If watching the light change on the horizon is more your bag than scanning a crowded streetscape, what better way to get into the summer feels than taking a few quiet minutes at a place with a fantastic view? We recommend lunchtime picnics, sunset meditation and weekend retreats to our favorite overlooks.

Hyde Park Road

The quintessential spot at the tippy-top of the mountain is the last point where you can admire the sparkling city below without lacing up hiking boots. What's great is this spot is on the public Hyde Park Road, so you can't get in trouble for checking out the stars long after the sun sinks. Pick up some litter while you are there and you'll get a bonus sense of righteous indignation. Stop lower down for Aspen Vista to stretch your legs or use the federally funded toilet.

Cerrillos Hills State Park

This one does require a short walk, but it's really worth it. Head to the state park that's about 27 miles south of Santa Fe off Highway 14 through the Village of Cerrillos. Then, park at the last parking area on Camino Turquesa Road. (Don't forget to stop and pay $5 day-use fee at the first parking lot, or you'll likely get a reminder note from the ranger.) Walk up the stairs at the Cortez Mine trailhead and follow the ascending footpath and signs toward the Mirador Overlook. It's a fast 1.2 miles to a bench with vistas of the craggy top of the Ortiz Mountains on display.

Windmill Ridge
Windmill Ridge | Julie Ann Grimm

Windmill Ridge

Chances are, lots of people don't know about this park at the corner of Saddleback Mesa and Mineral Hill on the southwest corner of the Rancho Viejo subdivision. For views that don't involve twisty roads, this is the spot. Gaze at the picturesque windmill from beneath a sheltered pavilion, or stroll up the nearby path to catch even better low-profile panoramic views from the Jemez to the Cerrillos Hills—and beyond.