The Santa Fe List
The best burritos and food trucks, artisan and vintage shops, and hikes with amazing views of America’s oldest capital city (who knew?)—from some of our favorite locals
I’ve been to Santa Fe four times, in four seasons, and it is one of those few places that drips with charisma no matter when you go. Summer is the season of Santa Fe’s art markets: the Folk Art Market and Traditional Spanish Market (July) and Indian Market (August), when dealers cram their stalls around the Plaza. In fall, the Aspens are en fuego and the city is swirling with the scent of roasting hatch chiles. I don’t know why it was a surprise to me that it snows in the high desert, but the city is so charming in winter, the sidewalks lit up with flickering farolito lanterns. And spring, well, I don’t remember anything too distinctive about it, except that, as ever, you look up to see a butterball sun against a canvas of bright blue sky and ruddy adobes, pretty much the way Georgia O’Keeffe—whose Ghost Ranch is just beyond the city near Abiquiú—captured it in her paintings. I also love how Santa Fe’s historic influences—Native American, Spanish, Mexican and a kind of wild west cowboy culture—still feel very much alive in its food and architecture. It has long lured more than its share of artists and free spirits, and because of the dry desert air and healing waters that drew tuberculosis patients before the vanloads of hippies—and as a stronghold of indigenous traditions—it’s also a spiritual and wellness hub. While Santa Fe had developed a reputation as a kind of alt-Boomer retirement haven, the last few years have brought an influx of young creatives who’ve been busy revitalizing the food and crafts scenes (and who often converge at El Rey Court Motor Lodge, opened by Yolo contributor and Wonder Valley founder, Jay Carroll). Bottom line, there is so much going on here, it makes you want to come back and see it in every light. We asked a few friends in our network who know the city really well for their favorites, and then at the end I’ll share a few more of mine! - Alex Postman
ARDEN VAIL SANCHEZ, photographer, chef & baker
I was raised near the Santa Fe National Forest, minutes away from downtown. I quickly developed a very strong affinity for food and art, being that New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. My mother, a phenomenal painter and cook, cared much more about me trying new foods and playing outside with oil paints than she did about me attending school. Although this might sound a bit reckless on her behalf, it allowed me to get to know the city extremely well and learn through experiences rather than a textbook, which I am forever grateful for. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States. This gives it a very unique edge, where cultures collide and art seems to be omnipresent.
I recommend driving to Santa Fe. You can fly into Albuquerque, rent a car, and arrive in Santa Fe in about an hour, but the ideal way to adventure to this incredible city is on an extended road trip—there's so much to see in New Mexico. Although I don't recommend spending much time in Albuquerque, there’s a really special place on the way to Santa Fe: Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm. Designed in 1932, it's a beautiful historical property with an incredible hyper-seasonal farm-to-table restaurant.