Loretto Chapel

Vacation Travel Guide
Loretto Chapel showing a church or cathedral

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.

Top Hotels Close to Loretto Chapel

The Sage Hotel
The Sage Hotel
3 out of 5
725 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $71 per night from Sep 22 to Sep 22
Located in the heart of Santa Fe, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Railyard Arts District, Santa Fe Plaza, and Loretto Chapel. Santa Fe Railyard and New Mexico ...
3.9/5Good! (1,219 reviews)
"Good breakfast. Nice room. Great location. Short walk to Railyard district. From there turn right on San Francisco for a brief walk to downtown. Best in town walking trail is the River Trail."

Reviewed on Sep 14, 2021

The Sage Hotel
Inn and Spa at Loretto
Inn and Spa at Loretto
4 out of 5
211 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $259 per night from Oct 20 to Oct 20
Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Loretto Chapel and Santa Fe Plaza. Institute of American Indian Arts Museum and Museum ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (183 reviews)
"Property was a perfect location for our trip and the convenience of also being able to get our car so easy, was perfect. Our only disappointment was not being able to have dinner at the restaurant , but we were able to do that at another location. (La Fonda on the Square). We will recommend this ..."

Reviewed on Sep 20, 2021

Inn and Spa at Loretto
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
3.5 out of 5
828 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $198 per night from Oct 18 to Oct 18
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 0.3 mi (0.5 km) ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (947 reviews)
"Great location"

Reviewed on Sep 16, 2021

Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Loretto Chapel

The Sage Hotel
The Sage Hotel
3 out of 5
725 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $71 per night from Sep 22 to Sep 22
The Sage Hotel
Inn and Spa at Loretto
Inn and Spa at Loretto
4 out of 5
211 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $259 per night from Oct 20 to Oct 20
Inn and Spa at Loretto
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
3.5 out of 5
828 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $198 per night from Oct 18 to Oct 18
Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe
El Sendero Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection
El Sendero Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection
2.5 out of 5
311 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $93 per night from Oct 18 to Oct 18
El Sendero Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection
Hotel St Francis
Hotel St Francis
4 out of 5
210 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $183 per night from Oct 18 to Oct 18
Hotel St Francis
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
4 out of 5
100 Sandoval St, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $118 per night from Oct 21 to Oct 21
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
La Fonda on the Plaza
La Fonda on the Plaza
4 out of 5
100 E San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $259 per night from Oct 20 to Oct 20
La Fonda on the Plaza
La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa
La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa
4.5 out of 5
330 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $237 per night from Sep 28 to Sep 28
La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa
Inn of the Governors
Inn of the Governors
3.5 out of 5
101 W Alameda, Santa Fe, NM
The price is $229 per night from Oct 13 to Oct 13
Inn of the Governors
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.