Travel diary of my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico from last year, I did so much on this short trip and I don't want to forget my any of the highlights. I am so glad I traveled here in November since fall in LA is basically just an extension of summer. Everything about New Mexico is so colorful (we're talking desert landscape colors) and the "changing of the leaves" was something I had never experienced in the desert before. Santa Fe is such a magical place, the energy of the high desert is tangible and the land has a sacred quality. I really hope to return some day!
Where I Stayed...
We stayed at La Posada Inn, which was located near many of the other hotels and walking distance from the center of town. I appreciated the adobe style architecture and beautiful trees all over the property. A highlight is the dry sauna located in the fitness center, it had the best eucalyptus scent that was very cleansing. The room was quite large and the locally made soap in the bathroom smelled divine.
The best part about staying so close to the older part of town is that it was super walkable. I was able to walk from the hotel to restaurants, shopping and museums. I mostly walked around town and explored all of the little jewelry and hand craft shops. There is a strong arts & crafts culture here and it's worth noting how many locally made and artisan made items you can find in shops. I've highlighted the sites, shops & restaurants I visited below:
Where I Ate...
Chez Mamou Dining Room
Breakfast at Julia
Coffee from Iconik
Afternoon snack at Pig & Fig
- Chez Mamou - Just a short walk from the hotel, they had an excellent bakery selection as well as made to order breakfast entrees. Loved the bright dining room so much I ate breakfast here 2 days in a row.
- Julia - This is the restaurant on the property at La Posada Inn. A generous amount of food was served but you can get the same breakfast for less at a non-hotel restaurant. I woke up late my first day there but they were nice enough to keep the breakfast kitchen open for me.
- Geronimo- A phenomenal fine dining experience. Expensive but so worth it for the unique cuisine. The dining room had an amazingly chic vibe. This was hands down the most memorable meal of the whole trip.
- Iconik Coffee Roaster- Coffee beans roasted in house and just an all around perfect cup of coffee. I went to the location in the Rail Yard District.
- 35˚ North Coffee- Great quick option for coffee, located inside the mall.
- Pig & Fig Cafe -This was in White Rock, NM (not Santa Fe), we stopped here for a snack after hiking in Bandelier.
What I Saw...
Camel Rock in the distance
Outside the cave dwellings at Bandelier National Monument
View from the tram to Sandia Peak
- Georgia O'Keeffe Museum -First on my list, I did a project on Georgia O'Keeffe in elementary school so I was eager to visit. Aside from omitting some very obvious aspects of Georgia O'Keeffe's life this museum was a good opportunity to see many of her works up close.
- The Cathedral- This beautiful, old Cathedral is hard to miss if you're walking around town. There is a beautiful staircase inside that I did not get to see but if I go back I will make it a point to visit.
- Meow Wolf- I don't even know how to put this "immersive art experience" into words, but I will say it is a MUST! I felt transported into another dimension and unsettled in a good way. I recommend visiting solo so that you can take it in at your own pace.
- Camel Rock- I actually just saw the monument from the gas station across the street but that was enough to impress me.
- Bandelier National Monument -We made a half day trip out to the park but you could easily spend a full day here. We did the shortest hike since we only had a few hours before the park closed. The trail took you through ancient Native American ruins and perfectly preserved cave dwellings. The land here was so beautiful it was clear why the people who lived there never left the canyon.
- Sandia Peak Tramway (Albuquerque, NM)- If you're okay with heights, this tram ride will give you the best view of the Sandia Mountains. Go closer to sunset so you can see the sun hitting the granite and revealing the "Sandia"-like colors of the granite rock. When I visited they were re-doing the recreation area the peak to include a cafe/restaurant but I predict it will become a very popular place to propose when finished.
Where I Shopped...
Basket from Santa Fe, NM
3 little bowls I picked up from different stores
For me, the must-buy items from Santa Fe are home goods! The town is chock full of shops with intricately woven baskets, beautiful pottery, unique artwork. I came away with a few locally made baskets and hand thrown pottery (which I use to organize my beads). I bought a few prints from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum gift shop but sadly I forgot them at the hotel when I left.
Of course New Mexico is synonymous with jewelry- especially turquoise jewelry! As you can imagine this was of great interest to me. Malouf on the Plaza had a wide selection of gold and silver jewelry with unique gems. Alas I did not purchase any jewelry because I was too overwhelmed by the selection.
I did not set out to shop for clothing when I embarked on this trip but I did discover some amazing boutiques that I listed below:
- Santa Fe Dry Goods - Upscale boutique with high end designers and runway pieces (think Etro, Dries Van Noten, & Issey Miyake). This was more of a window shopping experience for me. Conveniently located in the historic plaza, this is perhaps the chic-est place to shop in all of Santa Fe.
- Malouf on the Plaza- One of the better gallery style shops in the area. I was most drawn to their fine jewelry. But I remember they also had leather goods and housewares as well.
- Zephyr Boutique- This was a happy discovery and as a bonus it was next to my favorite breakfast spot (Chez Mamou)! The selection at this boutique is best described as....random. My first impression was that it was your standard tourist clothing shop. As I looked closer I discovered that they carried a range of styles and some unique labels that I hadn't heard of before. I had to take the time to look but I did find some beautiful pieces from a french line and they were on sale!
More Pictures from the Camera Roll...
Walking back from dinner one night, the moon looked so bright next to the Cathedral
Adobe style architecture around town
My favorite "room" in Meow Wolf
Cave dwelling being warmed by the afternoon sun in Bandelier