages various events throughout the year.

Ethyl the Whale

Ethyl is an 82-foot life-sized sculpture of a blue whale made of hand-recycled plastic trash, commissioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, purchased by Meow Wolf, and relocated to the grounds of Santa Fe Community College. She was created to bring awareness to the ever-growing urgency of the negative impact plastics have on our environment.

Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel is known for its so-called miraculous staircase, which creates two 360-degree turns as it climbs 22 feet to the choir loft. The stairway is said to have been built by a wandering carpenter after the chapel itself was completed in 1878. According to the chapel, the carpenter used wooden pegs (not nails) and the staircase itself has no visible means of support. Other features of the neo-Gothic church – which is just 25 feet by 75 feet – include trefoil arches, buttresses and stained-glass windows imported from France.

Margarita Trail

The margarita is synonymous with Santa Fe, and the Margarita Trail connects nearly 50 different restaurants and bars across Santa Fe County. Each restaurant has a specialty drink on the trail. It is meant to be enjoyed over time, whether a few days during a weekend trip or over a longer span. A "passport" where imbibers can track the trail locations they've visited is available in paper form from any of the Santa Fe visitor centers or via a digital app. If you present your passport at a participating location, you'll get a $1 discount on the specialty margarita. Plus, stamps can be redeemed for prizes such as t-shirts and cocktail books, but you can only earn two stamps every 12 hours. Opening times and prices vary for each margarita trail stop.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, part of the Museum of New Mexico system, tells the stories of the Southwest's native people from pre-history to the present day. Its collection includes more than 72,000 objects, including sculptures, baskets, pottery, jewelry, textiles and an ancient 151-foot-long hunting net made of human hair circa A.D. 1200. The museum also hosts various events, such as native pottery demonstrations and lectures, as well as educational programs. There's also an outdoor sculpture garden that features rotating exhibits by Native American sculptors. Locate on Museum Hill.

Museum of International Folk Art

Set on Museum Hill, the Museum of International Folk Art neighbors the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

Of all the museums run by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, this one is probably the most unconventional and diverse, showcasing more than 130,000 pieces of folk and traditional art from societies all over the globe. You will encounter African, Asian, Middle Eastern, contemporary Hispanic and Latino, European, North American, and Spanish Colonial pieces ranging from household objects, ceramics, and paintings to puppets and costumes. For kids, there is a large collection of colorful toys from around the world to spark their interest. The Museum is beautifully curated to eclectic. Located 2.5 miles south of the Santa Fe Plaza, the Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm Guided tours are available. You can also purchase a CulturePass, which grants you access to multiple museums and historic sites in New Mexico, for a set price.

New Mexico Museum of Art

The oldest art museum in the state (it opened in 1917), the New Mexico Museum of Art is set in a traditional adobe building and home to more than 20,000 pieces of American and European art. Pieces range from drawings, paintings, and photographs to more unique displays such as prints and textiles. The museum has a permanent collection and welcomes rotating exhibits.

New Mexico State Capitol

New Mexico's State Capitol, known familiarly as the Roundhouse, was designed by architect Robert E. McKee to resemble the shape of a Zia sun symbol, the image that adorns the state's flag. The 232,000-square-foot structure, has a 60-foot-high central rotunda. Beyond its distinctive architecture, the capitol is worth visiting for art's sake. Its art collection, managed by the Capitol Art Foundation, has nearly 600 works, including paintings, sculpture, photography, and more. Additionally, the Governor's Gallery on the fourth floor operates as an arm of the New Mexico Museum of Art and hosts several special exhibits annually. The building's 6 1/2-acre-grounds boast outdoor art as well as more than 100 types of local plants.

Palace of the Governors

Dating back to 1610, the Palace of the Governors was the original capitol of New Mexico and has been in public use longer than any other building in the country. The adobe structure was connected to the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, when the Pueblo Indians successfully drove Spanish invaders out of Santa Fe (who then fled to El Paso). Today, the National Historic Landmark showcases more than 400 years of the state's history (officially as part of the New Mexico History Museum). Outside, Native American artists sell handmade pottery, jewelry and more.

Railyard Arts District

Along with Canyon Road and the Santa Fe Plaza, the Railyard Arts District represents a top city artistic hub. Spread along rail tracks that terminate at the Santa Fe Depot, the district has transformed from a home of industry to one for galleries, museums, restaurants and shops. The neighborhood hosts summer music concerts and events, and is home to the Santa Fe Farmers Market on the weekends. SITE Santa Fe, a contemporary art museum, showcases exhibitions and artist talks with leading-edge creatives from around the globe.

Routes Bicycle Tours

With more than 400 years of history to revisit, Santa Fe feels like a living museum. One of the best ways to experience this history – not to mention spotting its architectural gems and other landmarks – is on a bike tour. Outfitter Routes Bicycle Tours offers tours exploring the city's art and history, local cuisine and craft beer. Guides lead each tour and offer historical information and local insights. Recent reviews said a bike tour was a great way to get introduced to the city. They raved about the guides' knowledge. They noted that bikes allowed them to cover more territory than walking tours. Specialty tours include the Santa Fe City Art & History Tour, the Flavors of Santa Fe Tour, and the Custom Bites & Brews Bike Tours.

San Miguel Chapel

San Miguel Chapel bills itself as the oldest church in the continental U.S. The original part of the structure long predates the founding of the country and is believed to date back to around 1610. Located in Santa Fe's historic El Barrio de Analco district, near the Santa Fe Plaza, the church is dedicated to the archangel Michael, a statue of whom stands at the site, along with a carved wooden alter screen and other artworks. The adobe building is used for Mass, live musical performances, and other events.

Santa Fe Botanical Garden

A high desert landscape surrounds Santa Fe, but there are few better places to appreciate its intricacies than the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. The 20-acre garden features a collection of fruit trees, a xeric garden (dry plants that rely solely on rainwater), and the Ojos y Manos (Eyes and Hands) ethnobotanical garden, which explores plants tied to human history. The meandering Art Trail showcases annual sculpture exhibitions. A 3.25-acre Piñon-Juniper Woodland protects the foothills ecosystem that's unique to Northern New Mexico. Approximately 8 acres of the garden is developed with walking paths.

Santa Fe Farmers Market

Open on Saturday mornings in the Railyard District throughout the year, the market features dozens of vendors selling everything from locally grown produce, flowers, and cheeses to baked goods, jams, and honey. At the nearby Railyard Artisan Market, crafters sell handmade items like jewelry and ceramics.

Santa Fe Opera

The Santa Fe Opera House is a world-renowned venue that plays host to a variety of operas each summer. The company has presented operas – comedies, dramas, tragedies and more – every July and August since 1957. The Opera is situated in an open-air theater surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountain ranges, which provide some gorgeous views, and it can accommodate around 2,100 spectators. Patrons can arrive up to three hours prior to the show (and many often do), to tailgate in the surrounding parking lots with picnics, gourmet meals, and drinks. The opera also offers special dining options like premade tailgate picnics and preview buffet dinners for a set price. Over our institute dates:

  • The Righteous (July 17)
  • La Traviata (July 19)
  • Der Rosenkavalier (July 20) with backstage tours, opening night dinner, shuttles, and preview dinners

Santa Fe Plaza

Since the city's founding in 1610, the Santa Fe Plaza has been its cultural hub. Surrounded by numerous centuries-old buildings like the Palace of the Governors, the plaza continues to be the epicenter of Santa Fean affairs, from live music to September's Santa Fe Fiesta. The plaza, which is a National Historic Landmark, hosts Indian and Spanish markets yearly, in addition to concerts and community gatherings. Any night of the week, the plaza is buzzing with activity with people enjoying restaurants, perusing galleries and checking out souvenir shops. The is full of vendors selling authentic Native American items like jewelry, textiles, and pottery. There always seems to be something going on, whether it's a parade, a market or a festival. And take some time to browse the various shops around the plaza. The free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle stops nearby and many of Santa Fe's top attractions are located within walking distance of this central area. In addition to the Palace of the Governors, you can also make a short walk to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the San Miguel Chapel. The plaza is free to visit 24/7, though individual businesses operate their own hours.

Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

This museum stands as a prominent institution dedicated to showcasing the art, history, and culture of Native American tribes across North America. Founded in 1937 by Mary Cabot Wheelwright, a Bostonian heiress, and Hastiin Klah, a Navajo medicine man and artist, the museum has since evolved into a vital center for indigenous art and education. Its collection includes an extensive array of Navajo textiles, jewelry, pottery, and contemporary art, alongside artifacts from other indigenous communities, offering visitors a comprehensive glimpse into the rich heritage and artistic expressions of Native peoples.

Liquid Light Glass

Liquid Light Glass is a hub for glass-blown art, sculptures, ornaments, vases and more. The shop and studio is located in the Baca Street Arts District, a neighborhood forming the southern end of the area of Santa Fe that's home to retail shops, furniture showrooms and art boutiques. Travelers can visit the studio to take a class with founder and glass artist Elodie Holmes, or one of her colleagues, to create colorful glass art.

Past patrons said walking through the shop to see all the unique glass-blown art is a treat; many added that they loved the class, during which items like paperweights, vases and bowls are made, and that the instructor was very patient and helpful.

New Mexico History Museum

New Mexico History Museum is a statewide educational resource, local landmark, and destination for anyone seeking to understand the diverse experiences of the people of New Mexico. The museum is a connecting point for all communities, telling the stories that made the American West, from the early lives of Native peoples to Spanish colonists, the Mexican era, Santa Fe Trail merchants, the railroad, cowboys, outlaws, and scientists.

New Mexico History Museum encompasses an incredible campus including the Palace of the Governors, the Palace Print Shop & Bindery, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and Photo Archives, and the Native American Artisans Portal Program. 

Santa Fe Children’s Museum

The Santa Fe Children's Museum provides a dynamic educational environment where children 0-12 and their families can play and learn together. They offer hands-on exhibits, an outdoor learning landscape, an animal exhibit, art, science, and cultural programs for children, workshops and classes for parents and caregivers, and much more!