Meow Wolf

How to Spend 4 Days in New Mexico

Back in May, Ben and I took a trip to New Mexico. Neither of us had spent any time there, so there was a lot we wanted to do. If you’ve been following along here or on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me posting about White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns. Well, the third and final leg of our trip was Sante Fe and a couple spots between there and Albuquerque, where we flew home from. I’d considered doing a full post on Santa Fe, but didn’t feel like I’d spent enough time there to do it justice. So instead, I’m going to tie the whole trip together by sharing a breakdown of the full four days!

We had a really great time and covered a ton of ground on this trip. Literally – we did quite a bit of driving this trip. The activities were varied and had a nice balance between natural and manmade wonders. It was pretty perfect. So if you’ve been wanting to explore New Mexico, keep reading (honestly, maybe even bookmark this page)!

Day 1: White Sands

White Sands National Monument

Our big activity for day one was White Sands National Monument. I’d been dying to visit this place for years, so I was pumped.

The easiest way to get to White Sands is to fly into El Paso, TX. So that’s what we did. We grabbed brunch before driving an hour and a half(ish) over to Alamogordo, which is the closest town to White Sands. For more info on how to spend your day at White Sands, head over to my full post!

Day 2: Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

At the start of day two, we set out for Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The drive is about three hours, so we stopped at a couple roadside attractions and grabbed lunch on the way. We arrived at the cave in the afternoon with enough time to traverse the winding path down to the big room and get dinner at the visitor center’s cafe before the bat flight show that evening.

For more details on our time at Carlsbad, check out my full post!

Day 3: Roswell and Santa Fe

Day three was all about making our way to Santa Fe. Buuuut, that’s about five hours of driving. So we decided to break up the trip with a stop in Roswell!

As a lot of you probably know, Roswell, New Mexico is famous for being the site of an alleged UFO crash in 1947. And let’s just say they’ve fully embraced their reputation. In addition to the several UFO museums that can be found on Roswell’s main drag, there’s alien themed gift shops, book shops, and even street lamps. Oh, and wood carvings of extraterrestrial friends. It’s a fun time.

Roswell, NM

After checking out the International UFO Museum and Research Center (which is about as kitschy and silly as you’d expect it to be) and hitting up some cheesy gift shops, we got back on the road, where we remained until arriving in Santa Fe around lunch time.

Santa Fe is a magical place. It kind of reminds me of Sedona in that it’s gorgeous, artsy, spiritual, and full of great food. On our first day there, we feasted on delicious New Mexican food, explored an abandoned art school, and visited an outrageously cool spot called Meow Wolf.

Out of those things, Meow Wolf is the one that I absolutely insist you visit if you’re ever in Santa Fe. Bear with me here. Meow Wolf is… an interactive psychedelic art installation put on by an art collective with over 200 artists and at least partially funded by George RR Martin. It’s super fun and one of the most unique things you’ll ever experience. Explaining anything beyond that is futile (and maybe even rude), so you’ll just have to go check it out. Make sure you pre-purchase tickets, though, because it’s a real popular place.

Meow Wolf

Day 4: Santa Fe and the Road to Albuquerque

Sadly, this was the last day of our New Mexico adventure. We started the day by visiting the Museum of International Folk Art, which was one of the most inspiring and accessible art museums I’ve ever been to. Their mission statement is to foster an “understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity and shape a humane world,” and they do a great job of it. My favorite exhibits were “Crafting Memory: The Art of Community in Peru” and “Multiple Visions: A Common Board.” The first explores the work of Peruvian folk artists in response to social, political, and economic upheaval. The second contains 10,000 crafted items from all over the world.

Once we’d had our fill of folk art, we ran over to The Shed for lunch. A friend of ours insisted that we try this classic New Mexican restaurant, and I’m so glad he did because it was the best food we ate all trip. They serve garlic bread with every entrée so that you can sop up excess chile sauce. It’s brilliant and important, and you absolutely need to try it. Just make sure to either make a reservation or get there early, because wait times can be serious.

After lunch, we wandered around downtown Santa Fe a bit before hopping back in the car to make our way to Albuquerque to fly home. Along the way, we made a few pit stops.

First up was the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. This monument features cone shaped rocks that look like tents. It’s striking to say the least. We’d hoped that we could drive up to a vista and see the rocks from above, but since that wasn’t an option we took an impromptu hike through the canyon. We didn’t have time to do the whole thing, but it was a worthy stop nonetheless.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

Next, we stopped at Tinkertown Museum. This eclectic museum features the work of Ross Ward. Lots of miniature wood carvings that come alive with the push of a button and that sort of thing. Like Meow Wolf, this place is a little hard to explain, but 100% worth checking out.

Tinkertown Museum

Our very last stop of the trip was Albuquerque’s musical highway. Though if I’m being honest, we never actually stopped here. This highway is a stretch of Route 66 that plays “America the Beautiful” if you drive along it at exactly 45mph. I’m really not sure how anyone discovered this was a possibility, but I thought it was pretty dang cool. It’s not far from the Albuquerque airport, so you should check it out if you’re in the area!

And that’s it!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m no expert on New Mexico, so I can’t say that this was the best way to spend 4 days there. That said, we loved every second of this trip. Yes – there was a lot of driving. But the diversity and unique personalities of the destinations we saw made all that driving worth it for us.

Have you been to New Mexico? What’s your favorite thing to do there? Let me know in the comments so that I can add it to my list for next time!

2 thoughts on “How to Spend 4 Days in New Mexico”

  1. We lived there for about 18 months, while Josh worked at the airport. One of my favorite places was Madrid, a short 45ish minute ride from Santa Fe. Its an old mining town, now converted into an artist haven. Very neat to check out and wander around, as all the old homes are mini studios.

    1. Oh wow, that sounds so cool! We were on the Turquoise Trail for a bit, so we must’ve just missed it. Gotta check it out next time 🙂

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