One of the first things that most impressed me about Santa Fe was the light—the light and the colors. It has the bluest sky and the brightest sunlight. Even during the warmest months, Santa Fe feels refreshing and comfortable. The reasons to love Santa Fe are many, but I will narrow it down to my top five.
1. The Architecture
There are no tall buildings here and no obstruction to nature; from any rooftop you can clearly see all there is across town. The style is primarily Spanish pueblo with its adobe-colored bricks and soft earth tones. Every so often a splash of brightly-colored glass or ornaments can be spotted, reminding you of the festive energy and vibrant creativity that is nurtured here.
2. The Art
This is an artist’s paradise. That beautiful light I mentioned has been the inspiration for painters, photographers, and writers. D.H. Lawrence once wrote about how the light of Santa Fe stirred his soul. The serene vibe and laid-back energy has motivated many for years to call this place home. Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived in New York City, was often called back to its warmth and found inspiration for many of her paintings here. You can admire them by visiting her museum in the center of town. There are tons of galleries all throughout, enough to keep you entertained for days. A favorite hotel for art lovers is La Posada de Santa Fe for its impressive art collection.
3. The Food
If you are a fan of Southwestern cuisine, then you will definitely love Santa Fe. Whether you prefer the upscale experience of dining at La Boca for tapas or decide for a more local, casual vibe at Tia Sophia’s, you will want to arrive hungry and prepare to leave full. There’s always something good to eat. Just remember: When ordering eggs, or pretty much anything, you will be asked if you want red or green sauce. Say you want “Christmas” if you want to try both and don’t have anything against hot (green) sauces.
4. The Farmers Market
A visit here is more than just food shopping, it’s about mingling with the locals, something that I enjoyed on an early Saturday morning. The weather in the morning is brisk, and to take advantage of the best produce one should arrive early. The people are so friendly, it makes for a beautiful way to start your day. Grab a snack and find a seat in the center of town and people watch, or pick up something pretty from the local artisans selling their craft.
5. The Nature
Whether you decide to go skiing, hiking, biking, or horseback riding in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, or watch the mountains from afar as the sun sets while you sip on a mojito from the rooftop bar of the La Fonda on the Plaza hotel, there is no doubt you will find yourself absolutely captivated by the natural beauty that surrounds this town.
No two visits to Santa Fe are ever the same. Come in a different season of the year and see it anew, and be ready to fall in love all over again.
What is your must-see destination in the Southwest?