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 one in every of a string of pueblos (indigenous villages) alongside the Rio Grande that traded items and jewelry. Then, it grew to become a frontier vacationer vacation spot; later an off-the-beaten-track artists’ enclave. That well-trodden street is worn in slightly deeper now (and the airport’s flight frequency has grown, too), however the “Metropolis Completely different” nonetheless sparks pleasure for creatives.

Guided excursions take you to peaceable sculpture gardens and personal artists’ workshops; historic therapeutic strategies affect spas and retreats; whereas Native American and Latin flavours affect a scattering of creative eating places. Right here’s learn how to 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. Happening from 20-23 Could 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” periods 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 centered native museums. Don’t miss the delightfully eclectic Museum of Worldwide Folks Artwork (£9), reputed to be the biggest folks artwork assortment on this 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 fashion – 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) displays work by the legendary O’Keeffe, who made northern New Mexico her house and muse.

Delve into fashionable arts

For a recent arts overdose, stroll door to door by means of dozens of galleries clustered alongside Canyon Street. Time it for the primary Friday night of the month in summer season, 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 totally 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 possibly can resolve the thriller of a household gone lacking, play a laser harp, stroll by means of 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 season. Dip right into a espresso or teahouse for a caffeine repair between searching cubicles or adjoining retailers 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 one in every of New Mexico’s common trails


Take a hike

Networks of footpaths minimize by means of the pinon and juniper woodlands ringing Santa Fe. From trailheads within the Dale Ball Trails system on the east facet of city, count on a steep rise to a sweeping view of the valley and mountain ranges that run south for lots of of miles. Swing by the Randall Davey Audubon Centre for weekly fowl 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 business), 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 dwelling tree rising by means of the foyer at Las Palomas Resort is only a glimpse of the quirkiness and attraction 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 fireside. 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 strains and ample gentle. 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 severe serotonin increase. 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 full of 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. Hassle selecting? Order it “Christmas” to get half and half – purple and inexperienced.

Oaxacan-focused Paloma sources native components 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 listing of mezcals – a smokier, earthier tackle agave than tequila, by the flight.

Nibble your method by means of 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 listing that features a uncommon sighting of Spanish sherry.

For a well curated beer listing and epic fried brussels sprouts, served with a Cubano sandwich you’ll think about writing house 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 music of a bakery case that’s practically not possible 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 common for a sundown cocktail, or the Chimayoso margarita rimmed with Chimayo purple chile and combined with apricot liqueur at Low n’ Sluggish, themed round lowriders, the distinctive, low-slung northern New Mexico fashion of automobile. Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen is house 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 presents pages of choices for oolong, pu-erh, inexperienced, white, and black teas and out of doors 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 dwell 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 yr comes with summer season market season, which brings a collection of art-focused markets to downtown Santa Fe. Artists from greater than 50 nations flock to the mid-July Worldwide Folks 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 dwell music and dance performances.

These on the town with a literary agenda in thoughts could wish to browse the eclectic collections of second-hand books at Large Star Books and Music close to the Railyard District and Opcit Books within the DeVargas Middle. 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 might be present in retailers 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 house 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 foreign money do they use?

US {dollars}.

What language do they converse?


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 turn out to be useful.

What’s the very best view?

Strolling the paved path on the Cross of the Martyrs earns views of the town and surrounding mountains and serves as one of the common 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, mountaineering 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

Attempting to fly much less?

Adventurous sorts may take a cargo ship from Belgium to Houston, from the place they will take a practice or bus to Santa Fe in lower than a day.

Effective with flying?

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

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

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