Luxury for Less in Artsy and Historic Santa Fe, New Mexico

by  Kristen Boatright | Updated on Jun 21, 2019
Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza / Tourism Santa Fe

Culture, history, art, and top-notch cuisine — New Mexico’s capital has it all. The best part? You don’t have to spend a fortune to experience everything the city has to offer. Here is our guide to a luxe (but not too expensive) weekend in Santa Fe.

What to See and Do

Art is a major draw in Santa Fe, which is home to one of the largest scenes in the United States. And you can't think about art in New Mexico art without thinking 20th-century painter Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work was influenced by Southwestern landscapes. Her namesake museum ($13 admission), which features more than 3,000 works, is just blocks from Santa Fe Plaza, the heart of downtown. For $30, you can also opt for a New Mexico CulturePass, which grants you access 15 museums and historic sites. Four of them are in Santa Fe, including the New Mexico Museum of Art.

One of the newest and most talked art installations in the city is Meow Wolf, an interactive experience that transports guests into a whole new world through video, music, art installations, and more. The first permanent installation, House of Eternal Return, debuted in March 2016 and featured light displays laid out in dozens of rooms and secret portals. 

Another must-see that’s uniquely Santa Fe is Canyon Road, a winding half-mile strip, tucked into the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is home to restaurants, shopping, and more than one hundred art galleries and studios. While you're here, be sure to gallery-hop to see established and emerging artists in a variety of mediums, including sculptures, paintings, and mixed media.

Just north of the city, you’ll find the only open-air opera house in the U.S. You can snag a seat for Candide or Madame Butterfly, complete with a Santa Fe sunset backdrop, for as little as $40 per ticket. Arrive early and tailgate like the locals — with a nice meal and some wine — in the parking lot before the show.

Santa Fe is said to have legendary restorative powers, best experienced with an afternoon at the spa. The spa at  Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe offers a 50-minute altitude adjustment massage to help guests acclimate to the elevation (7,000-plus feet) for $150. If you prefer Japanese relaxation techniques, the spa at Ten Thousand Waves is a local favorite. Unwind in the spa's Grand Bath for as long as you’d like for just $28 per person, or splurge on the amazing 80-minute, full-body "Nose to Toes" treatment for $179.

Where to Eat & Drink

We promise you won’t leave Santa Fe hungry. Our favorite inexpensive place to sample the city’s cuisine is the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Home to more than 150 vendors, the all-local market is open Saturdays year-round. If you visit in fall, don’t miss the roasting of the hatch green chiles.

You may be surprised to learn that New Mexico is home to the oldest wine growing region in the country. Today, there are more than 60 wineries and tasting rooms in the state. Skip the afternoon margaritas and head over to the tasting room at the Hotel St. Francis to sample a selection of the renowned French-style sparkling wines.

Where to Stay

For convenience and style, book a guest room at downtown’s Eldorado Hotel & Spa. The Pueblo Revival building is centrally located and is just a short walk to the Santa Fe Plaza, and guest rooms start at $161 per night. If you don’t mind staying a little farther, you can score a room at the hotel's sister property, The Lodge at Santa Fe, for $96 per night.  

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