The capital city of New Mexico, Santa Fe is known as ‘The City Different’ and it truly is! It is higher (elevation 7,199 feet) and older than any capital city in the country (founded circa 1610). Even the way the slogan reads is different, like it’s out of order or something, or it has a European flair. Other cities can claim to be be ‘different’ but Santa Fe is truly unique for many different reasons, as you might discover should you decide to visit for yourself. I find that there are a many things that combine to perfect effect: art, food, culture, history, and architecture. So there really is something here for just about everyone.
So let’s look at the truly most unique aspect of life is Santa Fe, architecture. There are a number of different styles of architecture in the city, but the most prominent is the Pueblo style with its earth colored adobe, flat roofs, exposed wooden beams, and kiva style fireplaces. From the second you arrive is Santa Fe and see these beautiful buildings, you know you’re somewhere different, almost like being transported back in time. The unique buildings set the stage for what is truly a different city experience. It isn’t just the older buildings that have this style, the Inn and Spa at Loretto (see image) is perhaps one of the finest examples of how the style of Old Santa Fe can still be achieved in a modern setting.
Santa Fe is a very walkable city and most strolls usually begin in the historic central Plaza. The Plaza has been an integral part of the city since around the year 1610 and has changed very little since. Today, you can shop for authentic Native American art and handicrafts directly from the artists that make it. You can find great deals on silver, turquoise, pottery, and carvings. The artists are required by law to have identification to be permitted to sell “Native American” art so you can buy with confidence knowing you’re getting authentic wares. As you continue to stroll throughout the town, you can’t help but notice the sweet smell of piñon pine smoke. Piñon is the most common tree/wood in the area and it gives off a sweet aroma that smells like incense, only better.
All of that walking around is sure to work up an appetite, and you couldn’t find yourself in a better place to be hungry. Our personal favorite is Tomasita’s (https://tomasitas.com) located in the Railyard District, a redevelopment site that has taken off in recent years with shops, breweries and even weekend farmers markets. Something unique and tasty at Tomasita’s is the roast beef burrito, which I have not seen on a menu anywhere outside of Santa Fe. Another nice touch is the honey butter sopapillas that come with the meal, but it means that you’ll be tempted to eat dessert before you eat the main entree (I have always managed to eat my sopapilla first, burrito second). If you’re looking to eat before you start burning calories, try the Tecolote Cafe (www.tecolotecafe.com) a great breakfast stop, and be sure to get a homemade bread basket with your meal.
Santa Fe is not New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles! Santa Fe is a place to go when you want to slow down a little, and want to experience new tastes, smells, cultures, and of course southwestern art and architecture. It’s definitely the ‘City Different’.