The Ultimate Road Trip Guide to Santa Fe - Part 1!

Due to a vast oversight on my part, I ended up going to Santa Fe two weekends in a row this month. From time to time, I make a travel mistake and book the wrong weekend for a flight/Homeaway reservation. In this instance, my friend was getting married in Santa Fe, and I accidentally booked a non-refundable condo on Homeaway the weekend before the wedding! Whoops.

Oh well! My boyfriend and I decided to go and make the best of it since he took off of work and now wouldn't be able to join me for the actual wedding (luckily my sister was able to go with me the next weekend since she was doing the bride and bridal party's hair!). We made a fun road trip of it, stopping to see whatever town/landmark we were interested in! 

The White Sands National Park

Although a bit out of the way and not technically in Santa Fe, the White Sands National Park is a must-see! It is actually the largest gypsum dune field in the world, and was once covered by a lake called Lake Otero during the last ice age. 

The dunes stretch as far as the eye can see with their brilliant white ripples. Children (and adults!) can buy sleds from the tourist center at the entrance of the park to sled down the large dunes. It does get extremely hot with the reflection of the white sand - so please be prepared and bring water (or buy some at the tourist center).

We got into Santa Fe around 9pm after a very long day of driving and sight-seeing. It is worth noting that most restaurants in Santa Fe close rather early, especially on week nights. We opted for some quick fast food (gasp!) and passed out so we could make the most of the next day. We stayed at a nice sized condo just north of town. 

Santa Fe Old Town Square

Exploring the town center and native american inspired shops is a worthwhile endeavor, as all of the decor and architecture is so uniquely Sante Fe. We asked for suggestions on where to dine/shop from a couple locals that were super helpful and friendly. They pointed us to grab coffee at a great little hippy coffee shop (felt like we were back in Austin), Holy Spirit Espresso, to start our day. James was having a bit of trouble acclimating to the higher altitude, so we stopped for an hour or so in this great little oxygen bar, the Santa Fe Oxygen Bar, that served yummy teas and butter coffee!

Burro Alley

We walked around the town square to take in the sights and sounds of this quiet, but bustling little town and shopped around for as long as James could stand it before grabbing lunch at El Agave on Burro Alley. Burro Alley has a colorful past, as it used to be the place where wood-sellers would park their donkeys to sell their goods. Burro Alley played host to many bars and brothels where the tradesmen would gather once they sold their goods.

Santa Fe National Forest

James and I love to be active and get outside, so we decided to spend the better part of the weekend hiking different trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. Word to the wise: although it was warm enough to wear shorts in town, hiking IN THE MOUNTAINS is quite a bit colder, so bring a jacket. Being from Texas, I sometimes forget that other parts of the country are cold in the summertime. 

The Railyard

After a long day of hiking in the forest, we decided to hit up another spot suggested by locals, The Railyard. The Railyard is a fantastic area of shops, artisans, live music, restaurants, bars and a new Violet Crown Cinema. We had an amazing dinner of short ribs, mac n cheese, and mussels at the Second Street Brewery while listening to wafting blues tunes. We strolled around for a while, perusing the local artisans trinkets and imbibing on local craft beers until we got tired and decided to see a movie at the Violet Crown. Everything shuts down rather early so we decided to use that as our excuse to be lazy (it is a vacation after all!).

Road Trip home : Breaking Bad

James and his family are HUGE Breaking Bad fans, so I knew we wouldn't be able to leave New Mexico without a stop in Albuquerque to see some of the famous sites from the show. We got my car washed at the A1 Car Wash (actually the Octopus car Wash) and purchased some Breaking Bad paraphernalia. Then we excitedly drove by Walter White's house. The owners have placed signs in the yard asking for tourists to respect their private property, but the homeowners were friendly and waving in their front driveway at all of the people taking pictures.  Overall it was super cool to see the famous spots in person. 

Marfa, Texas

I desperately wanted to check out Marfa, as it was kind-of on our way back to Austin. We made it to the famous Prada store for a photo opp- which is actually about 40 minutes outside of Marfa FYI. I wanted to check out the hippy-artisan community of Marfa soo badly but we ended up getting stuck in a really bad storm and weren't able to make it. It will have to be another trip for another day.

We had an amazing time for my first trip to Santa Fe, can't wait for next weekend! Are there any spots that I missed?

Kat - Wander Life