Best of Santa Fe — Kids

Best Children’s Store


If you love a good treasure hunt, there's no place better than Doodlet's. Stuffed to the brim with knickknacks, candy and the most respectable sticker collection to be found anywhere, this store is full of tiny wonders that a kid could buy with no more than a few dollar coins from the tooth fairy. For adults with the urge to splurge on a favorite youngster, find unique gifts from high-quality toys to handmade folk art.

120 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-3771

Bee Hive Books

Bee Hive has a wide selection of books for kids of all ages, from picture books to young adult fiction. The store hosts summer writing workshops for kids (virtual this year) and monthly book clubs.

328 Montezuma Ave., 780-8051

Moon Rabbit Toys

At this toy store, the focus on quality includes both a fantastic selection of classic toys from around the world and a commitment to companies that practice fair working conditions.

112 W. San Francisco St., Ste 202, 982-9373

Best Elementary School

Carlos Gilbert Elementary School

This small downtown elementary school of around 330 students was built in 1941 and has tons of extracurricular activities to offer: band, choir, cello, girls and boys basketball, wrestling, cheerleading, swimming and Girls on the Run, Chess Club, Young Astronauts Club, Scripps National Spelling Bee and Geography Bee. Its active parents' group has in recent years fended off efforts by Santa Fe Public Schools to close it.

300 Griffin St., 467-4700

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences is an "expeditionary learning" school based on a philosophy teaching through real-world projects and, at the elementary level, with games and group activities. The school celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

5912 Jaguar Drive, 438-8585

Santa Fe Waldorf School

The Santa Fe Waldorf school offers elementary school students a Rudolf Steiner-based private education that is all about learning through art and play, nature and mythology. Students stay with the class teacher first through eighth grade.

26 Puesta Del Sol, 983-9727

Best High School

New Mexico School for the Arts

New Mexico's only statewide, residential public arts high school opened its doors in 2010. Last year, NMSA moved into a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility near the Santa Fe Railyard in the former Sanbusco Center. Graduates earn diplomas for mastery of artistic disciplines such as dance, painting, music and creative writing, but the school also has higher academic performance scores, graduation rates and college acceptance rates than most public schools in the state.

500 Montezuma Ave., 310-4194

Santa Fe High School

The city's oldest high school, Santa Fe High was founded in 1899. The school of 1,600 students on a sprawling Midtown campus has steadily improved graduation rates in recent years to 76.7% for the class of 2019.

2100 Yucca St., 467-2400

Santa Fe Waldorf School

At Santa Fe Waldorf High School, the year is divided into themed blocks of study exploring different subjects. Students can study abroad at Waldorf schools around the world. Graduation requirements include a senior project.

26 Puesta Del Sol, 983-9727

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Cowgirl BBQ

What kid wouldn't giggle with glee over the idea of a double corn dog followed by an ice cream baked potato and a romp through the playground while mom and dad wait for the check? The Cowgirl's kids menu offers all the favorites—even the most picky eaters are bound to find something they like. While the playground has been converted to patio seating during COVID-19, the atmosphere is still laid back and family friendly.

319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565

Plaza Café Southside

In addition to generous servings of American and New Mexican comfort food, the Plaza Café Southside's curbside menu includes three different family meals: a taco kit, a Frito pie kit and a calabacita casserole. Plus decadent milkshakes.

3466 Zafarano Drive, 424-0755

Harry's Roadhouse

A shady backyard patio and stream give kids a place to play in the summer; the front room is lined in kids' drawings; the kids menu is printed on custom coloring sheets and presented with a cup of crayons—all reasons it's a fave.

96 B Old Las Vegas Highway, 989-4629

Dentistry For Kids

Best Kids Dental Practice

Dentistry for Kids

While we're still not convinced that "fun" will ever be the first word that comes to mind when we think of the dentist, Dr. Kris Hendricks has done everything in his power to change that for the next generation. The office has an indoor play area and an outdoor play yard filled with toy cars. Treatment rooms have TV screens built into the ceiling and kids can get their teeth cleaned while laying on surfboards. Dentistry for Kids even has an infant dental care program.

1439 S St Francis Drive, 473-5437

Just For Grins Pediatric Dentistry

Just For Grins Pediatric Dentistry offers a holistic approach to dentistry that frames dental care within overall health and well-being. Services include restorative treatments, dietary recommendations, infant care, teeth whitening, oral surgery and after-hours emergency treatment.

490B W Zia Road, 428-7878

Healthy Smiles Happy Teeth – Peck Patricia, DDS

Offering preventative dental care for children and adolescents in Santa Fe since 2001, Dr. Patricia Peck previously served in the US Army Dental Corps for five years before changing her focus to dental care for kids.

1692 B Hospital Drive, Ste. 10, 989-9033

Best Middle School

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

Students engage in project-based learning in algebra, general science, Spanish and sign language, history, English and life skills. They also learn digital filmmaking and can choose an art curriculum in either visual or performing arts, plus engage in both service and mentorship programs in the community. Success is evaluated through assessment and feedback. Middle school class sizes at this private school average 20 students.

5912 Jaguar Drive, 438-8585

Mandela International Magnet School

This is the only public school in Santa Fe to offer an International Baccalaureate diploma. All coursework is taught with an emphasis on international issues and fluency in a second language is encouraged. A lottery determines admissions.

1604 Agua Fria St., 467-1901

Santa Fe Waldorf School

Rudolf Steiner's method for private education works for middle schoolers at the Santa Fe Waldorf. That means it's all about learning through art and skilled craftsmanship, nature and independent study projects, in addition to traditional academic topics.

26 Puesta Del Sol, 983-9727

Best Nonprofit for Youth

NDI New Mexico

NDI makes dance accessible to kids from all backgrounds, especially those in underserved communities. The elementary outreach program offers classes as part of the curriculum at Santa Fe Public Schools. The organization also has after-school classes, summer programs and workshops at The Dance Barns in Santa Fe, where classes come on a "pay what you can" basis. Founded in 1994, NDI serves 8,400 kids throughout the state every year.

1140 Alto St., 983-7646

Santa Fe Children's Museum

See dozens of hands-on exhibits designed to delight young minds and a beautiful garden. During the pandemic, the museum activities have gone virtual, such as making a string phone, storytime and planting seed pods.

1050 Old Pecos Trail, 989-8359

Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe

Girls Inc. creates a sisterhood for all girls, especially those who might need extra help in school or at home. Its programs address healthy living, academic support, life skills and introduce girls to powerful women.

301 Hillside Ave., 982-2042

Best Orthodontic Practice

Dentistry for Kids

Dentistry for Kids starts orthodontic screenings for kids as young as 7 to catch serious problems early. Teens can get braces here and don't have to find an un-fun doctor for straight teeth.

1439 S St Francis Drive, 473-5437

Rio Grande Orthodontics

With offices in Taos, Los Alamos and Santa Fe, Rio Grande Orthodontics offers the best in modern treatment methods, including Invisalign and tooth colored braces in an atmosphere that is clean and professional.

3252 Cerrillos Road B., 919-8378

Dr. Clarice Pick DDS, PC

Dr. Clarice Pick was raised in Santa Fe and has created a true community practice with flexible, individualized payment plans to make sure all children have access to orthodontic services regardless of their parents' income.

125 Siringo Road, Ste A, 982-0094‎

Best Pediatric Practice

Christus St. Vincent Arroyo Chamiso Pediatrics

Children from newborns to 18 years of age can find specialized medical care at the Christus St. Vincent Arroyo Chamiso Pediatric Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians continue to accept virtual appointments.

465 St. Michaels Drive, Ste. 200, 913-4901

Southwest Care Center

The Southwest Care Center has one office offering pediatric and family medicine in Santa Fe. Services include wellness checkups, sports physicals and immunization, as well as bilingual family medical services

901 W Alameda St., 988-8869

Just For Grins Pediatric Dentistry

Just For Grins Pediatric Dentistry is a specialist rather than a generalist, so its win in this category highlights the popularity of a holistic approach to dentistry that frames dental care within overall health and well-being.

490B W Zia Road, 428-7878

Best Preschool

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

Preschool at the Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences—adorably titled the "Unicorn Class"—is based on a philosophy of finding each child's unique learning style through exploration of different learning "mediums." The school is licensed as a Five Star Preschool/Pre-K Program by the New Mexico, Children Youth and Families Department and nationally by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

5912 Jaguar Drive, 438-8585

Santa Fe Waldorf School

Housed on a 13-acre campus at the edge of the mountains, Waldorf offers an educational experience that celebrates nature.

26 Puesta Del Sol, 467-6431

Gentle Nudge Pre-School

A gentle, warm environment for children ages 2 to 6, with a thematic unit-based curriculum of hands-on, teacher led activities and play. The preschool has been around since 1971.

1341 Upper Canyon Road, 982-0879

Best Summer Program

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe/Del Norte

With so many sports, wellness and educational summer and after school programs for youth, the Boys and Girls Club helps fill the gaps for young people in Santa Fe. To list just a few examples, the All Stars program members participate in flag football, cheer, soccer and many more organized sports. The Diplomas2Degrees program helps members prepare for college, and the Smart Moves program is a preventative program to address drug and alcohol use.

6600 Valentine Way, 474-0385

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

The school offers several summer camps for kids of different ages, such as the Move and Play camps for kids 3 to 5, and the Math Mindsets Camp for kids 12 to 14 to help teens develop confidence and positive attitudes towards math.

5912 Jaguar Drive, 438-8585

Dragonfly Art Studio for Kids And Adults

Week-long arts summer camps for kids ages 5 to 15. Each week's camp centers on a different theme, giving kids exposure to various art making methods and styles from all over the world.

1513 3rd St., 670-5019

Best Youth Arts Program

NDI New Mexico

NDI replaced its annual galas in Santa Fe and New Mexico with a virtual event this year, including guests such as Shirley McLain and Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, and the community came together to support its mission—which now involves online dance classes for all ages. Plus, anyone, anytime join in with instructors and musicians on the institute's YouTube channel. We recommend Western Warmup for a mid-day working-from-home break.

1140 Alto St., 983-7646

Wise Fool New Mexico

Summer programs in circus arts give kids as young as 5 the opportunity to fly on the trapeze and walk on stilts, while teens learn and perform a summer showcase. The studio is currently closed but online classes are going strong.

1131 Siler Road, Ste. B, 992-2588

The Candyman Strings & Things Music Education Programs

At the Candyman's Summer Rock Camp, kids can join a band and play their hearts out while learning all the technical musical skills they need to make great music. Camps continue for 2020 with strict COVID precautions in place.

851 St. Michael's Drive, 983-5906

Best Youth Fitness Program

Wise Fool New Mexico

To call Wise Fool a fitness program hardly does justice to this organization's commitment to building community and teaching kids movement arts as a creative form of expression and social empowerment. In after-school circus classes, kids learn to walk on stilts, dance in aerial fabrics, ride a unicycle and more. Wise Fool partners with schools in underserved communities and brings art to the streets with giant puppets and performances that offer colorful social commentary. Now offering classes online.

1131 Siler Road, Suite B, 992-2588

NDI New Mexico

Though it was originally founded in New York City, NDI has won Santa Fe's love. If you've never gone to one of the packed-house combo performances that features dance and singing along with amazing costumes, you have missed a heartwarming adventure. You can also clearly see why NDI is fitness. We're tired just thinking about it.

1140 Alto St., 983-7646

Genoveva Chavez Community Center

The rec center reopened July 20 on a appointment-only basis. We're pulling for all the kids missing the pool with its water slide and lazy river, the ice rink, the camps and tournaments in basketball, soccer, cheerleading and so much more.

3221 Rodeo Road, 955-4022