Day trip: ToCa, Santa Fe

Explore a hidden locals' neighborhood on the east side unofficially known as ToCa (Top of Canyon Road)
Katie Arnold

Santa Fe day trip travel planner

Why go now: This hidden east-side micro-hood offers a mix of shops and galleries from the funky to the sublime, all within a five-block radius; June is ideal walking weather.

The coordinates: Cross Camino del Monte Sol on Canyon Road, and you’ve unofficially entered ToCa (Top of Canyon), an alternate universe within the city’s arts community.

Stop on the way: Before reaching ToCa, you’ll pass Santa Fe’s big-time galleries, including Waxlander Gallery and Sculpture Garden (622 Canyon; 505/984-2202) and Deloney Newkirk Galleries (634 and 669 Canyon; 505/992-2850).

Sign of the times: A bumper sticker on a truck on Canyon embraces ToCa’s quirky vibe: Reality is a figment of your imagination.

People-watching: It doesn’t get any better than sangria and tapas on the front porch at El Farol ($$$; 808 Canyon; 505/983-9912), Santa Fe’s oldest watering hole.

Spend the night: Dunshee’s B&B and Casita (from $140, including breakfast; two-night minimum on weekends; dunshees.com) is the quintessential ToCa oasis, with beamed ceilings and local art.

MORE DISCOVERIES IN AND AROUND ToCa

Tool around town

ToCa’s a small slice of Santa Fe that’s easily―and more enjoyably―seen by bike or foot. Rent a city cruiser at Mellow Velo to savor the local color. Closed Sun; $25 per day, $4 helmet; 638 Old Santa Fe Trail; mellowvelo.com

Discover a vortex

Visit the Studio of Marjo Gill and Don Jerome, where you can watch Gill paint and Jerome decorate walking sticks with crystals he mined himself. Jerome may even open up about the whereabouts of energetic power centers, known as vortexes. By appointment; 505/820-1890.

Get healed

If you’re in town on Friday, drop by El Milagro Herbs (closed Sat–Sun; 1020 Canyon Rd.; milagro herbs.com)―a tiny old-time mercantile run by master herbalist Tomas Enos. On Saturdays, he mans a stand at the farmers’ market (1607 Paseo de Peralta; santafefarmersmarket.com).

Getting to ToCa

From Paseo de Peralta, turn onto Canyon Road and head east to the intersection with Camino del Monte Sol.

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