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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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Lodging Near Loretto Chapel

See all 279 Hotels near Loretto Chapel
$139
La Fonda on the Plaza

La Fonda on the Plaza

100 E San Francisco St, Santa Fe
4.5
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Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this spa hotel is steps from Institute of American Indian Arts Museum and Palace of the Governors. San Miguel Mission and New Mexico State Capitol are also within 10 minutes.

$115
Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe

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Hotel Santa Fe, The Hacienda & Spa is in downtown Santa Fe's historic Guadalupe Railyard district, 6 blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza and Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, and 7 blocks from the convention center.

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Santa Fe Sage Inn

Santa Fe Sage Inn

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This inn is located at the entrance to Santa Fe's historic downtown area, only 6 blocks from the Historic Santa Fe Plaza, and 9 miles from Santa Fe's County airport.

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Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe

Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe

828 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe
4.7
of 5, from 492 reviews
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Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and Palace of the Governors. San Miguel Mission and New Mexico State Capitol are also within 15 minutes.

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The Inn at Vanessie

The Inn at Vanessie

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4.5
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4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this luxury inn is within a 15-minute walk of Santuario De Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Palace of the Governors, and San Miguel Mission. New Mexico State Capitol and Museum of International Folk Art are also within 3 mi (5 km).

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Luxx Boutique Hotel

Luxx Boutique Hotel

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4.3
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Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Palace of the Governors and San Miguel Mission. New Mexico State Capitol and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture are also within 3 mi (5 km).

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Las Palomas

Las Palomas

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Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Santuario De Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe and Palace of the Governors. San Miguel Mission and New Mexico State Capitol are also within 1 mi (2 km).

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Fort Marcy Hotel Suites by All Seasons Resort Lodging

Fort Marcy Hotel Suites by All Seasons Resort Lodging

321 Kearney Ave, Santa Fe
4.3
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Located in Downtown Santa Fe, this condo is within a 10-minute walk of Old Fort Marcy Park and Palace of the Governors. San Miguel Mission and New Mexico State Capitol are also within 1 mi (2 km).