Have you been to Santa Fe, New Mexico? My family of 5 (plus our new chocolate lab pooch!) made our first visit to Santa Fe over spring break, and it is definitely on our list of places to visit again! Such a cute town for culture and art and beauty and history and the strangest, wildest, weirdest museum I’ve ever seen.
Getting to Santa Fe, NM
Getting to Santa Fe took us a little over 14 hours driving in our VW Westfalia camper van from Southern California. However, you can fly in directly nonstop to Santa Fe from Phoenix, Dallas, Denver or into nearby Albuquerque, an hour drive away.
Family-Friendly Hotels in Santa Fe
We had the good fortune to stay at the relatively new Drury Plaza hotel during our stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We don’t have have Drury hotels out in California so I was a newbie to the brand and wow. Families visiting Santa Fe will find the Drury Plaza an ideal to to stay.
First off, the hotel is built in the old city hospital which means two things. Centrally located, the hotel is within walking distance of many key downtown areas downtown, including Cathedral Park and the Plaza. The rooms are huge! We had a vaulted ceiling suite with two queens in a bedroom, a living room with a hideabed couch, and a large bathroom.
A major highlight of the Drury Plaza
Let’s get to the real hit of the hotel: the incredible food. I have three boys, a husband, and a dog which means someone — or more likely everyone! — is always hungry. (Can I get an amen?) A stay at the Drury Santa Fe includes breakfast. This is not the dry, boring continental breakfast you get at some hotels. This delicious breakfast includes eggs and pancakes, cereal and oatmeal, toast and sausages, hash browns and more. All you can eat. All included. But wait…
Every afternoon starting at 4:00 p.m. they offer free popcorn and sodas — perfect for appeasing sightseers big and small. From 5:30 until 7:00, the complimentary happy hour boasts a rotating menu with tasty (and substantial!) snacks like daily soups and salads, nachos, hot dogs, DIY tacos, pasta and chicken and a baked potato bar.
Did I mention the three alcoholic drinks per adult? Included. Now traveling with the family to Santa Fe is certainly not the same as a girls’ trip to Napa. However, I’m sure you know, a family trip anywhere is when you really do need that second margarita or glass of wine! At the Drury, it’s on the house! We found the happy hour food so good and substantial the first night, we fed the kids dinner at happy hour. Then we put them to bed while my husband and I went out to the Eloisa, the hotel restaurant. The next night, after a busy day of sightseeing, we all had dinner at happy hour.
From the reception desk to the rooftop pool, the service and amenities at the Drury Santa Fe were just as good and plentiful as their food. Plus, they are pooch-friendly!
Santa Fe has dozens of museums to explore, from folk art and history to a children’s museum and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. You won’t want to miss Meow Wolf. This is unlike any other museum we’d ever been to. Part art museum, part fun house, part children’s museum, part jungle gym, this interactive art experience lets you choose your own path through more than 70 unique rooms created by more than 500 artists. It’s a little like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.
There is a story line, and older kids may enjoy looking for the clues and hints hidden along the way. However, Meow Wolf is a colorful, visual spectacle that kids of any age will enjoy. You enter into what looks like a house with two stories to explore. But you soon discover a whole other world to explore. You can walk into and through the fireplace into a secret room. Or you open the refrigerator and find yourself going down a bright white path to a hidden forest.
There is a “real” world in the house, and then elements of that world modified in the “dream” world. So the fish tank you see in the living room is mirrored by a fish tank that you can walk through and are a part of in the dream world. Throughout the rooms there are an endless number of things to touch and play with, musical and light elements to interact with, and a wide array of art styles and techniques to admire. Here’s us – inside the washing machine!
Advice for families considering Meow Wolf
While Meow Wolf is open to all ages, I’d share two caveats. The maze-like museum contains rooms leading to rooms leading to rooms — many of which are not well lit. I think it could be easy to get separated. The woman I saw chasing her toddler through the museum did not look like she was enjoying herself. Also, one or two rooms lean a bit to the creepy side, either with the music or content. However, you can easily bypass these if you deem them too scary for your kids.
One other bit of advice, since this museum is so unique and interesting and engaging. You may want to hit up any other Santa Fe museums on your to-do list first. My 10-year-old repeatedly told me as we visited other museums, “These aren’t as good as Meow Wolf.” 😂
One last fun fact. Meow Wolf is housed in an old bowling alley, and we discovered it was purchased by and renovated with the help of George RR Martin, of Game of Thrones fame.
There was so much to do in Santa Fe that we’ll definitely be back to visit again. To help plan your next trip, visit SantaFe.org.
SSM was not paid for this post. Thanks to the Drury Hotel and SantaFe.org for providing lodgings, information and museum tickets.