BY KAYLA DIXON
The city of Santa Fe is full of culture, history, and unique architecture. But to us equestrians, we know it as home to the HIPICO Santa Fe, the popular horse show venue in New Mexico. When I travel to horse shows, I always try to make my trip into both a horse show and a vacation—fondly called a “showcation.” Santa Fe is the perfect showcation destination. After all, they don’t call New Mexico “the land of enchantment” for nothing.
Traveling to Santa Fe
How does one get to HIPICO Santa Fe? For those of us not hauling the precious four-legged cargo to the show grounds, you will need to plan on flying into Albuquerque International Sunport. There are limited flights available to fly into the Santa Fe Regional Airport, so it is best to plan on driving an hour from Albuquerque to the HIPICO show grounds.
Places to See
Santa Fe is full of culture and history and is not short on places to see when visiting. The city is a hub for art and culture. It’s abundant everywhere you look. The below places are must sees on your agenda when showing at HIPICO.
Meow Wolf is an art museum that advertises itself as an “immersive art experience” where artists collaborate on design and display installations. Meow Wolf is the perfect place to explore after a day spent at the showgrounds.
Santa Fe Botanical Gardens
Need a place to find some peace and quiet? A quick twenty minute drive from the show grounds will get you to Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. Walk around the beautiful gardens to see both native and non-native plants thriving in the Santa Fe climate. The Santa Fe Botanical Gardens were a favorite place of mine to visit, and the perfect place to stop and relax before gearing up to compete the next day.
Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza is located in downtown Santa Fe, and is a National Historic Landmark. This area is full of shops, places to eat, and where many local festivals and events are held. I spent hours going from shop to shop in this area. There were many stores that varied from souvenir shops to local artists selling their handcrafted work.
Where to Eat
La Plazuela At La Fonda
A delicious meal and a beautiful atmosphere can both be found at La Plazuela At La Fonda. La Plazuela At La Fonda is located twenty minutes away from the show grounds. With the guacamole made right at your table, you can be sure this place won’t disappoint.
Cowgirl BBQ is the perfect place to take the whole team out to eat after a long day spent at the show. The Ice Cream Baked Potato (yes, you read that correctly) is a must have desert item on the menu.
I’m a sucker for a good cafe and historic places and the Plaza Cafe checks both of those boxes. The Plaza Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Santa Fe and has been open since 1905. You can stop by while making your way around the various places to see in Santa Fe Plaza to refuel with some delicious food.
You will find yourself falling in love with the city of Santa Fe. HIPICO Santa Fe puts on a fantastic horse show. The atmosphere they create at the horse show is something to be admired. After spending time exploring New Mexico, you will understand why they call it “the land of enchantment.”