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Santa Fe, New Mexico City Trip

Take a drive into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Where to Stay Where to Eat What to See & Do

SANTA FE DAY 2: Canyon Road, Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Pueblos

You've got an active day ahead of you, filled with art and pampering. Take a stroll up Canyon Road, dubbed the "art and soul of Santa Fe," a winding road following the course of the Santa Fe River. In the 1920s, the area became a haven for artists and sculptors. The tradition continues today, with shops and galleries occupying tiny adobe buildings and several sculpture gardens abutting them. If time allows, stop to visit the historic Cristo Rey Church, the largest Spanish adobe building in the nation.

One of the galleries along Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico

In addition to art, Canyon Road is home to some of the most esteemed dining establishments in Santa Fe. For a refined meal, James Beard Award winning Chef Mark Kiffin's The Compound offers a perfectly harmonious union of artistic and gastronomical creations. Designed by renowned architect Alexander Girard, the walls and ceilings are sprinkled with colorful Native American designs and folk art. The crispy sweetbreads and foie gras appetizer will linger deliciously in your memory, as will the buttermilk roast chicken on the stacked salad.

After lunch, head to the nearby Kakawa Chocolate House, a specialty chocolate company whose passion is authentic and historic drinking chocolate elixirs from Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan, Aztec, 1600's European, Colonial American and Colonial Mexican traditions. They have been described as a kind of "time travel" for the palette — and everyone swoons at their sumptuous delights.

After, head back downtown to San Miguel Mission. The oldest church still in use in the United States dates back to 1610 and was built by the Tlaxcalan Indians of Mexico who came to New Mexico as servants to the Spanish. The church's plain adobe design and earthen hues exemplify 17th-century Catholic churches, and the centuries-old religious art on display is definitely worth perusing. While you're here, cross the street and pay a visit to the oldest house in the United States. Likewise an adobe structure, this house dates back to before Spanish colonialism, and was first seen by Coronado's men in 1541.

For an unforgettable afternoon, take a scenic drive into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, literally on the edge of town, and spend a few relaxing hours at Ten Thousand Waves. This luxurious Japanese-style spa, situated among piñon pines, offers both private and communal indoor and outdoor hot tubs and a wide range of spa services including massages, hot stone treatments, facials and wraps. There are also luxury accommodations in case you can't tear yourself away.


The Poeh Center in Santa Fe educates the public on the Pueblo history and culture of New Mexico

If time allows, make sure to visit at least one of the 19 pueblos found in state. The five Pueblos located closest to Santa Fe are San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Nambe, Santo Domingo and Tesuque. The Pueblos are sovereign nations and the oldest tribal communities in the United States, remaining on their original homelands despite loss of land to colonization by the Spanish, Mexican and American governments. More indigenous people live on their original land in northern New Mexico than do in the entire east of the Mississippi.

The Tesuque Pueblo is believed to have been inhabited as far back as 1200AD.

The San Ildefonso Pueblo used to live in what is today Bandelier National Monument, but a serious drought in the 1300s forced the people to move to the Rio Grande Valley. Bandelier remains one of Santa Fe’s must-see attractions.

The Pojoaque Pueblo is the smallest of the pueblos, with only 300 inhabitants, but it is one of the most economically prosperous due in part to its operation of The Cites of Gold and the Sports Bar Casinos.

The Santo Domingo Pueblo is famous for its jewelry-making method known as "liquid silver." The pueblo’s silver and turquoise jewelry is sold under the portal at the Palace of the Governors.

When visiting a Pueblo, keep in mind that the public dances performed on Feast Days are ceremonies and not put on for tourists. Refrain from asking questions or interrupting, and remember that all Pueblos restrict photography.

The dining area at 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Santa Fe, New Mexico

After all the sightseeing, you're bound to have a large appetite. For dinner, treat yourself to a meal at 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar, a cozy French bistro with a wonderful wine list and attentive service. While the steak frites and mussel entrees are classics, ask about the specials. And if the weather allows, relax on the patio.

Continue to Day 3

*Poeh Center image courtesy of the Pueblo of Pojoaque official website


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