Ahhh…Santa Fe, a gem of a town in the southwest United States. If you tell people you’re going to Santa Fe, you’ll no doubt start to hear the envious “ooo’s” and “aah’s” about how much they love Santa Fe; the arts, the weather and most of all, the food!
I’m lucky with our frequent trips to Santa Fe, I’ve been able to enjoy this city in many different ways. It’s not a sprawling metropolis, no, in fact, the population caps out at under 100,000 people. So in many ways its very much a small, mountain town. But being a small town, there’s still plenty of activities in both summer and winter to keep you busy.
Santa Fe is an easy one hour road trip from Albuquerque, NM, where the biggest airport is located. However, the smaller Santa Fe Airport now has several flights with non stop service from Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix. There are multiple hotels on the plaza to accommodate your stay depending on your motivation for a visit. I’m going to outline a recent one day visit to Santa Fe that’s a perfect introduction for any art lover.
Breakfast – Iconik Coffee Roasters
1600 Lena Street Ste A2, A2, Santa Fe, NM 87505
This is a funky cafe, tucked away in the business offices and workshops along 4th street. It’s artfully decorated, with a large area for patio seating, peppered with sculptures and wind chimes. They have a number of food items for purchase along with coffee drinks. We opted to share the breakfast burrito, and it was a pretty hearty serving. Different from most burritos in Santa Fe that usually have meat, cheese, and pinto beans, this breakfast version had vegetables and black beans, but it was still smothered with the usual green chile. We tried a glass of their nitro cold brew, which was quite the jolt of caffeine, and we also shared a glass of their herbal iced tea, which was refreshing. The cafe is located within proximity of the railroad trail, with a paved walkway into downtown, so if you wanted to bike or take a long walk, the paved walkway is accommodating.
Morning Activity – Meow Wolf
1352 Rufina Cir, Santa Fe, NM 87507
This place is unlike any other entertainment complex I have been to. Housed in a former bowling alley, Meow Wolf is several rooms of interactive art fun. It’s a unique combination of an art gallery, and storytelling. You can choose to follow the storey of a family opening a door into another dimension, or you can just roam the art displays on your own. You could spend hours there, roaming the different interactive displays, or playing with the airharp, until you too might question if have been sucked into another dimension! This place is wildly entertaining and definitely worth a visit!
Lunch – Tomasita’s
500 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
This place is a must any time we go to Santa Fe. Popular among tourists and locals alike, Tomasita’s is a good place to try the flavors of New Mexico. Perpetually busy, we usually have to wait to get a table, and during dinner times, the wait is usually an hour or more. The decor is nothing special; simple tile and beamed roofs. But you come here for the food and the service. Once seated, service is fast and friendly. There’s plenty of space for small and large groups, and the staff is wonderful with families. For drinks, we usually get the silver coin margarita. It’s happily stiff and is a welcome refreshment paired with the spicy food. Prices are reasonable for the size of the portions. I usually get the cheese enchiladas, served Christmas (with both red and green chile), and an added fried egg to the top. My partner usually gets the Tuesday plate, a ginormous serving consisting of a taco, enchilada, and chile relleno. The chile of course is hot, both spicy and temperature wise. The food is tasty but filling, especially with the generous baskets of sopapillas on the side. And we always save room for the sopapillas. They are served with honey, or cinnamon butter on the side, a perfect dessert!
Afternoon Activity – Canyon Road and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Santa Fe is an art lover’s dream for the unique galleries on Canyon road. Walking the store fronts on Canyon Road we like to admire the displays of art, from museum-quality Western paintings and photography to compelling contemporary art. We opted for a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum to see archives of her achievements in the arts. She made Santa Fe her home for many years, adding to the clout as an art lover’s destination. The gallery is an exhibition of her art and her life, with romantic love letters between her and Alfred Stieglitz that made me smile.
Art is evident everywhere you walk around Santa Fe. The town is a prime example of old world, southwestern architecture, seen in the buildings around the plaza. It’s also a great place to take in hispanic american arts, which draw influence from America’s Spanish Colonial times, and Native American cultures. The Native American culture is particularly evident in Santa Fe from the surrounding Pueblos, with trinkets and goods being sold in the shops. There’s plenty of art to feast the eyes!
Happy Hour – La Fonda Hotel Bell Tower Bar
The Bell Tower Bar of the La Fonda Hotel is a prime location to take in the colorful sunsets of the Southwest. We usually try to get there early as it can get very busy. It’s definitely the best place to snag a margarita and watch the sunset due to its location. The La Fonda Hotel is located right in the center of the plaza, with full view of the Loretto Chapel and the plaza pueblo style buildings surrounding it. They serve drinks and light appetizers, with blankets for the patrons if the air is chilly. It’s a great place for a drink before dinner.
Dinner – Radish and Rye
505 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501
For a fancy dinner, we opted for Radish and Rye, a chic restaurant with great food. This is a good option for an “impress your date” night, as they have beautifully plated food in a dimly lit atmosphere. They shine with their creative take on southern food, and impressive list of rye whiskey cocktails. Our group ordered a few items to be shared family style, and they were very accommodating. Favorites were the bread, thick slices made in house, served with a chive butter, and the brussel sprouts, charred with a tangy dressing. The only complaint I have was that service was not particularly stellar, as they were very busy, but I’m willing to let it slide as the food was so good!
There’s a ton to do in Santa Fe, and one day is certainly not enough to see it all. I’ll be updating Santa Fe recommendations for the outdoorsy activities soon!