Best of Santa Fe (so far)

Frenchy's Field in crazy bloom at the end of a rainy August

Frenchy's Field in crazy bloom at the end of a rainy August

Whenever friends come into town, I make this list in one form or another. Here are my favorites in Santa Fe:


Tune Up Cafe - New Mexico style home cooking, hands down we have eaten here more times than anywhere else in the city.

Cowgirl - classic Santa Fe, with New Mexican and American bar menu, cheap and good margaritas and live music on the weekends. Great pool tables too!

Backroad Pizza: They have a good gluten-free crust option, so Sonia and I always share a GF pizza and then I get a slice of gluten-full pizza on the side.

La Reina - New and cute bar at El Rey, great mezcal cocktails. It’s also a great spot for a photo or two.

The Teahouse - Great spot for tea/lunch on Canyon Road.

Taco Fundación - Tacos!

Kakawa Chocolate House - All the chocolates and chocolate drinks.

Opuntia - Beautiful tea house with lots of plants.

Iconik - All three locations of this coffeeshop are great, but I go to the one on Lena St. the most, and they have a pretty good food menu as well.

Tonic - Had a very smoky bourbon cocktail here the other night, definitely recommend this spot! The live music is supposed to be great.

Gruet Tasting Room - Rosé flights!

Farmer’s Market - The farmer’s market happens Saturday mornings in the Railyard.

La Choza - New Mexican cooking, very good, very spicy.

Marias - New Mexican cooking, the largest margarita menu in the city.

Paper Dosa - Lovely Indian restaurant, right next to Maria’s.

Coyote Cantina - Rooftop with great cocktails and good food.

Modern General and Vinaigrette - these two are next to each other, and are sister restaurants. Vinaigrette for salads and Modern General for brunch, and both for great juices and non-alcoholic beverages. Also Modern General has a nice selection of books and home goods and gardening goods.

Radish and Rye - We go for the whiskey cocktails but the food is supposed to be good as well.

Sonia at Plaza Blanca

Sonia at Plaza Blanca


Part 1 - Outside:

There are so many amazing places that you can drive to in an about an hour from Santa Fe. There are lots of great hiking trails, but I won’t go into all those here. If you’re looking for some good trails check out Alltrails or the book Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area, that I mentioned in this post. It has been our constant trail resource, and we’ve been slowly crossing them all off (still a ways to go though).

Aspen Vista Trail - This is an old fire road trail that I love to visit in every season. It’s about a 20 minute drive from Santa Fe. We’re planning to try snowshoeing here for the first time ever this winter! Also near the Aspen Vista Trail, but not as high up is the Chamisa Trail.

Santa Fe Ski - There’s lots of snow this winter so the slopes are open as of Thanksgiving. I haven’t been skiing since I was a teenager so I’ve never been here, but everyone it pretty excited about it being open. There are also lots of trails that begin up here. This time of year you might need spikes or snowshoes, but in the Spring/Summer/Fall the trails are mostly clear.

Abiquiu - Home to Georgia O’keefe’s house and studio, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu Lake, Plaza Blanca. We go here often, for hikes, a bit of a retreat, and sometimes with family.

Valles Caldera National Preserve - I love it here. I go every chance we get. Also, Longmire was filmed here, so if you want to see Walt’s cabin this is the place to go. And Jemez Springs is not too far from here.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument - About 40 miles from Santa Fe, these rock formations are amazing! The trail isn’t too long, so it’s great for an afternoon adventure.

Taos - It’s a bit further but the Rio Gorge Bridge is here which is a jaw dropper. And I love hanging out in Taos, the downtown is really cute, and there are lots of great trails up in the ski valley.

Bandelier National Monument - There are lots of beautiful trails here as well. We did the Frijoles Rim trail last weekend and it was lovely.

The tub at  Sunrise Springs

The tub at Sunrise Springs

Outdoor tubs:

Ten Thousand Waves - Up towards the ski basin, this spa is up in the forest and mountains and has a couple of communal pools. It’s especially beautiful when there’s snow. The restaurant is also great.

Ojo Caliente - This spa is about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe. They have a lot lovely pools, my favorite is the iron pool and the mud pool. There are also some trails on the grounds to an old mica mine. We are taking my mom here this weekend!

Sunrise Springs - The sister spa of Ojo, they have private tubs that you can rent for a soak overlooking the pond. It’s especially nice with the fall colors. They also have puppy play classes, and if you can stay over it’s worth it.

Marian  in the rug room at  Shiprock

Marian in the rug room at Shiprock

Part 2 - Inside:

Shopping - There are still a lot of wonderful shops in Santa Fe that I haven’t visited yet, but here are some of my favorites so far:

Hecho A Mano - This new gallery featuring ceramics, printmaking and jewelry, also has a great selection of my work!

Santa Fe Vintage - Amazing collection of vintage finds, a treasure trove.

Santa Fe Dry Goods / Wild Life / Workshop - This trio of shops on the plaza are all gorgeous. I can’t afford most things in these shops but they have the most beautiful textiles and clothing. Wild Life has great home goods and books and dried plants.

Cielo Handcrafted - They have beautiful wood pieces as well as jewelry and ceramics.

Shop Better Together - Modern mix of clothing and apothecary.

Desert Son - This Canyon Road shop has lots of silver jewelry and leather, the shoes are beautiful!

Shiprock - They have the most amazing rug room!

Galleries + Museums + Entertainment

Meow Wolf - Everyone should probably go here at least once. They also have lots of great music shows here.

Site Contemporary - Contemporary art museum with national and local artists.

Form and Concept - Definitely my favorite gallery in town. I try to make it to all of the shows here.

No Land - Gallery run by Strangers Art Collective just off the Plaza, great shows! Only open on Saturdays.

Georgia O’Keefe Museum - Beautiful museum in an old Santa Fe house near the Plaza.

Curate - roving art shows curated by Niomi Fawn, as well as monthly exhibitions at Artifact

Violet Crown - I love going to the movies here! They have a great bar and restaurant as well, so you can bring food in with you if you want.

Museum Hill - Home to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.

Also, check out Santa Fe Found for interviews with lots of Santa Fe creatives and makers and shop keepers (including yours truly and others from this list!) And the Santa Fe instagram account Simply Santa Fe for more recommendations.

To be continued…