Santa Fe is Stunning, but it Sucks with Kids

church in Santa Fe

After a wonderful trip to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta, we decided to spend some time in Santa Fe on our way back north. The little town is beyond picturesque, and as we drove through I was immediately smitten with all the sights and smells. (Mmmmm, green chilies!) I couldn’t wait to explore this little adult playground, but my kids, they weren’t so sure.

The day started early at the Drury Plaza Hotel, which is a fabulous place to stay. Clean, modern rooms with a southwestern flair is only the beginning. A delicious (and free) breakfast is available each morning, as well as a beautiful rooftop pool overlooking the city below. My favorite part, however, is without a doubt the complimentary drinks that adults get each night. Seriously, what more could a mama want?

An easy day strolling around stunning Santa Fe, perhaps? Not a chance.

roof at Drury Plaza Santa Fe

The streets of Santa Fe are lined with boutique after boutique offering wares like handmade jewelry, fine leather goods, and artisan foods. My son absolutely loved the sock shop (yes, a small shop dedicated solely to the sale of socks) but by the time we hit the first art gallery, he was cooked. While I wanted to stop and admire all the turquoise earrings I would never buy, he wanted to play — or at least do something that wasn’t standing around watching me look at shit he didn’t care about.

There are so, so many museums in Santa Fe, most of them geared toward art and culture — none of which is active and particularly appealing to a five-year-old boy. Before long he was losing his cool, and as his parents, we weren’t far behind. A lovely day of exploring all the hidden beauty of Santa Fe was not in store for hubby and I.

downtown Santa Fe

Lunch was a bust. The air was full of gorgeous smells, yet we decided to sit down with the kids at a pizza place. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. Apparently, it seemed like a good idea at the time. (I think the pizza shop had a good view of the main plaza.) Either way, the food was sub par and the service was horrible. We ended up taking turns with grouchy kids outside of the pizzeria, and Santa Fe was quickly going sour.

The one thing I absolutely had to do before we left was check out Santa Fe’s chocolate trail, because the last thing I think of when I think of New Mexico is exceptional chocolate. After finding one place closed and being too lost to identify the others in the downtown area, we hopped in the car and drove to Kakawa Chocolate House.

It’s a little hole in the wall on the side of the road, and you have to try it. I’m boring and like my treats simple; I was not disappointed. Instantly, I fell in love with the milk chocolate truffles. (I’m still trying to convince my husband that I wasn’t joking when I said I wanted a box for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, as a Christmas gift, whatever. That shit was amazing.) However, for people who aren’t bland at life like me, there are options with nuts, floral flavors, liquors, and even chili — because what would be southwestern artisan chocolate if it didn’t incorporate chili?

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa was, by far, my favorite part of our visit. (I may or may not have eaten an entire bag of milk chocolate coins on the way home all by my lonesome.) Yes, we did cut our trip short, but not because we didn’t like Santa Fe, but because that day we didn’t particularly like our kids. Hubby and I will go back one day to really soak up everything Santa Fe has to offer because it’s a beautiful little town with lots to offer — we’ll just be leaving the kids at home.

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  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry you had such a rough trip with the kiddos! It definitely takes a lot more planning and work for a kid-friendly vacation, and even then it doesn’t always go smoothly. But at least you’ll have fond memories of the sock shop 🙂

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