Read Jordan Breal’s account of strolling for hours through the Southwestern city that got away from the May 2014 issue.
SEE + DO
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum // Give yourself at least an hour to spend with O’Keeffe. After watching two short documentaries about the artist’s life and life’s work, marvel at her depictions of New York’s skyscrapers and, of course, the mesas and hills of her adopted home state. 217 Johnson (505-946-1000)
The Railyard // Once a mere transportation hub, this gathering place has been reimagined as an artsy nucleus with contemporary galleries, performance spaces, and a xeriscaped park. Perusing the Saturday morning farmers’ market will bring you up to speed on the star of New Mexican cooking—chiles—which you’ll find in myriad forms, including dried, powdered, and cooked into jams, mustards, and sausages. 740 Cerrillos Rd (505-982-3373)
SITE Santa Fe // Even the façade is an artwork-in-progress at this art center known for its ever-changing exterior (the current molded-fiberglass entrance is by Los Angeles architect Greg Lynn) and biennial exhibitions, the next of which, “Unsettled Landscapes,” opens in July. 1606 Paseo de Peralta (505-989-1199)
Ten Thousand Waves // You don’t need to consult a single guidebook to find out about this rustic hillside Japanese spa. Chances are, anyone you know who’s been to Santa Fe will slip into a soliloquy about its restorative merits. Robed devotees soak in private hot tubs before shuffling off to their four-hands massages, oxygen facials, and herbal wraps. 3451 Hyde Park Rd (505-982-9304)
EAT + DRINK
Café Pasqual’s // This corner cafe, which has been dishing out organic comfort food for the last 35 years, is anchored by a communal table, decorated as if for a fiesta, and likely to please everyone in your party with a menu of New Mexico classics (mole enchiladas, chiles rellenos) and nods to specialty diets (quinoa burgers on gluten-free buns). 121 Don Gaspar Ave (505-983-9340)
La Boca // It’s easy to turn a meal into a feast given the number of tempting tapas selections at La Boca (and at its sister restaurant, Taberna, around the corner); shrimp tacos with morcilla and napa cabbage slaw, patatas bravas laced with a spicy sherry vinegar, and citrusy pork tenderloin bocadillos. Oh, and plenty of Spanish wines ripe for the pairing. 72 W Marcy (505-982-3433)
Restaurant Martín // Not even Santa Feans can live on chiles alone, thank goodness. Though undoubtedly influenced by the Southwestern kitchens he came up through, chef Martin Rios deftly lassoes Asian and French flavors into the dishes at his eponymous restaurant, where you can start with a hamachi crudo brightened with Thai chile yogurt and beads of shoyu caviar, then slurp up a bowl of Atlantic salmon soaking in a sake-dashi consommé. 526 Galisteo (505-820-0919)
The Shed // The wait for a table is more than bearable at the bar, with a bowl of freshly mashed guacamole and a margarita in front of you. The magic word when ordering your dinner is “Christmas,” as in, you’d like your enchiladas (or tacos or burritos) to be covered in both red and green chile sauces. 111 E. Palace Ave (505-982-9030)
Tia Sophia’s // Stomachs are filled and tables flipped with the efficiency of a military mess hall at this casual cafe, but your waitress will be patient as you waffle between the huevos rancheros and the breakfast burritos. 210 W. San Francisco (505-983-9880)
Canyon Road // On this half-mile-long tourist magnet—home to more than a hundred boutiques and art galleries—you might be inspired to buy a $5 papel picado banner or a $28,000 steel yard sculpture. So first spend some time setting a budget over espresso and a cranberry doughnut at the nearby Downtown Subscription, which stocks two hundred magazine titles.
Hotel St. Francis // In keeping with the spartan spirit of Santa Fe’s patron saint, the historic Hotel St. Francis downtown is monastic in design but still outfitted with simple pleasures like smoked-sage margaritas (in its popular Secreto Bar) and dream-inducing beds heaped with small mountains of pillows. 210 Don Gaspar Ave (800-529-5700)