I need to start this post by saying that Santa Fe is incredibly special. I can’t particularly pin down one reason why, but there’s something about the place that makes me want to go back ASAP. It may be the people, the food, the pueblo-style buildings or maybe the art scene? Whatever it is, mix it all together and a Santa Fe weekend is the perfect getaway.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect at all before starting my Santa Fe weekend. Plus, this was my first trip to New Mexico, so I really didn’t know what to expect.
Before booking the trip, all I knew was that I wanted a girls’ weekend getaway preferably somewhere relaxed and laid back where we could all work a few days and then enjoy the weekend. In the end, we looked at a map and decided a Santa Fe weekend was going to be our best choice.
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The Perfect Santa Fe Weekend: A Girlfriend Getaway Guide
When to Visit Santa Fe
We visited Santa Fe in the beginning of April thinking it would be quite warm, but then we realized that Santa Fe is at an altitude of 7,199 which is super high, so the weather is a lot milder than other parts of New Mexico. Luckily we had pretty nice weather the entire time we were there. If you’re planning a trip to Santa Fe, the best time to visit Santa Fe is typically spring to early fall, but people also love it in the summer because it never gets too hot.
How to Get to Santa Fe
Santa Fe isn’t the easiest place to get to and typically requires a flight connection depending on where you come from. My girlfriends and I looked at flights directly to Santa Fe and realized it would be easiest to just fly into Albuquerque, rent a car, and drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The drive is exactly 1 hour.
I personally flew from Boise (BOI) and connected in Las Vegas (LAS). My girlfriends flew from New York (JFK) and connected in Atlanta (ATL) to get to Albuquerque (ABQ). If you’re coming from somewhere close by like Denver, you could make a fun road trip out of it!
Renting a Car
A car rental was the best decision for us. There are Lyfts and Ubers in Santa Fe, but there are also a lot of great day trips you can make from Santa Fe. For us, having the flexibility of having a car made the most sense.
What to Wear in Santa Fe
The dress in Santa Fe is pretty casual and laid back. Depending on what time of year you go, I recommend always bringing a jacket since temperatures can drop pretty drastically at night. There is great shopping in Santa Fe for fun desert-inspired outfits, turquoise, and leather. We mainly wore dresses and jeans for day time and dressed them up a bit at night but nothing too fancy. A few of our outfit examples are below!
Where to Stay in Santa Fe
We stayed at two amazing locations that I highly, highly recommend. I can’t always say this for everywhere I’ve stayed, so trust me when I say these spots were amazing. First of all, both places we stayed were in the downtown historic district and within walking distance to all of the downtown Santa Fe restaurants, shops, and bars.
The first was the Inn and Spa at Loretto which was just a wonderful hotel in the heart of the city. See my entire review of staying at the Inn and Spa at Loretto here.
After a few nights at the hotel, we moved to an Airbnb to experience staying in a pueblo-style home. We just loved this spot and it was again in a great location.
Hotel: Inn and Spa at Loretto
We checked into the Inn and Spa at Loretto for 2 nights when we first got to Santa Fe. It was in the perfect location and we LOVED our stay. Plus, the design of the hotel is incredible. See current prices.
The Best Airbnb: El Ocaso
After a few days in the hotel, we ended up booking an Airbnb we could easily work from. This place was epic! It’s located in an actual pueblo home and the location is incredible. You can easily walk anywhere downtown and the decor was beautiful and very Sant aFe. This Airbnb can hold a lot more than 3 people, so we felt like we had quite a bit of room, but it was perfect for a girls weekend! Book it here.
What to Do on Your Santa Fe Weekend
There is so much to do in Santa Fe! I was actually quite surprised by all of the great activities. Because we went right when things were JUST starting to open up after the pandemic, many places were really booked up due to limited capacity and people starting to travel again. However, we still managed to fit quite a few things in. If that’s the case for you, just be sure to book in advance for some of the following activities (especially the hot springs, Georgie O’Keefe Museum, and Meow Wolf).
Okay, this was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. I can’t even explain it besides the fact that it’s an immersive artistic adventure!? Their site calls it an “Immersive Art Experience”. They actually have one in Las Vegas and one in Denver, but each is different. This one was called, “The House of Eternal Return”. Just trust me when I say, you should go and book tickets to this in advance! Tickets here.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
I’ve been wanting to go to this museum for a long time and it was something I wish we could have booked in advance because it was sold out when we went. So, I recommend booking this in advance if you can. I’ve heard it’s wonderful and I’m planning on going next time I’m in Santa Fe! Book your tickets here.
This is such a cool street—especially if you’re an art fan! Basically, Canyon Road is one long street full of art galleries and shops. You could spend hours walking down Canyon Road looking at the amazing art. I couldn’t believe how long the road was. I would save yourself an hour or two just to walk down it! At the end, there’s a cute little restaurant called the Tea House that I recommend to rest your weary legs after the walk.
The Railyard and Farmer’s Market
If you’re in Santa Fe on a weekend, I recommend checking out the Farmer’s Market and Artisan market over in the Railyard district. We loved checking out the local produce and the local art and antiques at the market.
Go on the Margarita Trail or Brewery Hop
If you’re coming to Santa Fe, you definitely need a margarita or two. I’ll let you know my favorite places to eat and drink below, but there is a thing called the Margarita Trail in Santa Fe and you can hop around to different restaurants to try different margs. It would be something fun to do for a girl’s weekend or bachelorette! Not into margs? Breweries are aplenty as well. Some of my faves are listed below.
Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
I didn’t get to make it here but heard raving reviews about this museum. Plus it just looks so cool from the outside! I recommend booking this one in advance (similar to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum). Tickets are here.
Hike up to the Cross of the Martyrs
If you want a bit of exercise during your trip, take a walk up to the Cross of the Martyrs. It’s a pretty short walk up to the top (and pretty easy), but fun to see the views from the top of all of Santa Fe!
Other Sites and Activities in the Downtown Historic District
Check out Loretto Chapel, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe Plaza (the main square), Santa Fe School of Cooking and Palace of the Governors.
Day Trips Near Santa Fe
Hot Springs Spas
Ten Thousand Waves and Ojo are the most popular spa/hot springs adventures from Santa Fe. Again, we weren’t able to get tickets (I recommend booking well in advance) but they look magical for a day trip! This was one of the top recommendations I got from people on Instagram.
Bandelier National Monument and Cave Dwellings
We decided to take a day trip (or more like a half-day trip) to get out in nature and decided to head over to these cave dwellings. I hadn’t ever seen cave dwellings before, so this was a treat for me—especially after learning about them in middle school! We got to climb up the ladders, go inside them all, and hike around the area. From Santa Fe, the trip was about 1 hour both ways and there was some beautiful landscape along the way. We even saw wild horses on the drive!
Many people recommend visiting Taos while in Santa Fe. Technically it’s a ski resort and World Heritage Site known for its art and history. You can get there in about an hour and a half when driving from Santa Fe.
If you’re driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque this would be a fun option if you’re not in a time crunch. If you veer off the main road, you’ll find a treasure trove of, you guessed it…turquoise! Basically, it’s a 50 mile stretch with gorgeous views and mining towns filled with arts, crafts, museums, and restaurants. Towns that are recommended for a stop are Golden, Madrid, and Cerillos.
Where to Eat & Drink in Santa Fe
Let’s be real. We basically decided on a Santa Fe weekend because of the food and the margaritas. The food blew us away and we learned that Santa Fe is actually a big foodie town. We went to so many wonderful spots! Here are some of my favorite ones:
- Iconik – There are multiple Iconik’s in the town and both are great. I loved the horchata latte and we all loved the Salmon Paradise and the Breakfast Tacos!
- Modern General – I recommend going here just for the cuteness. The food was great too and can be perfect for breakfast or lunch! It’s a walk up and order place. We loved the Breakfast Biscuit and the Pumpernickel and Lox!
- Tia Sophia’s – This is apparently where the term “Christmas” sauce was invented. Everywhere in Santa Fe they talk about “Christmas” sauce which basically means green and red chile sauces together. I highly recommend getting this option with their famous Breakfast Burrito. It’s the only way to go at Tia Sophia’s. They serve lunch also. YUM!
- Opuntia Cafe – We LOVED this place. You can go here for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It’s located in the Railyard district and perfect if you’re in the area at the Farmer’s or Artisan Market and want to grab some food. The decor is amazing and we loved the food.
- Manolla – This was a great spot on Canyon Road and we loved their healthy bowls.
- The Tea House – I mentioned this place before, but it’s a fun spot at the end of Canyon Road. They have a ton of different teas and also have great salads and sandwiches.
- The Shed – This was the number one place people recommended for us to eat. It did not disappoint! If you want to try New Mexican food, you gotta go here. By the way, New Mexican food is different than Mexican food. The flavors are very different!
- Del Charro – This was the first place we went when starting our Santa Fe weekend. It’s technically somewhat of a dive bar, but the food was great! I recommend the queso and margs.
- La Boca – Want a bit of a fancier meal? Head to La Boca for a nice Spanish tapa meal. We loved the food and flavors.
- Maria’s – We went here on our final night because we heard about their famous margaritas and I was not mad about it. It was definitely a popular spot and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and margaritas.
Wine Bar/ Brewery / Cocktail
- Gruet Winery Tasting Room – This is located in the fancy Hotel St. Francis and is a wonderful pre-dinner spot
- Herve – Loved the inside of this wine bar. Plus, the appetizers we got were wonderful!
- 4 Seasons Resort – We really enjoyed heading out to the 4 Seasons for a cocktail on their patio! We ended up eating dinner out there and it was a wonderful way to watch the sunset.
- Second Street Brewing – You can go here before Meow Wolf and then just walk over. They do flights and have a great outside deck.
- Chili Line – We LOVED this brewery. The beers were so good and some were a tad spicy which I loved.
I hope these tips help you have a wonderful Santa Fe weekend! I can’t wait to go back for another visit. Something about it is just so magical and it’s a wonderful getaway in the United States.
Please let me know if you use any of the tips in the guide and let me know if there’s anything amazing that I missed!
Happy Travels. 🙂
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So glad I found this post of yours! I’m planning a fall road trip to New Mexico and will definitely be using a lot of your recommendations for Santa Fe.
Yay, I’m so glad!!
I’m loving all of this information too- thanks so much – will be headed out to Santa Fe several times over the next year!
Can’t wait to check out some of these recommendations.