Santa Fe, New Mexico – situated in a high alpine desert at 7,000 feet- must be on your travel bucket list. It’s the oldest and highest capital city in the United States so it’s chalk full of rich history waiting to be discovered. With the Santa Fe National Forest and the start of the Rocky Mountains at your doorstep – it’s every outdoor adventurers paradise! Not only that, I quickly discovered it’s quite the little foodie city! Perfect for a romantic getaway or girls weekend. Here’s my long weekend guide to Santa Fe.
Long Weekend Guide to Santa Fe
I made the drive from Breckenridge, Colorado. About 5.5 hours winding through mountain passes and high plains. If you’re flying, you’ll arrive via Santa Fe Regional Airport. A super small, quaint airport but makes for a quick and efficient airport experience!
If you’re flying, you’ll most definitely want to rent a vehicle to get around during your long weekend in Santa Fe! I recommend a vehicle with 4WD so you’re not hindered when it comes to accessing certain trails and off the beaten path places.
Parking in Santa Fe
Parking, just like any other city, can be a battle! But there are parking garages and reasonably priced street parking throughoutthe city. Free on Sunday!
Where to Stay
Santa Fe is home to some of the most romantic, timeless accommodations. Many of which, make you feel like you’re taking a step back in time. The traditional western accents, Pueblo style architecture, painted tiles – all of it is everywhere. Around every corner. And that’s the kind of charm you want when staying in Santa Fe. With such a range of accommodations, here are my recommendations.
The Sage Hotel
Conveniently located between the East and West sides of the city, it’s a happy basecamp for all of your Santa Fe explorations. More of a motel style accommodation, there are 145 rooms thoughtfully decorated with cool tones, Native American artwork, and authentic Spanish tin accents.
Inn of the Five Graces
Located just a few blocks from the historic Santa Fe Plazain Barrio de Analco, the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood in the U.S.
The entire property leaves you feeling transported into another time and place. With earthy tones and a traditional adobe and stone exterior, it’s very unassuming. Stepping inside is where the magic is. While you can see hints from the outside looking in, the interior features one of a kind artisan pieces, mosaics and textiles from East India and Tibet. Each room is uniquely designed featuring different accents, textiles and color palettes entirely. There are even historic sundries from the Silk Road. Blending accents of the West and Far East might be the most beautiful symphony of cultures I have seen.
La Fonda on the Plaza
Located in the heart of the historic Santa Fe Plaza, this is a quintessential American Southwest stay. You can expect vibrant décor and traditional New Mexican architecture and design. Its warmly designed interior is echoed throughout. The rooms feature hand-painted headboards, handcrafted furnishings and original artwork. Elegant, romantic and traditional – all things you’d want out of a Santa Fe stay.
Things to See and Do
Santa Fe has a few different areas worth exploring. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to divide it up by two areas: The Santa Fe Plaza and near the Plaza
The Santa Fe Plaza
See the historic churches
There are many old churches filled with the rich history of the Spanish settlers.
· San Miguel Mission – the oldest church in the United States built in 1610 by Franciscan friars
· Loretto Chapel, commissioned in 1873
· Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Museums and Art Galleries
There are countless museums and art galleries in Santa Fe. Dare I say, it’s a mecca for both! My two favorites were the New Mexico History Museum and the Antieau Gallery. Canyon Road is another great place to gallery hop. Head here for a complete list of galleries.
Go on The City Different E-Bike Tour with Heritage Inspirations
This is such a fun way to see the city! This half day tour takes you off the beaten path and gives riders a deeper look into the history of Santa Fe. The rides are $155 pp inclusive of bike, helmet, and bike trunk bag (fits a water bottle). Plus a very knowledgeable tour guide to take you all around the city! I loved getting a locals perspective on Santa Fe.
Near The Santa Fe Plaza
Soak at Ten Thousand Waves Spa
No long weekend guide to Santa Fe is complete without THIS. What a luxurious, unforgettable experience! Their private bathing experiences, reminiscent of the onsen of Japan, are a great way to relax and recharge after a day of exploring Santa Fe. The private bathing experiences at Ten Thousand Waves are entirely self-contained with a hot and cold tub, sauna, changing room and shower. The soak is 90 minutes, unless you book a longer experience. Hot tub water is maintained at 104-106 degrees F., cold plunges are around 55 degrees F., saunas average 180 degrees F.
You can book your tub up to 45 days in advance. Make sure you bring your vaccination card as vaccinations are required.
Pro tip: dine at Izanami, located on the property, for some delicious, upscale izakaya fare. Casual atmosphere with small plates!
Hot Spring Hopping
From a spa to wild hot springs! My kind of thing. Here are a few wild hot springs in the Santa Fe National Forest worth exploring:
· Spence Hot Springs
· McCauley Hot Springs
· Jemez Falls and Warm Springs
Santa Fe Hikes
Being situated in a high alpine desert means you have access to rolling hills, mountains and desert. AKA a hikers paradise. While much of the hikes were closed due to wildfires during my time in Santa Fe, I was able to get to a couple on this list!
Where to Eat in Santa Fe
I’m not sure if this is widely known or not but Santa Fe is for sure a foodie city. There are so many different places to dine and cuisines to try. You could spend a week here and not go to the same restaurant! Here are my favorites.
Coffee + Breakfast
- Opuntia Café: Another fun spot that has good coffee and tea and a great atmosphere in the Railyard.
- Modern General Feed + Seed: Think heirloom kitchen from Los Angeles meets the southwest. Things like acai pancakes, egg scrambles, fresh made sour dough and juices.
- Crash Murder Business: on Montezuma Street. A brand-new coffee shop that is doing fun drinks they are calling “elixirs” almost like a coffee cocktail sans alcohol.
- Iconik Coffee’s Lupe: location on Guadalupe Street about halfway between the Plaza and the Railyard. They are a local roaster and source fair trade beans.
Lunch + Afternoon drinks
· Izanami: delicious, upscale izakaya fare. Casual atmosphere with small plates!
· Herve: Wine bar in the Plaza featuring wines from New Mexican winery, Lescombes.
· Vinaigrette: a restaurant dedicated to gourmet, artisanal salads.
· The Shed: New Mexican fare with an awesome patio. Known for the best red chile.
· Zacatlán: A mix of southwestern and New Mexican Cuisine
· La Choza: New Mexican fare
I think it’s safe to conclude there’s no place quite like Santa Fe. Whether you are in search of a romantic getaway, girls trip or solo adventure – this slice of America’s Southwest has a little something for everyone. From the rich history, to the mountains, the food, the relaxation – this will be an unforgettable trip.