A Quick Guide to the Best of Santa Fe

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She's So Bright - A Quick Guide to the Best of Santa Fe

Whether you’re passing through for a day on a road trip, or staying longer to explore, I’ve put together a short list of all my favorite Santa Fe spots (some we’ve visited more than just a few times). From places to stay, where to eat, and what to see, here are my must see, got to swing-by, favorites.


Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi – White painted adobe and wood beams are a staple of this modern hotel. We stayed here at Thanksgiving a few years back and took great advantage of the cozy fireplaces and cuddly blankets. With a location across the street from the Palace of the Governors, it’s right in the heart of Santa Fe.

The Inn of the Five Graces – Hands-down one of the best hotels I’ve ever been to! The Inn is a 24-suite boutique hotel, whose owners have an obsession with antiquities from the Far East. Decorated with rugs, textiles, doors, and custom tiling, this hotel is one of the most unique and beautiful places to stay. My only regret is that I haven’t spent my visits lazing about the room and soaking in the tub. It’s a splurge, but oh, so worth it!

She's So Bright - A Quick Guide to the Best of Santa Fe
At such a high altitude, Santa Fe has one of the bluest skies I’ve ever seen. Combined with unique and colorful architecture, just walking around is a treat!


Casa Chimayo Restaurant – One of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of eating at. The service is hit or miss, but I have never been let down by the food. Freshly made guacamole, salty chips, steak fajitas and chicken mole are a must.

Andiamo! – I know what you’re thinking, Italian…in Santa Fe? I said the same thing when trying to find a restaurant for lunch, but I’m glad I gave it a try because the food here was unexpectedly delicious. With homemade pastas, local ingredients, and sweet potato fries to boot, it’d be a mistake not to order linguine in such an unlikely place.

Holy Spirit Espresso – Bill and his wife make this teeny espresso bar a must visit. International money hangs from a faux sky light fixture and hundreds of postcards act as a makeshift wallpaper. Stop by for a friendly chat and a delicious iced coffee before you hit the road.

The Good Stuff – This combo bookstore, café, and record shop is new in town but with Frida Kahlo tees and quirky albums, I couldn’t resist taking a peek. Their chai latte is simply perfect.

Tune-Up Cafe – If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, this isn’t the place – but if you want a satisfying brunch that will keep you going all day, then give it a try. We ate here before heading out to camp at Chaco Canyon and with a huge menu, you can take your pick of sweet or savory. Satisfying for even the pickiest of eaters!

Kakawa Chocolate House – Best hot chocolate in Santa Fe!


The Rainbow Man – The labyrinthine shop carries everything from carved deities, papier-mâché veggies, to jewelry and belt buckles. The colors of these southwestern trinkets will make you itch for a rainbow garden turtle or a porcelain skull – just because!

Malouf – While this store is certainly out of my budget, I always enjoy taking a walk around their rug and textile area. Faded antique Navajo blankets hang alongside unique ponchos and area rugs that will get your design juices flowing!

The O’Farrell Hat Company – A custom hat shop that sells high quality fur felt cowboy hats. Pre-made toppers are for sale and lined along the wall like candy. I couldn’t resist ordering a custom hat of my own, but a waiting time of a few months has me sitting by the mailbox awaiting its delivery.

Todos Santos Chocolates & Confections – Decorated like a fabulous Southwestern disco, you can tell that Todos is a labor of love by its owner, Hayward. Stop in for their homemade truffles and grab a few packaged sweets for your sweetie.

She's So Bright - A Quick Guide to the Best of Santa Fe
I can’t even describe how beautiful the flowers and plants are in and around New Mexico. Make sure you wander around the residential areas of Santa Fe to enjoy the spectacular front gardens of most homes!


Madrid – This small, former ghost town is a must visit. Full of unique, curated shops ranging from textiles to minerals, each store is an artistic and creative expression of its owner. When flying in or out of Albuquerque, ditch the main highway for a cruise along the Turquoise Trail and a stop here.

The VLA – The Karl Jansky Very Large Array is a sight to be seen in the middle of the desert. The giant radio telescope, made of 27 individual dishes, is a futuristic monument against the flat Plains of San Agustin. Stop in the little museum for a self-guided-tour, and check out the gift shop for proof you were there. It’s a good drive away from Santa Fe, but a must see!

Bandelier and other National Parks – The area around Santa Fe was settled by Native Americans long ago. Bandelier and many of the neighboring National Parks celebrate the early cultures of the Pueblo Indians and protect these prehistoric sites. Great camping, unique deserts and captivating landscapes will keep you coming back.

Ten Thousand Waves – A Japanese-inspired spa on the top of a mountain is literally as great as it sounds. Enjoy a hot soaking tub surrounded by a juniper forest under the stars, or an herbal wrap and massage by their expert masseuses. We book a visit every time we’re in town!

So, there you have it! My quick guide to Santa Fe. Pick any of these on a trip through and you wont be disappointed!

To read other posts from Santa Fe, check out Camping at Chaco Culture, Exploring Bandelier National Monument, The Best Hot Chocolate in Santa Fe, and My Great American Road Trip: Santa Fe and the VLA. And if you have any favorite spots to visit in and around New Mexico, share with me in the comments below!

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