Some things really do get better with age: wine, jeans, cast iron pans, and Santa Fe, the nation’s oldest capital city. At 400 years old, this adobe-filled, Native American grande dame oozes old world charm mixed with contemporary chic.
A heady blend of Southwest and exotic Far East decor, The Inn of the Five Graces is made up of 24 art and antique filled adobe rooms, surrounding a gorgeous courtyard.
For a truly decadent experience, reserve the opulent, 2,000 square foot Luminaria House, complete with five fireplaces, two private decks, and colorful mosaic tiled bathrooms featuring pure lapis sinks.
Santa Fe is renown for its distinctive New Mexican cuisine. From haute cuisine to taco trucks, the burning question on your server lips will be “red or green?” referring to which chile sauce you prefer. Opt for “Christmas” and you’ll get both!
Inside Tip: If you’d like to pick up some slick Santa Fean cooking skills, sign up for the fun-filled, interactive Southwest Culinary Bootcamp at Santa Fe School of Cooking.
For thirty-seven years Cafe Pasqual’s has been dishing up contemporary organic New Mexican cuisine. It’s amazing that this tiny, 50-seat eatery still makes their bread, ice-cream, blue-corn tortillas, salsas and sauces from scratch. Their smoked trout hash (perhaps with a side chorizo burrito) is the perfect eye-opener.
The Shed, a dining fave since 1953, has received copious awards for their red chile, which they grind daily. Set in a comfy, rambling 9-room home off the main square, try and nab a seat on the sunny, brick patio, to best enjoy their signature dish: red chile cheese and onion blue corn enchiladas washed down with a freshly squeezed margarita.
For a romantic, upscale dinner head to the Compound restaurant, where chef/owner Mark Kiffin received the James Beard Foundation’s nod for “Best Chef in the Southwest”. Kiffin’s sophisticated, seasonal food, an excellent wine list and a well-trained staff service ensure a memorable meal, particularly if you finish with their Warm Bittersweet Liquid Chocolate Cake and Pinot Noir Amarena Cherries.
It’s hard to pick a place for the best Margarita, since there are endless variables such as fruit-flavored, plain, frozen, on the rocks, a skinny version, etc. However, for sheer quantity the winner is Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, a funky fun spot that has over 100 Margaritas on their menu, all made to order using “REAL” tequila, explained as “a liquor made ONLY in Mexico, which has been distilled from the Weber blue agave plant. To be considered true tequila, it must contain at least 51% of this agave juice.”
Santa Fe is the quintessential art mecca, featuring over 200 world-class art galleries. Almost half of them are housed in historic adobe homes lining Canyon Road.
However, if you’re looking for more up and coming artists, veer seven blocks off the beaten path to the burgeoning Railyard Arts District (RAD) where about a dozen warehouses turned galleries offer edgier works by new contemporary artists.
The area is anchored by SITE Santa Fe, a non-profit art museum whose mission is to nurture innovation, discovery, and inspiration through the art of today. SITE’s new biennale exhibition series, SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas consists of a six-year program of linked exhibitions focusing on contemporary art and cultural production in the Americas.
Inside Tip: Don’t miss RAD’s Last Friday Art Walk when this exciting world-class contemporary art experience opens up the hip Railyard Arts District at night.
The new Meow Wolf interactive show must be experienced to be understood since it’s virtually impossible to describe. After spending a mind-blowing few hours at this immersive sci-fi/video game happening, you’ll understand how Alice must have felt when she fell down the rabbit hole. It all makes sense once you find out that in 2015, George RR Martin (author of Game of Thrones) joined forces with the Meow Wolf group and 100+ artists to create Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return.