I really knew nothing about New Mexico before we arrived, except that Breaking Bad was filmed and set in Albuquerque. While unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop in the city now best known for crystal meth and Walter White, we did get to check out Santa Fe. It was fantastic. An absolute hidden gem. Here are 5 things to love about the place:
Santa Fe has a very interesting and complex history involving Spanish, Mexican and Native American roots. As a result there is a fascinating mix of architecture, but adobe style mostly dominates. Adobe architecture is characterised by mud bricks and flat roofs with exposed wooden vigas (beams).
I love it. Looks completely unlike the buildings at home.
The city is laid out in a Spanish style, with the streets radiating out from a central plaza.
Art is everywhere
Santa Fe (population less than 70,000) is home to over 200 art galleries. 200! But it doesn’t stop there, you don’t even have to go inside a gallery to see art:
We went inside just one gallery, Blue Rain, and saw some incredible works by Erin Currier:
Around the corner is the impressive Sante Fe Performing Arts Centre and Burro Alley:
Where you can hang with the resident burro (donkey).
Not even the state capitol building is immune, it’s pretty much just a giant gallery (what politicians?):
It feels like you’ve been transported to Europe
If the adobe architecture isn’t enough to transport you to a small village in colonial Spain, how about this:
Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi.
Seriously. It was kind of weird, I didn’t feel like we were in America at all!
Until I saw the odd reminder, like this delightful yellow fire hydrant:
Chiles (which seem to be a combination between a chilli and a capsicum, please tell me if I’m wrong!) are New Mexico’s pride and joy, although they are a pretty big deal throughout the south west. Adrienne made us delicious breakfast burritos with green chiles when we were in Tucson.
They come in various colours and feature heavily on menus, make an appearance on the state sign (did you notice on the photo at the top of this post?!) and dried chiles hang everywhere.
Out the front of shops, from porches, at hotels, everywhere.
Great street food
Another food related reason to love Santa Fe can be found in the city’s central plaza, where the intoxicating scent of chargrilled corn will reach your nostrils faster than your feet can carry you to the stand. Street food!
Hot dogs, burritos, fajitas, corn, sno cones and other delights can be found very cheaply around the square. We went here:
And had an incredible pork tamale each.
Have you been? I definitely recommend squeezing Santa Fe into your next trip if you can manage it. I wished we had been there for longer.