Great Road Trips: Albuquerque to Santa Fe

Old Truck in Santa Fe

by Michael Satterfield -06/09/2022

New Mexico is one of those places that you just have to visit to understand, sparsely populated, expansive wilderness, and unique history and culture like nowhere else in the United States. It is also home to some of the best road trip roads in the country, which is why we took our video series, powered by Shell V-Power Nitro-Plus to The Land of Enchantment. 

Unser Racing Museum

Our trip starts in Alburquerque, just off Route 66 in the historic old town plaza, which is full of great restaurants, shops, and almost always some kind of live music. After exploring the plaza, we head to one of the best racing museums in the country, the Unser Racing Museum. While most people don't think of New Mexico and racing, the Unser family has been racing in Colorado and New Mexico for generations and has brought home more Indy 500 wins than any other family in history with a record nine total wins among them. The museum is worth the visit and admission is just $10 for adults, Seniors & Military are $6, and Childen under 16 are free. 

After leaving the Unser Racing Museum, we take our little Alfa Romeo the long way to Santa Fe, via NM-14 better known as the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, a beautiful stretch of highway that takes us through the small town of Madrid. Originally a mining town, today Madrid is home to art galleries, cafes, and unique shops, it is also home to Maggie's Diner which was built for the 2007 film Wild Hogs. After a quick lunch stop, we push on down the highway towards Santa Fe. 

Alfa Romeo in Madrid New Mexico

Santa Fe is by far one of my favorite cities, I have written a lot about it here on the site from dozens of trips over the years. The city is home to a rich history dating back to its founding in 1607 making it the second oldest city in the USA after St Augustine, Florida. The Palace of the Governors, which was constructed in 1610 on the Plaza, is the oldest public building in the United States that has been in continuous use. Today it serves as the New Mexico History Museum and is well worth a visit. 

Santa Fe New Mexico

 Santa Fe is a great city to visit on nearly any budget, from basic accommodations at the Santa Fe International Hostel for as little as $20 a night to historic hotels like the La Fonda where I stayed on my last trip. If you really want to splurge there is always the Four Seasons Resort where rooms start at over $600 a night. My suggestion is to stay as close to the Plaza as you can since parking in Santa Fe can be difficult and expensive and if you are near the Plaza you can walk to all the major attractions and restaurants. Something else you must do at least once is head across the Plaza to the Five & Dime for a classic Frito Pie, you won't regret it.

When it comes to activities Santa Fe doesn't disappoint, be sure to check the community calendar before you plan your trip, from art workshops and gallery openings to museums and cultural events there is always something going on in Santa Fe. Take a walk up Canyon Road and tour the art galleries and gardens, head to the plaza and enjoy the Santa Fe Indian Market to shop, tour one of the dozens of museums, plan a hike on one of the many local trails, or book an appointment at a local spa to relax. 

Be sure to watch our full video from the trip below:

Great Road Trips New Mexico YouTube