Santa Fe, New Mexico is a city rich in history and culture, in beauty and charm, where the continuous mixing of cultures and ideas over hundreds of years has created a space like no other in the country or the world. The unique history, culinary culture, diverse art scene, scenic surroundings, and memorable experiences in Santa Fe are just a few of the things that set The City Different apart from the rest.
In historic downtown sits the centuries-old Santa Fe Plaza, which has been the city’s cultural center since its founding in 1610, marking Santa Fe as the oldest capital in the country. Encounter the soul of the city here, where various customs collide in a celebration of music, art, dance, and design. As you wander through the heart of Santa Fe, meet local artisans selling one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs.
Make sure to also stop inside the city’s oldest restaurant, the Plaza Café. Established in 1905, this diner cooks up chile for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving New Mexico’s state vegetable in omelets, burritos, burgers, enchiladas, and even meatloaf. With its vast menu of both traditional and original dishes created from scratch with fresh, all-natural products, the Plaza Café is the ideal place to sample the tastes of Santa Fe.
Outside the Plaza, Santa Fe School of Cooking serves up the city’s distinct cultural flavors in weekly cooking classes, where visitors and locals alike can master authentic Southwestern dishes, most including New Mexico’s beloved chile. Cooking with chile is a way of life for many in Santa Fe, and after a class or two, it could become an important ingredient in your life as well. Discover how you prefer your chile, whether that’s battered and stuffed with cheese or blended into a smooth cream sauce with onions and garlic.
Not far away, Canyon Road winds its way into the hearts of art-lovers, bringing the beauty of Santa Fe to life with its diverse collection of galleries, studios, and designers. This magical half-mile exhibits artwork of varying styles, including traditional, contemporary, expressionistic, abstract, and digital. Stroll up and down the street to find your favorite painting, sculpture, or photograph, as well as to meet the creative minds behind the works of art.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of the city, take the road, or rather trail, less traveled in the Santa Fe National Forest to witness the nature that inspired some of Santa Fe’s greatest art. Snow-capped mountains peak out from behind branches of speckled aspens, which paint the forest gold in the autumn months with their leaves. After seeing Canyon Road’s technicolor landscapes and striking skylines, this natural beauty takes on new meaning, turning a simple hike into an unexpected adventure through your own canvas come to life.
For a completely different look at the Santa Fe art scene, check out Meow Wolf, where artists are changing the cultural narrative of what it means to be an art gallery with their immersive experiences and interactive storytelling. You can see, feel, and even taste the art inside Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, where culinary artists whip up drinks like the “meowgarita,” a fun fusion of tequila, Cointreau, agave, lime, and butterfly pea flower tea. Find this craft creation not along the forest’s hiking trails, but along the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, which winds its way through 45 of the city’s tastiest margaritas.
Make your stay in Santa Fe about you by making time to enjoy the city’s extraordinary collection of stores, boutiques, and art markets. Whether you’re looking for that perfect piece of furniture to tie together a room, or that perfect statement piece to style an outfit, Santa Fe has what you’re looking for and more. Uncover hidden gems and handmade treasures at various shops and studios tucked away inside charming historic buildings throughout the city, while establishments like Shiprock Gallery offer you a curated selection of Native American art, furniture, pottery, and jewelry, their colorful Navajo rugs and blankets being a local favorite.
Treat yourself further and focus your energy inward at one of Santa Fe’s unique spa locations, where natural healing nurtures the body, mind, and spirit. Inside the Santa Fe Salt Cave, which is lined with 250-million-year-old pink salt crystals, halotherapy, or salt therapy, restores your strength and sense of peace from the inside out. Another option is Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Health Spa, which offers visitors a chance to reflect while soaking in a shoji hot tub or receiving a specialty massage in a soothing atmosphere inspired by the ancient mountain hot springs of Japan. Immerse yourself in tranquil waters for deep relaxation and gentle rejuvenation, only found in Santa Fe.