From Incredible Art to Enchiladas: Booking.com Presents 72 hours in Santa Fe
Nicknamed ‘The City Different’ due to its unique and bohemian character, Santa Fe is the oldest state capital city in the United States located in northern New Mexico. Its unparalleled multicultural heritage and Native American tribes have left an impressive mark on this diverse city that makes an excellent destination for a whirlwind city break. Its bustling arts scene and soulful creativity will inspire visitors, while adrenaline junkies can discover the secrets of its rugged desert landscape with a wide range of adventurous activities. Celebrated as a trending destination in Booking.com’s Travel Predictions 2023, and a recent vacation destination of award-winning actress, producer and Booking.com’s #1 Travel Fan Melissa McCarthy, Santa Fe is a go-to destination for the year ahead. With all that to its name, we share a 72-hour travel guide to help visitors make the most of a magical three-day getaway there.
Where to Stay
With just three days to explore Santa Fe, finding a special place to stay is a top priority in planning an incredible city break. With Melissa McCarthy and her husband, actor and filmmaker Ben Falcone as recent guests, travelers can be assured of a stay fit for a star at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. The lavish hotel is just a short drive from the city center and ideal for a jam-packed trip with plenty of opportunity to unwind. Located on 57 magnificent acres across the Sangre de Cristo foothills, guests can wrap themselves up in the fluffiest dressing gown and gaze out over the rugged landscape from their private patio. The hotel’s restaurant is well renowned for its delicious food serving a taste of New Mexico, from warming chile relleno (roasted peppers stuffed with cheese) to spicy grilled chicken and chipotle flatbreads – perfect for a relaxed first-night dinner. After a day of hiking the surrounding desert, guests can indulge in treatments at the spa from a chocolate truffle body wrap to a relaxing head-to-toe massage.
For travelers who favor a dash of quirkiness over opulent luxury, The Inn of Five Graces is located in the heart of the historic district – and just a short walk away from Canyon Road, a cultural must for any fly-by visit. Featuring East Indian and Tibetan furnishings from patterned tiles, textured quilts and plush fabrics, this eclectic inn will brighten any traveler's short stay in Santa Fe. A Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay, the inn provides guests with information about local ecosystems and heritage, perfect for the 80% of travelers who want to learn about cultures, communities and traditions while on vacation.* It also provides local artists with a platform to display their talents, encapsulating the artistic and inclusive energy of this city.
What to Eat
One of the quickest ways for travelers to get a flavor of a city is to eat their way around it. With over a third (38%) of travelers wanting to indulge in food and drink they can’t normally find at home,* a city break is a great opportunity to explore the local food scene in New Mexico. Santa Fe is blessed with the very best of New Mexican cuisine, from its rich red and green stewed chiles, to indulgently salty and crispy frito pie and cheesy chicken enchiladas, and visitors will be spoilt for choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make the most of fresh Southwestern cuisine during a 72-hour whirlwind trip with a Half-Day Guided City Food Tour to taste the best offerings from the city’s food trucks and colorful open-air markets. For those seeking to indulge in some hot flavors in the evening, a Wine-Pairing Dinner Food Tour offers an incredible gastronomic experience at restaurants serving the most sumptuous specialities and wines. Along the way, visitors will have the chance to view the 19th-century basilica and the Palace of the Governors to combine history and culinary delights in one amazing evening.
What to See
To experience the creative flair of Santa Fe, a visit to the famous Canyon Road is a must. In just half a mile, over 80 galleries, studios and designers display paintings, sculptures and visual works dedicated to America’s finest art. From traditional to expressionistic styles of Western and Native American origin, art collectors travel from across the globe to obtain world-class pieces here. Travelers don’t have to be experts to enjoy the ‘magical half mile’ and can take a deep dive into the bohemian neighborhood, meeting gallery owners and local artists, on a Guided Art Tour to discuss the incredible work on show. For guests staying at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, the hotel has its own ‘art concierge’ which offers visitors a customized shopping itinerary based on their style and budget to ensure a seamless expedition for special investment pieces. For those seeking to coincide their three days in Santa Fe with a special event, Canyon Road hosts a buzzing Spring Art Festival in mid-May and a Christmas Eve walk along with cozy fireside chats with local artists in the winter. For visitors who are less engaged in the art scene, Sante Fe is home to some fantastic local stores which sell incredible artisan products from rugs and blankets to belts and jewelry. Or visit one of the 19 indigenous pueblo communities with their adobe-style houses where guests are welcomed on certain days.
What to Do
Due to its high elevation and naturally cool temperatures, Santa Fe is an ideal destination for outdoor adventures all year long. With two thirds (66%) of global travelers wanting to explore when traveling in 2023,* experiencing the great outdoors is a fantastic way to discover Santa Fe in three action-packed days – whether travelers are interested in hiking, biking, rafting or golfing in the spring and summer, or would rather conquer the mountains on skis or snowboards in the winter. Hikers are spoilt for choice when it comes to routes and trails as the city’s backyard is home to the valleys of the Santa Fe National Forest and the 12,500ft (3,810m) Sangre de Cristo mountains. This subrange of the Rocky Mountains translates to the ‘Blood of Christ,’ representing the brilliant red glow at sunset which fringes the city’s east side. For adrenaline junkies seeking a thrill, white-water rafting on the Rio Chama river through a multi-colored sandstone canyon will set hearts racing. Or for those who wish to stay central, an adventurous Scavenger Hunt challenges visitors to search for clues and take on puzzles for an interactive way to explore the city.
*Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,179 respondents across 32 countries and territories were polled (including 1014 from Argentina, 1006 from Australia, 505 from Austria, 504 from Belgium, 1009 from Brazil, 503 from Canada, 1009 from China, 1010 from Colombia, 505 from Croatia, 505 from Denmark, 1010 from France, 1001 from Germany, 500 from Hong Kong, 1005 from India, 504 from Ireland, 504 from Israel, 1008 from Italy, 1003 from Japan, 504 from Mexico, 502 from The Netherlands, 1007 from New Zealand, 1009 from Portugal, 507 from Singapore, 1008 from South Korea, 1001 from Spain, 505 from Sweden, 508 from Switzerland, 500 from Taiwan, 504 from Thailand, 1006 from the UK, 1009 from the US and 504 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2022.