Georgia took a work trip to New Mexico recently, but couldn’t resist going a bit early to experience Santa Fe. It is one of those towns you fantasize about — is it really as mystical as Christian Bale made it seem in Newsies? Well, not quite as frontier feeling anymore, but there are gems to be found in the form of culture, shops, art and relaxation. It is the perfect weekend spot for rejuvenation and creative discovery. And the surrounding terrain makes for a beautiful road trip.
Take yourself on a treasure hunt in this place. Here are our Eat, Drink, Stay, See, Acquire suggestions to help you along.
|48 Hours in Santa Fe|
Best time of Year
Our itinerary was in August and it was surprisingly temperate, with even some rain. That is rare though. Spring through Fall would all be fine times, even Winter if you’re up for some chilly weather, it averages about 2 very cold nights per year.
Recommended Number of Days
2-3 days is plenty of time to experience Santa Fe at a leisurely pace since it is all very centrally located and compact, like a small town square.
Recommended Number of People
1 to 4 people depending on your goals. Georgia took a solo trip that was very rejuvenating, but this could make a romantic getaway or a spa weekend for a group of girlfriends.
Apps to Download
Google Maps is the only one we found useful here to help drive from spot to spot.
Eat, Drink, Stay, See, Acquire
Our top tip for experiencing Santa Fe is walking and taking in the colors, the gentile worn doors, the stucco, the Adobe dwellings. Santa Fe really is a city of beautiful doors, you will find yourself photographing them. Santa Fe is also a city that caters toward tourists, even the most modest of hotels tacks on a “resort fee.” There is a clear and apparent contrast between the have’s and the have-nots, and there are moments when as a tourist you feel a bit like a fish in a barrel. That said, it is clear that tourism is what keeps Santa Fe going strong and the artist culture is alive and well. It was a bit of a challenge then, to dig in and find the spots that felt truly the essence of a place. Luckily, Georgia had a long-time artist friend as her guide to discover a few lovely spots. We are sure there are more, so if you have favorites, please share them with us in the comments below.
- Mine Shaft Tavern en route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe is worth a special lunch stop just to experience the old mining down and all its treasures in Madrid, New Mexico.
- Breakfast at Cafe Pasqual’s near the square downtown is a delight. Their ingredients are vibrant and fresh and the plates are hearty. It makes a great brunch that will tide you over until dinner.
- The Compound on Canyon Road is elegant and high-end, it feels like walking into a magical fortress.
- Joseph’s is Santa Fe’s culinary pub that comes highly recommended from the locals
- Geronimo Restaurant is another elegant spot in an old house on Canyon Road
- La Fonda is a popular hotel on the square with an elegant restaurant that tourists recommend often
- Japanese fashion designer Hiroki Nakamura opened his new Visvim store in Santa Fe, which is full of eye-catching, completely unaffordable things. But it’s fun to look.
- Shiprock gallery, which specializes in Native American arts and crafts, is another wondrous place for the senses. It is upstairs in a building along the square and again, is completely unaffordable, but very fun to see.
- Overland Sheepskin Co. has a wonderful store on the square. It will make you want to buy a sheepskin blanket and roll around in it.
- Canyon Road has a plethora of art galleries and artisan shops, there is a lot worth seeing, you may even find yourself wanting to ship things home.
- Visit the street vendors with wares on blankets around square.
- Go check out produce and Delights from the Santa Fe Farmers Market: Wednesdays 3pm-7pm, 1607 Paseo de Peralta. That’s where you can even see that ‘Santa Fe’ train they talk about in Newsies.
Ten Thousand Waves is a Japanese spa oases about 10 minutes drive into the hills from downtown Santa Fe. They have a restaurant, communal baths a relaxation room and private massages. You can even book a private bath so you have it all to yourself. We would highly recommend having a massage treatment, the “Nose to Toe” was a really special experience with a hot oil scalp massage. The “communal” experience can be a bit stressful because of how crowded and chaotic the space can get, not exactly what you’re looking for when you are headed to a spa in the woods. Try to go in their off hours, ask them when that might be.