Far from adobe playland parts of Santa Fe are the places where the city feels less like its head is in the clouds. Get down to Earth on the Southside. Whether you're on the Airport Road west end or the Rodeo Road east end, this is where restaurant menus are simpler, parking spaces are wider and housing is more affordable. Find more kids per capita, which means close access to the city's newest library branch and the Santa Fe Community College are essential. Plus Latino-geared food and shopping like nowhere else in Santa Fe.
SWAN Park: Find a wonderful contemporary playground, fenced-in basketball hoops, a soccer field, walking loop and more at the new-ish Southwest Area Node park.
Highway 599 and Jaguar Drive
Genoveva Chavez Community Center: From the year-round indoor ice skating rink to the kids' pool slides, this city rec center is affordable for entertainment and activity.
3221 Rodeo Road, 955-4000
Santa Fe Country Club: Not just for members—the general public is invited to play nine or 18 holes for a low fee, with even cheaper rates for twilight and off-season rounds. Get 40 balls for the driving range for $5.
3950 Country Club Road, 471-2626
Rusty Mesa: Cruise past some large outdoor metal sculpture outside the private Rusty Mesa studio, including geometric works by Joe Spear and a piece by Laird Hovland.
7504 Avenger Way, 216-1649
SFCC Visual Arts Gallery: The hallways of the Santa Fe Community College Fine Arts Building are an ever-changing informal art show, but there's also a gallery of student exhibitions that's open to the public.
6401 Richards Ave., 428-1501
Southside Branch Public Library: We really dig the colorful basket sculpture that hangs in the doorway, and other tucked-away public art. And we love that there are so many peaceful, sunny spots to delve into a book … or write your own.
6599 Jaguar Drive, 955-2820
Voted Best Business …
Plaza Café Southside: Sink your teeth into an Impossible Burger, a plate of Christmas enchiladas or a sweet treat in this roomy restaurant with a diner feel. At happy hour or any meal, this is where you want to be.
3466 Zafarano Drive, 424-0755
Joe's Dining: Find daily specials for entrees and desserts in addition to a creative and comforting menu and a patio teeming with life in the summer. Also, pizza!
2801 Rodeo Road, 471-3800
The Cat South: Previously known as Look What The Cat Dragged In II, this hub features consignment shopping that benefits the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society.
2570 Camino Entrada, 474-6300