From the desert to the surf, these three stretches of the old Mother Road have outdoor adventure, high culture, and some of the West’s best road food
Start on Old Santa Fe Trail near Paseo de Peralta, head north past the state capitol building into town, west on E. Water Street, then southwest on Cerrillos Road.
Joe Wade Fine Art. A former Route 66 gas station, it now fuels visitors with regional contemporary art. El Centro, 102 E. Water St.; joewadefineart.com
Bandelier National Monument (pictured). Fifty miles northwest of town, Bandelier National Monument (nps.gov/band) is justly celebrated as one of the Southwest’s most significant archaeological sites. In May, you can explore the monument’s 33,000 acres—and 700-year-old ruins—without summer’s crowds or soaring temperatures. $12/vehicle.