Santa Fe, NM
Sante Fe, New Mexico’s capital city, is a premiere destination for Southwestern arts and culture. As the country’s second oldest town, Sante Fe was founded by the Spanish in 1607, the same year that English explorers arrived on the continent's east coast to begin a settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. The city’s name, a shortened form of its original name La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís, means “Holy Faith” in Spanish. Some refer to Sante Fe as “the “City Different.”
Canyon Road is the first stop for any art enthusiast. Galleries, boutiques and fine dining options line this one-time route for early 20th century woodcutters and their burros. Visitors who explore this area will find the famous Gerald Peters Gallery at 1011 Paseo de Peralta. This gallery houses original 20th century work by Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollack and Diego Rivera, as well as 19th century masterpieces by Winslow Homer. El Farol, a 15-minute walk east of the gallery, serves delicious tapas in the form of ceviché de atún comprised of fresh scallops, shrimp and white fish with tomato, onion and jalapeño. Entrees include Puerco asado, pork tenderloin served with figs, port and idiazábal cheese.
Complementing Santa Fe’s more than 200 galleries is the area’s beautiful natural landscape. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains offer hikers trails suitable for any level of expertise. Those yearning for more outdoorsy things to do in Santa Fe may enjoy a stroll among the juniper and ponderosa trees, then a picnic in lush, green meadows filled with Indian paintbrush and purple lupine wildflowers. The Chamisa Trail, nearly 5 miles long and descending into the Big Tesuque basin, is a popular trek.
Things to do in Santa Fe’s 400-year old downtown include The Palace of the Governors, which was once the seat of Spanish rule in the Southwest and is now one of the top attractions in Santa Fe. Home to New Mexico’s history museum, the Palace of Governors offers complimentary docent tours with admission price and is the meet-up spot for historic Downtown walking tours. Santa Fe Plaza hosts many of the city's cultural and arts festivals like the Santa Fe Indian Market, which attracts 100,000 visitors every August as one of the world’s largest markets.
Music lovers should visit in the summer when the Santa Fe Opera and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival become the top attractions in Santa Fe. The opera season regularly features masterpieces such as The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata, La Donna del Lago and Oscar. Another top attraction in Santa Fe, the open-air Crosby Theater melds into the scenic landscape with a large, curved roof, a design inspired by “the shape of the sound.” For classical music lovers, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival runs during July and August, featuring music by composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Lensic Performing Arts Center are both performance venues and city landmarks.