What to Do: Shop for silver on the Plaza and stroll for artwork on Canyon Road. Don’t miss Nedra Matteucci Galleries, one block south on Paseo de Peralta. Tour beautiful, Colonial churches such as The Cathedral of St. Francis and The Loretto Chapel with its Miraculous Staircase. In August go to Indian Market which attracts 150,000 visitors- or stay away, if that’s not your thing.
And…Attend a world-class opera under the stars. Visit museums, such as Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Palace of the Governors (Southwestern history on the Plaza), Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. For the kids, Rancho de los Golindrinas (historic hacienda, restored and offering hands-on demonstrations of Colonial life) and more…
At Christmas, soak up the magic atmosphere of farolitos, snow on adobe and cozy kiva fireplaces.
Where to Eat: For casual dining, The Shed* (no reservations, always crowded), Pasqual’s*, Casa Sena*, La Choza, Coyote Cafe*, Tomasita’s (not as picturesque, but a local favorite). Frito pie was popularized at the Woolworths on the Plaza (now the Five and Dime). For an elegant old school Santa Fe meal, try The Compound or Pink Adobe. Check out this list for other Santa Fe classics.
Where To Stay: Inn of the Five Graces (has won all kinds of awards), Inn on the Alameda, Inn of the Anasazi.
Outside Santa Fe:
What to Do: Visit Bandolier National Monument (great for kids); go to a Corn Dance or Feast Day at one of the Native American pueblos; ski or snowboard (particularly Santa Fe or Taos); hike Wheeler Peak, a Thirteener above Taos Ski Valley; stand over Rio Grande Gorge, then raft down the river later; shop at a trading post; take the High Road to Taos where you stop in Chimayo, see its beautiful church (a pilgrimage site famous for its holy dirt) and eat at Rancho de Chimayo; end your tour of the High Road at Ranchos de Taos; Canyon de Chelly National Monument; Abiquiu (Georgia O’Keefe country).
Where to Eat: Taos- The Love Apple*, Doc Martin’s*, Orlando’s*, Michael’s Kitchen, Guadalajara Grill; Española- Joann’s Ranch o Casadas‘; Chimayo- Rancho de Chimayo; Angel Fire- Angel Fire Country Club, Hatcha’s*.
Foodie Finds: The Chile Shop in Santa Fe, orchards near Embudo between Santa and Taos, fresh raspberries at Salmon Ranch in August/September.
Culinary Inspirations: Corn (both blue and yellow), in tortillas, tamales and posole. Beans for frijoles; chiles, red and green from Hatch, Dixon and elsewhere; fresh fruit and berries.
What to Buy: Handmade silver jewelry on the Plaza, Native American pottery and rugs, Hatch chile powder, ristras, Christmas decorations, Day of the Dead figures, Kachina dolls, art, dried flower wreaths.
Why New Mexico?: NM is a treat for anyone…Enjoy an active vacation, skiing, rafting, hiking, or a more leisurely pace, strolling the streets, shopping, then a long lunch. Its landscape -mesas, deserts, canyons, towering cloud formations and lightning over distant mountains- will linger in your mind forever; beautiful, quirky, yet sophisticated, it’s not called the Land of Enchantment for nothing.