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Known as “The City Different,” it does not take long to determine what's special about America's oldest state capital. For starters, no other American town replicates its Pueblo Style architecture (think: rounded walls, fireplaces, enclosed patios, and flat roofs). The town code not only protects the color scheme of the adobe buildings (they must be predominantly brown, tan, or Earth-toned), but the buildings also can't go above five floors to preserve the unobstructed views of nature. The main charm is within its small-town feel and also the fusions of Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American cultures everywhere you look, particularly in the art and food scene. Whether you're in the mood for Southwestern flavors or any other global cuisines, you will find meals that's so good, you'll forget to foodstagram it before getting started. Plus, even though it has four seasons, it's sunny just about all year round, making it a great time to visit at any time during the year.

Where to Stay

Ten Thousand Waves ($$)

Adjacent towards the Santa Fe National Forest, you'll find this lodge and spa-inspired by Japanese mountain hot springs. From the architecture towards the gardens towards the decor, everything looks tasteful, not kitschy as though you're at a museum gift shop. Guests who stay over practically don't even have to bring a big change of garments: You are able to walk around the property in the provided yukata (casual kimono). The actual draw may be the spa, which started off as a modest bathhouse, but now is definitely an oasis that resembles a Japanese onsen. You are able to relax in the communal tub or private tubs while surrounded by nature. It is really magical under a clear, starry night sky throughout the winter. The on-site Izanami restaurant is worth multiple visits, even if you're not a guest. It has an izakaya-style menu (which are small plates created for sharing) with lots of vegetarian/vegan options. Chef Kiko Rodriguez adds a Spanish flair to the meals because of his background in tapas-style cooking. The restaurant also features artisanal microbrew cold sake, green teas, and Japanese craft beers. Let's just say you'll have a hard time getting a reason to leave.

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi ($$$)

Located in the historic square of Santa Fe, Rosewood Inn of the Anansazai is really a convenient, five-minute walk from the downtown area where there's shopping, museums, and lots of dining. The aesthetic from the inn captures the spirit from the Anasazi people that inhabited southwest America with calming fireplaces, natural wood beaming, and elegant decor. It's 57 rooms, plus the residential-style Anasazi suite which has a foyer, living room, a couple of bedrooms, along with a dining area. In addition to the Anasazi Restaurant, patio dining, and a wine cellar that's available web hosting events, likely to on-site bar that provides the town's only “Tequila Table” – a guided experience featuring an extensive collection of tequilas.

The Inn of the Five Graces ($$$)

There's nothing cookie-cutter relating to this award-winning inn: Outside within the courtyards you will find lush foliage, soothing fountains, and plenty of nooks to sit back and linger around while you eat the scenery. Inside, each of the rooms are distinctly decorated with hand-laid tile mosaics, intricate fabrics, colorful pillows, and tchotchkes in the owners' travels to Turkey, Afghanistan, and Tibet. Even the gym area is splashed with color. Almost all of the 24 rooms feature king-size beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and some have private balconies. The on-site spa services will also serve 5 various “graces” (senses) by incorporating herbal compresses, salt stones, and towels soaked in nourishing local herbs.

Where to Eat and Drink

Vinaigrette

Harvard grad Chef Erin Wade has this airy salad bistro which has three locations (Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Austin). Wade raises most of the the produce on her own ten-acre garden – the rest originates from local sources – with vegetables and fruit which are at peak freshness. You will find cheekily named salads like several Kale Caesar and also the Nutty Pear-fessor, savory sides like Mac and Cheese, soups (go for the Cajun Gumbo), and sandwiches. It's a tipless restaurant, meaning the costs from the menu include service so the staff is paid a fair wage. In the summertime their deck is the best spot to have a mimosa or perhaps a glass of rosé. Open Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Modern General Feed & Seed

Right next store to Vinaigrette is that this stylish café and home goods shop that's also owned and run by Wade. You will get totally hooked on healthy juices, smoothies, and tonics that concentrate on ingredients that tame inflammation, improve heart health, and get skin glowing. You will find a simple menu of baked products which are created with natural starters rather than commercial yeast. The brunch menu can also be super-curated with healthy, unique options like coconut pancakes, coconut chicken salad sandwiches, and lime avocado chia pudding. Modern General's motto – “nothing you don't need” – reflects the sensible and organic assortment of pantry items like sugar, flour, and grains, along with simple, chic household necessities like kitchen utensils and gardening sets. Open every single day in the morning and lunch.

Geronimo

Ask any local or tourist, and they're going to say you can't leave Santa Fe without dining at Geronimo. Winner from the AAA Four Diamond Award and Forbes Four Star Award, this elegant fine dining establishment has its own international reputation because of its consistency. You will find a seasonal menu with inventive dishes that make the outing feel special, like mesquite grilled lobster tails, miso sea bass, and elk tenderloin – to name a few. Occupying the famous Borrego House which was built-in 1756 by Geronimo Lopez, the restaurant's soothing lighting, gentle background music, and cushioned banquettes all bring about the romantic vibe. The cocktails are also classy and worthwhile – the only issue is you'll have trouble figuring out which you'll pick. Thanks to Santa Fe's 7,200 foot elevation, you'll likely feel a buzz with only one drink. Open every single day starting at 5:30 p.m.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa (meaning “cacao” in Olmec – the earliest known Mesoamerican civilization) is definitely an artisanal chocolate shop focusing on drinking chocolates including Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan, and Aztec chocolate elixirs, plus truffles, sweets, caramels, and much more. You'll find imaginative creations like cherry chili, exotic, as well as their signature goat cheese and sage flavors. The delicious smell of the chocolate house alone is enough to lure you in. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What to Do

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

A little less than an hour outside Santa Fe, this national monument's cone-shaped formations seem like little tents, and so the name. They are a consequence of six million years old volcanic eruptions that left out deposits up to 1,000 feet thick. It is a three-mile hike that can take you thru the Instagram-worthy canyon walls. While it's a relatively simple hike if you're a newbie, you will still wish to wear proper hiking boots as there's some light climbing involved prior to reaching the amazing views at the very top. Entry begins at 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. We advise going as soon as it opens to avoid the crowds as some pathways only allow one individual at a time.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

This museum is dedicated to the American Modernist painter who spent most of her summers working in Boise state broncos for two decades until making it her permanent home. Inspired through the desert landscapes and the Native American culture, O'Keeffe's collection of 700 drawings span each decade of her lifetime. You need to get the tickets for the museum in advance and it's open from 10 a.m. to five p.m. Thursday through Monday.

Loretto Chapel

This former Catholic church built-in 1873, which is now a museum in addition to a wedding chapel, is home to the “Miraculous Staircase,” a wooden masterpiece that stuns present-day carpenters because it was constructed with minimal resources and none of the technology we've today. The legend has it that when the initial architect died before he could finish building the access to the choir loft, the Sisters of Loretto were then told a staircase couldn't be built since the space was not big enough. They prayed to St. Joseph (the Patron Saint of Carpenters) for nine days and, finally, a mysterious carpenter showed up with simply a hammer along with a carpenter's square to construct the spiral staircase. Some versions from the story say he built the staircase within just the day; others say it took months. The carpenter disappeared after completing the job without asking for his pay, and some accept is as true was St. Joseph himself.

Canyon Road

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Canyon Road is really a half-mile strip that hosts Santa Fe's historic arts district. Whether you are looking for art that's traditional Native American, abstract, modern, contemporary, or something in between, you are able to browse over 100 galleries from local artists. Plus, there are antique shops, clothing boutiques, and dining (both Geronimo and The Compound are faves) that can easily extend to a whole-day affair.

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