Getting there from Albuquerque is about an hour’s drive. An alternate route that takes a bit longer but is worthwhile is via the Turquoise Trail with goes through several interesting towns. Mary and Tito’s Cafe is my recommendation for authentic New Mexican food in Albuquerque.
Santa Fe is an ideal base for exploring Northern New Mexico. The Shed is my go to place to eat, but there are many other great restaurants and galleries.
The top day trip is to visit Taos via the scenic High Road. Along the way Chimayó is the best place to spend time for two reasons: to visit El Santuario de Chimayo and to eat at the classic Rancho de Chimayo.
Also worth stopping to visit are the town of Nambu, the Ranchos de Taos church, and the Taos Pueblo.
Return to Santa Fe via Highway 68 with a stop to visit this unusual museum in Embudo.
Katsha-Katue Tent Rocks makes for a good half day visit. There’s a short hike to the viewpoint, about a couple of miles long.
Bandalier has some well preserved Native American sites and could be combined with Katsha-Katue in a loop drive from Santa Fe as they are not too far from each other.
In the far south of N.M., close to El Paso is White Sands National Monument, a very unique place to visit. The monument closes when the military is testing missiles at the nearby base.