The Art. The People. The Views of Magical Santa Fe, New Mexico
When I told my husband that I would be visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico he spoke about his visit some years ago and how magical he felt it all was. The most I had heard about Santa Fe was how incredible the spas were, and what a great artist community it had, but not much else.
So, for example, I was surprised to learn that at the time of my visit I would have put away my shorts and tank tops and pack sweaters, long warm pants and jackets instead. This is because Fall in Santa Fe is actually cool and can even get really cold. When we arrived to the Santa Fe area, by way of Albuquerque airport at 1AM, the temperature was a very brisk 40 degrees.
I also didn’t expect how great the light would be, and how fresh the air would feel, and how impossible it would be to take a bad picture with all the colors surrounding me all the time. My desire to capture the beauty, especially on Hyde Park road towards the Natural Forest (check out information to the must see Hyde Memorial State Park here) led to endless photography, but I have to say even while looking through them all, I failed to do it justice.
I went with my girlfriend, Sandra of It’s Always An Adventure. I thought Santa Fe would be a perfect spot to visit with a good girlfriend and it really was. We stayed in La Posada, A RockResort. You can read my full review of the resort here.
Visiting the downtown area is a fun way to admire the architecture, shops, and vendors selling original, indigenous jewelry and other merchandise. I loved exploring through the old streets, with vintage shops, both historic in merchandise and in their foundation, and I really enjoyed visiting one of the town’s historic sites, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
But it’s also a great place to get some drinks and good eats. A few of our favorite stops where:
The Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda hotel – Overlooking downtown Santa Fe, it’s a beautiful place to relax, have a few drinks, and catch a breathtaking sunset. The hotel itself is great to walk through and the ambiance at the bar is pretty friendly. We went for afternoon drinks and had a blast.
Tia Sophia’s – We came here by recommendation of a local (always ask a local for the best places to eat), and it was definitely favorite hangout. We arrived after a morning workout, in full post-workout gear and look, so the laid back atmosphere of this place was perfect. We even got to meet a couple who was more than happy to suggest what we should order while sharing their love story with us. I just adore places like these where I can connect with locals, who are often more than happy to connect with me in turn. Tip: when ordering eggs, or pretty much anything, you will be asked if you want red or green sauce. Say you want “Christmas” if you want to try both and don’t have anything against hot (green) sauces. I prefer the green myself, but loved being able to try them both at once.
La Boca – A more upscale tapas bar, but still fun and relaxing. The food here was incredible. Sandra and I tried a few things and I can’t think of anything bad to say about any of it. But, make a reservation. It was pretty packed when we got in, and they were unable to sit us when we arrived 30 minutes early for our reservation. A bit pricey, but for a night out on the town, totally worth it.
The Farmer’s Market – Sets up shop by the Santa Fe Railway around 8AM Tuesdays and Saturday mornings till 1PM all year round. It’s not huge, but it certainly is not small and has a great selection of produce, cheeses, fresh breads, chiles, and lots more, including what I swear was quite possibly the larges celery I have ever seen in my life!
When looking to feed the need for more beautiful art work, Santa Fe offers a wide range of galleries, museums, and art exhibits to check out – from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum to the Institute of American Indian Art (check out a full listing of Santa Fe galleries and museums here).
There are tons to do in Santa Fe, no matter what the weather and whether you come as a couple, in a girlfriend’s getaway (as we did), or with kids in tow. From river rafting, to hiking, to local tours, children’s museums, train rides and parks, I was truly impressed with how much this “small” town has to offer its visitors. Check out the Santa Fe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for a complete list of activities and events to help plan your visit.
It’s an affluent town and though not everyone you meet will be so, and this will be evident as you walk through it. But the people who live here love it, and their ability to just sit back and enjoy the day is pretty great to watch and experience, no matter what their background. The history, culture and art runs deep, as well as the pride of those who call Santa Fe home.
Sandra and I chose to take it easy on our trip, which is not hard to do. We met some incredible people, had some great laughs, and because we were there around Halloween, we also got a glimpse of Santa Fe’s festive side as well. Check out this couple we met right outside La Boca as they made their way in for dinner, in full gear (the guy didn’t remove his mask during dinner, not once. It was awesome).
Thank you to Steve Lewis of Santa Fe Tourism for his hospitality, great company, and wonderful tour of his home town.
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Disclosure: I was the guest of La Posada RockResort and Santa Fe Tourism. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own.