New Mexico is not really the number one state people go to. It may be because it is one of the poorest, because it is in the middle of Texas and Arizona and lets be honest, most people would prefer to see Austin, Huston, Dallas, or Las Vegas.
But those few people who know anything can be put in 5 groups following their pop culture consumption.
- Under 30, male: “Yoooo, Breaking Bad plays in Albuquerque
- Under 30, female: “OMG HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL”
- Those who actually know something about the Route 66 and ask you for memorabilia
- Hardcore Games of Thrones Fans
- Over 40, passionate Western movie fans
The last two groups have something in common. They do know that you can find a very pretty small city in the northern part of New Mexico named “Santa Fe”. (Oh yeah and the train people 😉 )
Santa Fe is about 2 hours by train and roughly 45 min by car away from Albuquerque. It is the tourist attraction of this state and is buzzing with visitors during the say. And by buzzing you have to imagine that it is almost impossible to park remotely close to the city center after noon.
But as it is the prettier and far more exciting city, you find yourself driving up north at least 1-2 times a month.
The scenery along the I25 to Santa Fe is really pretty so it is a nice drive up North, the Railrunner is a nice cheap alternative ($8) but you need to have the time to spend four hours on a train.
Santa Fe centers around the plaza. Here you find a couple of nice restaurant, food vendors, and the large silver market when you can find many local native american artists selling jewelry.
The city also is the state capital, so you can find the Supreme Court, the Parliament building, and many museums about the history of the state in Santa Fe. So, while it hold a bigger political value, it is much more colorful, peaceful, and a lot less modern than Albuquerque. A lot of “oldest” buildings are in Santa Fe, like the oldest church and the oldest house of the United States. In general, there are few houses that are not build in the famous adobe style so it really makes you feel as if you took a time travel or are in the “Wild West” area of an amusement park.
But Santa Fe is not only very photogenic, holds an interesting history, and is of political importance, compared to Albuquerque is has a unique night life and good opportunities for some well needed retail therapy.
A little outside of Santa Fe you can find New Mexico’s only outlet mall. It is an open air mall – so cool – and compared to those in Florida really small. But you can find fashion brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfinger, and Coach, as well as sports brands like Puma, Nike, and Underarmor. So even though it is not as extensive, all necessities can be found here. Most of the stores have really great deals and often give students from UNM extra discounts. So flashing my LoboCard at Tommy Hilfinger made me safe another 10%, 20% at Ralph Lauren.
New Mexico may not be the no.1 state to visit for most people, but Santa Fe definitely is worth visiting.