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Loretto Chapel

A mysterious spiral staircase with no known origin is the highlight of this former church that now acts as a wedding chapel and museum.

The origin of the helix-shaped staircase in the 19th-century Loretto Chapel continues to baffle historians more than a century after its construction. The Sisters of Loretto and the site’s many visitors consider the enigmatic construction of the stairs a miracle. Others offer more practical explanations. The former church, which is of Gothic Revival design, is now primarily used as a wedding chapel and a museum for the staircase.

Try to solve the mystery of the spiral staircase. No one is sure who built the stairs or where that person found the non-native lumber to make them. They reach the choir loft, which is 22 feet (6.7 meters) above the main hall. A miraculous legend regarding the stairs reveals the popular belief that St. Joseph built them. There are also several non-spiritual theories. 

Admire the innovative double-helix design of the stairs. Note the two 360-degree turns and the lack of a visible support. Listen to the recording playing in the museum that tells the complete story of the alleged miracle.

See the elegant façade of the former church. Appreciate its gothic characters, such as spires, buttresses and a rose window. View the stained-glass windows. Visit the gift shop for souvenirs. 

The mysterious staircase is the principal reason visitors flock to the chapel. It has been the subject of many television documentaries and movies. The building itself was completed in 1878. There is a small entrance fee for adults but admission is free for young children.

The Loretto Chapel is close to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in the center of the city of Santa Fe. Look for many other landmarks in the area, such as Canyon Road, where the art galleries are located, and a plethora of green parks. Get to the center of the city by arriving at the Santa Fe Depot Rail Runner Station.


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 873 properties near Loretto Chapel
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe £101
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe

Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe

828 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and Santa Fe Plaza. Loretto Chapel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) away. Santa Fe Depot is 17 minutes by foot.

    La Fonda on the Plaza £145
    La Fonda on the Plaza

    La Fonda on the Plaza

    100 E San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this spa hotel is steps away from Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe Plaza and Loretto Chapel. New Mexico Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Native Arts are also within 5 minutes. Santa Fe Depot is 12 minutes by foot.

      Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza £104
      Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

      Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

      100 Sandoval St, Santa Fe, NM
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this historic hotel is steps away from Lensic Performing Arts Center and Georgia O'Keefe Museum. New Mexico Museum of Art and Santa Fe Plaza are also within 5 minutes. Santa Fe Depot is 8 minutes by foot.

        Villas de Santa Fe by Diamond Resorts £102
        Villas de Santa Fe by Diamond Resorts

        Villas de Santa Fe by Diamond Resorts

        400 Griffin Street, Santa Fe, NM
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Northeast Santa Fe, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Georgia O'Keefe Museum and Santa Fe Plaza. Loretto Chapel is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) away. Santa Fe Depot is 15 minutes by foot.

          Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi £262
          Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

          Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

          113 Washington Avenue, Santa Fe, NM
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this luxury hotel is steps away from Palace of the Governors and Santa Fe Plaza. Loretto Chapel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) away. Santa Fe Depot is 14 minutes by foot.

            La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa £151
            La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa

            La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa

            330 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Historic Eastside, this luxury resort is within a 10-minute walk of Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and Santa Fe Plaza. Loretto Chapel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) away. Santa Fe Depot is 19 minutes by foot.

              The Inn at Vanessie £151
              The Inn at Vanessie

              The Inn at Vanessie

              427 W Water St, Santa Fe, NM
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                This luxury inn is located in Santa Fe (Downtown Santa Fe), close to Santuario De Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Santa Fe Plaza and Loretto Chapel. Also nearby are Georgia O'Keefe Museum and Lensic Performing Arts Center.

                Inn of the Governors £109
                Inn of the Governors

                Inn of the Governors

                101 W Alameda, Santa Fe, NM
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe Plaza and Loretto Chapel. New Mexico Museum of Art and Lensic Performing Arts Center are also within 5 minutes. Santa Fe Depot is 9 minutes by foot.