Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe kind of blew my mind. It was so much fun to walk around in and explore with Zelda in tow. Since we were here during the off season it was pretty much a ghost town and we got to explore the square and its shops in the quiet morning light all alone. Downtown Santa Fe was just different than what I had expected, although who can ever expect to find what is truly a unique place?

When planning for this trip, I tried really hard not to overplan. I have found that, most of the time, when you research places and things to do, a bit of the magic is lost when you eventually get there. Because staring at pictures online and reading reviews of things to do and eat can take away from the excitement of discovering it when you get there. I suggest just researching the general area you want to explore and writing down just one or two places that seem to have excellent food.  It is weird how much of a difference a city feels when you go in with such little knowledge. Hopefully you will be super blown away when you get there, kind of how I was with Santa Fe!

Where we ate/drank:
Maria's  - this place has an at home feel with tons of different rooms to eat in. It has been on all of best of lists when it comes to Mexican food in Santa Fe. It also is frequented by George R. R. Martin (writer of Game of Thrones and personal hero). We walked the whole restaurant "looking for the bathroom" but he was not there that day unfortunately.   
The Palace - set up like an old west saloon this place has tons of charm. The food is delicious as well. Ask about drink specials – we did, and they had half off bottles of wine that night!
Matador bar  - basement dive bar that is hard to find in the winding streets of old Santa Fe but definitely worth it. Cheap drinks, awesome music, an endless stream of Japanese anime on tv, and excellent people watching at this local bar is a great way to spend any night.

Where we stayed:
Air BnB in Santa Fe was by far the cheapest option, as hotels in the city are sparse and even the motels are relatively expensive. We stayed in a house with a grad student who rents out her spare rooms. We have used Air BnB plenty of times and can only say good things about it. In some ways, it is preferable to stay in someone else's home while you are in a welcoming city like Santa Fe. Recommendations are a plus, but so is the wi-fi often missing from hotels and motels. Most important though are the human connections you can make when you take a chance and stay at a place through Air BnB or even Couch Surfer.

What we saw and did:
Head to old Santa Fe and park on one of the winding roads and then just walk around! There are tons of awesome (but expensive) jewelry shops dotting the town and I tried on a couple of necklaces that were made with traditional American Indian techniques.  
However, if you are like me and can't afford any jewelry from the main shops, head to the city square. There are people with tiny pop up shops selling hand made jewelry under the Palace of the Governor's Porch with prices from $20-$60. Lastly, take a look in some of the art galleries surrounding the main square. Matt and I played a fun game of going in one at a time (also because one of us had to stay outside with Zelda) and trying to pick which was the other person's dream painting to buy from the shop.

Other Road Trip Posts: Our Route // Arkansas // Dallas // Turquoise Trail // Grand Canyon // Vegas // Death Valley // Tahoe // San Fran // Costanoa Lodge // Big Sur // Playoff game in Pasadena.