Exploring Santa Fe, NM

We’re nearly halfway into 2018 and I’ve probably visited more places than I have in the last two years combined. Well, that isn’t completely accurate but the opportunities to travel have been generous as of late and I’m not complaining. With two kids under the age of 5, indulging in the occasional 48-72 hour getaway has been manageable and gratifying. It’s just enough time to sufficiently explore a nearby destination and to reconnect with family and friends. This is why I’ve been seriously considering applying for the newly launched Uber Visa Card, which offers 3% back on hotel and airfare purchases, including vacation home rentals and 4% back on dining – which we all know is one of the best parts of traveling!* And for those international trips, there are absolutely no foreign transaction fees and of course, no annual fee.* For someone who recently returned from another epic trip to Santa Fe, this card sounds like a dream, right? While I contemplate these awesome benefits, I’ve put together a little guide to one of my favorite cities in the world. Santa Fe holds a special place in my heart as it’s where my mother in law treats the women in our family to a girls getaway once every couple of years. Back in March, I decided to pay it forward by taking my best friend Sara. As expected, she fell in love with the history and charm just as I did during my first visit. If you haven’t been, go! And be sure to follow my guide below – it’s taken years of dining, shopping and exploring to accumulate!

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Let’s be honest. One of the main reasons to come to Santa Fe is to shop. There, I said it. But the town is full of incredible boutiques replete with vintage jewelry, antique furniture, art, pottery, and artisanal crafts. One of my favorite places to visit is Shiprock Santa Fe, a gallery founded by Jed Foutz, who is a fifth-generation Native American art dealer who grew up on a Navajo reservation. From impeccably curated jewelry to weavings to Midcentury Modern furniture, Shiprock has it all – and most always, a story to accompany it.

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You also don’t want to miss all the hidden alley ways around Santa Fe’s main square. You might stumble upon some inexpensive woven baskets, New Mexican chili wreaths and ristras, and cow skulls!

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Strolling along Canyon Road, in Santa Fe’s historic district, is a must. Even if you don’t love art, I guarantee you’ll leave with a strong appreciation for it. Have your Uber drop you off at the start of the half mile stretch and give yourself at least a couple of hours to peruse each gallery. They’re all very welcoming and excited to share the stories behind every painter, artist or sculptor.

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Where do I even begin with the food in Santa Fe? Let’s just say you’ll leave craving chilis in just about everything you eat and drink. Let’s start with breakfast: Cafe Pasqual’s is my absolute favorite. Everything on the menu is delicious and mostly all locally sourced and organic. Plus, it has warm Santa Fean vibes! Other favorites are Clafoutis for French pastries, Holy Spirit Espresso and Iconik for good coffee, and The Shed for a casual, New Mexican lunch. Don’t miss the Hatch Green Chili margarita at Coyote Cafe (the best I’ve ever had!) and stay for dinner at the cafe or cantina. Chef Fernando Olea has mastered the art of mole at Sazón – if you don’t like mole, his dishes make you a convert. Also check out The Compound, The Pink Adobe and Geronimo, all three are local favorites! That Uber Visa Card would come in handy just about now, don’t you think?

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There are so many amazing sights and museums in Santa Fe, it’s hard to narrow them down. Personally, I think the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and The Museum of International Folk Art should not be overlooked. Swing by the Loretto Chapel to see the beautiful Gothic Style, helix-shaped spiral staircase. If you have few hours to spare, take an Uber 10 minutes out of town to Meow Wolf, an immersive and experiential art installation that will absolutely blow your mind. It has become so popular that it’s expanding to multiple cities around the US this year!

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Situated in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, along the High Road to Taos, is the tiny village of Chimayó and the famous El Santuario de Chimayó. The historic church is known for its Holy Dirt and the healing powers that come with it. And be sure to take home some heirloom chimayo chilis from the Vigil Store next door! The village is also known for weaving workshops that date as far back as 7 generations. Visit the Ortega and Trujillo families and take the time to learn more about this beautiful craft.

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15 minutes outside of Santa Fe, tucked in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. It’s a wonderful and calm escape – the perfect place for a spa treatment (in tepee optional!) and a delectable dinner at the resort’s fabulous restaurant Terra. Another iconic spa experience is at Ten Thousand Waves, a wonderfully Zen, Japanese inspired spa located in the wooded forest of Santa Fe.

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When in Santa Fe, dress like the Santa Feans do. And that means buying a handmade hat by the talented milliners at Montecristi Custom Hat Works. From the highest quality panama hats to finest fur felt hats, there’s honestly something for everyone. Decades of craftsmanship go into each hat and every little detail is customizable – from a gold embossed inscription to the perfect fit, it’s nice to know that there’s a hat out there that is made just for you.

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There are so many incredible places to stay in Santa Fe – it’s hard to go wrong! This time around, I stayed at the Rosewood Inn of The Anasazi. I loved it. The 58 room hotel is literally steps from the plaza and boasts the most intimate, warm vibes. It’s beautifully traditional, with its wooden beams, large handcrafted doors, kiva fireplaces, local artworks and gaucho flair, while maintaining modern amenities and luxuries. The hotel bar, which stays open pretty late compared to most businesses in town, is a great spot to unwind at the end of a long day or evening. Other fantastic hotels, that embody the heart of Santa Fe, include Hotel Santa Fe, La Posada and the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.

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About halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is the majestic Tent Rocks National Monument, which is best known for its scenic cone shaped formations, composed of pumice, ash, and tuff deposits from volcanic eruptions 6–7 million years ago. Trails will lead you through the various landscapes – from narrow and winding slot canyons to elevated mesas overlooking the tent rocks below. Give yourself at least half a day, preferably earlier in the day as the park closes well before sunset each day.

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So between the airfare, hotel and amazing meals, I could have earned back at least $200 with the Uber Visa Card^.  That’s actually not a bad way to start using those earnings towards future travel – like, a travel piggy bank! Win, win . . .

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(this post was created in partnership with Uber Visa Card; all opinions are my own)

*Terms Apply. Please review the FAQs and Rewards Summary for important information about program benefits and features listed above and the Terms and Conditions for full details about the rewards benefits (such as how points are earned), interest rates and account fees and terms for this particular offer before applying.

^Cash back earnings may vary based on dollars spent.

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