Visit El Rancho de Las Golondrinas & Other Museums

One of the historic buildings at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas in Santa Fe

Rancho de las Golondrinas is a unique living history museum in Santa Fe that offers visitors a unique glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. This historic ranch, dating back to the 18th century, is a vital link to Santa Fe’s past. This extraordinary space comes alive through interactive exhibits and immersive experiences, allowing visitors the opportunity to step back in time to understand the traditions, crafts, and agricultural practices of early Spanish settlers. It’s one of the most authentic museums in Santa Fe, and we hope it makes your list of “must-see” attractions during your next visit to the beautiful high deserts of northern New Mexico.

There’s a vast array of things to do in Santa Fe, not to mention the charming mountain towns that dot the landscape between Santa Fe and Taos—including our very own village of Chimayó. However, immersing yourself in art and culture in various museums in Santa Fe is always at the top of our list. Santa Fe itself is a treasure trove of museums and cultural sites. From the world-renowned Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe offers a diverse array of artistic and historical experiences. These museums showcase the state’s vibrant art scene, deep-rooted Indigenous cultures, and the interplay between different cultural influences over the centuries. 

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is just south of Santa Fe, about an hour from our Bed and Breakfast in Chimayó, New Mexico. It’s an easy day trip from here, and on your way back, you can stop off for more great adventures in Santa Fe and other charming towns. Though our destination is away from the city centers, our location in the quiet, historic village of Chimayó is one of our best assets. Here, you can truly get away and immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes northern New Mexico is known for. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the vibrant culture of New Mexico this year. Book your room at our top-rated Bed and Breakfast in New Mexico today!

A historic building at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas in Santa Fe, New Mexico

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is open to the public from June through October and serves as a distinguished living history museum in New Mexico. The museum, which preserves and exemplifies New Mexico’s influential Spanish Colonial heritage, was established in the early 1700s. During its heyday, El Rancho de Las Gonoldrinas served as a paraje, or stopping point, along the historic Camino Real, the Royal Road that linked Mexico City to Santa Fe.

The Camino Real was the earliest Euro-American trade route in the United States. It was responsible for exchanging ideas, customs, and language between Mexico and the American Southwest. This influence is, at least in part, what led to such a unique and diverse confluence of culture that we see in modern Santa Fe. Today, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is a sprawling 200-acre living history museum meticulously maintained to reflect this history.

As you explore the grounds, you will encounter authentically restored adobe buildings, including homes, barns, and mills, each providing insight into early settlers’ daily lives and practices. Demonstrations of traditional skills such as blacksmithing, weaving, and bread baking bring history to life, making it a dynamic and engaging experience. Beyond just being able to see and experience these historical traditions, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas helps visitors foster a deep understanding of New Mexico’s cultural foundations – something essential to truly enjoy your visit to this unique part of the Southwest. 

In addition to the hands-on activities and interpretive programs you’ll enjoy at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, there are also special events hosted throughout its season. These events include the annual Santa Fe Spring Fest, the Harvest Festival, the Santa Fe Wine Festival, the Santa Fe Fiesta de Los Ninos, and more. Each festival highlights seasonal activities and community traditions. Plan to spend several hours wandering the extensive grounds, participating in workshops, and engaging with knowledgeable docents who provide detailed explanations of each exhibit. 

The exterior sculpture garden of the Sante Fe Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, one of the best museums in Santa Fe
Editorial credit: Polina LVT /

More Museums in Santa Fe Worth Seeing

After a lively visit to El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, we hope you’re inspired to explore even more of New Mexico’s diverse and fascinating cultures and history. One of the best ways to do that is by visiting other museums in Santa Fe. There are so many museums in this town – far more than you can enjoy on a single visit – but they do a magnificent job of showcasing the region’s history, arts, and heritage. 

Depending on what you’re interested in, there’s a museum you’re sure to find fascinating. Here, we’ve focused on 8 of the most popular Santa Fe museums. 

  1. The oldest and most significant museum in Santa Fe for art lovers is the New Mexico Museum of Art, which houses a collection of art from major Southwestern artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe.
  2. Of course, you can’t miss visiting the famed Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, where you’ll find a more extensive collection of her works. 
  3. Don’t miss the Museum of International Folk Art, which represents the world’s largest and most diverse collection of folk art.
  4. To better understand New Mexico’s indigenous roots, head to the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.
  5. Another great place to explore these enduring legacies is the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, which has the most comprehensive collection of contemporary Native art in the world.
  6. The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is perhaps one of the more underrated museums in Santa Fe, but which houses a delightful collection of contemporary and historic Native American art.
  7. One of the best Santa Fe museums for contemporary art is SITE Santa Fe, which houses rotating collections by some of today’s most influential artists.
  8. History lovers, don’t miss the New Mexico History Museum. It lays the groundwork for understanding your visit to northern New Mexico. 

These museums in Santa Fe are just the beginning of what you’ll experience here. Add more depth and authenticity to your stay by lodging with us at our welcoming New Mexico Bed and Breakfast. We’re located near Santa Fe, in the charming, historic town of Chimayó. Our New Mexico Bed and Breakfast is well-positioned to help you enjoy the best of what northern New Mexico offers, as it’s situated almost midway between Santa Fe and Taos. We can’t wait to host you and help you explore the diverse cultures and influences that have shaped who we are today. Book your stay today! 

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