Santa Fe, New Mexico
Less than a 50 yards in total walking distance
less than an hour
Not allowed inside
About $3 per person to enter
No food or drink allowed inside the chapel
Open 9am to 5pm Mon-Sat
Open 10:30am to 5pm Sundays
Times may change so please check for current hours
Yes, in museum
Yes, the museum
Not allowed inside
Bring a camera
Loretto Chapel: 35°41’8.25″N, 105°56’15.77″W
While on a family trip, we spent a full day walking around the downtown Santa Fe New Mexico area and went to several historic churches including the Loretto Chapel.
The chapel was designed by French architect Antione Mouly in 1873 in Gothic style. The entire structure is amazing to see inside and out.
You enter the chapel on the right side where you pay a small fee (I think it was like $3 per person or something around that when we came in early April). The staff is very friendly and answered all my questions. I grabbed several free hand-outs which described the architecture and history and went inside.
One of the reasons why this chapel is so well known is because of the spiral staircase (the “Miraculous Staircase”) on the inside that leads to the choir loft. The staircase has a remarkable story and I will only paraphrase it here. The story is that the chapel was lacking a staircase to the loft and a traditional staircase would be too large for the small chapel. The nuns prayed and one day a man showed up and offered to build them the staircase. He used only a few tools and within several months he built the entire spiral staircase which stands without any center supports. After he built the staircase the man disappeared. To this day, no one knows who built the staircase but some of the witnesses claim it was St. Joseph himself.
The staircase is absolutely beautiful to see. You aren’t allowed to go up the stairs but you can get right up and see the intricate details and craftsmanship of the staircase. There is an audio tour that is on a continuous loop which talks about the chapel and staircase. We stayed about 30 minutes listening and enjoyed sitting in the quiet chapel despite there being several dozen people inside of it.
Here are some more pictures of the front of the chapel. It is still used to this day for sacramental services, tours and even wedding ceremonies.
When we were done, we went through the museum checked out the gift shop and went back outside.
Head back towards your vehicle.
The Loretto Chapel was a great place to see while in Santa Fe. It isn’t the typical high adrenaline adventure that I am usually participating in but I still enjoyed every minute of it.