When the Santa Fe earth starts to thaw and the aspens begin to bloom, it’s time to take advantage of all the activities discounted from peak season and a town abuzz after its self-prescribed hibernation.
The season of renewal and rebirth in our Southwestern state typically begins right smack in the middle of the school system’s spring break. However, spring break in Santa Fe is less of a “Spriiiiing Breaaaak!” and more of a place where you would be happy to bring your family.
Each year for over a century, during the week before Easter, this historic event brings thousands of people from Santa Fe, Española, and even Albuquerque to a small adobe church — The Santuario de Chimayó — to offer prayers and receive words of blessing.
Shopping & Festivals
Once the snow finally melts and eyelashes thaw, that means markets and festivals start popping up!
When you inevitably find yourself downtown to window shop or search for souvenirs, the Palace of the Governors is often lined by Native American artists selling jewelry. Step away from the crowded downtown scene to experience Currents New Media and wander through the open galleries on Canyon Road.
If you visit Santa Fe a little later in the spring, the Taos Lilac Festival is only a short drive from The City Different! There are plenty of small villages & churches as well as the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to see along the drive from Santa Fe to Taos. Check out our full guide to Taos here.
Active Outdoor Fun
As spring begins, there should still be snow lingering in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, meaning skiing may still be in the cards at places like Ski Santa Fe.
If you’re more of a cyclist and you don’t mind the possibility of some mud, there are a number of appealing bike trails around the area, such as the Dale Ball Trails, Aspen Vista, or Windsor.
If staying upright on foot is enough, take a hike through Diablo Canyon or a stroll through Patrick Smith Park. There’s also the Cathedral Park in downtown Santa Fe, which is a short walk from the Loretto Chapel and its famous “miraculous staircase.”
Chill Outdoor Fun
While there are plenty who equate vacation with adventure, there’s an equally strong contingent who just want to relax. If you consider yourself to be among the chillest of Santa Fe visitors, might we suggest stepping inside the Santa Fe Salt Cave, or seeking out the healing powers of the Spence Hot Springs (a short hike just north of the Jemez Springs).
You can sign up for a guided bird walk or learn about the surrounding pinon-juniper woodland during an educational tour at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary. A note that the gardens are wheelchair accessible, although currently the larger trail system is not.
Maybe you’ve already been to Santa Fe and you’ve hit all of the most popular spots for art, hiking, and shopping. But have you “hiked” your way through the 45 different bars and restaurants on Santa Fe’s Margarita Trail?
While Meow Wolf hosts diverse music acts year round inside FancyTown, you’ll also find a very unique experience at the Santa Fe Symphony. Music lovers should also swing by Remix Audio Bar, to listen to livestream music and enjoy music-themed caffeinated beverages like “Staying Alive.”
There is no shortage of coffee and tea options in Santa Fe, including The Teahouse on Canyon Road and Iconik Red, located in an old tire shop.
Looking for more attractions off the beaten path? Check out these “Unexpected Wonders” across the state for sites ranging from the Rattlesnake Museum to the World’s Largest Pistachio.
What Should I Eat?
All of these amazing activities will undoubtedly build up your appetite and the City Different has restaurant options for all taste buds and all times of day, starting with brunch, of course!
Dolina's Eastern European influences on the menu include items like French toast made from Orechovnik (walnut swirl bread) and Slovakian langos alongside typical American brunch dishes like ricotta pancakes.
If you are looking for more New Mexican-style dishes like Migas or Chilaquiles, stop by Tune-Up Cafe or The Pantry.
For a sweet breakfast treat with local flavor, try the blue corn piñon pancakes at Chocolate Maven.
Open for Dinner
Santa Fe locals know that plenty of the city’s favorite restaurants aren’t open late, if they’re open for dinner at all. With that in mind, here are a few great options for evening dining that won’t greet you with shuttered doors. For instance, if you want a local beer and some red chile chorizo pizza, Upper Crust is just the thing.
Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen offers fresh, natural foods with an international flair, and is a great option for folks who have dietary restrictions. Plus, Sweetwater doubles as a great Sunday brunch location. Try everything from quinoa cakes to huevos rancheros and vegan chocolate cream pie!
Finally, there’s Dinner for Two, which is our choice for when you want a nice, elegant steak and seafood dinner from a place that specializes in memorable table-side presentations. We’ve all had that exact desire, right?
Now we’re on to the wild card round in which we suggest a variety of Santa Fe restaurants that are sure to satisfy specific cravings, or at least offer a diversion from the same old-same old.
One such option is Sabor Peruano, a Peruvian-centric place that’s open every day but Sunday, and a great location for those who seek Chupe de Camarones (shrimp chowder) or aji de gallina (chicken in spicy sauce).
If you like international cuisine, Jambo Cafe is a local favorite for savory stuffed Phyllo pastries and African-Caribbean fusion, while Tibet Kitchen mixes flavors that are somewhere between Indian and Nepali. Finally, there’s the undeniably American BBQ of Uncle DT’s Smokehouse, a take-home barbecue service that boasts vacuum-sealed, quality meats.
Try a "Night Wolf" specialty coffee drink or "meowgarita” – a fun refreshing drink with a sweet puffy colorful cloud on top – at Float Cafe & Bar before or after your visit to Meow Wolf Santa Fe, a magical family experience!