No matter how you get to Santa Fe—plane train or automobile—you’ll have no trouble zipping around the historic streets of the City Different.
Santa Fe offers ways to get around the city easily with: a public transportation system, charter vans, bikes and limousine services. It’s also good to know that rental cars can also be picked up at several locations in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe, New Mexico never lacks for “new or innovative” cultural and culinary experiences. In fact, you might have recently asked yourself, “What’s new this summer in Santa Fe?” No worries – we’ve collected some of the season’s biggest news here to keep you in the know and allow you to delight in the Santa Fe experience that only The City Different can deliver! Here we go….
While music pulses through Santa Fe’s 400-year-old veins all year round, summer is the standout season to catch live music in an outdoor setting. Expand your musical horizons with something different in The City Different. Summer is when Santa Fe outdoor music is in full bloom. Here are few selections to make your musical summer an enjoyable one.
Every season Santa Fe is blessed with so many special sights and sounds that we never feel shortchanged at any time of year. Truth be told—being on the cusp of spring has us in a tizzy with restless anticipation! As days grow longer, trees will soon begin to blossom to adorn the city and festive events will bloom and pop up all over town. Now is the moment to give into The City Different’s beauty and bounty. We’ve planted some seeds for your spring adventure here in Santa Fe…
In a city known for boldness, spirit, and creativity, the Santa Fe artist market scene thrives! Art markets give Santa Feans, and loyal visitors, plenty of inspiration to shop for one-of-a-kind art pieces year round.
Let’s be honest as we all like to find those few special pieces that fit our lifestyle, are handcrafted, and meet non-Rockefeller budgets. Here are but a few suggestions…
Santa Fe is far from ocean waves, but there’s a noticeable current of excitement about contemporary art that flows annually in June. That’s when CURRENTS International New Media Festival takes over El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe and a variety of other Santa Fe venues from now through June 26.
Since 2002, this feast for the eyes has entertained art-lovers with a pageant of cutting-edge curiosities and craftsmanship. Video and new media installations, performance art, live music, artist presentations, panels and workshops, outdoor events and digital dome programs all captivate the creative eye and mind––and best of all, most CURRENTS 2016 events are free to the public!
For the following two weeks, Santa Fe will host an international roster of new media artists exhibiting exceptional and extraordinary work and visitors eager to experience this distinct festival. This year features 100 artists from 18 U.S. states and 19 countries.
We’ve highlighted a few events and performances that we think you will enjoy. For your ease, we have featured some of the events by their location.
Recently, New Mexico was named by Trade Publications as one of the “Top Five” film locations in the entire world. Movies like “No Country for Old Men”, “Crazy Heart”, and “True Grit” have all been produced using the New Mexico landscape as a backdrop. TV classics like Breaking Bad—infamously known for its Albuquerque location—have even come to share the stage in Santa Fe. (Be sure to check out the New Mexico Film and Media Industry Conference, too!) Read More
Join us this September as we celebrate tradition, culture, music, food and nature. ¡Viva Santa Fe! brings together a wide array of colorful and fun events during the month of September Here are just a few events to enhance your ¡Viva! fever! Read More
Recent renovations on my little adobe have made me judicious about allowing things back into the house from the garage. And while I hate the thought of spring cleaning, once I start, the results are thrilling. Between the home re-arrangement and the seasonal sweep through the house, I suddenly have space to welcome something new into my life. USA Today Travel readers named Santa Fe #1 for shopping, and since my super-stylin’ Santa Fe neighbors have probably cleaned out their closets too, I’m ready to rock my favorite consignment shops on a hunt for first-rate treasures at second-hand prices.
Great Deals and No Doubling Down at Doubletake
Consider Doubletake’s size, and you’ll realize why it needs such a large, helpful staff. This enticing emporium has more than doubled (pun intended) in size since 1987, expanding beyond clothing into décor, collectibles, memorabilia, pawn jewelry, and antiques. Doubletake is also my best hope in the elusive quest for quality vintage clothing. Trolling the aisles of the two-story building takes time, especially when I am held captive by the biggest-ever collection of Bakelite jewelry!
Pricing throughout is fair, with everything well-curated for condition. Delicately used designer duds make a splash on opera opening night without breaking the bank. Western wear rates its own dedicated space, loaded with cowboy boots, Fiesta skirts, and cowboy shirts. Kids’ clothing offers enormous selection, and brand-new brand-name shoes are obviously recent-season items that didn’t sell retail.
Upstairs is a homey treasure trove, with colorful Fiesta dinnerware, antique furniture, and vintage linens by the score. There’s a designated art gallery, but with everything so beautifully displayed, the whole shebang is gallery-worthy! I always enjoy an hour or two here, saying good-bye to things that no longer fit my aesthetic and spending the proceeds to say hello to new adornments. Doing Doubletake is doubly fun!
Get Into a Groove with The Beat Goes On
Since we’re all Tuned Into Santa Fe, it’s no wonder that The Beat Goes On in the City Different. Right up the street from Doubletake, The Beat definitely deserves its billing as “Very Cool Consignment.” As you might imagine, Santa Feans are a diverse bunch with a wide range of stylish tastes, and The Beat gets the overflow when closets get too full. Nondescript building notwithstanding, this is a gotta-have-it collection of gently used deals.
There’s vintage here too, ethnic and designer styles, with shoes and boots and a medley of handbags and home goods. Prices are reasonable, and there’s always a sale rack to tempt. Don’t forget to look for lingerie, because soft silk robes may linger there. The excitement of consignment shopping lies in never knowing what you’ll find, and that’s what makes it an adventure. The selection at The Beat proves that principle beyond a doubt!
Boots Are Not Just for Cowboys
Trot a little further up Guadalupe Street past The Beat, pardner, and your feet will find a footwear fantasia at Kowboyz. Tucked back off the street, this is a local sweet spot for western wear, belts, buckles, shirts and hat, and – you guessed it – boots. A guy or gal (and kiddos too) need ‘em for boot-scootin’, and with over 5,000 new and vintage pairs, the only challenge is narrowing it down to a single choice. Not that I’ve done that – I’m currently holding at three pairs, but since they come in great condition at prices I can’t resist, why stop there?
There’s something about those just-the-right-height heels on a cowboy boot that makes a chiquita feel utterly chic in a completely different way than high heels. And don’t just wear them when you’re here to visit; wear them at home, be it North Dakota or North Carolina, and lead the way with our legendary Western style.
There’s Nothing Like a Flea Market for Finding Fanciful Treasures
Over the years,the Tesuque Flea Market up by the Santa Fe Opera has received justifiable accolades as a fun way to spend a morning. That’s great news for me, because it means less of a crowd to beat me out for bargains at the Santa Fe Flea Market! When warm weather returns, this collection of curios and curiosities moves back to its summer home at the old Downs of Santa Fe, but until then, a Saturday or Sunday browse-a-thon is on my weekend agenda.
Spread throughout El Museo Cultural (home to many offbeat Santa Fe events), across the railroad tracks from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, the Flea is a bazaar of the bizarre for those who like a good bargaining session as part of the mix. Old books and pottery, household “junque,” hand-made jewelry – it’s an eclectic mix of the rare and the ridiculously inexpensive. With 100-plus vendors anxious to go home with cash rather than their stash of collectibles, it’s impossible to leave without a smokin’ deal. And remember, you won’t see that one special thing twice, so just say “yes” to your flea market fantasies.
Revisiting the Past and Bringing It Home from Recollections
After I’ve satisfied the yen for vintage finery and folderol, I make a beeline for Recollections to see what surprises await. You can’t miss the dark-red building in the Baca Street District of Railyard, and I never miss the chance to stop, because I know I’ll come home with something fresh and unexpected. The southern end of the Railyard is an up-and-coming area, and Recollections has anchored it from the beginning. The vintage iron furniture I scored suits my patio to perfection, at a cost much less than new.
Over the holidays, a gaggle of glass photo plates made for unusual and inexpensive gifts, and the antique spotlight I yearn for is tempting me — resistance may be futile! The light-up lucky horseshoe sign must be from a casino; since New Mexico has plenty of gaming palaces, it will go quickly. This is a great spot for whiling away a lazy afternoon surrounded by a serious selection of Americana and Western arcana.
Make the Case for Consignment Shopping in Santa Fe
Out with the old, in with the “new” old! I think I’ve made a good case, don’t you? If you take time to wander off the Plaza over to the Guadalupe District and the Railyard, you’ll find bountiful bargains buried in the bins or hanging on the racks. Travel + Leisure named Santa Fe as the best for one-of-a-kind shopping, and that includes unique independent boutiques of the second-hand variety. A now-you-see-‘em, now-you-don’t shopping adventure, this one is definitively City Different!
In a city known for its high altitude, elevated spirits, and glorious skies, one might understandably overlook Santa Fe’s most down-to-earth cultural icon: the Santa Fe Railyard District.
The Railyard District is Santa Fe’s newest old neighborhood, offering an ever-evolving version of the authentic Southwestern experience. While Santa Fe’s historic Plaza may be the heart of town, the Railyard is its new cultural lifeline, serving up a casual — dare-I-say hipper — side of Santa Fe, while tipping its hat to traditional and time-honored activities just blocks away, and living side by side with one of Santa Fe’s oldest neighborhoods. Here locals and visitors converge in an eclectic mecca of contemporary art, fresh food, unique shopping, and old-fashioned relaxation.
Long before it became a “district,” however (more than a hundred years ago, for you history buffs), the Santa Fe Railyard served as the official gateway to the City Different. Tourists, artists, businessmen, and more than a few adventure seekers discovered a magical frontier beyond their wildest dreams, courtesy of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Strolling the picturesque district on a coffee-fueled spring morning, I learned that the Santa Fe Railyard District once supported a booming railroad economy, bringing laborers and materials vital to the development of our distinctive central neighborhoods and landmarks. Decades of economic glory faded into memory, however, as new generations of travelers found Santa Fe by car and eventually airplane. And the once-bustling Railyard fell to neglect and abandon.
Thankfully, Santa Fe’s past and future got back on track, so to speak, when the city pledged to revitalize the Santa Fe Railyard District, restoring the cultural hub’s historic elements, and reinventing a lively network of colorful, open-air community spaces.The district’s revitalization included the establishment of the Railyard Park, which is the “green heart” of the district. The park includes an outdoor performance space for movies and concerts, picnic areas in shady groves and gardens, and 5,000 feet of walk-bike trails that will link to a citywide trail network.
Much like the rail lines of old, the Santa Fe Railyard District offers refreshing, surprising, and unforgettable stops. Indulge in Santa Fe’s emerging performance events, dining destinations, and to-die-for shops. Or just set off on a local journey defined only by the district’s enchanting rhythm. So let’s roll down the tracks …
Tomasita’s proudly holds court among Santa Fe’s chile royalty. But there’s nothing stodgy about this local landmark. Open since 1974, the lively restaurant is considered by many the epicenter of the Railyard. Drop in to begin or end your day, to see and be seen, or to soak up the Railyard’s good vibes and creative energy. Authentic — as in, “abuela’s in the kitchen” — New Mexican food is the specialty. That means mouthwatering traditional chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and stuffed sopaipillas. (I confess the smell of fresh tortillas sustained me as I waited in the quick-moving line of hungry patrons.) Diners are encouraged to fearlessly dive into local red and green chile, and then toast the culinary adventure with a famous sangria swirl margarita.
SITE Santa Fe
Visit SITE Santa Fe to experience full-throttle visual and performance art in the Railyard District. Here video, photography, large-scale sculpture, and painting coexist in harmony, as internationally recognized artists make full use of this modern space. SITE’s fantastic, flexible gallery space and groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions provide an intoxicating yang to the yin of Santa Fe’s beloved traditional arts. I can proudly say I expanded my artistic horizons by simply wandering through each of the current exhibitions. A video installation by performance artist Linda Montano entitled “Art/Life Counseling” really called to me (though I’m not exactly sure what it said). The video monitor is draped in a disheveled red wig and the face of the artist speaks directly to viewers. Comical, endearing, and, mildly unsettling. Bravo, SITE.
Santa Fe Clay
If observing isn’t enough for your artistic endeavors, there is no finer way to get your hands dirty than with a visit to Santa Fe Clay. This is a dream facility for diehard DIY-ers, or anyone craving an enlightening hands-on experience. At a sprawling 10,000 square feet, the fantastic space offers endless hours of creativity via its gallery, artist studios, retail store, wheels and kilns, and massive workshop and teaching space with expert staff. Santa Fe Clay hosts classes year-round for adults and children, and exhibits some of the finest clay artists working in the medium today. I’m not talking pinch pots and light switch covers here. Santa Fe Clay is a dynamic, forward thinking studio. Inspired by the shelves of creations set out to dry, the fresh-out-of-the-kiln pots, and the sheer joy on the faces of workshop participants, I have officially pledged to get my clay groove on.
Railyard Artisan Market
Saturdays and Sundays bring the Santa Fe Artists Market and the Railyard Artisan Market. Prepare to be surprised. Housed alongside the east walkway of SITE Santa Fe on Saturdays or inside the Farmers Market Pavilion on Sundays, the respected markets boast fine handmade crafts and artworks ranging from knitted scarves and hats to watercolor landscapes to artisanal teas and body products. My credit card limit flashed before my eyes as I beheld a gasp-worthy selection of fun retro aprons, imported clothing from India, felt handbags, hand blown glassware, and a virtual trove of jewelry. Pick up one-of-a-kind gifts here, or self-gifts — my favorites. Several crafters work while you stroll, offering unfiltered glimpses of their works-in-progress.
Perhaps the unifying event in the Railyard is the renowned Farmers Market. This market prides itself on strict standards requiring that all food and products be made with local ingredients, and prohibiting reselling. That means you buy directly from the source. I love the idea of paying the farmer who grew my food. The market is alive with energy, color, and happy shoppers. Fresh breads, seasonal herbs, overflowing baskets of greens and veggies, free range eggs, aromatic fresh and dried chiles, local honey and jams, luxurious body products, organic coffee, and homemade tamales transform moods and test your bliss-endurance. Meanwhile, strolling musicians and kid friendly activities keep young shoppers smiling. The market is open 8 am-1pm Saturdays (year-round) and Tuesdays (May through Thanksgiving week). June-September the hours shift forward an hour: 7 am-noon.
Beyond the food scene, a true feeling of community pervades this burgeoning creative space. Whether you want to swing dance or catch a reggae band, see a thought-provoking film, visit with neighbors over coffee and burritos, even witness a dynamic aerial acrobatic performance held right on site, all you need to do is show up. Check the jam-packed schedule on the Santa Fe Railyard District website for information. Or take my advice and gather your friends for the Free Railyard Park Movie Series, which features movies every other Friday night all summer. Meet me at “The Princess Bride” July 27 or “… prepare to die!
Balancing history, authenticity, adventure, art, food, and performance, the Santa Fe Railyard District sparkles with timeless appeal and youthful. Find your favorite stop, as you get on board with a cultural treasure that is definitely moving in the right direction.