When you think of New Mexico, dry, sandy deserts probably come to mind. On the contrary, a trip to Santa Fe proved that my initial assumptions about New Mexico were all wrong.

Recently, I was invited to enjoy 48 hours in Santa Fe, NM, otherwise known as “the City Different,” while behind the wheel of the new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Though it was my first time in Santa Fe, I participated in a variety of experiences that left me in love with the southwestern city.

If you’ve got Santa Fe on your bucket list, or are considering making the trip, here are 5 things to do in the city no matter what type of traveler you are.

For The Foodie

Just like Chicago and New York are known for their pizzas, and New Orleans is revered for its seafood and Cajun dishes, Santa Fe is a must-visit for those interested in authentic southwestern cuisine. You can pretty much get that anywhere in the city, but if you like your southwestern dishes with a bit of pizazz, a great place to start is Coyote Cafe & Cantina. They serve really great margaritas too!

Photo: jambocafe.net

If you’re looking to support a dope Black-owned restaurant, the Santa Fe Reporter named Jambo Cafe  Best International Cuisine for ten years running and “Best Chef” in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. This is a great place to get a taste of Caribbean fusion in the city. Try their brunch if you get the chance.

And did I mention that Santa Fe loves their chili peppers? You’d be hard-pressed not to find chili flavored food, but what’s even more fascinating, is that almost every building has chilis hanging in the walkway. They really take spiciness seriously.

Photo: Sean Quillen on Unsplash

For The Sightseer

From architecture to agriculture, Santa Fe offers an abundance of uniqueness. Oftentimes, you can just drive down Route 66 and get caught up in how beautiful the scenery is. Fortunately, Ruby’s (that’s what I named by Chevy Bolt EUV) Super Cruise feature allowed me to be able to take my hands off the wheel for a moment and capture a few photos. The Super Cruise technology uses cameras and sensors to detect the lines on the road. Basically, freeing my hands up for other things. My eyes, however, have to stay on the road — which is where I wanted them anyway.

Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

While on my road trip through Santa Fe, I can definitely say downtown Santa Fe has beautiful architecture. The adobe-style buildings give the city its own signature appeal. Also, contrary to what I expected before arriving, Santa Fe is full of mountains and lush greenery. Expect lots and lots of trees. The stretch of roads on Route 66 and I-25 were enough to keep me distracted.

Santa Fe
Photo: Maddy Baker on Unsplash

Also, if you’re like me, what you’ll probably love most about Santa Fe is the sunset. Somewhere around 7 pm, you will get the most beautiful views as the sun retreats for the day. Get your cameras ready!

For The Historian

Santa Fe has an incredibly rich history and if you’re into studying events of the past, this is the travel destination for you. Our thirst for knowledge led us to Pecos National Historial Park where we hiked the Ancestral Sites Trail and explored land once inhabited by the Pueblo Indians.

Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

As someone who loves learning new things, this was by far my favorite part of the trip. We watched a short film that told the story of the Native Americans that inhabited New Mexico and how the Spaniards colonized the area and forced Christianity onto them, and afterward, got to go inside a kiva — an underground room where Native Americans held spiritual ceremonies.

Santa Fe
Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

The trip concluded with us visiting what was left of a Pueblo and a Spanish Catholic Church. Then it was time to head back to our hotel downtown.

The drive from the park to downtown Santa Fe took approximately 45 minutes, but it was enjoyable and smooth. Since the EUV is electric and pretty silent, I spent the majority of the time with my iPhone connected to Bluetooth and having my own private dance party. Ruby kept me pretty entertained.

Santa Fe
Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

For The Adventurer

We went hiking, but the adventures in New Mexico don’t stop there. If you are an adventure or even a simple nature lover, Santa Fe has that covered too.

From Santa Fe, we drove down to Pilar, NM where I found out we were going to soon be partaking n something I’ve never done before — kayaking down the Rio Grande river.

Once we retrieved our kayaks from Far Flung Adventures’ Boat House, we drove a few miles to Taos Junction Bridge where the real fun was about to happen.

Santa Fe
Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

After getting our safety instructions (which I paid very close attention to) we set off for a little fun on the river.

Honestly, the river was quite tame. It was relaxing, to say the least. While Santa Fe does offer white water rafting, which is perfect for thrill-seekers, kayaking down the Rio Grande was a great introduction to the watersport for me.

Santa Fe
Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Sports Media

If you’re up for another road trip, a 3-hour drive will lead you to White Sands National Park. Not only is this a hidden gem right here in the United States, but its picturesque views serve as the perfect Instagram-worthy backdrop whether you’re hiking or driving through. Rent a sled and slide down the sands at rapid speeds if you really want to get the ultimate experience.

Photo by Anchor Lee on Unsplash

For The Art Lover

Believe it or not, Santa Fe is a great place to visit if you’re a lover of the arts. You can find sculptures, murals, paintings, and more, at every turn. There’s always a sight to see.

Santa Fe
Photo by Pam Lim on Unsplash

The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) is a favorite when visiting the city. Especially for those who want to engulf themselves in the history and art of the Native American people. Another major tourist attraction is the annual Balloon Fiesta, taking place in October this year in nearby Albuquerque.

Photo by Lad Fury from Pexels

And if you want to fully immerse yourself into the arts, Meow Wolf Santa Fe offers mind-bending, large-scale art installations that will leave you completely in awe. Why settle for seeing the art when you can be the art?