15 Tips for Traveling in Santa Fe

22 02 2013


Santa Fe, New Mexico is quite possibly one of my very favorite places in-the-world. It’s old (for US standards) having been a Native American dwelling from as early as 900 B.C.E., and was colonized by the Spanish in 1598 B.C.E. The rich history is evident everywhere you go, but it also has cutting edge contemporary culture. And a traditional Japanese style spa (onsen). railyards

  1. If possible, stay downtown. Santa Fe is a small city and mostly walkable. If you stay downtown you can park your car where you are staying and walk everywhere, which is nice because traffic downtown can be a nightmare. I highly recommend the Inn at the Vanessie.
  2. Eat at Pasquals. Period. Be warned though, there is limited seating and it’s not uncommon for there to be a line forming at the door at 7:30am before they open at 8am. It only gets worse throughout the day.
  3. Eat authentic New Mexico style green chile at as many mom and pop shops as possible.
  4. Stop in at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi for a service. It’s beautiful regardless of your spiritual preferences.
  5. Check out the exhibitions at Site Santa Fe, in the Railyard District. Since 1995, Site has been putting on outstanding contemporary exhibitions featuring today’s most important artists.
  6. While you are in the Railyard District stop in to some of the galleries in the area – they are well worth your time. More so than those along Canyon Road.
  7. Okay, okay. Walk Canyon Road too. It’s quite a sight to be seen: over a mile of galleries, shops and cafes. The galleries vary from traditional craft to contemporary fine art. It is exhausting to try and see it all, so do a little research about which galleries are important for you to see.
  8. Take lots of pictures. The quality of light in northern New Mexico has drawn artists to the area for over 100 years and is renowned for it’s unique glow.
  9. Slow down and stop in to one of the many cafes and watch the tourists pass you by. Eat more green chile.
  10. Walk around the plaza, but explore the shops one and two blocks off of the plaza too.
  11. You’ll be overwhelmed by the volume of silver and turquoise jewelry for sale. Get some if you like but shop around a bit.
  12. If you are visiting during the summer make the short drive up to the Santa Fe Opera and take in a performance. It’s worth it, but be sure to take a sweater as it gets chilly after dark even in mid-summer.
  13. When you decide to go to the opera, take the highway a little bit further to Los Alamos. This small town has a really interesting 20th century history, having been one of the locations where scientists worked to develop the atomic bomb in the 1940’s. It’s now the location of a major National Laboratory, which runs a delightful science museum. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a visit. There’s also Bandelier National Monument, which features hiking trails that lead you to historic cave dwellings.
  14. Go to Ten Thousand Waves. It’s an authentic Japanese spa (onsen) in the hills outside of Santa Fe. Part of it’s authenticity is it’s ‘swimsuit’ optional policy. However, unlike Japanese spas the baths are mixed and you will see nude men and women together. If you’re with your romantic partner splurge and get a private spa.
  15. Enjoy!Tenthousandwaves



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