I grew up going to Santa Fe with my family, my parents even lived there for a while, but we have not been back since we had our daughter and I'm starting to crave a visit. (There may be a nice 80's pic of me there at the bottom of this post ;) A few of our good friends recently took their kiddos, and have shared how to do the Southwest town right when you have munchkins in tow!
Santa Fe is better known as the chic Southwestern getaway for the elegant, turquoise wearing older set than a particularly kid-friendly spot. So, we were a little nervous about showing up with four minis, who are all under the age of six. The sheer presence of kids brought a few disapproving glances, but we soon realized that if you planned it right and arrived early, you can make a more adult destination like Santa Fe inclusive (and extra fun) for the kiddos too! Here are a few of our favorite spots from a magical three-day trip:
Start the morning with breakfast at Modern General
, part hardware store, part charming book shop and totally delicious café. We liked the light-filled, modern space (and the green chile cilantro corncakes) so much that we went back every morning of our trip. Kids can peruse beautiful art books while parents sip lattes and plan the day’s activities.
The 40-minute drive to Kasha-Katuwe
Tent Rocks is well worth it. Weave through the narrow, yet colossal dirt-colored rock formations to a view that’s well worth all your efforts. Parts of the hike were strenuous for kids, but ours all powered through and passed the time with a game of “I Spy.”
In a sprawling warehouse on the outskirts of town, Meow Wolf
, an immersive art installation invites everyone into a fantastical world of secret passage ways, multi-dimensional rooms, and more whimsy than you can imagine. Plan to spend at least two hours just wandering around.
Back in downtown Santa Fe, stroll through the outdoor markets to shop wares from Mexican artisans and other locals. We left with a couple of cute girls’ dresses and of course, some magic rocks that each child got to pick on their own. Let the kids play on the porch of the historic Hotel St. Francis
while the adults happy hour with a smoked sage margarita. Toyopolis
is a fun place to peruse, as is The Shop: A Christmas Store
, an ornament is the perfect souvenir to take home since it always reminds you of summer travels when you unwrap them for winter.
While the parents were craving the eclectic fare of Café Pasqual’s
, the hour-long wait for a table led us to a more causal spot, Rooftop Pizza
. The connecting game room, equipped with foosball, pool tables, and a ping pong table kept everyone occupied as we waited for our delish pizza to arrive—a win for everyone!
Where to Stay: The recently renovated El Rey Court
is located on the original route 66 and still feels like a throwback to another time (but with hip vibes all around). The Four Seasons’ Rancho Encantado
intimate escape feels removed from the city, yet still close enough to everything. Different room configurations offer kid-friendly set-ups.
If mom has time for a getaway: Run, don’t walk to Ten Thousand Waves
. Feel transported to Japan from the moment you drive through the gates. What started as a small bathhouse has become a world-class spa that draws visitors to this oasis in the forest.
Other kid friendly dining options: La Casa Sena’s
courtyard, or arrive early and enjoy the mariachis who travel from table to table for charming serenades; The Shake Foundation
—burger, shakes, and outdoor picnic tables means all the fixings for a good family dinner; Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill
offers counter service dining, or a drive thru, and affordable tacos with fresh ingredients.
Me, Santa Fe, NM 1987 :)
All other photos by @aaron