Santa Fe, New Mexico has been on my travel bucket list for the lure of New Mexican food, the beautiful landscapes, and the old adobe architecture. Santa Fe seemed like a city that was a world away from New York so I had to check it out. From New York, it’s not a one-stop destination; you have to fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico and then drive 1 hour North. I happened to be in Phoenix, AZ for work so I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to finally make it out to Santa Fe. My mom, who was en route to the West Coast anyway, met up with me for a mother and daughter weekend. Santa Fe is one of the most unique cities I’ve ever been to. There’s a Southwestern cowboy vibe mixed with Native American and Spanish influence.
We arrived in Santa Fe late Wednesday night so we had all day Thursday through Sunday morning and I think that was the perfect amount of time to see the city and spend a day outside of the city. We stayed at the Inn and Spa at Loretto which was such a charming hotel set in an adobe style building. This was the scene every night in the hotel lobby: Guests huddled around the roaring fire sipping on their favorite libation while listening to the night’s live music. The hotel was in a prime location and was within walking distance to everything. Since my mom and I are very extroverted, we ended up meeting a lot of the locals. We would talk to them about life in Santa Fe which everyone loved and their recommendations on things to do, to eat, and to see. By the end of the weekend, I had an extensive list of all their recommendations. In the last 2 years, I’ve completely changed the way I travel. I used to make militant itineraries and get frustrated when things would go off course. I found that it left little room for spontaneity and meeting new people. These days, before a trip, I do very basic research of the destination city and I leave most of it unplanned. When I’m in a new city on the first day, I walk around town to get a lay of the land and talk to the locals and the rest of the trip falls into place. We would never have went to Taos, New Mexico and seen Taos Pueblo or climbed ladders in caves at Bandelier and eaten the most amazing New Mexican food at La Choza. These unforgettable experiences were all suggested by our new local friends.
Everything in Santa Fe is on a much smaller scale and is easier to navigate through than New York. You can walk the whole city in one day. The first day in Santa Fe was dedicated to 2 things: Eating New Mexican food and art. If you’re a lover of both, you’re in the best city. Red or green is the question everyone asks you. It refers to the type of chili you want on top of your food. Almost everything is doused in red or green chili both are the perfect amount of heat. New Mexican food is our favorite type of cuisine and after 3 days of eating it for 3 meals, we were still not tired of it. We even had Indian food with New Mexican flavors at Paper Dosa-so amazing! The art scene is a huge draw here. I was really excited to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibits at the museum of her namesake and the New Mexico Museum of Art. After spending 3 days in Santa Fe, I can see why Georgia O’Keeffe was so inspired by this city.
All of the locals we spoke to suggested we check out the Santa Fe farmers’ market on Saturday morning. I’ve been to so many farmers’ markets that I wasn’t really excited about this one. We ended up checking it out because it was a great excuse to be outside, grab something for breakfast and see what the locals are offering. I do have to say that this was the best farmers’ market I’ve ever been to. We went early in the morning and ate delicious green chili and cheese bread from Intergalactic Bread Company; taste tested produce from local farms; and we also found vintage turquoise jewelry at the flea market that was adjacent to the farmers’ market. The farmers’ market is also located at the Santa Fe railroad station which made for a really cool spot.
The people of Santa Fe are so much more laid-back than I’m used to. The people were SO friendly and happy. There is a boho hippy vibe of Santa Fe that reminded me of Austin, Venice Beach and San Francisco all in one city. Walking around Santa Fe, I couldn’t help feel like I was on a movie set. It’s so different than New York and pretty much every other city I’ve been to in the US. It’s become a tradition that during my flight back home from a trip, I reflect on the city and the impression that I got. Santa Fe to me is all about the landscape and the people. The people of this lovely city and their warmth towards my mom and I made me fall more in love with Santa Fe.
-Fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico (ABQ)
-Rent a car and drive 1 hour North to Santa Fe
-Bandelier Monument Park
-Drive the high road to Taos
-Stop at Sanctuario de Chimayo
-Santa Fe Farmers’ Market on Saturdays
-Hunt for turquoise jewelry
-Frito Pie at Five and Dime General Store
-New Mexican food at the local spot La Choza
-Modern New Mexican food at Eloisa
-Indian meets New Mexico at Paper Dosa
-Hot cocoa at Kakawa Chocolate House