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Santa Fe

Out of the Ordinary

You never forget your first visit to Santa Fe. Those jaw-dropping sunsets. The rosy Sangre de Cristo Mountains, glittering at first light. The art. The culture. The deep roots in Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures. The Margaritas. After 400 years as an important center in the Southwest, the City Different really knows how to throw a sleepover. t’s magic,” writes one fan on a social media site. “I feel smarter, more beautiful and content with the world when I’m there.” 

It’s not surprising, then, that the City Different has been deemed the Top Something-or-Other in a mind-boggling array of categories. From the No. 1 Best Place to Photograph to No. 2 City for Art Vibrancy, a Top Wedding Destination to the Best U.S. Destination for Introverts. 

Santa Fe has something for everyone. But to get the most out of your visit, Colorado Springs Style magazine is here with your Insider Guide to Santa Fe.

Must Do Events

You could get dizzy just considering the many options for entertainment in Santa Fe. But for your greatest-hits trip, try one of these emblematic Santa Fe events.

The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Festival 

(Sept. 23-27) This spectacular five-day event doesn’t require wine expertise to make you fall in love with it. Ninety world-class wineries, 75 Santa Fe restaurants, cooking demos, wine dinners at local restaurants and an over-the-top Grand Tasting located on the picturesque grounds of the Santa Fe Opera. santafewineandchile.org

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 

(Oct. 3-11) This isn’t in Santa Fe, but it’s worth the early morning drive down to Albuquerque to see one of the most astonishing spectacles ever: 550 hot air and gas balloons filling the steely blue New Mexico skies. balloonfiesta.com

Sleep

With scores of hotels, motels and B&Bs here, you have a lot of options for a place to bed down. This thimbleful promises a real taste of the City Different.

Inn and Spa at Loretto

211 Old Santa Fe Trail / 800-727-5531, innatloretto.com

With that iconic-stacked adobe silhouette, it’s easy to recognize the Inn at Loretto, which is only a block from the Plaza. Inside, the rooms are luxurious and the service impeccable. Don’t miss the almost 200-year-old Loretto Chapel and the 20-foot staircase that still confounds architects and craftsmen. 

La Fonda 

100 E. San Francisco St. / 800-523-5002, lafondasantafe.com

Situated on a coveted Plaza location said to have hosted an inn since the 1600s, this hotel is artfully steeped in Santa Fe history. Ask for the recently renovated rooms, which are beautifully Southwestern stark. 

El Rey Inn    

1862 Cerrillos Road,  / 505-982-1931, elreyinnsantafe.com

This lovely spot isn’t on The Plaza, but it’s worth the short drive for its quirky authenticity. Opened in 1936 with 12 rooms on the original Route 66, today it boasts 86 rooms and suites on 5 acres. Check out The Pantry next door, a locals’ eatery with some of the best red and green chile in town.

Shop

There are lots of shopping opportunities on The Plaza. But don’t limit yourself. There are many under-the-radar shops that will make your mementos one-of-a-kind memorable.

Doodlets

120 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-983-3771

This easy-to-miss shop isn’t strictly Santa Fe, except in its offbeat offerings. Tinwork art, Christmas decor, mood rings, fetishes and masks are a fraction of a store that brings out the kid in us all.

Double Take at the Ranch

321 S. Guadalupe St., 505-989-8886, santafedoubletake.com

This cool store splits its attention between thrift store gems, Southwestern clothes, boots, jewelry and décor, and a retro women’s clothing collection. Allot at least an hour to make a thorough tour.

Keishi: The Zuni Connection

227 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-795-7119, keshi.com

You can’t throw a stick without hitting a jewelry store in Santa Fe. This one stands out, though, for its concentration on Zuni Pueblo artists and their intricately crafted inlay jewelry and one of the largest offerings of animal fetishes in the world. 

Eat

Mexican. New Mexican. Italian. American. Indian. Thai. Take your pick. Reservations recommended. 

Cafe Pasqual’s

121 Don Gaspar Ave., 800-722-7672, pasquals.com

This tiny restaurant a couple blocks off The Plaza requires a reservation most nights, unless you don’t mind sitting at the community table. The food and wine are all organic and imaginative. Ask for a table on the riser for a good view of your fellow diners and a little elbow room.

Santacafé

231 Washington Ave., 505-984-1788, Santacafe.com

There are few restaurants in Santa Fe like this, as starkly beautiful as a Georgia O’Keeffe still life. The food is carefully curated and exquisitely flavorful. It’s not in easy walking distance to downtown, so plan to take your car.

The Plaza Cafe

54 Lincoln Ave., 505-982-1664, thefamousplazacafe.com

This classic diner offers a terrific view of The Plaza (and people watching), as well as authentic New Mexican cuisine and American classics. Just try to resist their glass display of pies and cakes. Warning: Their chile can be hot, so ask before ordering.