Valentine’s Day comes along once a year with its bouquets of roses, its boxes of chocolate, and declarations of love scribbled on a store-bought card. Well, in The City Different, we believe in a year-round celebration of romance, and to that end Santa Fe offers endless ways to act on it. So, grab your love interest and tackle this list of 18 Romantic Must-Dos in Santa Fe.
Perhaps it began with the Aztecs, who considered chocolate an elixir, a sexual stimulant, a fertility agent? Well, those notions prevailed through the centuries and today chocolate retains a mystique and an allure. It’s embraced as a decadent indulgence, and who better to sample it than you and your partner? Do a bit of research by reading our blog about Santa Fe’s handcrafted offerings or just hop on The Chocolate Trail for Mexican tradition truffles, red chile piñon bark, Mesoamerican elixirs, and more!
2. Cooking Classes
Have you heard the saying, “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all”? To that end, why not take some cooking lessons with your special someone and speak a universal language of love? With two reputable schools to choose from (Santa Fe School of Cooking and Las Cosas Cooking School), do as they do in the American Southwest and learn to cook chile sauce, tamales, enchiladas, rellenos, sopaipillas, etc. You can’t go wrong with the heat and the flavor!
3. Day Trips
While The City Different will captivate you and your sweetie forever, a day trip within an hour of Santa Fe can stimulate new ideas and conversation, bringing you closer together. Drive the Turquoise Trail and visit the quaint mining villages of Cerrillos and Madrid, making sure to stop at the majestic Allan Houser Sculpture Garden. For an awe-inspiring tour of natural beauty, visit Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú and the former home of Georgia O’Keeffe. There’s a day trip for every interest and the new experiences will only make your bond stronger.
The stomach and the heart just aren’t that far apart. And you know this when you’ve chosen the precisely right restaurant for your date. Whether you’re in the mood for a rich meal at a small table in a dimly lit room accented by soft musical notes or a bustling atmosphere of tapas and tastings, you can find a spot in Santa Fe. With more than 400 restaurants in town, multiple James Beard Award winners and nominees, we’ve got you. Check out our Dining Guide or the Dine page on our website for inspirations and Bon Appétit!
There’s nothing quite like whisking yourself and your lover away into a dark theater to indulge in a film—another reality for just a few hours that will inspire laughter, tears, and contentment. Santa Fe is not only the home of three film festivals (Santa Fe International Film Festival, The Santa Fe Film Festival, and the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, but four indie-ish film houses: Center for Contemporary Arts, Jean Cocteau Cinema, Violet Crown and The Lensic Performing Arts Center that always offer up something thought-provoking and important. As well, the Southwest is increasingly becoming a popular destination for film and television-making.
Any endeavor that is routinely described using the word PASSION needs to be prioritized on your Romantic Must-Do list. Without question you ought to treat yourself to a flamenco performance during your visit to Santa Fe. Many of the professional dancers you see in Santa Fe were the students of internationally renowned performer from Taos, New Mexico María Benítez, which has contributed to Santa Fe being one of the top destinations in the United States to see flamenco outside of Spain. Not only is the heritage of flamenco in The City Different five generations strong and counting, but there are numerous ways to experience it, including dinner theater settings with delicious tapas and wine or pop-up performances at bars, on stages, and on trains!
7. Foodie Trails & Tours
Good food is a language of love, and Santa Fe understands this! Stir up those senses and your shared appetite by reserving a Culinary Tour with an expert guide or self-guide along one of our Foodie Trails & Tours that highlight some of the best spots for breakfast burritos, coffee, chocolate, craft beer, wine, and spirits, and food trucks. Pair up and discover Santa Fe through the lens of your appetites and we guarantee you’ll fall even more deeply in love with The City Different … and your partner! Make a visit to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market while you are here, arguably one of our best decades-old community events, and plan ahead to sate your hunger pangs with our blog: Annual Foodie Happenings in Santa Fe.
8. Gallery hopping and museum-going
Quite often art is about love and its infinite joys and struggles, or it’s about challenging topics that are best sorted through with your best talking partner, or art is just about beauty, reminding you to be in awe of being alive! Share the many facets of art with your special someone by exploring one of the largest art markets in the US, including our 250+ world-class galleries and 20+ museums, where we carry the international honor of being a UNESCO Creative City for our innovation, investment, and community in a range of arts and creativity. Plan ahead to shop for art with our blog: Shop Local Santa Fe Artists & Artisans.
Did you know that The City Different’s historic downtown Plaza is within 4 miles of the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest? You and yours can take each other on a peaceful or challenging exploration in the mountains during any of Santa Fe’s four seasons, basking in the natural beauty of the landscape which might surprise you with its forests of aspen, ponderosa, and piñon-juniper, its meadows filled with Indian paintbrush, purple lupine, and other colorful wildflowers, its silvery mountain streams, its ridgetops and peaks. Take the time to reacquaint with the great outdoors and the greatness of one another.
10. Historic, Boutique, and Luxe Hotels
The lap of luxury? The sweet envelop of charm? The cool vibe of contemporary? It’s your choice where to lay your head aside your lover’s while in The City Different. Proximity to the Plaza a factor? You are all set with grand or boutique hotel options, steeped in history. If you choose a resting place that does not feature a full-service spa that specializes in couples treatments, no worries—there are spas aplenty in The City Different. If you consider a quaint bed and breakfast, you’ll still enjoy your privacy, but you’ll also have the opportunity for friendship with fascinating people from all over the world.
So … you’ve brought your favorite relationship to Santa Fe. Did you know that The City Different celebrates tequila’s favorite relationship with the invariably spicy, sweet, and sassy margarita? Along the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, you and yours can have a blast with a one-of-a-kind margarita experience that allows you to taste 50 of the best margaritas in the world. Download the app or buy a paper Passport and sip your way in and out of some of Santa Fe’s most popular bars and restaurants. You’ll learn some great lore, meet some fun people, and celebrate one another in new and exciting ways.
12. Music & Nightlife
Extend the romance of your visit to Santa Fe well into the evening. You and your partner can enjoy live entertainment most every night of the week, be it touring national rock, folk, or jazz acts, classical, orchestral, or chamber talent or our local musicians. Venues range from club scenes to intimate hotel bars to more grandiose spots like the Santa Fe Opera, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, and SITE Santa Fe. If you luck out to visit The City Different in the summer, you’ll find that free, live music is an absolute staple through Lensic 360.
Arguably, opera is the ultimate of romantic experiences, with elaborately costumed sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses singing their hearts out with stories of betrayal, anguish, unrequited love, and reunion. Featuring stunning views, the open-air Santa Fe Opera presents world-class performances in an architectural wonder of a building, set in a peaceful and rugged landscape. There’s not a bad seat in the house! Plan a trip with your sweetie for July or August to catch the annual performance season of international operatic superstars. Arrive early for an elegant parking lot tailgate and the sunset!
Your relationship is one-of-a-kind and unique, just like The City Different and our myriad shopping opportunities! Arm in arm, you and your lover can discover items not found anywhere else on your paired shopping odyssey into exquisite locally owned and independent boutiques and charming stores housed in historic buildings. Whether you're looking for fashion or furniture, Indian pottery, basketry, jewelry, painting, sculpture, wood carvings, handwoven Navajo rugs, weavings, and wall hangings, custom hats and cowboy boots, concho belts or bolo ties, salsa, or silver and turquoise jewelry, you'll be rewarded in this shopper's paradise of Southwest specialties and wonders from around the world.
15. Train Travel
For some reason, the bygone era of train travel elicits feelings of nostalgia and romance: the teary reunions at the station, the slowly passing scenery and landscape of the Wild West, the chugga chug sound and your matching sway as you ride along. Well, this can be your modern-day experience with your honey! With Sky Railway, climb aboard a uniquely imagined adventure train, born of refurbished historic railcars. This is your ticket to a dozen different experiences along the tracks—cuisine, theater, flamenco, sunset serenades, jazz, craft beer and wine tasting, and more. Schedule your experiences before your arrival because you absolutely do not want to miss out.
16. Spas & Soaking
Time spent in The City Different is instantly restorative, but don’t miss the chance to disrobe with your mate and relax in a uniquely Santa Fe way. Soak in a private tub at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-inspired bathhouse set high in the mountains or at Ojo Santa Fe Spa, experience multiple spring-fed pools set on a pastoral 77-acre resort. Each offers a range of unique and rejuvenating body treatments. Or luxuriate at your hotel’s spa, bound to treat you and your partner well.
17. Sunset Watching
Yes, sunsets happen everywhere every day, BUT have you experienced a uniquely Santa Fe sunset? These are epic pink and orange events, not just occurrences! Take your special someone by the hand, cuddle up, and contemplate your life together at one of many great vistas where you can be entertained by the natural beauty of a typical daily event! Happy Hour at La Fonda’s Bell Tower never disappoints, nor does the well-earned top of the Cross of the Martyrs walk, or the view from a picnic on the Aspen Vista Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest.
18. Wine Tasting
There’s no end of romance to the tales of growing grapes and turning them into wine, particularly when the vintners are small, independent wineries that populate Northern New Mexico. Also, did you know New Mexico is home to the oldest wine-growing region in the nation? We’re talking as far back as 1629, 50 years before the first vines were planted in California. Today there are more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms across the state, many of which are just a short day trip away from Santa Fe. Build a fun afternoon itinerary of tastings as you and yours wind your way north toward Taos and into the majestic Rio Grande canyon, where the grapes love the soil as you do your mate. Plan ahead to tour some wineries with our blog: Enjoy the Wineries and Tasting Rooms in and around Santa Fe.