Santa Fe is enchanting in the spring, with lilacs and forsythias set against adobe buildings and clear skies. The season takes its time creeping in, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the quieter time (and lower rates) in the New Mexico capital.
The city is famous for its art galleries. East of the downtown hub The Plaza, Canyon Road (visitcanyonroad.com) has a slew housed along a half mile in adobe buildings showcasing famed art, hand-woven Native American rugs and Southwestern wood carvings.
View Georgia O’Keeffe’s Santa Fe-inspired landscapes at her namesake museum (admission $13/adults, $11/students; 217 Johnson St., 505-946-1000, okeeffemuseum.org).
At Santa Fe’s hottest attraction, the immersive art installation Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return (closed Tuesdays, admission $25/adults, $19/ages 14 and under, $23/seniors and veterans; 1352 Rufina Circle, 505-395-6369, meowwolf.com), visitors enter a Victorian mansion with secret passages to surreal worlds. The fireplace might lead to an enchanted forest, the refrigerator door to a space station. The rules are simple: feel, touch, experience and escape reality.
Just under an hour outside Santa Fe is a landscape lost in time. Ancient Puebloans called the sheer cliffs home and carved out rooms within the rock formations. At the Bandelier National Monument (admission $20 per car; 15 Entrance Rd., Los Alamos, New Mexico, 505-672-3861, nps.gov/band), visitors can explore the preserved settlement and climb on wooden ladders into the caves. From here, you might spot a buck or two grazing under the New Mexican sun in surrounding wilderness, or catch a glimpse of the Abert’s squirrel hopping among the Ponderosa Pines.
For international cuisine fused with Southwestern flair, check out Paper Dosa (closed Mondays; 551 W. Cordova Rd., 505-930-5521, paper-dosa.com), a popular South Indian establishment specializing in spicy crepes with New Mexican green chili. Julia at La Posada de Santa Fe (330 E. Palace Ave., 505-986-0000, laposadadesantafe.com) is named after the late Santa Fe socialite Julia Staab, who’s said to haunt her former home. The eatery serves locally sourced fare in tapas and more.
Good to know
Getting there: From NYC you can find direct flights to Albuquerque International Sunport, an hour south of the city, or connect to the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.
Getting around: Downtown Santa Fe is a walking city, but those venturing outside its confines need a rental car or taxi.
Where to stay: The Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza (100 Sandoval St., 505-988-2811, hilton.com) is a 300-year-old restored hacienda close to downtown shops, eateries, galleries and attractions.