Walking through the South Capitol area is like walking through a potluck of aesthetics and age. While most Santa Fe structures resemble the traditional adobe style, the houses in South Capitol are free to break away from this trend. Some are tall and grand, built from bricks and surrounded by shimmering black gates in elegant scrolls. Others have stained glass accents or doors and windows that are unmistakably, charmingly old.

Between the narrow streets of houses and law offices is Wood Gormley Elementary School, which has a reputation for drawing parents to the neighborhood with the magnet of quality education.

Though the City Different isn’t exactly green, South Capitol is full of plant life. Trees grow so tall they block out the sun. Ample sidewalks make for a pleasant place to take a walk and enjoy the scenery. Poet Dana Levin, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s creative writing department co-chair, calls this neighborhood home. “It’s very friendly, a great balance between quiet [and] if you want to wave to someone, they wave back.”

Across a busy downtown street is where the grass grows thickest. A lush lawn encircles the building known as the Roundhouse (490 Old Santa Fe Trail, 986-4589). Inside the capitol, the sun fills the rooms, and gold and turquoise accents cover doors and signs. The public can tour the building year-round and browse the paintings and sculptures displayed throughout its four floors, all celebrating New Mexico’s love for the creative.

In the mood for shopping? Pop in to Ooh La La Consignment (518 Old Santa Fe Trail, 820-6433) where you will find high fashion at competitive prices. Soft jazz from the ‘40s plays as you walk throughout the small but charming store to find clothes from brands like Zara, Paul Smith and Issey Miyake.

If you aren’t looking to expand your wardrobe, or you’re not the kind of person who needs a dress, take five steps next door to “Ooh La La Too!” The music is the same, but inside you’ll find shelves full of beautiful displayed shoes, an assortment of handbags and in the back, a selection of suits for the kind of man who wants to stay classy.

Also nearby is the little treasure of Kakawa Chocolate House (1050 Paseo de Peralta, 982-0388). Here, you’ll find decadent chocolate in flavors you may have never tried before, such as caramelized passion fruit or blood orange chipotle.

“We’re always trying to make something new here,” says owner Tony Bennett. “We experiment a lot and see what works.” One of its best sellers, goat cheese and sage, was the happy result of one experiment that happened when Bennett bought too much goat cheese and wasn’t sure what to do with the extra. Colorful tin folk art skeletons and hearts scatter the walls, serving as a beautiful complement to the store’s wood flooring and rustic atmosphere.