Location: Santa Fe, NM
“Travel + Leisure” magazine’s 2019 reader survey ranked Santa Fe #2 for “Best Cities in the United States,” and #14 in “Top 15 Cities in the World.”
Santa Fe is known as “The City Different.” Founded in 1609 upon a royal land grant from the King of Spain, Santa Fe was a functioning seat of government for Spain even before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Known for its history - Santa Fe is rich in multiple cultures from the Spanish to the Pueblo Indians to the Americans. Because of its history and its natural beauty, Santa Fe has always been known for its arts. Today Santa Fe is known for its numerous art galleries, museums, and it institutions, both traditional and contemporary. Among them are the Georgia O’Keeffe Musem, Meow Wolf, and SITE Santa Fe. Santa Fe boasts a world-famous Opera House; many markets including the International Folk Art Market, Spanish Market, Indian Market, ART Santa Fe, Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic Art Show; and last but not least Santa Fe is known for its restaurants and food from blue corn enchiladas, Navajo tacos, green chile cheeseburgers to Japanese, French and vegetarian cuisine.
The atmosphere of Santa Fe is decidedly laid back. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, anytime it's a good time to visit Santa Fe so the best times depend on what you love to do.
June through Early September offers warm days and often cool nights because of monsoon rains that occur in late afternoon. This is when most of the markets and the Opera occur and the City can get busy so book a room well in advance.
The fall offers some of our best weather. Warm days and cool nights. Hiking is an excellent past time in the Fall. Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet so we cool down a lot at night. Fall brings in the chile crop and roasting chile is one of our favorite past times along with making cider from apple crops and long walks in the National Forest to find mushrooms. Early September offers the Santa Fe Fiesta. A celebration of burning Old Man Gloom known as The Burning of Zozobra, and starting the new year with all the gloom of the past gone.
Winter brings snow and skiing. Santa Fe has a good ski run that allows for both snowboarding and traditional skiing. Snowshoeing in the National Forest is also a favorite past time. The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is ongoing in the winter months as well. For Christmas, there are lots of traditions including walking Canyon Road which is lit up by Firelitos (bags with candles in them) and singing Christmas Carols. Various Pueblos also host ceremonial dances in the winter months, especially around Christmas.
Spring brings apple and apricot blossoms along with lilacs blooming brought in by Bishop Lamy who was featured in Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop. Depending on the winter, you might be able to do late skiing one day and tennis or trout fishing the next day.
Santa Fe has lots of restaurants. Our favorites are Pasqual’s, Geronimo’s, Izanami Restaurant and for a spectacular sunset and drink - the Four Seasons in Tesuque. For less formal dining a local favorite is Dr Field Goods Kitchen with a farm to table menu. For traditional Northern New Mexico food try El Paraso, a local chain with several restaurants throughout the area or Rancho de Chimayo, north of Santa Fe.
For coffee try the Iconik – Downtown Coffee Bar or Ohori’s Coffee Bar. Be sure to try The Teahouse on Canyon Road.
Our favorite boutique hotel is Casa Culinaria - The Gourmet Inn. The chef and one of the owners is a trained Cordon Bleu Chef. Breakfast and High Tea are spectacular! The Inn consists of 3 historic buildings constructed in the early 1900s. The 3 emblematic homes were constructed according to a different period and architectural style: Arts & Crafts, Pueblo Revival, and Territorial. Recently remodeled, they are simply perfect; every corner filled with unforgettable details.
For shopping go to the Plaza, Canyon Road and the new Railyard Arts District. There is a wonderful Sunday farmers’ market at the Railyard.
Also of note:
There are three principal types of architecture in Santa Fe. Pueblo Style, Territorial Style and Santa Fe Style. Many books have been written about “Santa Fe Style”. We recommend The Essence of Santa Fe by Jerilou Hammett, Kingsley Hammett and Peter Sholz and Santa Fe Style by Christine Mather and Sharon Woods.
Dougherty Real Estate Co., LLC is the exclusive Leverage representative of Santa Fe, NM.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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