Southwestern Dreamin’ – Things to do in Santa Fe


Weekend before last, we took a couple of days off of work and took a trip down to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The real occasion was the annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, but with the end of summer quickly approaching (cringe), it was a great way to soak up some last-minute southwestern warmth and relaxation. Jesse’s mom and sister are both incredibly talented professional artists, and they have Northern Arapaho roots. The Santa Fe Indian Market is a long-standing tradition for Jackie, as she has participated for around 25 years. The family also gets to reconnect with some of their best crazy Indian friends (I can say that, because I’m family, right)? Anyway, this was my first time spending any time in Santa Fe, and it was even better than I expected. It’s kind of a sleepy little town, full of art and romance, chilis, pops of color and southwestern style. Its high-desert climate was surprisingly more similar to Wyoming than Phoenix, but with nights warm enough to sleep outside. I was amazed by the consistency of the adobe architecture, and the way the houses literally blend into the landscape.

Adobe and turquoise accents Santa Fe NM, Suitcase Heart

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Here are some of my favorites and recommendations from the trip.

Oh, and please excuse the lack of personal photos. I am kicking myself because there were SO many opportunities for awesome photos, and I was apparently so in the moment that I took approximately zero. So I’ll rely on good ol’ google and thank the good people that did think to capture the beauty while they were there.

Art galleries on Canyon Road. They’re everywhere. We were there for one of the largest art events in the Country, yes. Which meant that there were artist opening events on every corner. BUT. The galleries. Wow. Galleries galore, and they are there year-round. Canyon Road is a winding, colorful, historic road that you just can’t miss. There are also great little bars, restaurants (about anything you can think of) and lots of shopping. If you have rich taste, this is the place for you. If you want accent pillows for $500, or a blanket for over $5,000, they’ve got it!

Bronze face fragments by Edge artist Susan Stamm Evans welcome visitors to Santa Fe’s Canyon Road.

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Camino Real Mexican Import. A huge yard and multiple buildings full of everything Mexican, from dishes to pottery to jewelry to furniture. The prices are fair, and you can try your luck at bargaining for better. We took home just a couple of cute little colorful dishes for the kitchen.

Camino Real Imports Santa Fe Pottery

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Tesuque Flea Market. Another must-stop on the list, to get your Santa Fe shopping fix. Pet friendly, open air, and authentic. There were a couple of different spice vendors there (we took home a pound of hot green curry powder from Chef Abdelmonem Assi and some crushed green pepper), some of the most delicious beef jerky I’ve tasted, some strange art, and more home goods and odds and ends.

Classic World Rugs Tesuque Flea Market Santa Fe

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Kelly Creepy paint brush palace at Tesuque Flea Market Santa Fe
This place had my name written all over it – literally. Creepy, no?

We also somewhat impulse-splurged on this beautiful Pakistani rug.

Pakistani rug from Santa Fe NM Flea Market

Now that we’ve covered our shopping bases, you might be ready for a beer.

Santa Fe Brewing Company. You know I can’t go somewhere with Jesse and not find at least one brewery. These guys know their stuff, in my opinion. They offered a ridiculous bargain of a taster tray, 4 oz. pours of all 13 of their beers for $10. They’re basically giving it away. There were only 3 beers on this tray that I didn’t care for. All of the others were pretty true to style, simple, and delicious.

Santa Fe Brewing Co. NM taster tray

The Draft Station. This tap room and Pizza shop is not super easy to find, but you’ll be glad you did. It is right on the plaza downtown, but we walked around the block a couple of times, thinking that the upstairs patio was just a pizza place. After finally walking in and seeing the taproom signage that pointed upstairs, we were super pleased with the beer selection at the bar. Offering fresh selections from several New Mexico breweries, this place had a funky feel, shuffle board, and a patio overlooking the art market on the plaza.

The Draft Station taproom, Santa Fe NM beer

The Draft Station Santa Fe, outdoor patio overlooking plaza

Bandelier National Monument. If you’re up for some historical ruins and some liesurely walking/hiking, this is a great half day trip. We drove to the visitor center which is about 40 miles outside of Santa Fe. We then hopped on a free shuttle for a ride about 15 miles into the Monument headquarters. We paid the $12 per visiting car fee, which was good for a week if we had wanted to come back. The walk through the park and back took us about 2 hours. We took our time, and we’re able to check out several ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings, remains of their villages, and could see lots of petroglyphs still carved into the rock walls. Pretty cool.

Bandelier National Monument NM, Anasazi ruins

Bandelier National Monument cavates, ancient cliff dwellings

And finally, if you’re into amazing food, do not miss this:

India Palace. I know. In the midst of so much delicious Mexican food, and pretty much any other cuisine you can imagine, you might be skeptical about this place too. We stood outside debating, and yelped it, and finally decided to take a chance. You never know with Indian food, and this place looked like it could be a hole in the wall. Which is typically really good or really bad. It is one lone building in a huge parking lot. But holy shit, it was delicious. Probably the best Indian I’ve ever had. And we have a great go-to place in Ft. Collins. We got the lamb tikka masala, spicy (actually spicy!!). We also enjoyed papadam (papadan?), delicious rice, naan, and a red zin. I have no photos because I was too busy gorging myself and enjoying my food heaven. Ridiculous. Do it.

Do you have any recommendations in Santa Fe?

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    1. Yeah, it was great Lisa! I would definitely recommend making a trip if you have the chance. Very cool city with lots of culture. Thanks for hosting!

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