Index of Thoughts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Traveling to Santa Fe with Kids

This year for Spring Break we decided to visit Santa Fe, NM.  We wanted a place that was a little warmer, some culture and beauty.  We found what we were looking for in Santa Fe.  We also did it all with our children who range in ages 20 months to 8 years old.  I did some research on places to visit before I left but it is difficult to find good, reliable articles about doing all these things with children.  So, I took notes to share what works and what doesn't work with kids.

The weather is similar to the weather here in Montrose, CO.  It is a tad warmer though and much drier too.  We went the first week in April and the trees were already in full blossom.  The days were warm (60's F) and the nights were cool (40's F).

 Driving There
There are many routes to get to Santa Fe from Montrose.  We decided to do different ones each way.  On the way there we went through Durango and Pagosa Springs then south on 285.  We stopped for breaks in Durango, the park/playground along the river in Pagosa, Echo Amphitheater (about 15 miles North of Abiquiu) and the village of Abiquiu.  I recommend packing a lunch for the drive.  There are very long stretches of no cell service or gas stations.  On the way back we came up through Alamosa and through Saguache.  It was a very beautiful drive.  We didn't stop but if you have time to stop at the Sand Dunes in Alamosa.  It is well worth it.  They are amazing.

-Echo Amphitheater was super cool for the kids.  The short hike was perfect, and they loved yelling & hearing their echos.

-Abiquiu is a beautiful little village that also is the home of Georgia O'Keefe (find hours & tours here) and her Ghost Ranch.  We weren't able to tour it.  You would have to call ahead to make a reservation but that is on our To Do list for next time.

 Great Sand Dunes - We went here years ago on our last trip to Santa Fe.  They are so cool.  In the spring the water runs off the mountains and creates a river in the park.  You can even boogey board the waves.

I did a lot of searching for the perfect place to stay.  Something within walking distance to the plaza, a pool, a condo style which makes it much easier with the kids and a reasonable price.  After a lot of searching, I found a perfect condo at Fort Marcy.  It is only 4 blocks to downtown which is about a 10 minute walk.  Plus you are walking through the cute neighborhood homes.  I rented our condo through vrbo (find it here).  There are others ranging in 1 BR to 3 BR.  We got our 2 BR/ 2 1/2 BA condo for $99 a night plus the cleaning fee $150.  You can also rent them through Fort Marcy directly (find it here) where they have condos that are decorated more high end.  They have a pool and hot tub and the complex is up on a hill where the views are amazing.  So you could also request to have one with better views.

Getting Around Town
Some of the sidewalks aren't the best for strollers in Santa Fe.  The sidewalks are either too narrow or they just disappear.  Once you get downtown, the sidewalks are much better.  It is a huge biking town so that could be an option for your family too.  But, I would definitely be a bit nervous because it is a busy town with lots of cars and winding roads.

There are so many wonderful dining options in Santa Fe.  I will list where we went & my opinion on it.  I will also list the ones that I want to try when we go back.

Jinja - Amazing pan-asian restaurant with great prices, delicious dishes and big portions.  Great place to take the kids.

Whole Foods & Trader Joe's - We stocked up on some amazing food and got a case of $2 buck Chuck.

Cafe Pasqual's - This place had innovative, organic food and it was delicious but it was very expensive, very small portions and very cramped with the kids.  We had a cold squash soup with roasted pepitas, cheese quesadilla, rosemary sweet potato biscuit sandwich with cured ham & a kale salad with pomegranate seeds.  The bill was $60 for that at lunch time.

 La Casa Sena - This is a great place to take kids.  They have a beautiful enclosed courtyard with a fountain and cute little shops.  So, the kids can kind of play around while you enjoy a cocktail and some good food.  The menu is definitely pricey but it's worth the splurge for good food and good ambiance.  They also have the restaurant inside with the singing waiters.  We booked the 5:30 seating, and it was an 80's music show.  The waiters were also dressed up!  This was a blast.  We all enjoyed it so much.  We even got up and danced a little at the end to "I've had the time of my life".  A very fun memory!!

in the courtyard

Tomasita's - Great place for the family.  It's traditional new mexican food with big portions, great taste, great service and good prices.  We all left stuffed!  We also loved the basket of hot & fresh sopaipillas served with honey butter.  They were heavenly.  And it's down by the rail yard so you could walk around down there.

El Farol - This was our favorite place.  One of the oldest restaurants in Santa Fe.  It's a tapas restaurant.  It is located at the end of Canyon Road.  We looked around the galleries some and then headed over to happy hour there.  They have live music every night but it doesn't start til late so if you have older children you should try to check it out.  They have the traditional flamenco dancing dinner shows which would be so much fun.   Make sure you check out their schedule first.  At happy hour the prices are incredible and you can even get tastes of tapas for $2 and the most amazing margarita or sangria for $5.  Then we ordered three tapas to all share - the baked goat cheese, the caesar salad and the jambon serrano.  They were all so good.  The girls loved this place!!  And I even bought the cookbook.

Canyon Road

Art on Canyon road

Three graces art 
Sunset on our way home from El Farol

The Teahouse - This is located across the street from El Farol on Canyon Road.  Super yummy way to start the day.  They make the best oatmeal that I have ever put in my mouth.  It was to die for.  I found the recipe HERE.  Their list of teas and coffees had to be the size of a small novel.  It was a real treat to go there but it is a bit pricey.  It was about $60 for us all to have oatmeal and coffee.

Rooftop Pizzeria - We stumbled upon this restaurant downtown and was pleasantly surprised at how great it was!  Plus it had wonderful views of the city.  I had the best pizza that I think I have ever eaten there.  I got the No. 3 pizza - grilled chicken, green chile, cotija and asadero cheese with toasted pinon with alfredo sauce on a blue corn crust!!  They have great kid choices too.

Vanessie Piano Bar - I got to have a girl's night out with a friend who was also down there with her family.  The guys golfed in the day and we went out at night.  We had such a great time here and the jazz band was so rocking it out!  I would definitely bring my kids here at an early hour.  There weren't any kids there but my kids are well behaved and would really enjoy it.  I think that it would depend on knowing your kids and depending on the type of music being played.  Check out their schedule.  They have live music every night.  They also have a yummy dinner menu!

Blue Corn Cafe - We went here for a late lunch.  It was okay and good for kids but not great!

Bumble Bee's Grill - Really cool drive thru restaurant with a healthy & fresh menu.  What a treat to go pick up fast food that tastes good and is good for you.  I hear in the summer they make their own fresh watermelon frescas that are a must have.  We got the lamb and fish taco.  They have big portions so don't over order.  The flan was delicious!

Santa Fe Farmer's Market - They are open on Saturday mornings during off season and are down by the rail yard.  We ate breakfast from different vendors down there.  Holy Moly!!  So many choices and so good.  We got potato & chili empanadas, apple turnovers, fresh mango goat milk kefir, vegan zucchini brownie, vegan breakfast squash spice cake, blueberry muffin and green chile breakfast burrito plus some really good coffee.  This was off-season too - I have got to go back when it is in full swing.  We loved it down there.  The girls got to hold baby bunnies and there were people down there break dancing.

Tesuque Village Market - This place is a tie for favorite spot!  It's this hopping little place in the middle of nowhere.  It has a great porch, great food and is the go-to spot for everything you might need.  It's the market, the bar, and the restaurant. The artwork on the building was spectacular too!  We enjoyed some really good food and we got to meet the owner.  She was wearing a Telluride shirt so we spoke to her.  Their family loves to ski there and go to Blues & Brews.  She was really nice!

French Bakery at La Fonda & Drinks on the Rooftop at La Fonda -  Get there early to make sure you get a delicious pastry.  The rooftop wasn't open yet for drinks but we have to make it back there in the warmer months.

Tia Sophia - Open for breakfast & lunch.  Traditional New Mexican.  I want to try this place out.

Coyote Cafe Cantina & Rooftop - The rooftop wasn't open yet but the menu looks fabulous!!

Fun Places

Kakawa Chocolate House - Amazing horchata with chocolate ice cubes and fabulous chocolate elixirs. The staff is so nice & knowledgable and let you sample.  The girls got ice cream & a chocolate treat.

Todos Santos (no website) - amazing little chocolate shop in courtyard at La Casa Sena

Shidoni Sculpture Garden & Art Studio - Really cool art sculpture park.  Great place for a picnic.  They pour their bronze on Saturdays but they cancelled when we were there so call ahead.

Fort Marcy Rec Center & playground - Very nice playground & fields.  I took a pilates class here which was only $4.  They have an indoor pool too.

Loretti Chapel - Beautiful little chapel that has a floating spiral staircase which has a very intriguing story that goes with it.  The girls were very mesmerized with this church.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi & Labyrinth - Stunning church with rich history.  We all enjoyed walking the labyrinth in the church courtyard.  HERE is a great explanation of what a labyrinth is and some great activities to do with your children using the labyrinth.

Children's Museum - This place was the highlight of the trip for the girls.  They loved it and asked to go back.  It isn't cheap to go there so we only went once.  Adults do have to pay too.  Next time I go I recommend planning a full day there.  Either pack a lunch or come back after nap time.  There are so many incredible exhibits.  A lot of the outdoor things were still closed so if you come in the summer months then there will be even more fun things to discover.

Palace of the governors - A great museum of history of Santa Fe.  The girls really enjoyed all the exhibits there.  The kids are free too!  They had a wonderful gift shop and there was an old-fashioned printing shop but it was closed.

Georgia O'Keefe Museum - We loved watching the little movie about Georgia and seeing her artwork & even her clothes.  My Georgia was really captivated there since they share the same name and my Georgia wants to be an artist!  Kids are free here too.  They have art classes for kids at the beginning of each month too.

Cross of the Martyr - Easy little hike with a paved walkway and the views were stunning.

Randall Davey Audobon Center - Cool nature preserve with an old house that you can tour.  Next time we go we would need the backpack carrier for the baby.  So, we didn't get to explore here as much as we would like.  There is a beautiful garden and lots of birds to see.  They let you borrow binoculars in the gift shop.

Museum of International Folk Art - We didn't have time to make it here but it is supposed to be wonderful, and there are lots of fun stuff there for the kids.  The cafe there is also supposed to be very good.

Planetarium - The college has a really neat planetarium that we also wanted to go to but it isn't recommended for little ones under 5.  So, we didn't make it.  But the first Thursday of each month they have a live presentation.

Rail Yard - This was a cool area for the kids with a neat playground, the farmer's market and shops.


Doodlet's - Really neat what-not shop for the kids

The Chili Store - I got some amazing different kinds of chili powders
Fashion Outlets - We stocked up at the outlets since we don't have a lot of shopping here.
Tumbleweeds - Pick a copy of the Family Newspaper Journal.  Get all the activities & schedules in the area.


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