It goes without saying that Canyon Road shouldn’t be missed. Like a mile-long museum, its galleries make for hours, days, weeks even, of browsing the creative arts. Fine dining and historic architecture delight other senses. Stroll along the newly reconstructed river walkway on East Alameda and bring along a snack to eat as you sit at a picnic table and listen to the trickling flow. Make it all the way to the end of Upper Canyon Road for a visit to the Randall Davey Audubon Center (1800 Upper Canyon Road, 983-4609).
West Alameda and the Barrio
While some shopping centers formerly known as strip malls have dwindled into disrepair, the Solana Center is not one of them. West Alameda’s retail hub at the entrance of this Stamm neighborhood is a bustle of activity, whether it’s for conscious shoppers at La Montanita Co-op (913 West Alameda, 984-2853) or the new charcuterie The Real Butcher Shop, casual diners at Masa Sushi or hipsters seeking Portland’s Stumptown Roasters brand of coffee at BetterDay Coffee Shop (905 West Alameda)
Southeast / Arroyo Chamiso
On pins and needles with life’s stress, stop at the Southwest Acupuncture College (1622 Galisteo St., 438-8884) and gaze into a relaxing koi pond before you get a cheapo student treatment in a professional setting. Get a stash of vitamins, a greeting card and fill your script without paying a big-box giant at Del Norte Pharmacy (1691 Galisteo St, 988-9797). Park in the city lot on the northwest corner of Zia Road and St. Francis Drive and walk north to experience a new pedestrian underpass with public art in the form of stamped concrete.
Southwest / Bellemah / Nava Ade
Home to the city’s most popular indoor recreation spot, the Genoveva Chavez Community Center (3221 Rodeo Road, 955-400). Swimming, cardio machines, pickup hoops games, ice skating—they’ve got it all. Balance all that healthy stuff out with for a peppermint mocha at Java Joe’s in the Rodeo Plaza East (2801 Rodeo Road) shopping center. (And that’s rodeo like the steers and mutton, not rodeo like the spendy LA retail strip.) Get ideas for your home landscaping projects at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (715 Camino Lejo, 471-9103).
Southside / Airport Road / Tierra Contenta
While it’s tempting to buy into the moniker that Santa Fe’s Southside is “Little Mexico,” for its rows of panaderias, carnicerias and taco trucks. While it is that, it’s also much more than that. For a real sense of what makes this part of town tick, visit the standout Southside Branch Library (6599 Jaguar Dr, 955-2820). Get dinner at one of handful of restaurants at San Ysidro Crossing at the intersection of Cerrillos and Zafarano Roads, where you can also settle into stadium seats for the latest blockbuster at Regal Cinema (3474 Zafarano Drive., 424-0799).