There is a reason that artists—Georgia O’Keefe for one—have long flocked to Santa Fe. With its organic adobe architecture and laidback, open-minded vibe, this colorful city seduces without ever trying too hard. The cuisine isn’t fussy or fancy, yet hits all the right tastebuds. The shopping is surprisingly diverse and eclectic. And if ever you cease to be sufficiently persuaded, a sunset drive into the hills of Chimayo will secure the enthusiasm of even the toughest converts.
The Santa Fe Artisan Market
Direct to Consumer
1607 Paseo de Peralta at Guadalupe Street
Located on the main square of Santa Fe’s downtown district (near the history museum), this is the best place to purchase jewelry and other artisanal crafts direct from the makers themselves. From therapeutic copper to a literal trail of turquoise, the wares are varied and the craftsmen and women are warm and welcoming. In particular, we loved chatting with Jeannie Rockwell, a jewelry designer from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico who has been working with copper for over 30 years.
Montecristi Custom Hat Works
322 McKenzie Street
Enter into this temple of head toppers, and you’ll instantly know you’re in a special place. Behind the counter is JD Noble, a veteran milliner and hat seller who has been working at the 40-year-old shop since 1989. A total charmer with a lilting drawl, Noble will be happy to custom-fit your head using a historic “coformateur”—a contraption originally invented for designing aristocratic wigs in France. Of course, a perfect fit will run you a pretty price, but once you feel the difference between Montecristi’s craftsmanship and the mass-produced competition, you might just be persuaded to invest in one of these once-in-a-lifetime pieces.
Seret & Sons
224 Galisteo Street
While you may anticipate traditional Navajo crafts and desert-inspired design in Santa Fe, you certainly aren’t expecting to discover a technicolor studio of kilim textiles, Middle Eastern rugs, and Balinese wooden cabinets. Yet even peering into the doorway of Seret & Sons promises to transport you to this lush multicultural landscape. Any set designer would swoon over their wares, and actually living alongside the objects in their collection would be a great luxury indeed.
Tune Up Café
The Local’s Cantina
1115 Hickox Street
If you truly want to feel like a Santa Fe regular, you have to spend your mornings at Tune Up Café. Whether seated at the tropical flower-adorned picnic tables or neon folding chairs, the outdoor patio invites you to settle in and enjoy one of the city’s most addictive breakfasts. From an artfully plated, robust bowl of corned beef hash to crispy El Salvadoran pupusas filled with flank steak and chiles, every plate is a New Mexican classic, served with a hefty dose of generosity and charm.
Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm
Worth the Detour
4803 Rio Grande Boulevard N.W., Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
While technically in Albuquerque, this historic farm, inn and restaurant is well worth the hour’s drive south from Santa Fe. Across the property, lavender, pomegranates, and jujube run wild, filling the air with a lush floral perfume. Or step into the Rose Greely garden, where heirloom English roses flourish alongside towering sunflowers. Amidst these varied and vivid plants, you’ll find beautifully preserved John Gaw Meem architecture, including a Moroccan-style interior courtyard, Albuquerque’s first swimming pool and an array of spaces for outdoor entertaining. Underfoot, you’re likely to find a regal peacock, vying for errant scraps of the onsite restaurant’s fresh, garden-inspired cuisine. Should you be seeking a hands-on, agriturismo-style vacation, staying on the property makes for a unique and immersive experience.
637 Cerrillos Road
This relative newcomer to the Santa Fe scene is the sister business of Vinaigrette, the beloved salad shop next door. Visit in the morning for a healthy breakfast—from brothy greens and purple barley to vibrant vegetable juices and superfood shots. Then peruse the carefully curated pastas, salts, spatulas and other kitchenwares, as well as DIY books and gardening tools.
Santa Fe Farmers Market
1607 Paseo de Peralta, Suite A
While the spring and summer farmers market is open a couple times a week, visiting on Saturdays is the main event. From local bluegrass mandolin-pickers to chile salesmen drum-roasting the famed Santa Fe green hatch to smoky perfection, each sight and sound adds to a distinctly New Mexican ambiance. Overhead, a silo reads “Sante Fe Railyards,” and you might see a train rumble by in the background.
Railyards Art District
544 S. Guadalupe Street
Even when the farmer’s market has packed up and gone, the community around the local Railyards is a vibrant center for art and design. From the Evoke Contemporary gallery—featuring such acclaimed painters as Daniel Sprick—to the eye-catching JUX design store, the neighborhood offers endless visual inspiration. The latter is a new addition to the arts scene, offering careful curation of interior design elements, as well as a rotating pop-up shop featuring like-minded designers.
376 Garcia Street
For a true local’s cup of joe, venture outside the center of Santa Fe to Acequia Madre. Amidst the beautiful homes of this historic district, you’ll find specialty coffee and magazine shop Downtown Subscription. Peruse the reading materials—including boutique publications like Monocle, AFAR and even leading literary magazines—then take your perfectly pulled brew to the back patio and soak up that Santa Fean sun.
San Miguel Mission
Traces of Tradition
401 Old Santa Fe Trail
Believed by many to be the oldest church in the United States, this 17th century stucco chapel is a study in historic adobe architecture and art. The intricate woodworking and painted altar screen are beautifully restored—a feat considering the many layers of paint under which they hibernated during most of the church’s history. The mere one-dollar donation is well worth supporting its reservation for years to come.