This year’s readers’ choice winner for Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year is Santa Fe, New Mexico, which earned 65 percent of the vote in an online survey. In second, with 14 percent of the vote, is Slovenia. In third place was Norway.

Steeped in the history of the American West, Santa Fe has long captured the imagination of artists and freethinkers, with its pueblo-style architecture and rugged landscapes. But a growing alternative arts scene — driven by the city’s outré creative class — is giving newfound edge to the southwestern town.

This cultural renaissance is perhaps no more apparent than in the city’s Siler Road District, where a peppering of small theater companies, live-work spaces for artists, and The Meow Wolf art complex have sprung up alongside auto-repair garages and metal shops. Meow Wolf’s “House of Eternal Return” — an immersive, 22,000-square-foot art installation featuring secret rooms and interactive light displays — is arguably the neighborhood’s hottest attraction.

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