Embark On a Spiritual Journey in Santa Fe

What is it about Santa Fe that has attracted generations of artists, body workers, shamans, psychics, poets, and yogis? Most say that there isn’t one singular aspect that beckons them, but rather a combination of many. Here, mystical objects and devotions compel seekers to draw energy from our ancient pueblos and sacred ruins, vast starry skies, restorative hot springs, and awe-inspiring nature.

The pathway of spiritual exploration can come softly, take unexpected turns, and surprise even the most skeptical. Go ahead, give yourself permission to embark on a spiritual journey while you take in Santa Fe.

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Make This Your Santa Fe November To Remember: Upcoming Events

November always brings an opportunity to take a deep breath and appreciate the wonders of the season. Here in Santa Fe, we are grateful for the beauty of the mountains and the many diverse experiences that are available. From celebrating sustainability to the kick off of the holiday season, Santa Fe is filled with fun.  So join me in discovering a few of Santa Fe’s best November events.

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Great Places for an Urban Picnic in Santa Fe

Whether you are looking for a secluded spot to relax or simply a quiet space to enjoy the outdoors there are lots of options in Santa Fe. The City Different enjoys 320 days of sunshine a year, all four seasons, brilliant blue skies and some of the purest air in the world. Here are some of the best places to relax within the Santa Fe’s historic downtown area. You might even want to have a picnic!

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Let’s Get Outdoors!

Your visit of Santa Fe has been filled with delicious food, fascinating museums and even flamenco dancing but now it’s time for some exercise and fresh air.  Santa Fe outdoor beauty is filled with opportunities to walk, hike, bike or golf!

Santa Fean’s love to get outdoors, earning us the title of “Santa Fe, the 3rd  healthiest city in the world” by Citiesjournal.com. Take a leisurely stroll on the Santa Fe River Walk!  Conde Nast named it as one of the “10 Great River Walks.  As you walk and hike, know that you are breathing in some of the cleanest air in the country. So now you have heard the Santa Fe outdoor awards…it is time to explore.

Santa Fe’s outdoor beauty is your host to walking, hiking or biking in the City Different.
Santa Fe’s outdoor beauty is your host to walking, hiking or biking in the City Different.

Trail Mix

You say you have no time for a hike?  The Dale Ball Trail will change your mind. Sherman’s Travel spotlighted the Dale Ball Trail as one of “Six Under The Radar” hiking trails in 2014. These trails are 10 minutes from downtown…so no excuses! The system is a 22 mile network of trails from easy to challenging in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The trail features well numbered signs to provide easy navigation, as well as connecting to other local trails, including the Nature Conservancy, and the Dorothy Stewart trail.

Next up is the Atalaya Mountain Trail which is located on the east side of Santa Fe near St. John’s College. You will see why this is one of the most popular and easily accessible hiking trails in Santa Fe. The uphill hike is not for the faint of heart…it takes about three hours round trip, but you will be rewarded with great vistas!

Set your pace with an easy or challenging hike on the Dale Ball Trails.
Set your pace with an easy or challenging hike on the Dale Ball Trails.

Are you a bird watcher? If so, you’ll want to visit the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary trail. Bring your binoculars and camera as approximately 190 species of birds can be found there. To protect bird peace dogs are not allowed on this trail.

Walk And Catch A Sunset

You say you want to catch a sunset? Why not walk to one? The Cross of the Martyrs is located on the northeast side of Paseo de Peralta between East Marcy and Otero Streets. This walk is a steep climb but well worth it as you will be treated to one of Santa Fe’s best kept secrets for sunset watching.

Don’t forget your camera. You will want to capture a “Santa Fe Sunset”.
Don’t forget your camera. You will want to capture a “Santa Fe Sunset”.

Paw-er Walkers

A walk just isn’t the same without your best friend…dogs like walks too! Santa Fe is definitely pet friendly all City parks allow dogs but leashes are required. If “Fido” and “Precious” want to run free like the wind, don’t worry. The 130-plus acre Frank S. Ortiz Park allow dogs without a leash. Your pet will also love to play off-leash at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter Dog Park. This dog park is fenced and includes a separate area for small dogs.

Dogs romp and run free at specifically designated dog parks.
Dogs romp and run free at specifically designated dog parks.

Park The Car And Ride A Bike

Santa Fe is an ideal bicycling environment due to its compact size, moderate terrain, and sunny weather. There are several bike rental shops that can help you find the right bicycle for your outing. Mellow Velo, New Mexico Bike and Sport and The Broken Spoke are three that are ready to help. In 2011, the City of Santa Fe was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) as a Bronze-level “Bicycle Friendly Community”.  The Silver Award was then bestowed by LAB in 2013 and 2014. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) recognized Santa Fe as a Silver Level Ride Center. The International Santa Fe was also rated as “One of America’s Top Mountain Bike Towns” by USA Today.

Bicycle paths and trails for all types of riders are located in and around the city. Our Santa Fe city trail map will help you plot your bike excursion.

If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, check out La Tierra Trails.  These trails are located in the northwest quadrant of Santa Fe. The Fat Tire Society also supplies information on group rides, trail conditions and maps.

Why not plan a family ride on a Santa Fe bike trail?
Why not plan a family ride on a Santa Fe bike trail?

Fore!

A golf course can provide between five to seven kilometers of walking so why not a play a game of golf the next time you visit?  Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe is Santa Fe’s well-run municipal golf course which most recently was featured on Fox Sports and Golf Life Television. You’re in for a spectacular golf experience with beautiful 360 degree panoramic views.

Golf with wonderful mountain views.
Golf with wonderful mountain views.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that are appropriate for the walk, park or trail you choose. Bring plenty of water, sun screen, sunglasses and rain gear…just in case. If visiting from a lower altitude, take it easy.  Altitude sickness and dehydration can lead to serious difficulties, so rest often and drink plenty of water.

Getting out the door is one thing. Getting outdoors is another. Santa Fe beautiful blue skies and amazing mountains will connect you to the great outdoors.  So whether you hike, run, bike or golf your outdoor playground awaits you!

 

5 Romantic Spa Retreats in Santa Fe

With spas that offer tantalizing treatments and perfect panoramas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a prime spot for couples looking to rekindle their spark. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our team at Expedia Viewfinder wanted the inside scoop on ways to spend a romantic spa vacation for two in Santa Fe. We teamed up with the experts over at SantaFe.org to reveal the best spots for everything from hot-stone massages to water treatments that send couples into blissful relaxation:

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Santa Fe: The Sure Cure for Cabin Fever

There’s no hiding from the fact that Old Man Winter has the northern hemisphere firmly in his frosty grip. Santa Fe’s 320-plus days of sunshine help mitigate winter’s icy hold and even the season’s short days still seem long – especially now that I’ve read all the books I got for Christmas. There’s only one cure: get up and go! Care to leave the cabin and come along?

Mountain Medicine is a Cure-all

Ninety five percent of Ski Santa Fe’s 77 trails are open, groomed and ready to tackle on skis or boards. Schussing down the hillside beneath a cloudless blue sky or catching some air on a mogul makes you feel totally alive. An easy 16-mile drive leads to the 10,350-foot base and 660 pristine acres. Unless you’re wedded to your gear, forget schlepping and rent what you need (or forgot) at the Ski Shop. After that, it’s up to you!

Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)
Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)

The runs (20 percent easy, 40 percent intermediate and 40 percent expert) and colorfully named trails (Burro Alley, Desperado, Muerte) are unmistakably New Mexico.  The winter event schedule mixes weekend races with Beats on the Basin monthly afternoon concerts. And that cute guy serving Irish coffee at Totemoff’s Bar midway up the mountain? Call that an added bonus!

If slow immersion into snow-white alpine surroundings is your thing, choose snowshoes. Outspire Hiking & Snowshoeing’s tours are an irresistible temptation to bundle up and venture out into the forest. If you’re a novice like me, Outspire’s great guides really help you get the rhythm right. The plop of snow dropping from a Ponderosa pine, the screech of a hawk circling overhead, a gust of wind dropping the last dead leaves from an aspen grove – Santa Fe’s unique winter beauties quietly await your audience.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)
Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Santa Fe Loves Stars on Ice

Those 320-plus days of sunshine I mentioned mean no outdoor ice skating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t skate to your heart’s content. The Genoveva Chavez Center, home to basketball and racquetball courts, an indoor running track, full-on fitness facilities, lap pool and warm-water therapy pool, also boasts Santa Fe’s open-daily ice rink. And with a climate-controlled environment, instead of layering up into immobility, you can glide with comfort and ease.

Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)
Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)

The variety of available activities makes the Chavez Center a family-friendly destination. Skates are an easy rental, and there’s ample seating for spectators to take a picture of your precise pirouetting or watch a battle on hockey skates.

Warm Up Your New Mexico Visit the Meso-American Way

A cup of hot cocoa is the classic winter companion. But Santa Fe’s hot chocolate has City Different style. If you’ve never tasted the nectar that ancient Meso-Americans created from cacao, you’re in for a surprise. Kakawa Chocolate House takes tastebuds on a chocolate adventure you won’t soon forget.

Picturing – and partaking of - a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.
Picturing – and partaking of – a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.

Kakawa’s chocolate elixirs are a revelation that changed the way I think about the cup of comfort Mom served after the mittens came off. Deep, rich, not overly sweet or bitter, these beverages deserve to be sipped and savored slowly. Spiked with native herbs or flowers (and of course, there’s a chile iteration), these concoctions are lovingly hand-crafted into an alternative universe of chocolate flavor. The Pre-Columbian era receives its due, as do 16th and 17th century Europe. American versions run the gamut from Jeffersonian to contemporary, along with original recipes like Modern Mexican and Chai. No wonder the New York Times called Kakawa a 36-Hours must! And with artisanal 80 percent dark chocolate creations made in-house, I guarantee you’ll be back!

You’ve Earned a Cuddle-Up by the Fireplace

Once you’ve gotten your ya-ya’s out, cabin fever is history. That’s when it’s time to toast your toes and challenge your nose over a wine glass. When day is done, grab a seat at El Cañon Cafe & Bar inside the Hilton Santa Fe and you’ve got it made.

Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)
Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)

Part of El Cañon’s coziness comes from the 300-year-old hacienda it calls home. The location is ideal for friendly coffee meet-ups but nighttime is the right time to warm up by the kiva fireplace and compare vintages from the extensive wine list. Light dinner fare lets you create your own pairings in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that just says “ahhh, Santa Fe.” Be sure to check out the Hilton’s Winter Getaway Package, which thoughtfully includes two adult beverages nightly!

Escape for the Cure

Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.
Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.

Don’t let winter keep you home on the range and stuck in the house. A Santa Fe getaway is the perfect prescription for curing winter weariness. Plus, there’s no better time to catch the year’s best specials. And what could be more special than fresh snow, azure skies, and a memorable spot for sharing a glass of wine by a warm piñon fire? 

Visiting Santa Fe: A Resolution Worth Keeping

An old Spanish proverb says this: “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Since the holiday time-crunch is past, it’s high time to tinker with the chassis so I’m sharpening my utensils to carve a healthy approach to 2015. And I’ve sketched a blueprint for reaping the benefits of a delicious and nutritious new year in Santa Fe.

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Take a taste at Revolution Bakery and be amazed how good gluten-free can be!

Santa Fe Has a Revolution in G(F)oodness

Gluten-free eating makes all sorts of people feel a whole lot better. Even those of us who don’t experience true intolerance see gluten-free results (witness my sister’s enviable weight loss). I’m a die-hard toast-lover but I never feel like I’m sacrificing or skimping at Revolution Bakery. Their tagline –100% gluten-free paradise – is apt considering the amazing selection. I appreciate the sample baskets for turning tastebuds into appetite. And that gluten-free brioche? Vive la revolution! 

Lunch time is also munch time at Rev Bakery. Pair any of four varieties of 8-inch pizzas (plus one daily special) with a crisp salad to achieve yummy gluten-free liberation. Veggie activists receive their due; of four sandwiches, two are vegetarian and one is vegan. The price point is incredibly reasonable given the unique culinary niche. And that niche is ably filled thanks to owner Dionne Christian and her skillful, early-rising bakers!

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico
An apple a day keeps the doctor away and BODY’s apple crisp is good medicine!

Do Right by Your BODY

Holiday indulgences are behind us, but that mirror is not my friend yet! Thankfully, BODY of Santa Fe is on my tune-up menu. Chef Juan Carlos works wonders with a Café menu committed to organic ingredients, locally-procured whenever possible.

Founder Lorin Parrish made clean eating the Café’s goal from the get-go. Everything on the menu (plus a dedicated kids menu) is clearly identified as vegetarian, vegan, raw or gluten-free and select meat and fish offerings are cleanly sourced. Seasonal availability takes precedence so what’s on the plate is always centered on the best body fuel for the season. I never tire of the ginger stir-fry but winter enchiladas – a spot-on combo of spaghetti squash and green chile – satisfy that chile craving. And a bit of sweet goodness from an incredible warm apple crisp is a welcome finish.

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Health on a plate or in a glass? Rasa Juice bar does both.

Capture the Full Flavor of Health at Rasa

Ayurveda is intriguing; Deepak Chopra’s reach proves this 500-year-old tradition is thriving. A tip from a savvy 14-year-old vegan sent me to Rasa Juice Bar to get the skinny on this science of life (Ayu means life, Veda means knowledge or science) focused on optimum health via diet. It took Santa Fe little time to catch on; Edible Santa Fe has already featured Rasa twice, most recently with a vegan dessert in the seasonal cookbook issue.

Raw, vegan, organic – the words tell all. Confused? The lovelies who oversee this enterprise – Wendy, Pamela, Mariela and Andrea – explain everything (silky smoothies and cold-pressed juices, raw and dehydrated savories and sweets) in appetizing detail. The food is testimony that healthy equals flavor (rasa) in the hands of those inspired by wholesome eating. Thai Green Chili noodles hit my spicy spot perfectly and that raw oatmeal cookie? I’m glad to be in the know now!

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Verde Juice sports fresh green on the staff and in the bottle!

Juice Me Up, Scotty

Locals warmly welcomed brand-new Verde Juice, brainchild of Kelly Egolf whose calling grew from her own needs after surgery led to a two-month liquid diet. Canned nutritional supplements may have the right vitamin-mineral mix, but the flavor leaves much to be desired. Egolf’s creativity yielded tasty recipes with complementary nutritional value. When family and friends sampled the results, the home juicer was pressed into service in a bright, inviting space that instantly says “fresh.”

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico
In Spanish, verde means green; at Verde Juice Bar, it means happy, healthy sipping.

Ingredients are raw, unpasteurized and additive-free and the cold-press method means not made-to-order. Instead, juice blends are bottled for three days only, ensuring freshness and quality. I admit the three-day juice cleanse (comprised of six different juices) requires willpower given Santa Fe’s fabulous dining options, but it’s on my birthday wish list. And the good news? Lizz Redman, formerly in the kitchen at BODY, will be adding prepared foods!

Try Feeding on Santa Fe’s Finest

Hippocrates said that “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” I say take the opportunity to grab a full dose of the best medicine going – delectable food – when you taste the pleasures of a Santa Fe getaway. There’s a bounty of beneficial blessings on a City Different plate so dig in and dig the healthy feeling of Santa Fe!

 

Santa Fe Winter is Full of Wonder

The jingle bells have stopped ringing but winter is definitely on. And I am psyched to make snow angels and welcome the New Year to Santa Fe. The great thing about being a local is having an earmuff to the snowy ground in plenty of time to plan for a wonderland of fun. So put on your mittens and come along with me for the best in winter adventures Santa Fe style!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter Must Dos
Soup’s on in Santa Fe: Fill your belly and treat your tastebuds—and those of NM’s most needy, too—at this beloved charity event (Photo Credit: The Food Depot)

Santa Fe is All Souped Up This Winter

It’s impossible to resist SuperBowl XLVIII fever, but for those who can’t wait for kickoff, Santa Fe’s January 17 SouperBowl XXI makes cups runneth over. This delicious soup competition is firmly established as a January taste sensation and proceeds benefit the Food Depot. Get inspired by the intriguing mix of ingredients that Santa Fe chefs put in the pot and your soup repertoire will improve by the bowlful. Last year’s Best Soup winner, the Winter Squash and Chorizo Soup served up by Terra at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, was a hearty hit and I can’t wait to see what Chef Andrew stirs up this year. With four other categories (best cream, best savory, best seafood and best vegetarian), there’s sure to be plenty of slurping going on!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Railyard, Craft Beer, Beer Fest
It’s cheers to you when you lift your glass at Santa Fe Winter Brew Fest. (Photo Credit: New Mexico Brewers’ Guild)

Brewing Up the Best of Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a chic pick for craft beers (most recently recognized by Thrilist.com as one of the nation’s best brew cities) and there’s no better time to see—and taste–why than at WinterBrew. On January 23,16 breweries and a selection of food stands converge at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion for a cheery, beery evening. Last year’s slate has been expanded with two new Albuquerque brewers, Red Door Brewing and Ponderosa Brewing. Local favorites like Duel Brewery and Santa Fe Brewing Company (whose 2014 Great American Beer Festival entry won best American-style Sour Ale) will be on tap with seasonal styles. And beer-lovers line up for regulars like Bosque Brewing (Beer Festival winner for Fresh Hop Ale) and Marble Brewery (who scored for Imperial Red Ale). Tickets go fast, so don’t wait to get your taste!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Art, Cuisine
Combining fine art and festive dinners is a Santa Fe specialty.

Feasting on Art is a Santa Fe Tradition

I suspect I sound a bit tummy-centric, so let me paint a picture of Santa Fe ArtFeast for you. This year’s artistic events have seen the Edible ArtTour move to June but February still has a yummy blend of beauty on the The Art of Living palette They’ve stolen my personal credo – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere – but I don’t mind because I can share in the February 20 fun and festivities (which do include food) that benefit art in the schools. And I’ll take that February 21 invitation to Step Up to the Plate too, thank you very much! The Art of Home tour is the most picturesque way to see Santa Fe design and style in its full glory but be warned – you may well end up wanting your own adobe casita by the time you’re done!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fine Dining
You should definitely “Andiamo” to Santa Fe during February Restaurant Week!

It’s Time to Eat and Time to Save in Santa Fe

Returning to my food-centricity (can’t help it, Santa Fe equals great cuisine), I look forward to cashing in on Santa Fe Restaurant Week deals. Other cities may have similar events, but they lack the one-of-a-kind regional ingredients that bring foodlovers back to Santa Fe year after year. Fifty-seven restaurants are already on the roster and that list will grow as we get closer to February 22. Smart hoteliers have cooked up getaway deals so I suggest you grab your BFF (best foodie friend) and make reservations for a seat at Santa Fe’s finest tables. Prizes and giveaways are in store along with terrific deals, making everyone a winner at lunch or dinner.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter, Sports, Mountain
A Santa Fe mountain snowshoe hike with Outspire will inspire you! (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Get Away to Santa Fe’s Winter Wonderland

Of course, a gal has to work off her enjoyment with some outdoor activities and that’s where Ski Santa Fe comes to the rescue. It wouldn’t be winter without a return to the mountains for a dose of snowy magic! Don’t schlep your skis or board, just rent them right on the mountain. Then pick some happening dates and do your downhill in the morning, so you can chill at Beats on the Basin from noon to 3:00 p.m. And if you’d prefer to see the Sangre de Cristo Mountain scenery at a slower pace, plan a snowshoe hike with Outspire to capture Santa Fe’s sparkle and serenity in equal measure.

Get Your New Year On in Santa Fe

Have I convinced you? I’ve been convinced for years – and my 2015 calendar is already marked with monthly must-do’s. There’s nothing like bright blue skies and a blanket of crystalline white snowflakes to start a new year right – and Santa Fe is ready to show you how.

 

New Year’s Eve in Santa Fe is Yours to Create

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” Absolutely not, Mr. Burns, that can’t happen in a town that’s more than 400 years old – too many auld acquaintances to play with! Every one of my auldies but goodies has a favorite spot for ringing in the New Year, so I’ve made a list and checked it twice to see where we’ll have fun being naughty and nice!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology
Any day can end with ahhh at the Agave Lounge.

Firm believers in top-drawer food with party beverages head to the Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel to pair green chile Kobe sliders with their margaritas or martinis. The handsome fireplace casts cozy warmth throughout the room at this locals’ favorite, where a Happy Hour meet-and-greet easily flows into the wee hours. And if you’re planning on going the distance, the Eldorado’s New Year’s Eve Package has everything you need to welcome 2015 in true Santa Fe style.

Given that Santa Fe has a Palace of the Governors, it’s no surprise that there’s a party palace too, the Palace Restaurant and Saloon. Once the bailiwick of the notorious Doña Tules (yes, there’s a story), the Palace has Happy Hour covered, but things really get going once the music starts. The calendar is always fully-loaded, and New Year’s Eve promises a speakeasy with The Shiners Club Jazz Band to swing 2015 into gear.

“Buon Anno” will roll off the tongue when you lubricate your vocal cords with an Italian twist and a glass of Prosecco for a toast at Il Piatto. Not one, but two happy hours on tap here, molto bene! The early one has half-off appetizers and choice wines by the glass. And late diners score at the 9:30 version with those half-off apps, selected wines and a three-course Prix Fixe dinner!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology
New Year’s Eve in Santa Fe can be colorful when you toast 2015 at Del Charro.

If you’re feeling casual, the Del Charro Saloon can’t be beat; inexpensive chow and a friendly howdy are guaranteed. Margaritas come with their own shakers, so you can say good-bye to the old year as you pour a good-bye to your last drop. No need to get gussied up – just sit back and relax, nibble an order of Nachos Royale, and watch the ball drop on the screen over the bar.

Casual comfort has a storied past at the Pink Adobe’s Dragon Room, a haunt that locals have been coming to forever (well at least for the last 70 years). Smack-dab in the center of the historic Barrio de Analco, the Dragon Room possesses all the rustic and authentic charm Santa Fe is known for. Tuck yourself into an corner with a margarita close at hand and you might well find yourself making friends with a local sharing tales of bygone days when Rosalea Murphy, the Pink’s legendary founder, reigned nightly for the artists and writers who courted her favor.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology
You can light up the night in Santa Fe at Skylight. (Photo Credit: The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Party people skedaddle to Skylight, a hot hit from the moment it opened in summer 2014. Food, yes; drinks, yes; music – sí, sí,sí! Santa Feans like to get their party on and this is the place. Laugh in the New Year with a performance by the Bonkerz comedy team (6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) then keep the amusement alive at the late-night dance party (10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.) You can even beat the New Year’s rush and meet at Skylight on December 30 for Tuesday 50-cent wings and $2 Tecates!

There’s a new kid on the nightlife block and the Blue Rooster is sure to keep it rocking well into morning on New Year’s Eve. In the former home of the Rouge Cat (and sticking with the colorful naming), the Rooster has Santa Fe’s gay scene firmly in its sights, but there’s no pecking order on who’s invited to play. Diversity rules this hen house and all are welcome to party their way into 2015. And if your New Year’s Eve dance card is full, come back on Saturday night to hear Santa Fe’s resident disco diva, DJ Oona, pull out all the stops.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology
New Year’s Eve is sure to be hot when you let The Den mix the drinks! (Photo Credit: The Den)

Head for The Den, located underneath the Coyote Café, and you’ll feel right at home. This intimate hideaway is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails then comes to life for late-night endings with music spun by knock-out Santa Fe DJs. The signature cocktails are truly inventive and some lucky wordsmith had a great time coming up with awesome appellations for the Den’s apertifs and after-dinner specialties – cheers to them!

Every town has that one local bar that you absolutely must see to say you’ve been there. In Santa Fe, that’s Evangelo’s! There’s an upstairs and an Underground and you want to visit both. The face of bar-founder Evangelo Klonis became familiar world-wide thanks to a famed World War II picture by W. Eugene Smith, and the family atmosphere is palpable. Regulars will regale you with stories (both believable and far-fetched) of musicians they’ve heard here, including bands tailor-made for the movies (witness Jeff Bridges strumming in Crazy Heart).

For ending the night in true dive fashion, I suggest the intriguing set of stairs on the corner of Don Gaspar and West San Francisco Street leading down to The Matador. This hole-in-the-wall with rockabilly flair is the perfect place for a rendezvous with your best buddies. It’s dark, it’s funky, but it’s all Santa Fe – and all of Santa Fe has made a pilgrimage to close a night, a week or the year with a nightcap at the Matador. Close your night by linking arms for a stroll under the twinkling lights of Santa Fe Plaza.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology
No matter where December 31 takes you, Santa Fe’s great mixologists will help you shake off 2014 and welcome the New Year!

Ten, nine, eight, seven,….well, you know how it goes. Gather the gang to say good-bye to 2014 City Different style and use my skinny on these ten spots to light up your getaway before the year is gone. Santa Fe has 400-plus years of experience at getting the year off to a festive start – say Prospero Año Nuevo the Santa Fe way and your 2015 is guaranteed to be a truly Happy New Year!

 

 

Gift-Givers’ Guide to Santa Fe Style

Can you feel the holidays humming in the air? Snow has graced the mountaintops, seasonal foods are simmering, and celebrations are in store. Don’t let the thought of holiday shopping scare you because Santa Fe is a gift-giver’s paradise! I hope your list is made and you’ve checked it twice. This is the perfect time and place to score future smiles from one-of-a-kind holiday surprises.

Santa Fe, Shopping, Antiques, Jewelry
Things Finer’s name says it all – Santa Fe is full of fine things that amaze and delight!

Festive Finery Makes Gorgeous Gifts

Tucked inside La Fonda, the venerable hotel beloved by locals and visitors alike, Things Finer turns someone else’s unique treasure into a treasured gift. Glittering jewels mesmerize and antique curiosities beckon you to take a closer look. This is a place where you truly never know what you’ll find – that’s what makes it an exciting adventure.

 

 

 

 

skull, art, santa fe, new mexico, shopping, gift, holiday, heart, day of the dead, sugar skull
You’ll be sure to meet colorful characters in the Museum of New Mexico gift shops.

Discover Priceless Treasures by Museum Shopping

If you dig unique discoveries, the Museum of New Mexico’s shops need to be on your list. From folk art to handcrafted jewelry to books galore, the staff has searched far and wide to come up with a collection of distinctive global and local items that reflect each museum’s individual mission. Every historic exhibition yields special artistic gems, and they’ve made it easy to shop online for gifts that spread holiday cheer back to the hands that made them.

And don’t forget to go where the artists are. With  250 galleries in Santa Fe, you can’t miss! It’s always exciting to catch an artist on the cusp of a brilliant career, and The Shop at CCA is ideal for scoping out local talent on its way up. The goods on display have the same quirky sensibility as the Cinematheque schedule, with tons of originality.

 

To Market, To Market, To Find a Fine Treat

When you wander over to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, make a beeline for Bon Marché, across from the Railyard Water Tower. Even on wintry days, the colorful collection instantly whisks you to sunny destinations.

 

shoes, gifts, santa fe, new mexico, shopping, colorful
Stroll in to Bon Marché – whose name means “good deal” in French – and you’ll walk out with happy feet and a happy wallet.

Multi-hued Catalan fabrics are woven on turn-of-the-century machinery then shipped to New Mexico where local artisans turn them into must-have beauties. Bright espadrilles evoke summer’s return, and beach bags add flair for lucky friends taking a winter cruise. And if you leave without those cheery napkins you loved, no problem – you’ll find them online.

 

 

Think of Fido’s mournful face if there’s no treat under the tree – you know you need something fun for four-legged BFFs. Pooch Pantry has the best for barkers, and you can even place orders for fresh-baked goodies. Doesn’t Coco deserve to eat her Christmas meal out of festive dinnerware? And if your hound stepped in a puddle on your holiday shopping trip, take heed of the self-service dogwash!

Simply Log In for Hands-free Shopping

For sweet stocking stuffers, I believe a spot of chocolate is required. The wise choice from afar? A jaunt to The Chocolatesmith! Nothing says Santa Fe like a rich dark chocolate pâté infused with chile. The only challenge with signature Santa Fe treats is not to eat them before they get tucked into that holiday stocking! Not to worry, munch away because these delicious delights are available online.

If you opt for gourmet chile chocolate pâté, you’ve got to do it Christmas-style, red and green! (Photo Credit: The Chocolatesmith)
If you opt for gourmet chile chocolate pâté, you’ve got to do it Christmas-style, red and green! (Photo Credit: The Chocolatesmith)

Online is the ticket for making a memorable Santa Fe statement with a gorgeous O’Keeffe poster from Posters of Santa Fe. The brick-and-mortar shop is no more, but theirs is a huge art archive of reproductions on paper. Once you’ve trolled through the online collections to make your choice, it’s a snap to have a poster shipped in time to tuck under the tree.

Light Up Your Holiday the Santa Fe Way

All this shopping and no schlepping required! Just visit PakMail or UPS and your hands are free to snap selfies at the November 28 Christmas tree lighting on the Santa Fe Plaza. If the holiday lights remind you of your own tree, head for The Shop: A Christmas Store or Susan’s Christmas Shop for ornaments with authentic New Mexico flavor. And remember the November 29-30 SWAIA Winter Indian Market for handmade Native American treasures you won’t find anywhere but Santa Fe.

A Santa Fe getaway definitely gives you the luxury of shopping in person, but you can be sure those distinctive presents you chose online will arrive for placement under the tree in plenty of time. Either way, shopping Santa Fe means yours will be the gifts that family and friends cherish for years.

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Don’t wait – start your holidays now in Santa Fe!