Visiting New Mexico

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Visiting Santa Fe in June - hikes and walks?

April 2016

My family is visiting Santa Fe for a week in June and I'm looking for recommendations for interesting hikes, walks, and places to go and see. There's lots of info on the web for visitors to SFe but I'm hoping the wonderful BPN community has some insider info on sites or hikes that are off the beaten path of the tourist throngs. Thank you! Joanie

Hello! We moved to Santa Fe from Oakland a few years ago. There are tons of hiking trails. I like Aspen Vistas, which is just up the mountain from downtown. You can stop for a soak at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese bath house in the mountains on the way. The Tent Rocks hike is incredible. It's a little farther, about 45 minutes away but totally worth it. About the same distance is Bandelier, which is a very easy hike through the ruins of ancestral Puebloans. It's gorgeous and very cool. This isn't a hike but I highly recommend you visit the Meow Wolf interactive art installation in town. We spent hours there, it is so much fun. I hope this helps, enjoy our beautiful town! Santa Fean

If you're up for a day trip, or maybe an overnighter, visit Ojo Caliente, a mineral spring and resort about an hour from Santa Fe. It's not chi chi at all, and very charming, but that was ten years ago so not sure if they've made any big renovations. It's a little off the beaten path, has lots of different baths as well as massages available, friendly staff. We've been several times and way overdue for a visit. I think worth checking out if you want a little R and R in a beautiful setting. Kristin

Bandolier National Monument is a must. The partially restored cliff dwellings are fun to climb around. Located on the way to Los Alamos.

A beautiful hike if you have a driver is one-way, downhill from the ski area through the Santa Fe National Forest into the village of Tesuque. You can get maps from the national forest service office in town. Goes through aspen forest into high desert scrub.

Attend a dance at a pueblo. In summer, I think the best are feast days or corn dances and although Taos is most famous, dances at other pueblos are great. Absolutely no photographs - your phone/camera may be confiscated! Since pictures are limited, I think this reduces the info available on the internet about these ... Observers are welcome however, and you can buy fry bread and snow cones and arts and crafts from vendors set up. The summer dances tend to have hundreds of dancers - even little kiddos out there. Biggest trick is figuring out when the dances happen. See here for a starting point, and call to confirm dates. Sometimes you arrive to find the dancers breaking for lunch; in that case wait around for them to start again.

Santa Fe is amazing - have a great trip!

Santa Fe fan

May 2012

RE: A week in New Mexico and Arizona with a 9 year old

There are millions of good restaurants in Santa Fe and Taos. But if your nine year-old is anything like me as a young girl, she will really love The Cantina at La Casa Sena. It's a bar, but I definitely went there with my parents as a child. All the waiters and waitresses sing and as they serve drinks and food, they sing beautiful show tunes, classics, and even opera. They are fabulous singers and showpersons and it's not remotely cheesy or goofy. Especially if she is at all a theater buff, she would love it. And so will you. You can make reservations for the Cantina so you don't have to wait. Santa Fe fan 

Arizona/New Mexico/Joshua Tree over Xmas break?

Sept 2010

We are looking for a warm place to travel to over the holiday break. Airfare and lodging in Latin America/Hawaii looks prohibitive, so we thought maybe the desert? We are considering renting an RV and driving. Has anyone been to any of those places during the winter? What would be a good route? We were hoping to see some sites, natl. parks and then spend some time by a pool. Am I off my rocker.

Thanks for any suggestions! warmseeker

Arizona, New Mexico and Joshua Tree can have lots of sun in late December, but aren't really that warm. For example, the average high in Tucson, AZ in late December is 65 degrees, and Albuquerque, NM has highs around 50. It is even colder at higher elevations and the temperature really drops at night. Sunny but cold

new mexico is pretty high up, so it's going to be cold there during the holidays. joshua tree is beautiful. it's considered high desert. or low desert, i always get confused. why don't you google average yearly temperatures for the places you want to go. of course that won't predict what this particular winter will look like, but at least you'll have an idea.

As a former New Mexican, I hate to break it to you but NM gets snow and is cold in the winter. It is a common misconception that it is warm. Santa Fe and Albuquerque both get snow. Taos and Santa Fe have popular ski resorts. Further south would be marginally warmer but there is not much to do and see there. Try Texas, Southern California, maybe AZ anf FL for warmth. Stephanie

Santa Fe in May with a 2 1/2 year old

March 2010

My husband will be teaching in Santa Fe for 3 weeks in May. I can easily take off a week from work and bring my 2 1/2 year old son. I am wondering if Santa Fe has enough to do for all of us that I should take a little more time off and spend more than a week there. Do you have any suggestions for things to do, places to eat, and day trips? Thanks kathy

My kids were older when I took them to Santa Fe, so we were able to do more 'one size fits all' activities. The only toddler-specific activity I can think of is the community center, which has the best kid pool ever. Land of Enchantment

First of all, just walking around at downtown is fun enough in Santa Fe! But there is an indoor play space called Santa Fe Children's Museum that we really enjoyed with my 1.5 and 3.5 years old 2 years ago. Here is the website: Have a nice trip! Nes

Road trip to Colorado and New Mexico

Sept 2009

We're about to embark on a 2 week road trip starting in Denver and hitting Glenwood Springs, Canyonlands, and Albequerque. We'll be doing camping but staying at motels too with our 4 year old. Any place you know of that we should check out? We like quirky!


Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Out of the way, very. No stores, hotels, bring your own water and food, camping available. Just drop dead gorgeous ruins and views for miles. The real deal. I have been to numerous sites, and this one, hands down takes the cake. Google the site, there is a wealth of info. dana

This sounds like a great trip! A friend and I drove from Denver to No. New Mexico a few years ago and loved is beautiful country. In So. Colorado, check out: Great Sand Dunes. New Mexico has neverending places to visit: city of Taos, the Taos Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, the Turquoise Trail (a beautiful drive somewhere b/t ABQ & Taos), and if you like quirky, check out the Old Pink School House - a quirky, funky old pink schoolhouse converted to an art gallery & run by an equally quirky man...also has a neat sculpture garden in it's surrounding garden. In ABQ, check out the Rio Grande trail that you can bike/hike along and access the botanical garden. Also, check out the tram up the Sandia Mountains and see the views down below. And, lastly, don't miss the sunsets in NM....they're stunning and better than the postcards! Oh, how I love NM!!! Enjoy!! anon

Santa Fe NM Restaurants

June 2009

Looking for Santa Fe NM resturant recommendations. Downtown area, not too pricy. Not afraid of the local hole in the wall type places. Thanks! jean

Yes. . .Diego's! Its in a shopping mall, so you wouldn't suspect its terrific. . . but it is. Don't miss the sopapillas! Debbie

There are no more hole in the wall places in downtown Santa Fe, but the Plaza restaurant, right on the plaza, serves good Northern New Mexican food, kid-friendly environment, and at reasonable prices, for Santa Fe. For breakfast locals and tourists have been loving the French Pastry Shop for decades, just off the plaza. Not too far away on Guadalupe St. is Tomasita's, another old-time fave. And across the street the Cowgirl, if still there, is fun and good too. There are lots of overblown Santa Faux places, so beware. Have a good visit! former Santa Fean

A previous response recommended Diego's restaurant, but sadly, Diego's went out of business. My husband's family lives in Santa Fe, and it was long a favorite of ours, too. I was very disappointed when we tried to go to Diego's in February and it just wasn't there. I second the recommendation for Tomasita's--the sopapillas there are great but be prepared for a wait any time you go--and also try the Santa Fe Baking Company for breakfast/lunch. lucky to have in-laws in Santa Fe

We always go to Counter Culture when we are in Santa Fe. Also, try I've had luck with that site. Jodi

Albequerque New Mexico vacation with kids

May 2006

This June my family and I are going to visit New Mexico for about a week. We are meeting some of my family who live in Taos, Albequerqe, La Mesa, and Guadalupita. My boys will be nearly 8 years and 11 mos. possibly 18 y/o daughter will come along too. What are some good activities to do with kids? Places to visit? Sights to see? Restaurants? Joanne

I'm from Abq & have relatives there but haven't lived there in a long time. Think my info is pretty good though. Tram to the top of the mountains, Abq has nice zoo & botanical gardens. Indian Pueblo cultural center. Flea market for Native American jewlery & hispanic items (not as nice as it use to be). Petroglyph National Park is on outskirts of city and really cool. Great New Mexican restaurants - Monroe's, Sadies, Loyola's Cactus Flower (for breakfast). Beautiful way to get to Santa Fe is to take back road on Turquoise Trail (Highway 14) through Madrid (which is a small artist colony). Just a little longer trip but super beautiful. Contact me if you want more details. jahlskog

Visiting family in Taos with 7YO - side trip to Santa Fe?

March 2006

My 7-year-old daughter and I will be visiting my sister in Taos during spring break (mid-April). We will have a day or so to spend in Santa Fe before driving to Taos, and I wonder if anyone can recommend museums, parks, other attractions that might appeal to a 7-year-old. I didn't see anything on the website relating to Santa Fe. Thanks. rh

Bandalier National Monument. It's a must-see. Anasazi ruins and just breathtakingly beuatiful. Only about an hour's drive north of Santa Fe. Stop by a pueblo on your way to or from. (Be sure to honor their wishes about where to go and when not to take pictures.) You can find some interesting pottery/jewelry, or just people to talk to. The main museum (forget its name) right on the plaza is very child-friendly. The odd steps in the church of Lareto (spelling? anyone in town will know what I mean) makes a neat stop. We've been doing this with our daughter since she was a toddler. Have breakfast at least once at Tia Sophia's. Have lunch or dinner at Rancho de Chamayo northeast of town. I'm feeling hungry for that food even as i write this.

Don't miss the Children's Museum. You might also enjoy the Folk Art Museum, fairly close to the Children's Museum. Shopping at Jackalope is fun. The plaza itself can be enjoyable for strolling / sightseeing. The Albuquerque Zoo is great. Santa Fe is a wonderful place for a vacation with kids; we go pretty much every year. Be sure to check out whether there are any fairs or celebrations going on during your planned visit (that can make accomodations and getting around harder, but it can also be fun). Have a great trip. Love Santa Fe

The Folk Art Museum is wonderful. It has a huge room with dolls and figures from all over the world. I bet she would enjoy it. Debbie

Spa in the Santa Fe, NM area

May 2004

This weary single mom has decided to give herself a treat and is looking for a SPA in the Santa Fe, NM area. Ideally it would be a place that has yoga and even some shamanic healing sessions. Any ideas???? Sara

10,000 Waves, Lived there

Santa Fe with girlfriends for 40th birthday

May 2004

A couple of girlfriends and I are spending Labor Day weekend in Santa Fe, NM to celebrate our 40th birthdays. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to stay, what to do? We obviously don't want anything romantic, but are interested in spas, shopping, siteseeing, etc. Sherry

My 2 women friends and I have been going to Santa Fe for an annual get away for years. You are in for a treat. Here are a few ideas: Ten Thousand Waves (a Japanese style spa); The International Folk Art Museum; hiking trip to Bandalier; a special dinner at Pasqual's (an incredible treat); and the best hole-in-the-mall local type food at Diego's. Enjoy!! Debbie

One of my favorite places to stay (value,comfort & location) is The Inn of the Governors -- especially in the hotel section in one of the rooms with a fireplace. The El Dorado is ritzier and pricier (I've only stayed there on conference or government), and the rooftop hot tub is a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever had a bad meal in Santa Fe. Try breakfast at Tia Sofia's, and see if La Tertulia's is still open. Dynamite black bean soup and great sangria. Lunch or dinner north of town (about 30 minutes or so, as I recall) at Rancho de Chimayo is a must. Enjoy!

Two Recommendations: There's a nice spa called Ten Thousand Waves in the hills above Sante fe. They have lodging, though I have only been there for spa teatments and can only recommend those. Just south of Sante Fe there is a little town called Galisteo, and the Galisteo Inn is a wonderful B&B. It's an old hasienda converted into lodging and has got a first class restaurant, It's about 15 minutes away from Sante Fe, so you'll have to do some driving to get there, but it's very relaxing. I think there's a newish spa not to far from there, but I don not know the name. Carolyn

It was about 6-7 years ago but I stayed at a nice place called the Inn of the Govenors. It was within walking distance to all the shops of downtown. I have also stayed at the Best Western on the edge of town. Obviously not as quaint but certainly affordable.

Santa Fe/Taos lodging

March 2004

My husband and four-year-old daughter and I are going to vacation in New Mexico for a week in May (we'll fly into Albuquerque, rent a car and drive to Santa Fe, and then Taos). I did this trip over 10 years ago, but can't remember where I stayed, i.e. nothing was particularly memorable. Has anyone had any recent lodging experiences in these areas? I want to stay places that are kind of unique and special, but they don't have to be super luxurious. If there is some place that is particularly good for kids that would be great, too! Thanks for any help you can provide. Lisa

We've stayed in various places in Santa Fe over the years, but our favorite (for comfort, price and location) is the Inn of the Governors. They have a hotel section with large rooms and those cool little fireplaces in the corner whose name I forget, and a less expensive motel section that is also very acceptable. Just a couple of blocks from the plaza, and the last time we were there, the restaurant on site was very good (and very kid- friendly). Nice pool, too. Gratuitous tips, although you may have your own favorites. Dinner at La Tertulia. Lunch at Rancho de Chimayo. Don't miss Bandelier north of town.

We used to live in Santa Fe. I'd suggest a quiet, lovely place called La Posada, 505/986-0000 ( It's got hotel rooms and cute casitas and is close to downtown. Whatever you do, avoid hotels on Cerrillos Road. They may be less expensive, but driving up and down that seedy commercial strip can really suck the charm out of your visit. Have a great time! Sarah in Oakland