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3 Days in SantaFe

 

Santa Fe is widely recognized as one of the most intriguing cities in the United States. Its natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle, diverse cultures, and abundant recreational opportunities make it one of the country's most popular destinations. Whether you're planning a quick getaway or a lengthy stay, Santa Fe offers an array of exciting, intriguing, illuminating, and satisfying experiences you won't want to miss.

STAY

A sleek renovation of the city's former downtown hospital with more than 180 modern, light-filled rooms, the Drury Plaza Hotel features a rooftop swimming pool with breathtaking mountain and sunset views, cocktails from the rooftop Bar Alto, and lunch and dinner at Eloisa restaurant, on the main level. The hotel is located at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Palace Avenue (800-378-7946; druryplazasantafe.com).

In the heart of downtown, the Hotel St. Francis (210 Don Gaspar Avenue, 505-992-5863, hotelstfrancis.com) bills itself as the oldest hotel in the city. It offers a unique blend of classical styling and luxurious amenities. The Secreto Lounge is a popular spot thanks to its award-winning handcrafted cocktails, or you can visit the newest tasting room of New Mexico's highly esteemed Gruet Winery, where you can sample the winemaker's red, white, and nationally acclaimed sparkling wines by the glass, bottle, or tasting flight.

In a series of centuries-old adobe buildings arranged around charming courtyards, the Inn of the Five Graces (150 E. DeVargas Street, 866-992-0957, fivegraces.com) is a more-colorful getaway that feels off the beaten path yet is only blocks from the Plaza. The rooms feature jewel-toned tile mosaics and tapestries, wood-burning fireplaces, and spacious baths. Full breakfast is included and can be had in the main dining room, by a courtyard, or in your room.

DO

Santa Fe is howling with delight over the opening of The House of Eternal Return (1352 Rufina Circle, 505-395-6369, meowwolf.com), an interactive installation brought to life by the Meow Wolf art collective. This fantastic immersive attraction - a collaboration of some 135 local artists - is filled with technology, art, and whimsical environments that will captivate visitors of all ages. The wildly imaginative space is backed in part by Game of Thrones creator and Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin, who provided funding for the creation of complex.

For decades, one of the city's most popular summer attractions has been the world-renowned Santa Fe Opera (seven miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. Highway 84/285, 800-280-4654 or 505-986-5900, santafeopera.org). Each summer, the company presents both classic and new operas in a unique open-air setting where a breathtaking sunset or an occasional thunderstorm creates a dramatic backdrop for arias. This season, which runs July through August, and this year's productions include Strauss's classic Die Fledermaus as well as Donizetti's Lucia de Lammermoor, The Golden Cockerel by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Handel's Alcina.

The Santa Fe Farmers Market (1607 Paseo de Peralta, santafefarmersmarket.com) is held on Saturdays (8 a.m.-1 p.m. October-May and 7 a.m.-1p.m. June-September) and on Tuesdays (May-November) inside and around the pavilion, located in the popular Railyard District. Vendors offer a wide variety of produce, locally made cheeses, and New Mexico-raised meats as well as arts, crafts, and prepared foods. Musicians contribute to the inviting, festive ambience.

The mountains around Santa Fe offer ample opportunities for hiking, whether you're a novice or a veteran. Numerous trails wind through the majestic Sangre de Cristos, providing views of the city, the Rio Grande Valley, and other mountain ranges in the distance. Three popular hikes in the area are Tesuque Creek Trail, the Atalaya Mountain Trail, and the Dorothy Stewart Trail, where you'll wander among pinon and juniper, possibly spying an array of birds and wildlife and enjoying Santa Fe's brilliant blue skies and crisp, clean air.

EAT

Just 10 Minutes from downtown Santa Fe in Tesuque, the beloved El Nido restaurant (1577 Bishops Lodge Road, 505-954-1272, elnidosantafe.com) has risen from the ashes under the auspices of chef Enrique Guerrero, known for his work at the former La Mancha restaurant in Galisteo and the popular Bang Bite food truck. The historic building retains its timeless facade, while the interior has been thoroughly renovated. Most of the items on the innovative Italian-focused menu are cooked over an open fire - on a grill, on a rotisserie, or in a wood-fire pizza oven.

The Beestro (101 W. Marcy Street, 505-629-8786, thebeestro.com) is a popular downtown cafe that serves breakfast and lunch six days a week - from hardy burritos and wraps to alluringly fresh farmers salads, soups, and sandwiches. Just down the street, the Beestro's chef-owner, Greg Menke, has ventured into the retail business with his Hive Market (101 W. Marcy Street, 505-383-3879, therootcellarsantafe.com), a honey-bee-centered shop filled with New Mexico-made products, from candles and candy to biscochitos and body lotion. Downstairs is the Root Cellar, a German rathskeller-style taproom that offers a lengthy rotating list of beers, ciders, and wines - all hailing from New Mexico (some are from Menke's own Falcon Meadery & Winery) - along with a small menu of snacks and sandwiches.

Erin Wade's Vinaigrette (709 Don Cubero Alley, 505-820-9205, vinaigretteonline.com) has breathed fresh, whimsical life into the world of salads. Now Modern General (637 Cerrillos Road, 505-930-5462, www.moderngeneralnm.com) - her cheery, tony, loft-like market-cafe, which serves coffee, sandwiches, bowls, and a few sweet treats - rejuvenates the pancake with colorful, moderately sized Modcokes: coconut cakes with almond and lime-passion fruit curd, carrot-ginger slathered with tangy labne butter cream, lemon cakes layered with lemon curd and raspberry compote, red pepper Sonoran wheat cakes topped with salty-smoky lox and chive sour cream, green chile corn cakes topped with an over-easy egg, and prosciutto-Robiola cakes layered with Italian ham and rich gooey cheese.

The new local darling in New Mexico's fast-growing brewery scene is Rowley Farmhouse Ales (1405 Maclovia Street, 505-428-0719, rowleyfarmhouse.com). This independently owned gastropub serves house brews (their focus is sour and farmhouse-style beers, which are currently having a moment in beer-loving culture), carefully selected exceptional beers from elsewhere around the globe, and a menu of farm-to-table-focused dishes, from bar snacks to hearty entrees.


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