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5 Kid-Friendly Places to Visit in Santa Fe This Spring

When the weather’s nice, Heather and I take the family outside to enjoy all the fun spots that Santa Fe has to offer. Today, I want to introduce some of our crew’s favorite locations that meet our qualifications for true kid-friendliness:

  • Outdoor activities with space for kiddos to run around (and spend that energy!)
  • Stops where you can unload once and do lots of things at a single location
  • Connections to the city bike paths for easy access

Here are our top choices for you to check out!


1. Outdoor Adventure: The Mountain, Santa Fe National Forest, & Big Tesuque Campground

The Mountain is a huge destination all year round, but it really shines in the spring and summer. Isla loves playing in the stream where it’s cool and shaded. Hyde Memorial State Park is just a quick drive from Santa Fe, and you can camp there too.

For an active family, there are tons of unique hiking trails, some of which are world-class. You can also walk along the river and visit the natural springs.

Big Tesuque Campground offers open space to play and bathrooms (always important for kids!). Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of their tables and take in the scenery of the Santa Fe National Forest.


2. Urban Destination: Railyard Park

The Railyard Park is a great walkable area with tons of amenities for families. Catch a movie at the luxurious new Violet Crown, or spend the day at one of the many outdoor events that frequent this space. Outside Magazine’s Bike and Brew festival will be setting up an expo event here on May 19 – don’t miss it!

The Railyard is an intersection for many of Santa Fe’s off-street bike paths, which can be safer than the streets for kids or new riders. Start here if you want to explore the city using the upcoming new bike path tunnel, or the paved path along Alameda that follows the river.

One of the cooler bike paths in town for kids is the Arroyo Chamiso trail, which will get you all the way from the Railyard to the dog park at Santa Fe Place (the former Villa Linda Mall).

If you need some gear, visit the nearby REI Santa Fe; they also offer super-useful (free!) classes on bike maintenance, hiking, and other outdoor skills.

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3. Artsy Experience: Meow Wolf & Santa Fe’s Southside

Meow Wolf is great for those windy Spring days that need to be spent indoors where kid crazy can be contained. Consider this place an artsy gym where imaginations can quite literally run wild.

This is a practical destination that provides visual and tactile experiences for active kids, making it perfect for families. The concept reminds me of when we installed a swing, teepee, and Lego climbing wall into one of our clients’ homes: kids are always moving, and the more we adults can encourage active play, the better. Even more fun when mess is OK!

Meow Wolf hosts some great food trucks too, in case the kids are contemplating kebabs but mom wants a breakfast burrito.

The whole Southside area is growing steadily with added attractions for families. Second Street Brewery is building a new location right around the corner on Rufina, and the Regal 14 movie theater has rooms where you can host kids’ birthday parties. We like to visit Cleopatra’s and the Plaza Cafe; you can also have a good time at the newly-revitalized mall or playing a round of GlowGolf!


4. Educational Action: Museum of International Folk Art & Museum Hill

Isla loves when we visit here, and the attraction is super kid-friendly because you can see so much in just one spot. If the kids aren’t feeling your first stop, just head outside to the big pavilion to get some fresh air before trying another one.

I also think kids can really appreciate the cosmopolitan aspect of getting to see things from all over the world. Museum Hill includes the renowned Museum of International Folk Art, as well as two Native American museums and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

Visit the Museum Hill Cafe for an open air dining experience that’s particularly nice in the Spring. The big contained courtyard is also a plus if you need the kids to run around and wear themselves out before heading home!

We also love the Girard Wing here, which houses a permanent collection of works by Alexander Girard that Santa Fe is extremely lucky to have. Kids will be entranced by the colorful environments and different rooms, and it’s so easy to be inspired when you’re surrounded with the folksy vibe and bright displays.


5. Summertime Bonus: The Plaza

Finally, the Santa Fe Plaza serves as the historic center of our city that brings together outdoor family time with fun activities you can all enjoy. The Plaza is home to tons of great shops and restaurants, with outdoor community activities often scheduled as well. During summer especially, you’ll find outdoor concerts nightly during the Santa Fe Bandstand season.

Check out for a complete list of activities and events happening around town. See you outside!


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