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Travelplace will lead you to famous domestic and foreign beauty spots.
Santa Fe certainly lives up to its moniker of “The City Different”. Steeped in history and culture and set amongst desert landscapes and mountainous panoramas, Santa Fe boasts incredible architecture, art galleries, cuisine and shopping.
Santa Fe is bursting at the seams with activities and offers something for everyone. With so much to see and do, here are some ideas on how to make the most of your visit:
The Plaza is the heart of Santa Fe. Shops, museums and restaurants built in Santa Fe’s famous mud-brick style architecture flank the large grassed square. Strolling around the Plaza is like stepping into a Wild West movie set. The earthy coloured buildings are full of history and await exploration.
The Palace of Governors, located on the north side of the Plaza, holds the notable title of being one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. Built in 1610, it is now a museum housing historical objects from Santa Fe’s Indian, Mexican, Spanish and American past. Treasures include old wheels, carriages, pottery, artwork and even an antique violin.
Native Americans sit out the front selling their wares 360 days a year. The impressive collection includes jewellery (especially turquoise), sand paintings, pottery and weavings. Each day members from various pueblos and tribes enter a ballot to determine if they can sell on that day. This results in an ever-changing collection of authentic art.
Tomasita’s, located in the Railyard district, has a welcoming atmosphere and serves classic New Mexican cuisine from recipes handed down through the generations. The meals are divine and I can understand why Tomasita’s has been voted ‘the best’ by locals for their red chilli, green chilli and margaritas! The atmosphere is uniquely South Western – situated in an old station house built in 1904, the restaurant is decorated with chillis and New Mexican themed photographs. Locals can be found lining the bar wearing their Stetsons, cowboy boots and suede tasseled vests.
After lunch, take the time to explore the area, with its contemporary art and entertainment. The Railyard buzzes with activity on weekends with the Farmers Market held on Saturdays and the New Mexico Artisans Market operating on Sundays. The Artisan Market features creations from local artists including pottery, jewellery, photography, sculptures and paintings.
The Railyard is also home to SITE, an innovative exhibition centre, featuring both new and established artists. SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas is a biennial exhibition that began in 2014 exploring contemporary art from Nunavut to Tierra de Fuego. The 2016 exhibition is Much Wider than a Line. You can’t miss the building, the façade is a work of art itself, created by architect Greg Lynn.
Santa Fe School of Cooking
South Western cuisine is a spicy, earthy, colourful blend of American and Mexican cuisine usually based on the original crops grown by the Pueblo people – corn, beans and squash. The best way to experience this unique fare is to participate in one of Santa Fe School of Cooking’s classes.
Promoting regional flavours, the Santa Fe School of Cooking offers a variety of classes including Rellenos, Tacos, Southwestern Sauces, Burritos and Cooking Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. There is even a class dedicated to the New Mexican state vegetable – the chilli! This family owned business offers classes ranging from hands-on meal preparation to demonstration classes where guests are invited to relax with a glass of wine, observing the chefs’ cooking up a storm.
For those with an adventurous palette, the Bonus Classes are ideal as the chefs’ work with an experimental menu. Dishes may include grapefruit, avocado and jicama salad, turkey with pasta, sour cream and green chilli sauce and sweet potato enchiladas with cajeta.
Museums and Art Galleries
Georgia O’Keeffe is a name that is synonymous with Santa Fe and a trip would not be complete without a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. This iconic artist spent many years capturing New Mexico’s landscape and is known for her bold designs, thick brushwork and transcendent colours.
The museum showcases the world’s largest collection of O’Keeffe’s works, displayed across nine galleries. The ever-changing series of exhibitions means there is always something new to see. The Museum’s collection encompasses 140 oil paintings, almost 700 drawings and hundreds of other works in addition to O’Keeffe’s art materials, photographs, letters and documents.
The New Mexico Museum of Art is an inspiring museum. Built in the traditional style, chillis and sculptures decorate the courtyard. The museum exhibits both modern and traditional art with a New Mexico focus.
New Mexico Museum of Art
An unlikely location for an art gallery can be found at the State Capitol building, otherwise known as the Roundhouse. More than 600 paintings, drawings and sculptures are located in amongst the Governor’s Gallery and Courts. One of the most photographed sculptures in the Bison, made from everyday household objects such as plastic spoons, umbrellas, paintbrushes, cardboard and film.
Enjoy a delicious meal and a pint of handcrafted beer at Blue Corn Café. Offering both New Mexican cuisine and traditional pub fare, Blue Corn has the added advantage of being a microbrewery. Fajitas, green chilli cheeseburgers and tamales are its most popular dishes. Located on Water Street, its balcony provides great views of historic Santa Fe.
All Blue Corn’s beer is brewed in their microbrewery. Wash your meal down with an award winning ale or lager. The Road Runner IPA is their most popular beer while the Oatmeal Stout took out Gold in the Great American Beer Festival.
Follow the Chocolate Trail
This city is a Chocolate Lover’s dream. Visit four of the Territory’s Finest Chocolatiers –C.G. Higgins Confections, The Chocolatesmith, Kakawa Chocolate House and Todos Santos Chocolates. C.G. Higgins Confections is located just behind the Museum of Art. Don’t forget to try their mouth-watering homemade cinnamon rolls. They strive to create the best in America! Other specialities include chocolate drinks, nut brittle and heritage style fudge.
The Kakawa Chocolate House is located behind the San Miguel Mission. Be sure to experience their thick, syrupy hot chocolates based on a Pre-Columbian Mayan and Aztec recipe. Another popular treat is whole roasted chillis’ dipped in agave caramel, completed with a house blend of dark chocolate.
Located just four blocks from the Plaza on the old Indian Trail, Canyon Road is lined with 100 fine art galleries and artist studios. Art, sculptures and wind wheels spill out of the adobe buildings into gardens. Plan to spend a day absorbing the vast array of art including pottery, contemporary and native American fine art, antiques and sculpture gardens.
The Santa Fe Opera
The world-class Santa Fe Opera is a must-do activity if you are visiting in July or August. This open-air theatre is popular with both locals and tourists alike, so book your tickets in advance. The 2016 season presents a impressive array of love stories – La Fanciulla del West, Don Giovanni, Romeo et Juliette, Capriccio and Vanessa. In addition, two performances are dedicated to Apprentice Showcase Scenes where Santa Fe Opera’s Singer and Technical Apprentices present ‘operatic samplers’.
While performances begin at sunset, join the hundreds of patrons three hours prior for a tailgate dinner in the carpark. Bring your own picnic or pre-order a Tailgate Box and enjoy the stunning sunset over the dramatic landscape.