Santa Fe is one of those places I've regularly visited throughout my life. While I do have family who resides there, there are many reasons to be attracted to the town. Affordability, art, food, nature and crisp air just to name a few of the draws to visiting Santa Fe.
I was excited when the Editor at Rio Nuevo Publishers recently messaged me to see if he could purchase a photo I took the last time I was there, featured below. The map includes a series of things to do while in Santa Fe, which I'll surely be checking out on my next trip there this spring.
I just booked a ticket to Albuquerque for this March (only $103 + $25/day car rental!) and I'm excited to repeat some old favorites, yet try some new things as well. There are so many awesome Airbnb's to book in Santa Fe too.
If you love adobe then you're in store as the city has strict guidelines regarding every building being made with adobe (some neighborhoods and councils even have regulations on the exact color of adobe that can be used.)
So without further ado, if you're looking to take a trip to Santa Fe, here are some things you absolutely cannot miss while you're there...
The Santa Fe Railyard Arts District
A gathering place for the citizens and visitors of Santa Fe, the railyard arts district is walking distance from all the top attractions, and around just 15 minutes from the ski slopes and hiking trails.
If you're a flower freak like me, plan a visit in late March to enjoy beautiful spring blooms, like the bright and vivid spanish broom and cherry blossoms.
What to eat: If you're in the mood for some authentic New Mexican food, check out Tomasita's right by the train station. You can then decide for yourself in the "Red or Green?" Christmas color debate.
Visit Canyon Road
A trip to Santa Fe without visiting Canyon Road would be like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Canyon Road includes an abundance of galleries, boutiques, and eateries, unlike anything you've ever seen.
Art lovers unite as Canyon Road is a great way to spend an afternoon browsing through endless amounts of art-filled shops. Just don't expect to make a big purchase, unless you're rolling in the deep in cash. Some pieces of art rise all the way up to six digit figures.
Must-Do: Definitely pay a visit to The Teahouse which is a walking ways down Canyon Road. Save your quench for a matcha latte, lavender lemonade, blood orange shandy, spicy chocolate chai, or one of their many artisanal teas. For food, they've got a scrumptious selection of items like paninis, eggs benedict and main entrées. Even living in hipster Austin, I've never seen a tea house with as elaborate a menu as The Teahouse.
Hike Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Just a 40 minute drive southwest of Santa Fe lies Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, a hiking trail and also a religious site to the Cochiti Pueblo people. The hike is about a 3-mile round-trip, taking you through a narrow slot canyon up into an overlook containing striated rock formations. It's one of the best hikes in the area for sure.
Pro-tip: Arrive early. Because you go through a canyon, pathways will get a little crowded. I'd definitely recommend doing a morning hike here. By noon it'll be crowded and you'll be slowed down by little kids trying to get over the rather large rocks and steps.
Try Local Beer At Draft Station
After a hike you'll probably be starving — Draft Station has got you covered with its house specialty pizzas and supreme selection of craft New Mexico beer. I can't think of anything better after a hike than pizza and beer!
There's also a pizza place (Rooftop Pizza) across the corridor and you can order directly in the bar and they'll deliver the pizza to you. If you feel like branching out from regular 'ole pizza, do be sure to try the blue corn crust and get green chiles on your pizza!
Tip: If you can, get a spot on the rooftop patio to get a good view of the downtown plaza while you enjoy a brewskie and pizza pie.
Visit The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Georgie O'Keeffe spent much of her later life residing in New Mexico, including Taos, Santa Fe and most notably, Abiquiú. The museum dedicated to O'Keeffe's work contains many of her paintings and pays homage to her life.
Little did I know she was one of the most photographed women of the 20th century (her husband was photographer Alfred Stieglitz).
If you're in the mood for some culture and art, definitely pay a visit to the museum, open daily 10am to 5pm (Friday they're open until 7pm) at a cost of $13 for general admission.
Santa Fe Hiking
For the outdoor lover, you'll surely want to hike one of Santa Fe's many trails. I've only hiked twice while in Santa Fe, so my expertise is limited in this area as I can't remember the hikes I did previously. This is something I'll have to get back to you on after my visit in March, as I'll be staying close to the majority of hiking trails.
Last time I visited Santa Fe my family hiked through the Santa Fe National Forest. What's lovely is that even in the spring time there will still be snow at higher elevations (Santa Fe gets quite cold in the winter!).
If you go hiking early spring, definitely dress in layers. You might be cold at first, but after your body warms up, and under the southwest sun, you might get hot. Oh, and don't forget to hydrate! Santa Fe is quite a dry city and if you're not acclimated, you'll need to drink more water than usual.
Explore Bandelier National Monument
Just an hour drive outside of Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument is located in Los Alamos. Accessible by shuttle, a light hike will take you around the Ancestral Pueblo archeological sites dated to more than 10,000 years old.
Get Transported To Another World At Meow Wolf
So Meow Wolf is an activity you definitely cannot miss. The website describes it as a haunted house/jungle gym. What used to be a bowling alley, the venue was repurposed into an interactive art experience.
You basically enter a replicated home of a family and there are clues you have to follow on their disappearance and the supposed death of their son. Clues throughout the house lead to the realization that some sort of alien abduction occurred involving the 4th dimension.
Throughout the house there are all of these secret corridors that take you to this "4th dimension." For instance, the refrigerator door takes you down a path to this world; or you can go through the fireplace to access the alien realm.
Meow Wolf was by far the most insane experience I've ever had. Word on the street is that they might be expanding to Austin — I sort of hope it does, but know it will be hella packed once word gets out how awesome it is.
What are your favorite things to do in Santa Fe?
Of course, there's skiing, the Burning of Zozobra, and much more. Did I leave anything out? Leave a comment below with what you enjoy the most about Santa Fe.
Check out my New Mexico photo album here.