There are some nice things there. The town being ringed by mountains is wonderful – to be able to look up and see mountains all the time. The weather is pleasant.
But I was expecting something that wasn’t there. The walkable downtown area is not a livable, urban downtown area. It’s mainly a district for tourists or locals to go spend some money on a fancy dinner. But it lacks the real, livable character of a downtown that you’d never have to leave. It’s not the hub of fresh produce on the street, cart vendors, coffee houses, and affordable diners. And the mass transit, well… isn’t. I can see why visitors might like it for a few days but, as a place to live, the rest of town is the usual strip malls.
By contrast, I think a more satisfying time can be had in Guthrie, Oklahoma or Stillwater, Oklahoma (if you stick to downtown and stay away from the corporate garbage).
Going through Amarillo, Texas to get to Santa Fe is not advised, unless you have no other choice. The stench of the feed lots (which ought to make a Republican insist on grass-fed beef) is overpowering. They have a nice whole foods type store called “Eat-Rite” off the Georgia exit, which is an oasis, if you have to go through. You’ll need one, because that wasteland created for cattle will have you fighting the wind for hours to and from.
If you decide to go to Santa Fe, though, better to fly to Albuquerque and take the 90min train to Santa Fe, or catch the connecting flight. I’m a fan of the train. Stay at the Silver Saddle Motel and ask Billy at the counter (wide-brimmed hat) where to get the best huevos rancheros. He knows a place where the roosters walk around outside, and the hen house is in the back.