Santa Fe city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in New Mexico’s culture hub

This northern New Mexico metropolis, hugging the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, has lengthy served as a multicultural crossroads. For hundreds of years, it housed considered one of a string of pueblos (indigenous villages) alongside the Rio Grande that traded items and jewelry. Then, it turned a frontier vacationer vacation spot; later an off-the-beaten-track artists’ enclave. That well-trodden street is worn in somewhat deeper now (and the airport’s flight frequency has grown, too), however the “Metropolis Totally different” nonetheless sparks pleasure for creatives.

Guided excursions take you to peaceable sculpture gardens and personal artists’ workshops; historical therapeutic methods affect spas and retreats; whereas Native American and Latin flavours affect a scattering of ingenious eating places. Right here’s how you can dive headfirst into this culture-packed, nature-wrapped metropolis.

What to do

Lean into the literature

New on the scene is the inaugural Santa Fe Literary Competition, surging onto the scene with a star-powered line-up that features Colson Whitehead, Pleasure Harjo, John Grisham, Jon Krakauer, George R.R. Martin, and Sandra Cisneros – a brand new chapter within the metropolis’s legacy as a magnet for writers, painters and sculptors. Going down from 20-23 Might 2022, it’s a mixture of large keynote speeches from the heavyweights and smaller, extra intimate hangouts with rising writers. Hosted in a LEED-certified inexperienced constructing, with “Tea and Tequila” classes readily available, it’s a leading edge tackle the basic lit fest.

Museum of Up to date Native Arts, Santa Fe


Plunge into the previous

Discover Santa Fe’s historical past and cultural overlays at Museum Hill, the place you’ll discover a group of tightly targeted native museums. Don’t miss the delightfully eclectic Museum of Worldwide People Artwork (£9), reputed to be the biggest people artwork assortment on the planet, with a wing of dioramas made with greater than 10,000 items; or the Museum of Indian Arts & Tradition (£7), which shares tales from the southwest’s earliest inhabitants. The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian homes intriguing artefacts from jewelry to toys and wooden carvings (£6). In the meantime the Museum of Spanish Colonial Artwork – in a former residence within the Pueblo-Spanish revival model – showcases structure, furnishings, and different trinkets from the day by day lifetime of Spanish colonists.

Close to the Plaza, the New Mexico Museum of Artwork (£9) options artwork from the southwest. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (£15) reveals work by the legendary O’Keeffe, who made northern New Mexico her dwelling and muse.

Delve into fashionable arts

For a recent arts overdose, stroll door to door by dozens of galleries clustered alongside Canyon Street. Time it for the primary Friday night of the month in summer time, and you’ll nibble hors d’oeuvres and sip wine as you go. (Discover gallery strolling tour maps for Canyon Street, the Railyard, and downtown right here).

A completely immersive, semi-psychedelic artwork expertise for all ages is discovered at Meow Wolf’s Home of Everlasting Return (£15-£26), a labyrinthine, 22,000-square-foot house. Right here you’ll be able to clear up the thriller of a household gone lacking, play a laser harp, stroll by a fluorescent forest, and hang around with Day-Glo-coloured creatures.

Go to the rising Railyard District

On Saturday mornings, the Railyard bustles with a farmer’s market the place the state’s signature crop – inexperienced chillies – are roasted in late summer time. Dip right into a espresso or teahouse for a caffeine repair between searching cubicles or adjoining outlets and artwork galleries; or commandeer a patio desk for brightly-packaged native beers on the Second Road Brewery. The Rail Path, which stretches 27km from downtown into the encircling desert, begins right here alongside native plant gardens, together with century vegetation that bloom on stalks that tower overhead.

Take a hike on considered one of New Mexico’s widespread trails


Take a hike

Networks of footpaths minimize by the pinon and juniper woodlands ringing Santa Fe. From trailheads within the Dale Ball Trails system on the east aspect of city, anticipate a steep rise to a sweeping view of the valley and mountain ranges that run south for tons of of miles. Swing by the Randall Davey Audubon Centre for weekly chicken walks and an inventory of the latest sightings.

The place to remain

One of the crucial historic crash pads in a metropolis with deep roots (and frequented by movie stars drawn by New Mexico’s booming movie trade), La Posada hosts friends in casitas – semi-private suites with kiva-style fireplaces constructed into conventional adobe partitions, uncovered beams and wood-slat ceilings over hardwood or Saltillo tile flooring. Doubles from £237.

The residing tree rising by the foyer at Las Palomas Lodge is only a glimpse of the quirkiness and appeal of this boutique lodge. Every room is uniquely carried out up with native artwork, wood mattress frames and leather-based furnishings for sinking into by the hearth. A breakfast of made-to-order omelettes and freshly baked muffins speeds you towards a day of exploring the downtown Plaza, just some minutes’ stroll away. Studio rooms and casitas begin at £133.

El Rey Courtroom harks again to the heyday of legendary US road-trip route Freeway 66, however was overhauled in 2018 with a contemporary, stylish sensibility that blends southwestern accents – pillows, throws, the occasional set of antlers and potted cactus – with clear traces and ample mild. Rooms and suites begin from £97.

Or go for an immersive expertise at Ojo Santa Fe, the place friends retreat to a 77-acre campus noticed with spring-fed soaking swimming pools, a farm-to-table restaurant, a coop stuffed with cuddly chickens and the occasional pack of puppies for a critical serotonin enhance. Rooms with patios or balconies and casita suites begin at £212.

Thermal swimming pools at Ojo Santa Fe

(Ojo Resorts)

The place to eat

For traditional New Mexican dishes – enchiladas, chiles rellenos (inexperienced chillies filled with cheese, battered, and fried), and tamales – strive Cafe Pasqual’s, Tomasita’s Restaurant, or The Shed. The customary query with any order is, “purple or inexperienced?”, which applies to the type of chilli poured over the plate. Bother selecting? Order it “Christmas” to get half and half – purple and inexperienced.

Oaxacan-focused Paloma sources native substances and begins each dish from scratch, together with house-made corn chips and tortillas. Vegetarians delight over cauliflower tacos and wild mushroom fajitas. Discover a prolonged record of mezcals – a smokier, earthier tackle agave than tequila, by the flight.

Nibble your manner by tapas at La Boca, opened by a James Beard Award nominee, with a Mediterranean-inspired menu with grilled eggplant, hummus, patatas bravas, and chorizo con huevo, and a chunky wine record that features a uncommon sighting of Spanish sherry.

For a neatly curated beer record and epic fried brussels sprouts, served with a Cubano sandwich you’ll think about writing dwelling about, don’t miss Hearth & Hops Gastropub.

Crimson chilli ristras hung at roadside stand,


Native favourites for brunch embody Dolina, the place eastern-European influences land on hearty however easy dishes and the siren tune of a bakery case that’s practically unimaginable to flee. On the downtown diner, Plaza Cafe slip right into a purple vinyl sales space, order a bottomless cup of espresso, and dig into melt-in-your-mouth blue corn pinon pancakes or the New Mexican staple huevos rancheros, beans topped with chile, cheese, and eggs and served with heat tortillas.

The place to drink

Few journeys to Santa Fe can skip the prospect to sip a margarita and the town has lined out 41 choices to strive one through the Santa Fe Margarita Path. Tackle the Norteño Margarita, boosted with a inexperienced chilli kick, on the Coyote Cafe’s Rooftop Cantina, immensely widespread for a sundown cocktail, or the Chimayoso margarita rimmed with Chimayo purple chile and combined with apricot liqueur at Low n’ Gradual, themed round lowriders, the distinctive, low-slung northern New Mexico model of automobile. Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen is dwelling to one of many longest margarita menus on the town, with greater than 180 methods to take your tequila.

Canyon Street meanders are well-met with some refreshments from The Tea Home, the place the tea menu gives pages of choices for oolong, pu-erh, inexperienced, white, and black teas and outside seating tucked away from the bustle in a shady alcove.

Extra 21+ brews are discovered at Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales. The crew at Tumbleroot additionally brews lagers, IPAs and brown ales, in addition to distilling gin, rum, and vodka – with stay music on a mid-size stage primed for catching bluegrass, Latin, and rising singer-songwriters.

Native American-style clay pots on show


The place to buy

The buying spotlight of the 12 months comes with summer time market season, which brings a collection of art-focused markets to downtown Santa Fe. Artists from greater than 50 international locations flock to the mid-July Worldwide People Artwork Market. Spanish colonial historical past shines on the Spanish Market in late July, however the flagship occasion is the Santa Fe Indian Market in August, which assembles an unparalleled assortment of Native American artists and their pottery, blankets, basketry, and jewelry, and consists of stay music and dance performances.

These on the town with a literary agenda in thoughts might need to browse the eclectic collections of second-hand books at Massive Star Books and Music close to the Railyard District and Opcit Books within the DeVargas Heart. At Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse close to the Plaza, peruse cabinets of southwestern writers, then tuck in at a desk with a latte in hand to right away begin turning pages.

Southwestern staples of cowboy boots, concha belts, and turquoise pendants could be present in outlets surrounding the Plaza downtown. Again on the Ranch makes customized boots, and the Wind River Buying and selling Firm boasts one of many largest collections of Native American jewelry round. Outdoors of downtown, Jackalope shares a smorgasbord of pottery, throw rugs, and different southwest-themed dwelling decor.

Conventional structure in Santa Fe


Architectural spotlight

Go to the Gothic-style Loretto Chapel to see the “Miraculous Staircase”, a tightly spun spiral staircase with a legendary origin story.

Nuts and bolts

What forex do they use?

US {dollars}.

What language do they communicate?


How a lot ought to I tip?

15-20 per cent.

What’s the time distinction?

7 hours behind the UK.

What’s the typical flight time from the UK?

17-19 hours.

How ought to I get round?

For downtown-focused visits, strolling will do. In any other case, there’s a metropolis bus service. For out-of-town jaunts, a rental automobile will come in useful.

What’s the perfect view?

Strolling the paved path on the Cross of the Martyrs earns views of the town and surrounding mountains and serves as some of the widespread spots for catching dazzling tangerine and hot-pink sunsets.

Insider tip?

“The blue bus,” the regional transportation system-run buses, shuttles passengers to surrounding small cities, Native American pueblos, mountain climbing and mountain biking trailheads, even the close by ski space, easing entry to the outside for each residents and guests. Discover route schedules and fares at

Getting there

Making an attempt to fly much less?

Adventurous varieties might take a cargo ship from Belgium to Houston, from the place they will take a prepare or bus to Santa Fe in lower than a day.

Wonderful with flying?

Join in Dallas or Chicago for flights to Albuquerque, an hour’s drive from Santa Fe.

The Impartial, because the occasion’s worldwide media companion, shall be offering protection throughout every day of the competition in addition to in the course of the lead up with unique interviews with a few of the headline authors. For extra on the competition go to our Santa Fe Literary Competition part by clicking right here or go to the competition’s web site right here. To search out out extra about shopping for tickets click on right here.

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