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21 More Ways to Explore Santa Fe
Your adventure isn’t over just yet. For insider insight on what else to do around town, we caught up with our biggest supporters in Santa Fe. From sipping local spirits to eyeing incredible art, their picks offer plenty of fodder for forming the perfect itinerary.
Santa Fe by the Numbers
The city’s 2012 population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
Glorious days of sunshine each year
Miles of hiking trails that can be trekked year-round
1.Go Native Pumpkin-seed necklaces, beaded purses, woven baskets—these are just a few of the Native American artifacts from 19 tribes across the country that you’ll find on display at Hotel Santa Fe. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, this rustic-luxe spread even offers the chance to dine in a roomy teepee at its celebrated restaurant, Amaya. (Be sure to make a reservation for this coveted spot.)
“Sunny weather, blue skies, and starry nights—that’s why our state is the Land of Enchantment.”
General Manager, Hotel Santa Fe
2.Gaze at Galleries:
As you wander into this 1890 storefront on Canyon Road, your attention will immediately go to the plethora of oil and acrylic paintings and bronze sculptures situated throughout. Don’t miss the works of Utah-based artist Ben Steele, whose Wild West–inspired pieces pass our test with flying colors.
From May 21 through June 10, the vibrant abstract paintings of North Carolina artist Robert Langford will be showcased here. Can’t make it? Don’t fret. The gallery’s year-round collection of glass and bronze sculpture is worth a look anytime.
J.D. Wellborn’s “mystical tablets,” paintings created by weaving delicate paper with fiberglass material, are a must-see at this art hub. Inspired by artifacts found at archeological sites, these unique creations have a sturdy surface much like that of tin tiles or leather. How’s that for breaking the mold?
3. Engage in Art Talks
Get up close and personal with renowned artists during the Santa Fe Gallery Association’s Art Matters events. (Remaining 2014 dates are April 18–27 and October 17–26.) Some 30 discussions and lectures, hosted in area galleries, will get your creative juices flowing.
4. Show Your Spirit
Need another reason to toast the town? How about five? Santa Fe Spirits distills vodka, gin, brandy, and two varieties of whiskey, and it’s all available for sampling at the company’s two tasting rooms. “I was an architect designing a home in an apple orchard,” says owner Colin Keegan. “I eventually bought the house myself and started making apple brandy, which became so popular that we opened the distillery in 2010.”
Try Santa Fe Spirits at Home
3 ounces Wheeler’s Gin
½ ounce rosemary-agave simple syrup*
the juice of 1 lemon
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with blackberries.
*Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1 cup agave nectar and 3 rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil again. Simmer for 15 minutes, then cool.
Sangre de Cristo Squeeze
3 ounces Expedition Vodka
1 ounce prickly pear puree
the juice of half a lemon and half a lime
½ ounce simple syrup
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add all ingredients. Shake, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twists of lemon and lime.
5. Admire a Local Legend
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Spanish Colonial–style home in Abiquiu, about 50 miles north of Santa Fe, will give you something to dwell on. Book the behind-the-scenes tour to peek at exclusive rooms in the famed artist’s abode, including the walled patio that inspired more than 20 of her paintings and drawings.
6. Find Your Rhythm
Boogie nights aren’t just for the movies. From June 23 through August 28, the Santa Fe Bandstand festival takes over the Plaza, inviting guests to groove to more than 100 performances ranging from blues and country to rock and New Mexican folk.
7. Master Your Stride
In 2013, Health.com ranked Santa Fe the No. 2 city in the country for best air quality. That means getting outside is basically a requirement here—so lace up your walking shoes and march to one of the dozens of hiking trails situated throughout this scenic city, like Atalaya Trail. Whether you opt for the 5- or 7-mile route, both paths guide you to the top of Atalaya Mountain, a 9,121-foot peak. Though it starts out easily enough, you’ll notice the steepness increasing as you near the top. That’ll leave you feeling high and mighty.
8. Recharge Your Batteries
Being chilled to the bone has nothing to do with weather at Eldorado Hotel & Spa. Instead, this sanctuary of calm serves to destress visitors at its Nidah Spa, where soothing treatments—like the lavender salt scrub and turquoise wrap—up the ante on relaxation. Post-treatment, the heated rooftop pool makes for a prime spot to mellow out.
9. Amble Around Ancient Grounds
Trek about 70 miles north of Santa Fe, and you’ll find yourself at Taos Pueblo, where the adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years. During the guided tour, local artisans selling mica-flecked pottery, moccasins, and silver jewelry will entice you to shop ’til you drop.
10. Browse Global Wares
Shopaholics agree: The City Different is anything but ordinary when it comes to discovering unique finds. Need proof? In December 2013, an online poll at 10Best.com, a division of USA Today Travel, revealed Santa Fe as the “Best U.S. City for Shopping.” Maybe that’s because around every corner, you’ll find quirky pit stops like Coyote’s Paw Gallery, where you’ll encounter Balinese gongs, Renaissance lutes, and African Chi Wara headdresses. Or how about Asian Adobe, which houses an extensive collection of antique Chinese furniture? Up the funky factor even more at Mira, where Day of the Dead beaded jewelry sits alongside eccentric handbags. And that’s just a handful of what’s in store.
On the evening of July 11, Museum Hill becomes the setting of a rousing party filled with shopping, dancing, music, and food as this annual event commences. Artists from around the globe gather for the three-day affair, where you can spot everything from West African drums to baskets woven from banana stems.
One of New Mexico’s most-attended annual events takes place this year August 18–24, as 14 downtown blocks are transformed into the world’s largest Native American arts market. More than 1,100 artists from 220 tribes across the U.S. and Canada will be on hand to exhibit and sell authentic jewelry, bows and arrows, wooden carvings (kachinas), and more.
Where can you find animal-hide paintings, wood carvings, and carved-bone jewelry? They’ll all be on hand at the Traditional Spanish Market, July 26 and 27. Hundreds of local Hispanic artists descend upon the Plaza during the festive event as ongoing live music and dance performances keep the spirit alive.
Here’s a sure recipe for success: Throw together 150 food purveyors and watch as the crowds grow year after year. Locavores flock to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market in the Railyard District every Saturday year-round (and on Tuesdays from May through October) to score the freshest fare, ranging from wild prickly lettuce to fresh apple cider.
11. Roam Through Lavender
Situated on 22 acres along the Chama River in Abiquiu, Purple Adobe Lavender Farm is the place to get some fresh air. Hop on a trolley tour, pick up a plant in the nursery, or sip on a cup of lavender tea.
12. Rejuvenate in Soothing Waters
If there is such a thing as the Fountain of Youth, we’ve found it. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa in Ojo Caliente, about 70 miles north of Santa Fe, is the only hot springs in the world with four unique, healing minerals in the waters of its 11 pools. Nearly 150 years old, this resort is one of the oldest of its kind in the country—but its age doesn’t show in the slightest.
13. Uncover History
Who was the state’s most notorious outlaw? Get the answer (Billy the Kid) and learn more at the New Mexico History Museum. Located next to the Palace of the Governors, the building from which Spain originally governed the Southwest, this history haven houses thousands of artifacts, including a Tiffany tea set made for use aboard the USS New Mexico battleship.
14. Drink a Margarita
With more than 100 to choose from, even the pickiest drinkers may have a hard time narrowing down their options at Maria’s of Santa Fe. If you’re looking to toast in style, opt for the extravagant 24-Karat Gold Reserva. For $42, it’s yours for the sipping.
15. Plan a Meeting
When it’s time to get down to business, book one of the 12 meeting rooms at the Drury Plaza Hotel. Opening this summer, this accommodating spread’s largest space is big enough for 400 people. The hotel also sports a 24-hour business center.
16. Take to Two Wheels
What better way to cap off a long bike ride than with an ice- cold beer? The Outside Bike & Brew Festival (May 16–18) combines a series of road and mountain rides with tastings from local breweries, as well as concerts and clinics.
17. Roll the Dice
Practice your poker face before trying your luck at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. With 1,200 slot machines, 18 tables, and weekly tournaments, it’s a safe bet you’ll have no shortage of entertainment options. Even better? This gaming getaway offers stunning mountain and downtown views when it’s time for a break.
18. Score Some Bling
All that glitters may not be gold, but it’s likely that it can be found around Santa Fe. Take Fairchild & Co., for example. This inviting shop just off the Plaza brims with handcrafted jewelry, including sapphire earrings, cowboy hat charms, ancient coin pendants, and pearl studs. Owner Valerie Fairchild hand-draws her designs before they’re transformed into the dazzlers before your eyes. “I’ve been in Santa Fe for 41 years and have been in business as a bench goldsmith since 1976,” says Fairchild. “We do our own manufacturing and designing on premises.” Continue your quest just down the street at Things Finer, a family- owned business inside the historic La Fonda on the Plaza hotel. Here you can browse everything from rose-cut diamond necklaces to elaborate tea sets and extravagant tableware, sure to be a cut above the rest.
“Wherever artists gather, there’s competition. In Santa Fe, you have to push yourself to get better and better or [else] you just get boring.”
Owner, Fairchild & Co.
19. Strike a Chord
One trip to The Santa Fe Opera and you’ll see why music lovers are singing the praises of this open-air theater. Stay tuned for the season kickoff on June 27 when Carmen, a classic love story by French composer Georges Bizet, takes the stage.
20. Catch a Flick
From Cowboys and Aliens to Disney’s The Lone Ranger, the film industry in these parts is booming, so it seems fitting to hold an annual event honoring the big screen. The Santa Fe Film Festival steals the spotlight May 1–4 as some 60 screenings, panels, workshops, and parties roll around town.
21. Embrace the Drama
Get caught in the act when you pay a visit to Santa Fe Playhouse, a live theater that offers upstart playwrights the chance to see their work come to life. Settle in July 10–27 for a performance of Good People, a Tony-nominated play about a single mother’s quest to turn her luck around.Send This To A Friend Print Page
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