Coordinates: 35.69168° N, -105.93796° E
Baton Rouge to Santa Fe: 1,072 miles
Driving Time: 15 hours, 3 minutes
Flying Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes
Why Santa Fe? Originally founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo Mexico, Santa Fe, which means ‘holy faith’ in Spanish, lies in the foothills of Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The city holds the distinction of being the oldest state capital in the country. You’ll never grow bored while on your trip to this southwestern city, as you’ll find an abundance of cultural activities and attractions to explore, including art galleries, Santa Fe Plaza, and the Palace of Governors. Relax in the evening and enjoy exquisite dining options that offer Mexican, Latin, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine.
Where to Stay
The Hotel Santa Fe is referred to as “A Sanctuary for the Cultural Traveler.” As Santa Fe’s only Native American-owned hotel, this beautiful destination offers an immersive cultural experience. You and your family will be surrounded by the art, architecture, music and language of the Pueblo people. Not only will you find a peaceful place to rest your head, but you will also be treated to exceptional dining, a world-class spa, plus a multi-million dollar collection of Native American art.
Where to Eat
If you’re craving traditional northern New Mexican cuisine, then head to family owned and operated Tomasita’s. They utilize ingredients from local farmers and producers for their most important ingredients. Their menu is filled with favorites, including burritos, tacos, chalupas, quesadillas, and enchiladas. They also carry juicy burgers and fresh salads.
Get moving and grooving at the Shake Foundation, “dedicated to the preservation of the original Green Chile Cheeseburger.” Other burgers include the New Mexico Shepherd’s Lamb Burger, the Turkey Burger, and the Portobello Mushroom Burger. Top them off with a fried egg, garlic mayo and house-brined pickles and jalapenos! Don’t forget your Adobe Mud Shake, made from their daily ice cream flavors, with nuts, chocolate sauce, and chocolate chunks available as toppers.
Casual dining is always welcome while away from home, so head to the Draft Station which features a crazy combination of pizzas using eclectic ingredients. You’ll find blue corn crust, and lobster, shrimp, smoked duck, and zucchini squash for the toppings. House salads, subs and bruschetta are also fine fare for an afternoon or evening meal. They even feature New Mexico craft draft beer, wine, and sangria that the adults will enjoy trying while they dine.
What to Do
The Museum of International Folk Art is a must for family members of any age. Beautiful exhibits include Sewing Stories of Displacement, Yokai: Ghosts & Demons of Japan, and Musica Buena: Hispano Folk Music of New Mexico. Their mission is to “shape a humane world by connecting people through creative expression and artistic traditions.”
Take this special opportunity to teach your children about one of the greatest modern American women artists of the 20th century. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is dedicated entirely to her life’s work, showcasing her paintings, drawings, pastels, and watercolors from each decade of her life.
Experience a true mud adobe dwelling when you visit the “Oldest House,” which has remained in the same location since the 1600s. Currently, the eastern side is a curio shop where you can find marvelous treasures, while the western part remains as a reminder of the type of building once prevalent in the city. It showcases a dwelling that is part Indian and part Spanish, with crude low-ceilings, dirt floors and thick adobe walls.
A trip to the capital city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the New Mexico State Capitol. Visitors can schedule a guided tour or take a self-guided tour. One of the highlights of the capitol building is the Capitol Art Collection where you’ll find the permanent public collection of contemporary art by artists of New Mexico.
What’s up, Doc? Fans of cartoonist Chuck Jones will truly enjoy the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. This gallery is dedicated to the lighter side of life. Jones created memorable characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.
Explore the great southwestern outdoors with an off road Pinzgaur tour with Santa Fe Mountain Adventures. You’ll be able to experience the scenic high desert landscape around the city in these truly awesome and unique former Swiss Army vehicles. They offer a variety of easy to moderate tours, tailored to your preferences, but they will certainly make sure you have the time of your life. ■