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A Cannabis Tourist’s Guide: Santa Fe and Taos

Did you know that New Mexico is the 47th state to be added to the Union, which happened on January 6th of 1912? I didn’t either, but I learned it recently from a plaque while standing in historic Fort Marcy Park, overlooking Santa Fe at sunset, smoking a joint behind a shrub to hide from the fitness enthusiasts and children. I visited Santa Fe with my boyfriend for the weekend (one we’d put off for a long time, because I kept having to do work trips instead) and I’m happy to say this trip was 100% pleasure, no work involved… but I did smoke a lot of weed.

Recreational cannabis is not yet legal in the Land of Enchantment, but medical cannabis is. New Mexico also has reciprocity, which means you can use your medical card from another state in any sanctioned NM dispensary. As of June 2019, New Mexico will be allowing residents of other neighboring states the opportunity to apply for a medical cannabis card within the state. Find more information about doing this here. As with any of my travel columns, I can’t tell you how to get cannabis into New Mexico if you don’t have a medical card, and don’t want to apply for one… but I can tell you that my boyfriend and I enjoyed a leisurely drive down from Denver (only 5 hours) and that we didn’t have any issues with our “cargo”. In my humble opinion, weed is essential for the ultimate Santa Fe art and creativity experience.

We stayed at Fort Marcy Suites, which is adjacent to historic Fort Marcy, just a few minutes walk above downtown Santa Fe (with a shuttle for those of you who shudder at the thought of walking uphill… I like to walk a lot when I travel so that I don’t feel guilty eating and drinking until I’m going to explode), which was a pleasant, easy, and affordable experience. Any cannabis traveler knows that having an outdoor patio or balcony is essential, and the suites were well equipped to facilitate puffing without getting billed a smoking fee. We also loved the friendly staff and incredible location, and if you stay, be SURE to run across the street and catch the sunset at Fort Marcy Park… it’s especially gorgeous during Christmas time, when you’re overlooking all of Santa Fe and their miraculous Christmas light spectacular.

As you all know by now, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is eat my face off at a lot of different places, and Santa Fe has absolutely incredible food… mostly Mexican and New Mexican fusion, which is one of my favs. We got into town late on a Friday night, so one of the only things still open was the Thunderbird Bar & Grill right on the downtown square, which turned out to be a fantastic option (we quickly discovered you can’t really go wrong with any food in Santa Fe). Margs are a must during any meal in New Mexico, and we were just as thrilled with Desert Dogs Brewery and Cidery Taproom, which has tasty light ciders, awesome vibes, a bunch of games in case you’re bored with your company (do you remember how hard Operation is? Seriously how the hell did we ever win that as kids?), and a badass view of downtown on the patio. There are so many incredible galleries and resale shops in Santa Fe, but my favorite was Double Take, an antique and consignment shop that seems to keep growing with every room you enter. GET STONED and wander around this place, and I guarantee you’ll find not only artwork, turquoise jewelry, and women’s apparel, but your new favorite pair of alligator-skinned cowboy boots as well as launching into 50 different dimensions of New Mexico (each room has a “theme” – my favorite was the “pillow room”, my least favorite was the “clown room”). If you’re heading to Meow Wolf, be sure to stop by Rowley Farmhouse Ales for a sour (they have amazing food too) and La Choza is a local favorite for classic Mexican, which is where we had dinner before the show.

In recent years, Santa Fe is mostly widely known for the interactive art exhibit Meow Wolf, and I have to admit, being an ardent traveler… I was a bit skeptical. I was just as impressed as I was skeptical, and honestly, it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. One of the best tips is that if you aren’t visiting Meow Wolf with children, BOOK A CONCERT instead of a regular daytime ticket… the concert tickets are less expensive, much less crowded, and you get the added bonus of not only being able to experience Meow Wolf in an adults-only and liquor-friendly environment, but you’ll get to check out the show in their center staging area as well. If you’re into edibles and/or psychedelics, I can’t stress this enough… you won’t regret your decision to imbibe a bit. Just know your dose and what is the appropriate amount for you to take while you experience a million weird, wide worlds of interactive art and music. You’re going to want to touch EVERYTHING… and here’s the best part, YOU CAN.

We did two nights in Santa Fe, and our last night in Taos, at an Airbnb in El Prado (it’s called “The Kiva” if you’re searching on the website), which is just a 10-15 minutes drive from downtown Taos and 4 miles down a dirt road with directions like “turn left and go 100 yards after you see the orange ski sticking out of the ground”. This tiny adobe earthship was the COOLEST Airbnb I’ve ever stayed at, and if you’re alright with pooping in a composting toilet overlooking the mountains and then covering your “deposit” with a “scoop of sawdust”, I daresay you’ll love it too. There is no running water, but with walking access to Manby Springs nude hot springs (we did partake), it’s certainly worth the $50/night to stay and experience New Mexico off-grid living. I would recommend bringing anything you think you need for your stay (including drinks, food, weed, etc.), because once you’re settled in, you aren’t going to want to leave for town. Alien sightings are apparently common according to the guest book, and I was pleased to find an entry from my friends who recommended the place, who conceived their infant daughter there just a year earlier while on mushrooms. What a perfect place, improved only by the host Ray who lives just across the cavern and is available if you need anything at all. You won’t be able to access any cell service or WiFi, which makes it a stellar place to relax by yourself or with somebody you really like, and you won’t get bored with all of the hiking, skiing, and outdoorsy options in the area.

We did 3 days in New Mexico, which was just about perfect… we had plenty of time to see everything we wanted to but didn’t feel like our welcome was worn out. If you’re heading north like we were, you’ll definitely want to check out the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the way out, but regardless of where you call home, New Mexico is incredibly beautiful, magical, and spiritual. The people are nice, the art is incredible, the food is bangin’, and there’s really no better place to kick back, relax, smoke a J, and enjoy the Southwest.


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