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8 Cool Things to Do in Santa Fe

If you’re looking for a warm-weather, art-filled, foodie-friendly getaway, Santa Fe—which has captured the imagination of artists and free-thinkers for decades—is the place. Here are the 8 cool things to do in the city now, from contemporary art museums to scenic desert hikes and regionally-inspired spa treatments.

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1

The Plaza

At the city’s historic Plaza area (the heart of downtown for nearly 400 years), you’ll find galleries, charming restaurants, quirky storefronts, centuries-old adobe buildings, and open-air art exhibitions. It’s the ideal place to aimlessly wander around and window shop, but there are a few standouts worth hitting up, including Keshi, a co-op selling arts and crafts by western New Mexico’s Zuni Pueblo people, and ramshackle food joint Roque’s Carnitas, which serves up Santa Fe’s most mouth-watering carnitas (marinated strips of charcoal-grilled pork with onions and peppers and served in a tortilla).

2

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

Kitted out in handwoven textiles, kiva-style fireplaces, leather armchairs, and potted cacti, this three-story sleep nails Southwest style. Unpack in your modern guest room, which are decorated with classic Pendleton blankets and handcrafted wooden furniture, then wander the hotel’s hallways and common areas, ogling its impressive Native American art collection including Arlo Namingha’s bronze sculpture “Hano Mana.” If you’re hungry, feast on seasonal Southwestern dishes (think Talus Ranch pork chop and bison short rib served with ancho chiles and stewed wild mushrooms) at The Anasazi Restaurant, or grab a casual bite at the Santa Fe Plaza, just steps from your doorstep.

RELATED: 7 Awesome Fall Road Trips for a Girls' Getaway

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Photos Courtesy of Julienne Barth And Coad Miller

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Santa Fe Vintage Outpost

Vintage clothing lovers will want to set aside a few hours to peruse this carefully curated shop—a treasure-trove of trendy flannels, jean jackets, and leather goods. Apart from the threads, there’s also a panoply of Southwest antiques and one-of-a-kind creations from jewelry designer Julienne Barth.

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Photos Courtesy of Kate Russell, Ken Howard, Insight Foto for Santa Fe Opera, 2016

4

Santa Fe Opera

Built in 1998 from a design by James Polshek Architects, this stunning open-air theatre brings the outside in, offering views of the Sangre di Cristo and Jemez mountains from practically every seat in the house. The opera kicks off its 2020 season next July with captivating performances of The Barber of Seville, Tristan und Isolde, and The Magic Flute.

RELATED: America's Coolest Fall Festivals

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5

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

Looking for the perfect day trip? This glorious water and wind-eroded box canyon, renowned for its spired sandstone hoodoos, is little more than an hour away from downtown Santa Fe. Once you've arrived, lace up your running shoes and hike the jagged canyon—an easy three-mile trek that rewards with staggering, otherworldly views of the Sangre de Cristo, Sandia, and Jemez mountains.

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SITE Santa Fe

If cutting-edge contemporary art is your thing, plan a trip to this relatively small but impressive modern museum, which was founded in 1995 to organize the first international biennial of contemporary art in the USA. After undergoing renovations to its façade by New York-based firm SHoP Architects, it’s a work of art in and of itself.

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The Inn of Five Graces

For a Relais & Chateau property, the Inn of the Five Graces feels remarkably charming and low-key. We love the gypsy-like décor best captured in details like kilim rugs, jewel-tone throw pillows, and mosaic-tile bathrooms, as well as the personalized service—we're talking afternoon margaritas and wine-and-cheese spreads, daily walking tours, and a nighttime treat on your pillow. At the intimate Himalayan spa, indulge in body pampering treatments like an Ayurvedic healing massage or a revitalizing ginger sugar scrub, then tuck into contemporary French fare (the squash blossom beignets are a must-order) at the 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar.

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8

Geronimo

This elegant Southwestern restaurant is our pick for a special night out in Santa Fe. Reserve a table in the intimate dining room or, if the weather is nice, on the lantern-lit front patio. Then, prepare for the feast of a lifetime: the wild mushroom and sherry bisque to start, followed by the Tellicherry rubbed elk tenderloin and mesquite grilled lobster tails for your main, and a fresh Meyer lemon crepe for dessert.

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