Traveling to New Mexico? You’ve come to the right place. This post is filled with tips, vegan restaurants, hiking, shopping, resting, and more…and I’m outlining it all here so you have one stop to check it all out.
Spending two weeks in New Mexico will give you an in-depth look at the culture and people that make up this fantastic state. And it’ll make you quickly hop on Zillow to see how you can keep dedicating as much time as possible in this quiet, peaceful state.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Either way, I’ve made a lifetime of dedicating my time in New Mexico, I spend at least 2 weeks there a year (these days, thankfully more), and those roads between DFW and Albuquerque? I know them so, so well.
Here’s what to expect, where to go, and how to spend your time.
Two Weeks in New Mexico: Visiting Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, and Many Day Trips from Each
A Week in Santa Fe
Let’s start with Santa Fe. Surely you’ve seen photos of their gorgeous, Adobe-filled Plaza. You’ve seen platters of enchiladas, you’ve seen pics of the flamenco dancers and the live entertainment downtown. You’ve seen low riders and hiking trails and So. Much. Turquoise.
Santa Fe is ritzy, flamboyant, expensive, and small. The mountains are everywhere you look. The people are older, graceful, and sometimes a bit edgy (sorry folks, but these days, there’s a lot of fast-paced New Yorkers living out their second careers as art dealers in this once dusty little town).
With all that, it’s still….absolutely glorious. It’ll still take your breath away. It’ll offer you the best food in New Mexico (especially for my vegan friends: New Mexico is not the most vegan-friendly state. Santa Fe is here to help).
Here are the the best vegan restaurants and things to do in Santa Fe.
How long can you stay? I personally prefer to spend at least 4 or 5 days here. It’s not a place you will want to rush through, even though it’s a very small town. First off, every interaction will take you double the time you’re used to in whatever fast-paced city you got here from. So slow down, be patient, and chill. You’re on mañana time.
We’ve rented AirBnBs, and we’ve stayed at many of the hotels on Cerillos Road. Last time, we stayed at El Rey Court which was so much fun. I still prefer to have more space, and to be further out of town, so the AirBnB option is still preferred…but El Rey was great, too. They have live music, great drinks, a food truck, and it’s just a fun and social place to meet fellow travelers and locals. And fantastic art, to boot!!
The day trips from Santa Fe are some of the best in the entire state, in my opinion. That’s another reason you don’t want to rush. This land is incredible. Enjoy it. Here are a few of the best day trips around Santa Fe. Go spend time in Abiquiu. Go to Ghost Ranch, and not too far away is Echo Amphitheater – another can’t-miss adventure. Spend time at Tent Rocks. Go back in time at Pecos National Historic Park and Bandelier National Monument. Every single one of these places I just mentioned are not to be missed. Enjoy the incredible vistas at every turn.
A Week in Taos
Taos was always a place I rushed through until 2019, the first time I ever spent a week there. Then in 2021, we went back for a week and desperately tried (unsuccessfully) to get our AirBnB to let us stay longer. This teeny city has gotten a hold of me. Maybe it’s the laid-back, hippy, opposite-of-Santa-Fe vibe. Maybe it’s that the art is slightly more affordable, or the meals are slightly more laid back and fun (although very hard to find vegan), or that the mountain air grabs ahold of me: visiting Taos simply makes me want to stay.
It’s a completely different vibe in the mountains than in Santa Fe, which is actually higher up in elevation that Taos, believe it or not. But Taos’ ponderosa pines, hippy little towns that surround it, incredible, peaceful hiking trails, and killer margaritas just make a gal wanna set up roots. Except for the winter. But any of you snow bunnies might love that, too.
Looking for the best vegan restaurants in Taos? I’ve got you covered!
And now, onto Albuquerque.
I hope with all my heart that Albuquerque is always an up-and-coming, dusty town. I just love it so much. There’s nothing worse than capitalism making yet another city look like all the others. Albuquerque has its medium-city vibe, it has a small, not very busy or bustling downtown. It doesn’t have great architecture, its mountains are not as serene. But the people? They’re fun, and laid back, and also still have full-time jobs. It’s a working town, not a retirement town like Santa Fe or a hippy-retirement town like Taos. It’s younger, and it’s kind, and it’s fun.
Most people will only spend a night or two, or just fly in, get a car, and go on to Santa Fe or Taos. You most likely will, too.
But if you settle in for a moment. If you go sit at a bar and talk to locals. If you stop trying to make it something it isn’t, I promise you, you’ll fall in love.
I like to spend a week in Albuquerque. I like traveling there on my own. I like it with my husband, and I like it with my mom. It’s a fantastic, chill, easy to get around city with so much to offer. It has my heart.
I hope you enjoy! Report back, please! Let me know if you found anything new or different or unexpected during your two weeks in New Mexico.