It’s easy to see how Santa Fe draws more than a million visitors a year. The city has long been a center of creativity, inspiring artists – most famously Georgia O’Keeffe – with its breathtaking landscape. Today, the adobe buildings still house galleries spotlighting painters, sculptors, photographers and more.
But there’s more to this city than art. As the oldest capital city in North America, Santa Fe leaves an impression with its laid-back atmosphere and out-of-this-world Mexican grub. What’s more, New Mexico is often praised by experienced powder hounds as having the best skiing in the Southwest, as the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains get 300 inches of snow annually.You can easily take advantage of all this powdery goodness when you visit, as Ski Santa Fe ski resort is only 30 minutes away from the downtown area.
Santa Fe is a great destination for those looking to add a healthy dose of culture to their ski getaway. When you’re not shredding powder on the slopes,marvel at the works of famous Southwestern artist Georgia O’Keeffe at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum . You’ll find more examples of the region’s creative spirit at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts , which features works by members of native communities. If you feel inspired to create your own work of art, head southwest of the Santa Fe Plaza, a popular shopping area, to the Liquid Light Glass Shop , a hub to glass-blown art. At Liquid Light you can either watch the owner create this beautiful glass art or you can be an artist and take a glass-blowing class.
To get a sense of the city’s history, pay a visit to the Palace of the Governors ; part of the New Mexico History Museum, this historic adobe building served as Spain’s seat of government in the Southwest during the 17th century. Afterwards, take a walk through the oldest and largest farmers market in the country at the Santa Fe Farmers Market in the Del Rayo Village Shopping Center.
Examine ancient cave scriptures and stone sculptures from the ancestors of the Pueblo people at the Bandelier National Monument . Only an hour from Downtown Sante Fe you can trek through the National Monument and explore the remnants of what was once a settlement for the Native American people before the United States declared its independence.
For a unique perspective of Santa Fe’s incredible surroundings, attend a show at the world-renowned Santa Fe Opera House , an outdoor venue that sits among the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountain ranges. Go on a rafting adventure down the Rio Grande and then enjoy a streamy and flavorful fajita lunch along the riverbank with New Mexico River Adventures . You can also float above New Mexico’s capital as you take flight on a hot-air balloon ride with Santa Fe Balloons .
Santa Fe boasts some great options for those looking for a luxurious hotel experience. Where the Southwest meets the Middle East, The Inn of the Five Graces is dressed in intricate hand-tiled mosaics and handcrafted artisan furnishings. With fireplaces and balconies in every room, The Inn on the Alameda is a great place to cuddle up with that special someone. Feel at home at the La Fonda at the Plaza , a newly renovated historic spot located right in the heart of the city.
Santa Fe also has a nice selection of bed and breakfasts. Inn of the Turquoise Bear in South Capitol is an upscale B&B in close range to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and walking distance to the Railyard District. El Farolito Bed and Breakfast Inn is in the heart of downtown.
El Dorado Hotel & Spa is an appealing place to stay located in a suitable spot within 10 minutes of the airport and from Ski Santa Fe Resort. The hotel also offers shuttle service to and from the mountain, as well as ski-and-stay packages.
Santa Fe dishes up arguably some of the best authentic Mexican food in the country. “Red, green or Christmas?” is a question you will likely be asked while dining in Santa Fe, meaning would you like red chile, green chile or a combination of the two.
Make your first stop of the day will be breakfast at Cafe Pasqual’s . Gobble down Pasqual’s highly recognized Huevos Barbacoa paired with their house Chile De Arbol salsa. As chiles are the most quintessential ingredient in New Mexico, it is imperative that you score a juicy green chile cheeseburger at Santa Fe Bite .
For an elegant experience, reserve a table at Geronimo , where the menu features a fusion of Asian, Mediterranean, and Southwestern flavors.
Indulge in a made-in-house Mexican hot chocolate at the Kakawa Chocolate House , a recipe that confectioners have stayed true to for centuries.
Soak up the Southwestern culture by taking the kiddos for an engaging learning experience at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum . Here, they can either enjoy interactive exhibits indoors, or they can take the fun outside as they toggle with gigantic Rubik’s Cubes and play in spacious play areas.
Home to three museums, a cafe and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden , Museum Hill makes for a whole-day affair. From the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture , the Museum of International Folk Art and then to the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian , you and your kids can learn all about Santa Fe’s history here.
The Railyard District , what was once the focal point for transportation, is now where the city gathers for food, shopping, and art. The park in the Railyard is the perfect spot for kids as it has play structures and shady groves well-suited to picnics.