Words and most photos by Jessi Walker
Santa Fe, New Mexico has a special vibe to it. Once you step into the downtown main square you’ll likely feel transported into a different era, something about the place evokes a sense of intimate, close-knit community. Ristras—strings of dried red chile—serving as a symbol of welcome, hang from windows, arches and doors.
Whether you’re visiting for the delicious cuisine, world-class spas or to feel like you’ve stepped into a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, Santa Fe has something for everyone. Here are Whalebone’s recommendations for how to spend a week in Santa Fe.
WHERE TO STAY:
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is a luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of Santa Fe. The space is decorated with traditional Southwestern decor and features a cozy fireplace, outdoor patio and a renowned restaurant. The location is unbeatable, walkable to many of Santa Fe’s best restaurants, museums, and attractions.
If you’re looking for more of a holistic spa experience we’d recommend checking out Ojo Caliente properties.
WHERE TO PLAY:
Start off your trip by getting a lay of the land. We’d recommend taking a stroll along Canyon Road, a historic street filled with art galleries, shops and restaurants. Here you’ll find historic artifacts, covetable western wear and handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces.
If it’s art that you’re looking for, don’t miss SITE Santa Fe at the Sky Railway. This contemporary art museum is located in a lively area of town packed with shopping, breweries and a weekly farmer’s market on Saturdays. For an interactive art experience, check out Meow Wolf, an immersive warehouse space that’s been filled with delightfully disorienting installations from different artists.
There’s plenty to do outdoors in Santa Fe. For those looking to hike the gorgeous terrain and check out some incredible history, The Bandelier National Monument is a wonderful option. This park features ancient Pueblo dwellings and petroglyphs, which you can hike around or take a guided tour of.
To experience the picturesque high-desert landscape of Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch and the Georgia O’Keeffe House offer breathtaking views. Located about an hour from Santa Fe, The Ghost Ranch offers horseback riding tours, and the Georgia O’Keeffe House is a must-see for art lovers.
WHERE TO EAT & SHOP:
One of the things that makes Santa Fe so special is the mix of new and old. With influences of Mexican, Spanish and Western culture Santa Fe’s food scene is a deep dive into history and tradition. Recently, the city has taken on new life with fresh influences and newcomers paving their way into the scene.
A great example of this is having a meal at Sazon. Originally from Mexico City, Chef Fernando Olea recently won ‘Best Chef of the Southwest’—his menu is deliberately small, and features beautiful local produce throughout. We’d recommend calling in advance and asking for the tequila and mezcal tasting at the bar to experience this mesh of old and new in the best way. You’ll try a series of moles with tequila, mezcal and sotol options, all with their very own story.
If you’re looking for more local flavor off the beaten path, we’d recommend checking out the Tesuque Village Market. You might come across local vendors outside, hear some fun stories from locals at the onsite bar or try some of the best pizza Santa Fe has to offer.
Open for breakfast and lunch, The Modern General Feed & Seed has excellent food and juices. It’s a great place to bring your computer or a great book and post up. The shop is adorable and features consciously chosen items for the home.
Another one of our favorite farm-inspired spaces is Los Poblanos Farm Shop Norte just north of the plaza in Downtown Santa Fe. This space is housed in a renovated 1935 Sinclair Oil gas station, and features curated goods and New Mexico-made wine and spirits. The best part is Bar Norte, an intimate specialty cocktail bar attached to the shop.