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Bandelier National Monument picture in Santa Fe
Wilsilver77 / Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • $20 per vehicle
  • Sunrise-sunset daily

Details

  • Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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For centuries before the United States declared independence, the Southwest was divided into a number of city-states governed by Native Americans. 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 the Pueblo people. You can explore the settlement by following the paved trail through the village and climbing the wooden ladders into the caves themselves. After visiting the monument, take advantage of the surrounding park, complete with more than 30,000 acres of backcountry wilderness, wildlife and about 60 miles of hiking trails. Travelers say that while it's a bit of a trek to get here from downtown Santa Fe, it's worth it if you're looking to enjoy the outdoors and go exploring. Families with children said their kids loved it, since they can climb up the ladders and check out the cave dwellings.

Located about 40 miles northwest of Santa Fe proper, the Bandelier National Monument is open every day from dawn to dusk. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. A seven-day pass (which includes an automobile permit) costs about $20. For more information about tours, activities and free park days, visit the Bandelier National Monument website.

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#1 Canyon Road If there's any doubt that Santa Fe is a prime destination for art lovers, Canyon Road quashes it. Situated just east of the Santa Fe Plaza, Canyon Road is ... Read more » Terence Faircloth / Flickr

#2 Santa Fe Plaza Since the city's founding in 1610, the Santa Fe Plaza has been its cultural hub, hosting bullfights and fandangos. Today, surrounded by numerous ancient buildings like the San Miguel ... Read more » puroticorico / Flickr

#3 Santa Fe Opera House 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 ... Read more » Robert Godwin / Tourism Santa Fe

#4 Museum of International Folk Art Of all the museums that make up the New Mexico History Museum group, this one is probably the most unique. Southwestern art is definitely represented, but the Museum of International ... Read more » Granger Meadow / Flickr

#5 Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum Constructed in 1610, the Palace of the Governors was the original Capitol of New Mexico. The adobe structure was the site of the only successful Native American uprising, which took ... Read more » ivanastar / Getty Images

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#7 The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francisc of Assisi If you're an architecture buff, take some time to check out the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Located a block east of the Santa Fe Plaza, this ... Read more » Chris Corrie / Tourism Santa Fe

#8 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Having moved from the East Coast, Georgia O'Keeffe was inspired by Santa Fe's blazing landscape, and soon her portrayals of New Mexico earned her a reputation as one ... Read more » Robert Reck / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

#9 Skiing It may come as a surprise to some visitors, but New Mexico is home to some of the top ski spots in the Southwest. Ski season here usually spans from ... Read more » Courtesy of Ski Santa Fe

#10 Bandelier National Monument For centuries before the United States declared independence, the Southwest was divided into a number of city-states governed by Native Americans. At the Bandelier National Monument, visitors can explore the ... Read more » Wilsilver77 / Getty Images

#11 New Mexico Museum of Art The oldest art museum in the state, the New Mexico Museum of Art is set in a traditional adobe building and home to more than 20,000 pieces of art ... Read more » Chris Corrie / TOURISM Santa Fe

#12 Liquid Light Glass Established in 1986, Liquid Light Glass is a hub for glass-blown art, sculptures, ornaments, vases and more. The shop is located in the Baca Street Arts District, an up-and-coming neighborhood ... Read more » Courtesy of Liquid Light Glass

Canyon Road Gallery picture in Santa Fe
Obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza picture in Santa Fe
Santa Fe Opera House picture in Santa Fe
Museum of International Folk Art picture in Santa Fe
Palace of the Governors picture in Santa Fe
Santa Fe Farmers Market picture in Santa Fe
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi picture in Santa Fe
Gallery at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum picture in Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe picture in Santa Fe
Bandelier National Monument picture in Santa Fe
New Mexico Museum of Art picture in Santa Fe
Liquid Light Glass Sculptures picture in Santa Fe
Canyon Road Gallery picture in Santa Fe
Obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza picture in Santa Fe
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Museum of International Folk Art picture in Santa Fe
Palace of the Governors picture in Santa Fe
Santa Fe Farmers Market picture in Santa Fe
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi picture in Santa Fe
Gallery at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum picture in Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe picture in Santa Fe
Bandelier National Monument picture in Santa Fe
New Mexico Museum of Art picture in Santa Fe
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If you're interested in buying some Southwestern art, look no further than Canyon Road. Terence Faircloth / Flickr

Many of Santa Fe's top attractions are within walking distance of the Santa Fe Plaza. puroticorico / Flickr

The Santa Fe Opera House offers impressive views of the surrounding mountains. Opera season is so popular in Santa Fe, people even tailgate before the performances. Robert Godwin / Tourism Santa Fe

This museum features more than 100,000 works of folk art from around the world. Granger Meadow / Flickr

Built in 1610, the Palace of the Governors served as the seat of government for the State of New Mexico for several centuries. ivanastar / Getty Images

Head to the Santa Fe Farmers Market for local foods like cheese, cider and fiery chiles. Eugene Kim / Flickr

This Romanesque cathedral – named for the patron saint of the diocese – was constructed in the mid- to late 19th century. Chris Corrie / Tourism Santa Fe

Although she was originally from the East Coast, Georgia O'Keeffe's representations of Santa Fe's landscape earned her a reputation as one of the Southwest's best artists. Robert Reck / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

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Dating back to the 1100s, these caves were used by Pueblo people as living quarters.  Wilsilver77 / Getty Images

This museum is the state's oldest art museum and is known for its adobe structure and rotating exhibits. Chris Corrie / TOURISM Santa Fe

The Liquid Light Glass studio showcases colorful glass-blown art. Courtesy of Liquid Light Glass

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