Santa Fe is an ancient and spiritual place, once home to the Tewa Indians, then the site of New Mexico’s first Spanish settlement in 1610 and today the country’s oldest capital city. Since the early 20th century, it has been a destination for both art and wellness. The natural beauty has long captivated creatives like Georgia O’Keeffe, and the fresh, dry air attracts those seeking cures for what ails them. Today, the galleries of Canyon Road are still a prime tourist draw, along with uniquely Southwestern fine dining, luxurious lodging, and outdoor adventures from mountain biking to horseback riding.
Designers Ira and Sylvia Seret are internationally renowned importers of antiques, rugs, textiles and furniture, and the Inn of the Five Graces is a showcase for their combined creative talents in one of Santa Fe’s most historic neighborhoods. The duo transformed a cluster of traditional adobe buildings into a 25-suite Relais & Châteaux hotel brimming with exquisite treasures collected on their travels through Central and South Asia, including many Afghan and Tibetan artifacts. All guest rooms feature wood-burning kiva fireplaces, plus one-of-a-kind tile mosaics line the kitchens and bathrooms. If you’re inspired to shop the space, the Seret & Sons show room is just a couple blocks away. The newly renovated spa is decorated in the same Silk Road maximalist style, and the skillful therapists will transport you to Shangri-La. Breakfast in bed is included with your stay here, and the avocado toast on green chili cheddar bread is heavenly.
Chef Martín Rios grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and as a teen moved to Santa Fe, where he started working as a dishwasher in local restaurants then ascended the kitchen ranks to executive chef at Eldorado Hotel & Spa, where he met his wife, Jennifer. In 2009, the husband-and-wife team opened their namesake restaurant, now a 10-time James Beard Award nominee.
The crowd here skews older, and most diners are locals judging by the familiarity between guests and servers. The menu blends Southwestern, French and Asian influences for dishes like crispy pork belly bacon and quail eggs with potato pave and Scottish salmon with lump crab XO in lemongrass dashi. There’s always a vegetarian medley on offer, too, featuring seasonal produce garnished with edible flowers and herbs from the backyard garden — think kimchi-glazed Brussels sprouts, ginger carrot soup, and mushroom and pecan polenta.
Art concierge Mike McKosky is one of the most respected and knowledgeable gallery owners in town, having established InArt 17 years ago. Most of the galleries along Canyon Road are former residences, and his was previously his wife’s grandmother’s house, now home to bronze horny toad sculptures and sleepy stone bears resting on the kitchen counter. His self-described “curated eclecticism” includes works from a wide range of local artists, from Nancy Reyner’s reflective otherworldly landscapes to David Perez Escudero’s three-dimensional pointillism.
McKosky also curates the rotating exhibits at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado and recently started leading customized private tours through the property, specifically tailored to your personal interests and collecting objectives. The arts scene here is already welcoming and approachable, but McKosky’s strong relationships with artists and gallerists allow for special access and opportunities.
This stately restaurant is a paragon of classic luxury, situated in an adobe home built in 1756 and tucked among the galleries of Canyon Road, with a menu that has hardly changed in more than a decade. That’s good news for regulars who drool over signature dishes like wasabi Caesar salad and Tellicherry peppercorn–rubbed elk tenderloin with creamy brandied mushroom sauce.
High wood-beamed ceilings, tall-backed leather chairs and sharply pressed white tablecloths encourage an atmosphere of hushed tones and proper posture, but jackets aren’t required. The food is a playful blend of global and local flavors, including green miso sea bass with ramen noodles and truffle essence and a trompe l’oeil apple dessert filled with roasted butterscotch fruit. The restaurant’s namesake is Gerónimo Lopez, the humble farmer who built this hacienda. Could he have imagined that his cozy home would one day be both a historic and culinary landmark?
There are hundreds of galleries in Santa Fe, but True West has the most astounding collection of Native American art. Owners Craig Allen and Lisa Sheridan represent more than 130 creatives, all of whom they know personally. Standouts include bronze sculptor Joe Cajero of the Jemez Pueblo and Daniel Remmenga, a Ponca painter with an uncanny ability to capture light on canvas. Navajo silversmith Veronica Benally’s earrings and cuffs are also exquisite, inlaid with turquoise, lapis, coral and onyx. There are even Hopi kachina dolls and carved stone and antler fetishes — powerful animals like bears and mountain lions for spiritual protection. The vintage collection ranges from Navajo and Zapotec weavings and jewelry to traditional pottery and sculptures to priceless antiquities like handmade arrows and beaded moccasins. “We’re like a museum, but even better, because you get to take it home,” says Sheridan.
The Santa Fe Southern Railway opened in 1880, bringing artists, archaeologists, tourists and even U.S. presidents to the growing city. Sky Railway honors that legacy as a new attraction, with scenic rides in elegantly refurbished passenger cars accompanied by entertainment, live music, food and drink. A wide variety of themed rides encompasses everything from craft beer and cocktails to flamenco performances and stargazing. There’s even a murder mystery (think Murder on the Orient Express but with a sci-fi twist).
Train cars are adorned with colorful graffiti murals by Joerael Numina, but the restored interiors will whisk you back in time to the early 20th century. Book a first-class ticket to ride in the 1937 Super Chief’s original Acoma lounge car that once carried Hollywood starlets across the country while enjoying a glass of Gruet New Mexican sparkling wine accompanied by dazzling sunset views.