Santa Fe is a community with a vibrant history including Spanish explorers, cowboys, pueblos, breath-taking vistas and transformational art. The air carries a distinct scent of sage and pinon, and the sky is brilliantly illuminated by shades of red, orange and yellow twice per day. It is a land of enchantment, filled with the promise of both tranquillity and adventure.
This remarkable city offers a wealth of culture, outdoor pursuits and style. Whatever your desires, they can be satisfied in the City Different. And with an average of 300 sunny days each year, you’ll be sure you can enjoy them.
If I had only 24 hours in Santa Fe, I would check into the La Fonda on the Plaza. You can’t beat the location – smack dab in the middle of the Plaza. The hotel possesses an old world charm, with spacious, clean and comfortable rooms. It retains an authentic New Mexican style, while providing the necessary amenities expected in a high-end hotel. The La Fonda is one of the only locales for live country music and dancing – which draws a good-natured crowd. Also, perched atop the hotel is the Bell Tower Bar, ideally situated for sipping a cocktail while enjoying the sunset. All-in-all, it is a well-rounded hotel, with decent food, good entertainment options and excellent lodging. Though, if you’d prefer a more lux experience, I’d recommend the Inn of the Five Gracesor Rancho Encantado by the Four Seasons (15 minutes north of downtown).
Now that you’ve found a place for the night (and your luggage), its off to the races – with only 24 hours, you’ve a lot to accomplish. I’d start by exploring the Plaza and Canyon Rd. Both represent the heart of the city and cannot be missed. There are a few Historic walking tours that may be a fun option if you’d prefer to be guided. If museums are your thing, then check out Museum Hill which boasts 4 museums on property and houses the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. Other great options are the Indian Arts & Culture Museum, the NM Museum of Art, the NM History Museum, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. If you’re visiting in the summer, you must attend an evening performance at the Santa Fe Opera. It is an exceptional experience set in a stunning ambiance.
For those who would rather spend time in nature, and I highly recommend you do, the large Dale Ball trail system will not disappoint for hiking and is easy to access from town. Other great outdoor options include rafting and mountain biking. For bike rentals and trail beta visit Mellow Velo downtown.
If you’re the eternal learner, like myself, there are a plethora of classes to dabble in. You can learn to paint, to throw (ceramic), or advance your photographic or cooking skills.
If you’re in the mood to relax, another wonderful way to pass the time in Santa Fe is to indulge in one of the many sumptuous spas. Premier among them is Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese inspired oasis on the mountain with private outdoor tubs and skilled massage therapists. The Four Seasons Rancho Encantado has a delightful spa, offering a secluded and luxurious experience. Finally, if you want a more far-flung experience, the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs (roughly an hour’s drive north of Santa Fe) offers natural springs for your soaking pleasure.
Now for food… Santa Fe is a gourmand’s paradise. I love to eat lunch at The Shed, do happy hour at Tesuque Village Market (which is 15 minutes north of town, but the margaritas are worth it), dinner at Geronimo or The Compound (try to get a seat in the bar, its cosy and quite unique) and enjoy after dinner cocktails at the Dragon Room. You won’t have time to visit all of these, but at least you’ll have some options to fill your schedule (and stomachs).
I have no doubts that you will leave Santa Fe enchanted…Posted by Elle Seybold on