Santa F(e)AQs

Are you the Sergeant Friday in your crowd who wants “just the facts, Ma’am?” Then you’re a traveler’s best friend! Your need-to-know questing spirit guarantees great adventures. So to you, I dedicate these Santa Fe frequently asked questions.

Santa Fe Has an Altitudinal Outlook

What’s the weather like in Santa Fe? Think 7,000 feet! Bookended east by the Sangre de Cristo range and west by the Jemez Mountains, Santa Fe enjoys four distinct seasons. Spring paints our piñon-juniper landscape in fresh green hues and summer brings bug-free outdoor enjoyment––pesky biting insects can’t live at this altitude! There’s no beating the City Different climate. Refreshing mornings give way to temperatures in the 80’s with no clammy humidity to chase us indoors. The shade of a graceful old tree on the Plaza offers comfort in people-watching.

A bench on the Santa Fe Plaza is the locals’ choice for color and comfort.
A bench on the Santa Fe Plaza is the locals’ choice for color and comfort.

Our sublime southwestern eco-system means first-rate outdoor activities. Hiking, biking and golf are year-round and guiding services abound for those who crave expert education along the way. Head north to historic Bandelier National Monument or see the Valles Caldera– a 13 mile-wide volcanic crater–or simply take an in-town trek along the extensive Dale Ball Trails. Abundant spring rains gave local rafting companies an early start and the fishing should be prime this year.

River rafting is a hold-on, no-holds-barred New Mexico adventure. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Mountain Adventures)
River rafting is a hold-on, no-holds-barred New Mexico adventure. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Mountain Adventures)

Pack it or Get It Here

What should I pack when visiting Santa Fe? Remember: 7,000 feet. Santa Fe enjoys cool mornings and evenings, so bring a light jacket or wrap. Sunglasses are good, adding a hat would be better, and sunscreen is best­­­. Whether it’s afternoons at the museum or nights at the opera, Santa Fe holds no sartorial rules, so wear exactly what you want. Cowboy boots, Daisy Dukes, exclusive labels and vintage finery all hang out in Santa Fe closets. Leave room for surprises––our legendary trading center has satisfied shoppers for centuries! The Plaza area is on everyone’s shopping list and I’m totally down with pilgrimages to Mira and WearAbouts for self-decoration. A saunter along the portal at the Palace of the Governors for Native American crafts is a must and the Shop of the Rainbow Man is an “ooh-ahh” for savvy collectors.

The Shop of the Rainbow Man is a browser’s––and buyer’s––paradise! (Photo Credit: The Shop of the Rainbow Man)
The Shop of the Rainbow Man is a browser’s––and buyer’s––paradise! (Photo Credit: The Shop of the Rainbow Man)

Expand your shopping route beyond downtown to the Santa Fe Railyard, where consignment stores share space with upscale boutiques like Daniella and cool home furnishings spots like Bon Marche and Reside Home. The new Modern General is perusal-worthy and making tracks afoot or “a-bike” to the Baca Street Railyard yields more offbeat surprises. Heading further afield leads to the Santa Fe Outlets­­––and we can all agree that “outlet” reads yummy deals.

Feeding the Foodie in You

What should I eat when I’m in Santa Fe? Santa Fe’s yum scale is justifiably renowned. The byword is chile and loyalists are known to eat it three squares. Breakfast burritos from El Parasol, enchilada lunches at the Plaza Cafe and green chile liberally adorning a thin-crust at Rooftop Pizzeria––that‘s an average day. “Lettuce” tell you, however, that chile is just the tip of the iceberg

Chef John Rivera Sedlar puts an Eloisa twist on tacos by stuffing them with pastrami! (Photo Credit: Eloisa at the Drury Plaza Hotel)
Chef John Rivera Sedlar puts an Eloisa twist on tacos by stuffing them with pastrami! (Photo Credit: Eloisa at the Drury Plaza Hotel)

Southwest flare is woven into contemporary cuisine at hotspots like Drury Plaza Hotel’s new Eloisa, named for Chef John River Sedlar’s grandmother (who obviously taught him well). Georgia (next to the O’Keeffe Museum) provides gorgeously artful dining and Julia (named for Santa Fe’s famed ghost) opens soon at La Posada Resort and Spa. Sushi­­, check! Shohko offers forty years worth of Japanese expertise and a star-lit soak at Ten Thousand Waves ends at Izanami. Bouche Bistro is a French flavor-fest and L’Olivier wows diners with divine patio dining. Old World Spanish? Take your pick: Taberna and La Boca give tapas the full treatment and El Meson adds Tuesday Night Tango to paella. Vegetarians and vegans need not worry­­––your dedicated diet gets full props from great chefs who gladly accommodate.

  The table is set for a bona-fide foodie adventure when you take a restaurant tour in Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Nick Peña, Food Tour New Mexico)

The table is set for a bona-fide foodie adventure when you take a restaurant tour in Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Nick Peña, Food Tour New Mexico)

If you just want to taste everything, two choices of restaurant walking tours: Food Tour New Mexico or the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Either one solves the dinner bell dilemma since you’ll be so full!

A Santa Fe Adventure is Yours to Choose

What is there to do in Santa Fe? Holy cow, how to distill it in a short read! Over 200 galleries and a bevy of world-class museums keep Santa Feans and visitors endlessly engaged. June boasts the cutting-edge CURRENTS New Media and fun FantaSe Fest; July welcomes Art Santa Fe and the International Folk Art Market (the 10Best readers’ choice for #1 Arts Festival). Four hundred plus years of culture and heritage get showcased in July at Spanish Market and in August, at the SWAIA (Southwestern Association of Indian Arts) Indian Market.

Whether it’s belly-dancers or a blues band, the Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand is alive with movement and free music. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Bandstand, Outside In Productions)
Whether it’s belly-dancers or a blues band, the Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand is alive with movement and free music. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Bandstand, Outside In Productions)

Music holds sway all summer long. Our beloved Santa Fe Opera celebrates its 59th season with five (count ‘em) new productions including a world premiere. The eagerly awaited Santa Fe Bandstand summer music series rocks the Santa Fe Plaza from July 7–August 28, and jazz reigns supreme at the July 11–27 New Mexico Jazz Festival. Our Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival brings fabulous talents from around the globe to perform July 19–August 24. And there’s no better local scene than Music on the Hill, six Wednesdays of music on the grassy lawn at St. John’s College.

Getting Whole Again is a Wholly Santa Fe Ideal

How can I just relax in Santa Fe? New Mexico is the land of mañana––if it doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow. Taking today to relax into tomorrow is a fine notion, and Santa Fe has lots of therapeutic hands for rejuvenating assistance. Two of Santa Fe’s fine hotels––the Inn and Spa at Loretto and La Posada Resort and Spa––landed on USA Today’s 10Best Hotel Spa list with good reason. Independent spas BODY of Santa Fe and the afore-mentioned Ten Thousand Waves guarantee chill-out thrills, and daytrips to the Ojo Caliente Resort and Spa have cured New Mexicans for generations.

The Inn at Loretto’s spa has received the Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice award four years running. (Photo Credit: Inn and Spa at Loretto)
The Inn at Loretto’s spa has received the Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice award four years running. (Photo Credit: Inn and Spa at Loretto)

No Quiz Because You’ve Got the Santa Fe Answers

Questions? Now that I’ve separated fact from fiction, you’re ready to make your Santa Fe visit a reality, right? More answers are easy to find, and once you’re here, you’ll find locals who are happy to steer you right. Mark my words, Santa Fe is absolutely the right place for finding the best in culture, cuisine and color this summer.

Light up your summer vacation with the colors of Santa Fe!
Light up your summer vacation with the colors of Santa Fe!

 

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