Three Days in Santa Fe

Memorial Day weekend marked my first trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. An artist’s paradise, scenic Santa Fe is nestled in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. The Spanish-influenced architecture and European vibe remind me of one of my favorite places: New Orleans. It’s kinda like New Orleans’ Mexican, desert little sister.


Driving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe feels like traveling through Super Mario World; blue skies are dotted with fluffy, pom-pom-like clouds and round green trees are scattered throughout the small hills. To my delight, Santa Fe was much greener than I anticipated and the adobe buildings with blue doors and window frames are endlessly charming.** The locals wax poetic about their home gushing about the architecture “it’s like living in a museum,” the people “the conversations here are wonderful,” and the climate “300 days of sunshine, bested only by San Diego and Honolulu.” I don’t think a single person we met actually grew up in Santa Fe, it’s a town full of transplants from far and wide.


Taos, a mountain town reached via a scenic 90 minute drive is a small western town also known for galleries and locally-made goods. We drove up there for one day to explore the town and sights in the surrounding area. Well, we drove up there because my boyfriend loves to fly fish. While he passed the morning wetting his line, I got dropped off for a massage (woe is me), and then we spent the afternoon exploring the town and sights in the surrounding area.


You can easily pass three days in Santa Fe simply wandering the streets and taking in all the town has to offer. Poke into shops, galleries, and museums while stopping occasionally to sip on margaritas and load your belly full of delicious New Mexican fare. If you want a little more guidance, here are some tried and true spots from my trip.


** Admittedly, I’ve been a desert-basher for most of my life. Growing up in the green, water-laden, mountainous Pacific Northwest I was turned off by the dry, flat, beige desert landscape while visiting my brother at school in Phoenix (did I mention, HOT?) A recent trip to Scottsdale this January had me beginning to warm up to the region (read: not in the height of summer heat), and this trip introduced me to a new part of the region: the mountain desert. OK, it’s pretty nice.




La Choza
Delicious, fresh New Mexican food outside downtown
Same owners as The Shed, the menu is similar but not identical
Recommended // green chile enchiladas, prickly pear margarita

A traditional New Mexican restaurant – no frills
The food is fresh and delcious, the margarite menu is 10+ pages!
Recommended // green chile rellenos, green chile stew, mango frozen margarita

Cafe Pasqual’s
A classic Santa Fe establishment serving up delicious New Mexican food
Great for breakfast, but be prepared to come early or wait in line
Recommended // polenta and chorizo with eggs

Second Street Brewery
Located in the trendy Railyard neighborhood
A good spot for lunch after browsing the Saturday Farmer’s Market

The Shed
A very popular spot downtown with delicious, fresh food and a nice courtyard
Everything served with garlic bread (genius!), same owners as La Choza
Recommended // the fish tacos were large and delicious with ample avocado

Historic Taos Inn (Taos)
Step back in time at this historic western inn
Come for a drink, a meal, or just look around




Arroyo Coffee Bar
Stop by this friendly coffee shop owned by Seattle natives Chuck and Karen

Secreto Lounge
A great cocktail bar in the beautiful St. Francis Hotel
Serving up truly innovative cocktails and delicious bar food
Recommended // the short rib poutine is a must try, any/all the cocktails

El Monté Sagrado (Taos)
Stop in for a drink/app at this beautiful hotel’s bar
Be sure to walk the grounds and take a look around




Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
The largest collection of her works in the world.
You can also visit Georgia’s home and studio in Abiquiu

Canyon Road
Over 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants in one half mile
Visit Friday nights for gallery openings (read: free wine!)

Cross of the Martyrs
Sits atop Fort Marcy Park above Santa Fe
Stunning views of Santa Fe, the Jemez Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos (Blood of Christ Mountains)

Shop Native American Jewelry on the Plaza
Artists set up shop each day in front of the Palace of the Governors
The jewelry is authentic, and prices are better than many of the shops in town

Hot Stone Massage at Sage Waters (Taos)
Make an appointment for an uber-relaxing massage session with Lee
The packages are very reasonable

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge (near Taos)
10 miles NW of Taos, its the 7th highest bridge in the US
An incredible view of the gorge, but I was shakin’ in my boots and couldn’t walk far!

Taos Pueblo (near Taos)
World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark
The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years




Cowgirl BBQ
We didn’t make it to this local hangout, where people come for BBQ and live music

Longhorn Skull with Turquoise
On my wishlist! I have to have one of these someday

Nambé Falls and Lake
Hike to the waterfalls and lake located 17 miles north of Santa Fe in the Nambé Pueblo

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum gets all the attention,
but there are numerous other great museums to visit in Santa Fe:
New Mexico Museum of Art
New Mexico History Museum
Museum of International Folk Art
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture


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