A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to Santa Fe for the first time as adults. And we had a GREAT time! Santa Fe is only a six hour drive from Denver, so it's pretty convenient for a long weekend. We've gotten back pretty regularly, so I figured it was time to document some restaurants and attractions that have quickly become our favorites. If you find yourself down that way, here are a few recommendations:
The Pantry for Breakfast
This diner has been around for over sixty years, and the breakfast is a must! I enjoyed the breakfast burrito 'christmas' (this means red & green chile) with pantry fries. Pantry fries are the best homefries you will ever have in your LIFE.
Farmers' Market at the Railyard
The Railyard is a pretty cool location with both indoor and outdoor vendors. Not only can you find a vast assortment of fruits and vegetables - especially chiles - you can also find local artisans and indie crafters selling their wares. A great way to spend a Saturday morning!
Glass Blowing Class in the Baca Street Arts District
If your already at the Railyard, you are right next door to the Baca Street Arts District - an area a bit more off the beaten path. We wondered through these shops and cafes and found out you can take a glassblowing class with a local artist - Elodie Holmes. You get to make a paperweight, and it costs about $60!
Dinner at La Choza
La Choza is the sister restaurant to another Santa Fe institution - The Shed (also worth visiting). Here, you can find classic New Mexican food and some delicious margaritas! And you can make reservations, so that's convenient.
Drinks at Secreto Lounge
The Secreto Lounge is the bar inside the St. Francis Hotel on the historic Plaza. This lounge has won awards for its delicious cocktails. The Spicy Secreto is their signature drink, but I also loved the Brûléed Cherry Old Fashioned. Additionally, the ambiance is pretty wonderful and has the feel of classic Santa Fe.
Take a stroll up Canyon Road
Canyon Road is the most well known arts district in Santa Fe. It's full of galleries and shops that carry some of the country's leading artists. You can find some amazing sculptures, paintings, rugs, antiques - you may even see an artist painting outside one of the galleries. There's also a free bus called the Santa Fe Pickup to take you all around downtown from Canyon Road to the Plaza to the Railyard.
Shopping on the Plaza
The Plaza is probably the area you hear about the most when you read about traveling to Santa Fe. This is certainly for good reason! The Plaza has so many amazing shops and museums, but here are a few of my favorites:
The Georgia O'Keefe Museum
Talk about some of the greatest desert art of all time! O'Keefe's art is timeless and beautiful - I also want to make it out to her residence at Ghost Ranch someday!
Shiprock Santa Fe
Shiprock is one of the most well-curated shops I've ever seen. This store is full of authentic Native American art, textiles, jewelry and pottery. All the pieces are gorgeous and the vintage jewelry is to die for. Even if you can't afford a single piece, it's worth the visit!
Buying Jewelry on the Plaza
Every morning, Native American artists line up to get a spot on the Plaza to sell their wares. This is a place where I like to buy jewelry (especially turquoise) directly from the artist. I really like knowing that pieces are authentic (there is a lot of 'Indian' jewelry that is not, so be on the lookout), and I'm glad it gives me the opportunity to support those communities.
Explore the Nearby Natural Beauty
So much of the topography in and around Santa Fe makes you feel like you are in another world. There are so many National Parks, Forests and Monuments to speak of! Here are a few that are worth checking out:
Tent Rocks National Monument
Heads up: as with most National Monuments, you'll have to leave the pups at home for this one. I know, I know... I hate it too. But look at this place? It's definitely worth the hour drive to see.
White Sands National Monument
This place looks absolutely stunning - again, no pups allowed. I've read blogs previously that recommend trying to stay until just before the park closes, so that you can witness one amazing sunset. This one is a little bit further - about 4 hours from Santa Fe.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge & Earthships near Taos
This bridge overlooks an insane gorge created by the Rio Grande River, just outside Taos. So, it's a great place to stop on your way home to Denver (if you live there, like me :) ). Or it's about an hour and a half from Santa Fe, and you can also spend the day in lovely Taos. Also nearby the bridge, you can check out the earthship community. Earthships are houses built into the ground that are fully off-the-grid and completely self-sustainable. They are also made completely out of recycled materials.
That's about all for now! I hope you enjoy any future visits to the Southwest!