Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of those cities that after visiting makes you say, “Why haven’t I visited sooner!?” The food, culture, people, architecture, and entertainment make this destination a must-see! While there is no way that you can do it all in just two days, here’s a quick guide of how you can get your first taste of Santa Fe that will make you want to come back again and again.
If you’re flying into New Mexico, the largest nearby airport is Alburquque. This is where we flew into. Sidenote- The Albuquerque airport is amazing! It’s on the smaller side compared to all major city airports and boasts beautiful design elements with extremely friendly staff. Once you arrive at the airport, you have about an hour’s drive to Santa Fe along a major highway.
By the time you get to Santa Fe, it’s time for lunch! I recommend visiting Tomasita’s Restaurant in the Santa Fe Railyard. Tomasita’s is distinctly Northern New Mexican and is one of Santa Fe’s oldest restaurants. What’s unique about Tomasita’s is that they actually have an employee whose only job is to grind up the red and green chile, not something that is a standard practice amongst other restaurants.
After lunch, it’ll then be time to check into the Hotel Chimayo. You’ll find the Hotel Chimayo in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, walking distance from the historic Santa Fe Plaza. You’ll notice immediately that the hotel has been inspired by the historic art scene and passed down traditions. The boutique guest rooms and suites feature cozy wood-burning fireplaces and some even have private balconies that overlook the beautiful courtyard. We absolutely loved our stay here!
By this time, you’ll be itching to explore the city! The best way to get your first introduction is to take a lowrider tour in a custom 1964 Chevy Impala. This unique tour gives you a great overview of the city, its history, and information about the current shops, museums, and restaurants.
The tour is run through the Hotel Chimayo so you can book it through the front desk. This was one of the highlights of our trip! Ask for Orlando to take you, he’s the best!
After you’ve been given an overview of the city thanks to the Lowrider Tour, you’ll now have a better idea of the places you’d like to explore. We really loved walking through the Canyon Road Galleries. “With more than 80 galleries, studios, and designers in the Canyon Road Arts District you’ll find art that is contemporary, abstract, modern, expressionistic, digital, figurative, photorealistic, traditional, western, and Native American.”
You’ll find a wonderful garden with outdoor wind-powered sculptures and another one with many large metal animals (kids will enjoy this spot). Look for these in the second block of Canyon Road, near the Wiford Gallery, just past the intersection of Canyon and Garcia Street.
Next up on this Santa Fe itinerary, dinner! At this point, you’ll want to jump in your car and drive to the Santa Fe Bite. They offer dishes including enchiladas, steak, fish and chips, and more. But what they are known for is their Green Chile Cheeseburger! What stood out to us was the quick service and how friendly the staff was! We definitely recommend visiting.
Our evening plans consisted of bringing dessert to go from the Santa Fe Bite (the german chocolate cake was amazing) back to the Hotel Chimayo. We listened to the rain sitting next to the cozy fire. It was the perfect way to end the evening! If however, the weather is nice while you’re visiting, some great sunset locations include the Cross of the Martyrs, the rooftop bar at Drury Hotel, and the water tower in the Railyard.
Day 2 of this Santa Fe itinerary kicks off with a delicious breakfast! A few top recommendations within walking distance from the hotel include Tia Sophia’s, French Pastry Shop, Café de Artistes, and Café Pasqual’s.
After breakfast, we enjoyed visiting the Loretto Chapel. This is such a special place in Santa Fe and attracts many who want to worship, admire the building and learn about the mysterious staircase. “Three mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder, the type of wood used, and the physics of its construction.” You can learn all about it while visiting!
Important Note: If you decide to take photos/videos inside the chapel, they ask that you remain unobtrusive to other guests inside the chapel as much as possible. Also, absolutely no ascending/touching the staircase.
In the afternoon, you’ll want to make a visit to Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return. “Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return is a mind-bending, explorable art experience for people of all ages in Santa Fe, NM.” We loved exploring this crazy warehouse! Even Briggs was fascinated by all the art displays, lights, and colors. Make sure you make your appointment online before visiting as they have time slots to choose from.
For lunch, you’ll find Dr. Field Goods Kitchen a short drive from Meow Wolf. You’ll love the menu they offer and the relaxed environment is refreshing. We spotted a giant wood fire oven in the middle of the restaurant so of course, we went with their wood-fired pizzas for lunch. 10/10 recommend!
In the afternoon, you might consider driving to Bandelier National Monument which is only about an hour away from Santa Fe. However, we were still experiencing some rain during our time there so we opted to spend more time exploring the Santa Fe Plaza!
However, if you do decide to visit Bandelier, it’ll be convenient to stop at Rancho de Chimayo for dinner as you’ll find it on your way back to Santa Fe. We loved driving out to the village of Chimayo and eating dinner here. The restaurant has done an excellent job at creating a welcoming, home-like environment where everyone will feel comfortable. A few signature dishes include spicy guacamole, hand-rolled tamales, blue corn enchiladas, chile rellenos, and carne adovada.
Saturday, October 2:
This wraps us this two-day guide to Santa Fe, New Mexico! If however, you find yourself waking up here over a weekend, you’ve got to stop by the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market! The market is only hosted on Saturdays year-round and on Tuesdays from May-November.
I hope you have as much fun in Santa Fe as we did!
Santa Fe Tourism hosted us during our stay. All opinions remain our own.