At 5am, it’s very dark out and we learned quickly that not every Starbucks is open that early… nevertheless; we hit the road with big smiles and a Spotify playlist. After a few short hours, we made it to Taos and stopped at the Taos Pueblo to see the adobe homes and structures that have survived over 1000 years! They have been living in the same valley since ~900 AD – hundreds of years before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. Learning about this beautiful culture and the immense history while walking around the village was definitely worth the stop.
Between Taos and Santa Fe, there are quite a few flea markets along the side of the road with southwestern style home décor, dishes and glassware, planters and even dried chili peppers! I’ll be honest though, the prices aren’t much better than what you find in the cities, and they often aren’t negotiable – we mostly stopped to get out and walk around.
When we finally made it to Santa Fe, we pulled right into the center of town and parked near the Plaza. Most of the buildings in the city mimic the old adobe style, and vendors lined the sidewalks with beautiful artwork, leather goods and handmade sterling silver jewelry set with turquoise and coral. It was a dream!
Top Places to Shop for Turquoise in Santa Fe
- Sidewalk vendors – Not only will you find better deals here, their jewelry is often handmade using techniques that have been passed down through generations. I talked to 1 vendor who is a 3rd generation silversmith, and makes some of the most beautiful sterling silver bracelets and cuffs I’ve ever seen! Another vendor was able to explain the process of cutting the turquoise and that triangle pieces are more difficult to achieve – the longer and thinner the triangle, the more easily the stone will break while they buff the stone and set it in metal. He also sized my ring with a wooden mallet, which was pretty awesome.
- The Rose’s pawn shop at 117 E. Palace Ave, Santa Fe – you must go here! They have beautiful vintage turquoise jewelry, buffalo turquoise, coral, and other stones, with very reasonable prices. They even have a selection of Fred Harvey turquoise and sterling silver bracelets that are in perfect condition. It was hard to walk out of there without buying up their entire inventory!
- Goodwill – OK, maybe not for turquoise or jewelry, but if you’re interested in leather it’s definitely worth the stop! I found a Dooney & Bourke leather bag in excellent condition for $90, and there were racks of leather jackets (hello southwestern fringe!).
Places to Eat in Santa Fe
I’ll be honest; we were only in the town for about 30 hours so I’m no expert on where to eat in Santa Fe, but we did have some delicious food while we were there! Here are the places I’d go back to:
- Go to Tia Sophia’s for lunch and instead of your typical breadbasket, you’ll get a basket of fresh, warm sopapillas with honey and cinnamon sugar. They also have some of the best guacamole I’ve ever had, and I’m definitely close to being an expert on guac.
- For dinner, we went to The Shed – the food was delicious, the chili was super spicy, but mostly the margaritas were on point! If the weather’s nice, get there early to snag a table on their outdoor patio.
- We grabbed a quick breakfast from one of the few places in town that doesn’t offer tacos and smothered burritos – The French Pastry Shop. It was so good! I love crepes, and they definitely do it right here by loading their giant crepes with as many ingredients as you’d like. Personally, I went with spinach, egg and cheese and was so happy. Just know that they only take cash, so come prepared!
To get a great view of the city, or to watch the sunset in Santa Fe, head up to the Cross of the Martyrs! It’s a quick, uphill walk on a paved path with stairs and benches along the way, so it’s fairly accessible for most.
A quick weekend was just enough time to briefly explore this amazing city, and I already can’t wait to go back.