Santa Fe is more geared to tourists and "atmosphere," which it sounds is what you are looking for. It is a lovely place, there is a lot to see in terms of history, and there is easy access to other landmarks in northern New Mexico such as Bandelier, Taos and Chimayo. However, with all due respect to CasaAzul's bias, Albuquerque is not "just a city," and has a great deal to offer. It is well worth spending some time in. It just all depends on how you want to allocate your time in New Mexico.
A pretty broad question and may depend on how long your visit, how you are getting here, and when. In trying to picture Sedona in NM, I obviously think of the landscape and vistas and geography. Canon de San Diego in Jemez, the Gallup red rocks, Georgia O'Keeffe country around Abiquiu, Chaco, and many many more come to mind. Taos actually comes to my mind before Santa Fe. But you shouldn't miss Santa Fe and nearby places (Bandelier and Chimayo). As CC says, ABQ may have something, depending. Maybe you like the resorts? Golfing? Hiking? Mountain biking? Lots of possibilities in NM. Come back.
Thank you! I appreciate everyone's feedback. It has certainly helped and added a few other locations to visit.
Well considering Sedona is a town featuring scenery and tourist pampering (and gouging) I don't believe there is a comparable place in NM.
I would suggest you take in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and throw in Taos and Taos Pueblo too. The "Things to Do" links from each city's forum should provide you with options that would be of interest to you.
Be sure to take both the "High Road" and "Low Road" from Santa Fe to Taos. The High Road especially, through Chimayo and Penasco will take you back in time to an earlier, Hispanic, Northern New Mexico.
Taos is in some ways similar to Santa Fe back in the 1960's before it became "touristy."
If you are flying into Albuquerque, I would suggest you spend at least the day of arrival, and the next here. Old Town would be the place to begin, with its laid-back atmosphere, old plaza and church, and some nice restaurants to go along with the many diverse shops in the former Spanish and Mexican haciendas of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Fortunately, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos are all within a hour, to an hour and a half drive between one another. Another special road to take would be NM-14, the Turquoise Highway. It serves as the more-scenic, and slower backroad between Albuquerque and Santa Fe east of the Sandia Mountains. The old mining town of Madrid (Mad-rid) has many eclectic little shops, and arts and crafts galleries.
From the scenic highway off NM-14 to the Sandia Crest, or from the world's longest tramway on the western slopes, enjoy views of up to 100 miles on a "usually" clear day.
Have fun researching your trip, and thank you for using T/A.
If you want the Sedona experience, head north to Durango, CO, lol. Different scenery, but similar catering to the yuppie tourist. Santa Fe certainly would feel more similar to Sedona than Albuquerque. It has less scenery than Sedona in the immediate area, but probably more value for your money in terms of shopping and dining.
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