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santa fe design guide!

by Grace Bonney

today’s santa fe city guide update comes from san francisco artist lisa neimeth. lisa created our original guide to santa fe in 2008 and has so graciously updated this incredible guide with new shops, eateries and places to stay, as well as a list of fantastic annual events! thanks lisa for your beautiful tour of santa fe!–stephanie

*to preserve the original guide’s url, we’ve made these changes to the original guide. so some of the comments you see below will be from the original posting back in 2008. *

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the post!

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to re-visit the guide I did on Santa Fe two years ago–it gave me the opportunity to explore Santa Fe again with new eyes and to see this town as if for the first time. While I do not live in Santa Fe (I live in San Francisco)-I am a frequent visitor and plan on spending at least 3 months a year here up north a bit- in Abiquiu–to work in my soon to be built ceramic studio there.

But I love being here in this town with its fantastic light, diverse interests, great food and just a general feeling of what it is like to be contemporary but living in a very old western town.

It is no wonder so many movies are filmed here these days–not only is the landscape breathtaking, but the talent that exists here is broad and compelling.

Lots goes on in this town all year and it is fantastic to visit during all 4 seasons–I just returned from a beautiful snowy time there–but do relish those warm dry desert summer days the best….

So since this is the oldest capital city in the USA, celebrating its 400th anniversary this year-things do not change too much or too quickly, so much from my 2008 guide is still valid. That said-because there is such a high concentration of art lovers, scientists, artists and a culture that supports linking the arts to just about everything–there is always a new movement afoot—

I am going to update any changes as well as add in some of the new places, eateries, shops and up and coming little enclaves that will be worth checking out.

The newest good news is that the town is moving beyond the plaza walls–the plaza is the “heart” of old Santa Fe and is beautiful, and well worth visiting. But for locals and visitors alike–there are lots of new things happening south of the plaza in little nooks and cranny neighborhoods that are really nourishing some younger art and design movements. With the opening of the new Railyard mixed use area as well as the Railrunner train that goes from Albuquerque to Santa Fe in one hour–brings an emphasis to a formerly industrial area and spreads the action further into where a large part of the population of Santa Fe lives.

So read on for what to explore in old and new neighborhoods in Santa Fe as well as fabulous things to do as day trips. This is a truly magical area with so much to tempt your imagination–a mix of historical wonder greeting the contemporary.

Welcome to Santa Fe, New Mexico–a beautiful city set in the high desert mountains at 7000 feet. This is a great town-lots of history–and a unique tri-cultural feel–incorporating the Native American, Hispanic and Caucasian inhabitants. With this comes a great combination of ancient worlds segueing into the hip modern world. Once I started spending time here, I was hooked and now visit often and try and work here and do clay in the summers. Living in San Francisco, Santa Fe is the perfect antidote to urban, coastal living or anywhere else you may live!

Art has always been a big part of this area with one of the first artist colonies formed in Santa Fe in the early part of the 19th century formed by folks fleeing New York City and the East coast to “heal” themselves in the dry, clean air. Once these artists came here they were so struck by the incredible beauty and spectacular landscape…and cheap rents…they stayed and began a long tradition of artistic pilgrimages to this area to capture the intense beauty and fascinating culture. Georgia O’Keeffe being one of the more well known among these people who really came to symbolize the mysterious ethereal beauty that lurks here. So of course, when the artists come, everyone else soon follows, sometimes rendering a place more touristy, trendy and of course, more expensive. Santa Fe boomed in the 1980’s and 90’s with “Santa Fe style” and Ralph Lauren galore. The city is retreating from that a bit these days and really trying to move into the 21st century with modern art, design and more complex and innovative restaurants. What you have now is still the same charm and mystique but with some more edgy art and design movements afloat. What I love about Santa Fe is that you can experience so many different things here–eat great food, take a hike, get a fantastic massage and outdoor hot tub, wander through some great museums and galleries, shop for beautiful Native American and Hispanic artifacts and explore new design and art events– all in one day! There are also great deals on hotels to be had here since there are so many hotels around. More details about that later.

The city has a few main areas that will be covered here and are all within walking distance or at least a short drive from each other: the Plaza-the first settled town in the US (1610)–the end of the Santa Fe Trail and the heart of Santa Fe; Guadalupe Street/Railyard/2nd St–the “new” area where modern galleries and design shops are popping up; and Canyon Road-the original “art street”, on the periphery is Cerillos Road, a bit out of the center of town and includes many of your basic box stores on the southern end, but closer to town has some great old neon motels and some great local spots.

In the Plaza Area:

Centered around the main plaza are sweet small streets teeming with shops-some touristy, others unique and interesting. Here are some of the better ones:

Seret & Sons: 224 Galisteo Street 505.988.9151: beautiful old rugs, doors and other architectural elements artifacts from around the world

Carpinteros: 217 Galisteo St 505.982.2258: elegantly hand-crafted furniture in the Spanish tradition.

• Sequoia Collections: Galisteo St 505.982.7000: unusual furniture made of reclaimed woods and metals; lovely, funky paintings from emerging artists.

• Native American vendors: line up under the Plaza overhang daily and sell authentic Native American jewelry and other items. If you want to buy jewelry-do it here–you are buying direct from the artisans who make it.

• Doodlets- 120 Don Gaspar Ave 505.983.3771: crafts, novelty items, hand made paper goods

• Jett-101 Old Santa Fe Trail 505.988.1866: unique jewelry from local and national artisans

• Ortegas—101 W. San Francisco St 505.988.3585: historical trading post carrying contemporary and older native American jewelry

Papergami-213 W. San Francisco St 505.982.3080: beautiful Japanese papers and paper items

Mira-101 W.Marcy St 505.988.3585: really fun clothing jewelry and decorative objects

Design Warehouse– 101 W. Marcy St 505.988.1555: fantastic furniture and home store-great website too

Back At The Ranch– 209 East Marcy St 505.989.811: custom made, vintage and really original cowboy boots

• Todos Santos- 125 E. Palace ave 505.982.3855; chocolatier and confectioner -with beautifully crafted candies–gilded milagros

• Poem- 125 E. Palace Ave 505.820.7884: tabletop, paper and other eclectic home decor items

• Patina- 131 West Palace Ave 505.986.3432 www.patina-gallery.com: hand crafted jewelry and decorative objects

Onorato– 109 ½ E.Palace Ave 505.984.2008: great bedding, linens and housewares

• Shiprock- 53 Old Santa Fe Trail 505.982.8478 www.shiprocktrading.com: home furnishings-contemporary and antique

• Char- www.chardesigns.com 104 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505.988.5969: classic Santa Fe style here in custom and hand made clothing and amazing jewelry designs

SStein Design— local handcrafted bags and wallets. By appointment to come to the local factory—worth the trip!

• The Rainbow man- www.rainbowman.com- fun vintage Native American and Hispanic folk art, tableware, jewelry, photographs

• Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse 202 Galisteo St-www.collectedworksbookstore.com

Where to eat:

Pasquals—103 East Water St 505.983.9340: a do not miss in Santa Fe-great New Mexican food, funky Mexican folk art interior and a cool gallery upstairs where you can purchase micaceous clay cook pots. This is a Santa Fe landmark–lines out the door, but well worth the wait.

SantaCafe– 231 Washington Ave 505.984.1788: classic Santa Fe restaurant—refined and located in a beautiful back patio spot.

• Tia Sophia’s:210 W. San Francisco St 505.983.9880: great New Mexican breakfasts, long lines, but moves fast!

• Plaza restaurant: New Mexican coffee shop

La Boca-72 W.Marcy st 505.982.3433:fabulous modern Spanish tapas

El Meson-213 Washington St 505.983.6756: more fab tapas with a great bar and music

La Fonda-100E.San Francisco st 505.982.5511: oldest hotel in US–great interior-murals, fun bar with famous margaritas, music and snacks;great rooftop bar open during summer–great views!

La Casa Sena: 125 E.Palace Ave 505.988.9232: beautiful courtyard in the summer-great drinks and appetizers

The Shed: 1131/2 E.Palace Ave 505.982.9030; classic New Mexico food-historical building

Rooftop Pizzeria-60 E.San Francisco St 505.984.0008- great view of the mountains, really good pizza, salads

Coyote Cafe/Cantina—132 N. Water St 505.983.1615 -classic Santa Fe restaurant rooftop cantina open in warmer months for lunch, drinks

Pink Adobe/Dragon Well Bar—406 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505.983.7712: great lunch/dinner drinks, fun bar.

Rio Chama– Santa Fe, bar, restaurant, patio–is where the lobbyists hang out during the legislative session (I got to sit next to Sam Shepard here a few years back–BIG thrill!)

• Matador–San Francisco and Galisteo St-funky bar–fun, local

Kakawa Chocalate House–1050 E.Paseo de Peralta–interesting chocolate drinks and combos

Restaurant Martin-526 Galisteo-new hot spot in town from old hand chef/owner—fabulous!

And don’t miss: Museum of Contemporary Native Art, The Lensic Theater (great concerts, performances),Georgia O’Keefe Museum-located off the Plaza and the newly opened New Mexico History Museum–a fabulous way to learn of the local history, Palace of the Governors–located on the plaza, Center for Contemporary Art up on Old Pecos Rd for great films, lectures.

Guadalupe/Railyard Area:

Just west of the main plaza area is this fun shopping, eating area that also includes the developing Railyard area.

Spanish Table-109 N. Guadalupe St 505.986.0243: eclectic collection of housewares and culinary delights from Spain

Cielo Home and Cielo Tabletop- 316 Guadalupe 505. 992.1960: 2 stores carrying wonderful combination of tableware, home furnishings and other housewares

Gypsy Baby– 318 Guadalupe St 505.820.1898: high end baby/kids store

• Double Take at The Ranch 321 Guadalupe 505.820.7775- vintage clothing, boots, jewelry and household items–very fun

• Santa Fe Pottery @ Double Take- 323 Guadalupe: local and national artisans working in contemporary pottery

• Sanbusco Center- a small “mall” but with some interesting shops–jewelry, textiles–worth breezing through

• Mindy and Clyde Cupboard Company- 407 S. Guadalupe 505.982.0901: vintage restaurant and railroad china, tablecloths and other fun items– like an outpost of Fish’s Eddy in NYC

Casa Nova– 530 S. Guadalupe 505.983.8558: great mix of international housewares, art and design services

Moss-530 S. Guadalupe St 505.989.7300: contemporary furnishings–amazing indoor/outdoor furniture

Antique Warehouse: 530 S. Guadalupe 505.984.1159: Mexican Doors and Ranch furniture

• Santa Fe Clay- 1615 Paseo de Peralta 505.984.1122: studio and gallery showcasing nationally renowned contemporary ceramics for show and sale

• Rainbow Gate-320 Sandoval 505.983.8892: unique locally made dinnerware shop. All work is made on the premises and boast lots of color!

• Cowboyz–S. Guadalupe–great vintage cowboy shirts–cheap cheap

Where to eat around here:

• Cowgirl Hall of Fame—319 S. Guadalupe St 505.982.2565: Santa Fe outpost of a NYC favorite-fun, kitschy food and drinks-lunch/dinner

Zia Diner– 326 S.Guadalupe St 505. 988.7008 : : classic diner food New Mexican style-breakfast, lunch, dinner

• AquaSanta- 451 West Alameda 505.982.6297: a splurge well worth it–amazingly crafted “slow food” and very cool setting in old adobe–lunch, dinner

• Mauka- 544 Agua Fria 505.984.1969-amazing, innovative Asian cuisine-lunch/dinner

• Cafe Dominic-320 S. Guadalupe St : coffee, lunch

Aztec Cafe-317 Aztec St: local coffee spot, wireless

• Sage Bakehouse-535 Cerillos rd-amazing baked goods and sandwiches

• Corazon– 401 S. Guadalupe st–bar, nightclub–great happy hour/snacks–real local color

• Tommasitas- 500 S. Guadalupe St 505.983.5721-classic New Mexican fare

• La Stazione- 530 S. Guadalupe St 505.989.3300: lunch, dinner, nice views of the mountains best for drinks

• Flying Star–at the railyard–great diner food

• Vinaigrette-709 Don Cubero Alley– www.vinaigretteonline.com-fresh greens, great meals

While you are here-make sure to visit the interesting new galleries that are all around the Railyard Area-many have Friday night openings: (Box Gallery, William Segal, Tai Gallery, Gebert Contemporary to name a few). Plus, the Farmers Market’s permanent home is here now–a must visit on Saturdays–a real Santa Fe scene–great food, music , crafts. The new indoor FLEA is also open now across the street from the farmers market at the railyard–open sat/sun–fun vintage–real flea market stuff.

Other cool things in the new Railyard area:

• Site Santa Fe-1606 Paseo de Peralta www.sitesantafe.org–cutting edge museum/gallery–Biennial coming this summer (2010)

• Santa Fe Complex- www.sfcomplex.org –experimental space for art and science ventures

• Warehouse 21- 1614 Paseo de Peralta www.warehouse21.org – gathering place for youth art programs, exhibits, events

Side trip from here to 2nd Street and beyond:

This area is really blossoming with live/work spaces, cafes, galleries and look out for more happening here ongoing:

• Meow Wolf Artist Collective- www.meowwolf.com–1800 Second st–young artist collective engaging in shows, events, installations, concerts, “throwdowns”-a peek into what’s very new and innovative in the youth art scene here–no howling coyotes with bandanas here!

• Linda Durham Gallery- www.lindadurham.com-1807 Second St

• Cafe Phenix www.cafe-phenix.com 1414 2nd st– great breakfasts, coffee–crepes

• Tree House www.treehousepastry.com 1600 Lena St–nestled in the Lena St lofts–yum salads and baked goods–have the pupusas for breakfast!

• Chocolate Maven-821 W. San mateo Rd www.chocolatemaven.com–not just chocolate but great meals too

• Santa Fe Art Institute- 1600 St Michael’s Drive www.sfai.org –readings, events and exhibits

• Pacheco Park–a little ways beyond the Railyard and 2nd st is another developing design cluster:

Victoria Price Art and Design 1512 Pacheco Street-Bldg B 505.983.2625: interior designer’s eclectic collection of art, home design, accessories

Santa Fe Modern Home 1512 Pacheco Street: modern design and furnishings

Side trip to Cerillos Road:

Jackalope– 2820 Cerrillos Rd 505.471.8539: a fun sprawl of a store with a mix of furniture, pottery, textiles in a bazaar like setting (don’t miss the glass blowers and prairie dogs right in the middle of the grounds!) neon motels and local lore-just soak it in on your drive through!

• While you are here stop by the Tecolate café 1203 Cerrillos Rd. 505.988.1362: for a hardy breakfast of blue corn pinon pancakes or check out the Counter Culture café 930 Baca St: for breakfast, lunch and dinner, located off Cerrillos road in an up and coming neighborhood.

Canyon Road:

This is classic Santa Fe–this street of galleries, shops and restaurants is one of the original “Art Streets” in the US–it is filled with historic adobes and is totally walkable from end to end.

C gallery-708 Canyon Rd 505.986.1221: terrific contemporary art and home furnishings

• Curiosa-718 Canyon Rd 505.988.2420: wonderful gem of a store with tableware, jewelry and unusual art for home-bird and nature themed

Nathalie– 503 Canyon Rd 505.982.1021-very cool fashion and home furnishings of the southwest and france

Karen Melfi Collection-225 Canyon Rd 505.982.3032: sculpture and design shop

Cielo Bed and Bath-702 ½ Canyon Rd 505.995.8008: another outpost of this lovely home store

La Mesa de Santa Fe-225 Canyon Rd 505.984.1688: Wonderful original tableware and house art

• Pachamama-223 Canyon rd 505.983.4020: terrific collection of vintage and contemporary Latin American folk art

Jane Sauer’s 13 moons gallery-652 Canyon Rd 505.995.8513: nationally and international clay, fiber,metal and glass art

This is the street to just walk up and down and just explore the multitude of galleries, to many to mention here, that line Canyon road–they often have Friday night openings with wine and cheese and a chance to stroll between 5 and 7pm.

Where to eat:

Downtown Subscription-376 Garcia St 505.983.3085: locals coffee hangout with every magazine imaginable!

• The Tea House- 821 Canyon Rd 505.992.0972: serene and inviting for breakfast and lunch. amazing muffins, salads, sandwiches and an incredibly extensive tea list. Wonderful rock garden—great after a day of walking around!

Geronimo– 724 Canyon Rd 505.982.1500: high end bustling Santa Fe restaurant housed in a restored adobe–this is serious.

El Farol-808 Canyon Rd 505.988.3823: fun Spanish restaurant with flamenco nights and lively bar scene.

Other things to do near downtown:

Ten Thousand Waves– about ten minutes up the ski basin road from the plaza is this serene collection of outdoor hot tubs private and group ones–all in a beautiful alpine setting.

• Tesuque Flea Market-about 20 minutes north of town near the famous Santa Fe Opera House (if you go in the summer-check out the opera—you can score $10 SRO or splurge for a real seat and take in world class opera in a gorgeous setting.

• DeVargas Mall- 181 Paseo de Peralta just north of the plaza—yes, another mall, but this is an old-fashioned one and has 2 great stores worth visiting: Surrender Dorothy- super fun clothing, shoe and bag store; Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe -505-988-3394-wonderful kitchen and tableware store—has it all.

Museum Hill: Up about 5 minutes from the plaza on Old Santa Fe Trail perched above town, are five terrific museums well worth a visit, especially the International Museum of Folk Art. There is a bus that runs up here from the plaza. Beautiful spot and a great orientation to the history and folklore of the area.

Santa Fe Ski Basin: in winter–a low key but beautiful ski area–just 20 min from downtown!

Things to do outside of town:

Abiquiu–an hour north of Santa Fe lies one of the most beautiful landscapes–worth going to for a roam around. And don’t miss visiting Georgia O’Keeffe’s home here open to the public by reservation (and make the reservation well in advance!) from March through November. It is well worth seeing her simple, yet elegant home filled with a wonderful collection of 20th century furniture and art. You can also checkout Ghost Ranch–small dinosaur museum and great hiking

• Taos-another great art town about an hour north of Santa Fe (a subject for another guide!) galleries, shops, restaurants, great skiing

• Galisteo- gorgeous landscape a half hour east of Santa Fe; home of Bruce Nauman and the late Agnes Martin, cool town, sweet hotel/restaurant

• Turquoise Trail–instead of taking I-25 from Albuquerque to Santa Fe–take I-40 to route 14–known as the turquoise trail. Have fun riding through Madrid and Cerillos-old mining towns now home to galleries and cafes. Cerrillos is where they filmed Young Guns back in the 80’s and is still mighty cool-check out the great old bar there–you may share a pint with ol’ Pee Wee

• Tent Rocks– beautiful natural spiral rock formations in the Cochiti reservation half way between Albuquerque and Santa Fe–well worth a stop for a hike

• Pueblos– http://www.newmexico.org/native_america/pueblos/index.php visit the 19 Native American pueblos in the area–fascinating peek into living history–there are annual ceremonies that the public is welcome to–check the schedules.

• Chimayo and the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos–historic healing church and road trip worthwhile to explore hispanic wood carving traditions and crafts indigenous to this area

Where to Stay:

If you go, check out www.hotels.com or go on www.craigslist.org for New Mexico/ Santa Fe and go to vacation rentals. There are some great deals to be had of varying types of accommodations–centrally located. Hotels out on Cerrillos Rd tend to be cheaper, but a little removed from the central area. Another resource is www.vrbo.com—vacation rentals by owner—you can find houses and condos here for rent. There are three great local resources for information about what is going on in town. On Wednesdays the Santa Fe Reporter comes out–a free weekly with lots of great information. On Fridays the PasaTiempo is inside the New Mexican-the local paper and gives you a rundown of all weekly happenings. Also THE Magazine- a monthly free publication you can find in newspaper boxes on the street corners-has all the information about gallery openings, museum shows and restaurant information as well.

Getting Here:

You can fly into Albuquerque—and drive an hour north to Santa Fe—you can really get away with not even renting a car as there are great shuttles from the ABQ airport straight to Santa Fe. And now with the Railrunner train.

that you can catch from Albuquerque and goes directly to downtown Santa Fe–there are many transport options.

Visit Santa Fe at any time of year—there is always something going on and each season is absolutely gorgeous!!

Check for local events and in summer don’t miss these amazing annual events:

International Folk Art Market 7/9-11/10

Spanish Market–7/24-25/10

Indian Market 8/21-22/10.

SOFA West will also take place in Santa Fe this summer 7/8-11 exhibiting Sculptural and Functional Objects

So make your plans and have fun!

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  • i grew up in santa fe, and love the summers. the opera, maria benitez’ flamenco performances, and bandelier national park(near los alamos) are experiences you should not miss. the folk art museum(museum hill) hosts a market in july, with int’l artisans.

  • My husband and i visit every summer. It is our absolute favorite city. You did a great job with your guide! Thanks

  • Hi Grace!
    I was so suprised to see Santa Fe pop up on your blog. I am a local S.Fean and a dedicated reader of D*S.
    If you are stopping by on your way back one place that is worth checking out, not found on the guide, is SITE Santa Fe, ” a contemporary art space” (sitesantafe.org) and another restaruant en par with Tomasita’s, in terms of wonderful N.M. cuisine, is Maria’s whose margaritas are the best in town. Lastly, if you’ve got the chance, as mentioned in the guide, Abiquiu is a must-see!
    Thanks for posting this.

  • What a great article about Santa Fe, NM. I was there a few years ago, and wish I had this list with me back then. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  • This is a fantastic post that begins to capture Santa Fe quite well. One of the most amazing things about the city is that the zoning laws have been enforced in such a way that practically every building in the city compliments its neighbor perfectly, so that visiting the place is like being transported into another land. My husband and I are actually abandoning our careers in L.A. in order to move to Santa Fe this summer, partly because we are so inspired by its beauty. Yay!

  • thanks for the additions–it is hard to get everyting in! Another thing I forgot to put in the guide is visiting the Native American Pueblos that surround Sfe–there are often dances and ceremonies that the public can witness and it is a fascinating and beautiful thing. In particular, Taos pueblo (about an hour north of SFe) is quite historic and amazing. Check out :www.collectorsguide.com/nm/nmfa03.html
    for more information!-

  • Lisa,
    Well done !!! I’ve always been curious about Santa Fe, and dream of going there soon. Especially after reading about it.Thank You for a wonderful post on Santa Fe.

  • as a native new mexican, thanks for profiling the beautiful land of enchantment. if you are going to santa fe and have a couple of extra days, check out Taos and Madrid…both wonderfully authentic new mexican towns (santa fe can be a bit disneyland-esque, to be honest…but great shopping, mind you) without the throngs of tourists.

  • Yeah! It’s so nice to see Santa Fe on D*S! I’m a local to the area and also a loyal reader to your site.
    Another great side trip if you are visiting Santa Fe is my little community of MADRID (18 miles South). It’s an old mining town of about 400 people and has over 50 art galleries. It has an amazing young artist scene and some really unique funky galleries and stores! It’s a must see if you are in the area. Here’s a few good example’s:
    Again, thanks for this WONDERFUL post!
    And Grace, if you would like to start a guide for little artist communities, I would love to show you Madrid!

  • I spent all of last summer in Santa Fe and miss it a lot. Downtown Subscription has the best coffee I’ve ever tasted–ever, esp. their Mexican mochas. Also, I would definitely recommend checking out the Santa Fe based jewelers Herndon Heald–you can find some of jewelry in Sundance Catalogue, but I loved their stuff so much, I literally knocked on one of the artist’s home looking for her work.

  • Super & informative article. I’m seriously of thinking of going back to SF early June. I was able to visit this interesting area early last spring with a friend I had not seen in 27 years. It was a great trip! For all you fabric people, I highly recommend a trip to Taos to experience two extraordinary fabric shops: LLom and Common Thread. Thanks for the well done post.

  • Great write-up Lis! I had no idea that when you went on that 4 hour walkaround last week such a comprehensive and entertaining guide would emerge so quickly and so well. Of course the reality is that you’ve been a close and discriminating observer of SFe for years. As your husband (and shameless promotor) let me add that your awesome tableware can be found at Curiosa on Canyon Road and that your website is http://www.lisaneimeth.com.

  • If you are an Alexander Girard fan, in addition to his outstanding personal folk art collection now housed at the International Folk Art museum, the artwork and interiors of The Compound restaurant on Canyon Rd. were designed by him.

  • What an amazing guide! I went to Santa Fe on a family vacation 11 years ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I was really happy to see La Mesa de Santa Fe above-my Aunt is a ceramic artist and she shows her work there.

  • Hello from Santa Fe! Hoo-ray! I’m fond of my town and fond of DS. What a pair!

  • So glad you mentioned Pasqual’s. We had the good fortune to stumble across it on a trip out there a few years back, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory. I’ll be back in New Mexico this March and won’t rest until I get some of their Huevos Motulenos or Mole Enchiladas. I can’t wait to investigate some of your other recommendations as well!

  • I worked in Santa Fe for 5 years and I wanted to add my two cents for all the chocolate lovers out there. Chocolate Maven is a great little cafe and bakery set in a warehouse where you can watch them make their fresh baked goods while enjoying homemade quiche and decadent desserts. And Chocolatesmith is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Indulge and enjoy!

  • Santa Fe…..so many wonderful and beautiful opportunities – like no other. Don’t forget the evenings in SF – their light polution is low and the skies are like magic. Take a ride in a car with the top down or just go for a walk. Los Alamos a short drive North has some unique history and there is a wonderful train ride near the Colorado border. So much to do when you stay in SF…..just go for a walk and the culture and beauty will never leave your memory.

  • Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for a comprehensive review of our great city. The info you gathered is really is among the best and most up to date I’ve seen, and I search the web for a living. Thanks for the props on the Design Warehouse site (we built that). Another site that locals and guests might want to check out is Santa Fe Lunch http://www.santafelunch.com. We painstakingly went around to almost all the restaurants in Santa Fe and added their menus. So, if anyone ever wonders where to eat-check it out. You can post restaurant reviews too. Thanks!

  • Wow. Reallly appreciate your guide suggestions. Would just add that an even more comphrehensive sweep of the area would be to begin and spend a day at Old Town Albquerque, and next morning take the beautiful scenic highway to Sante Fe stopping to visit the Pueblo on the way hopefully during a seasonal native festival and on up the highway to the little terra cotta landscape shop to pick up a quintessential clay sun piece on the way and then on to Sante Fe. Follow this up next day with a drive up the same highway to Taos and spending the day in their city center. Old Town, Sante Fe, and Taos can be done with ease in three days and all along the same beautiful scenic highway that runs from Old Town to Taos. I’m keeping your guide. Sante Fe is outstanding and I hope it never changes. Thanks! B.

  • I would like to add that Santa Fe’s Folk Art Museum houses a wonderful collection of toys collected by none other than Alexander Girard and his wife on their travels around the world. It is truly sublime and one thing I go back to visit each and every time I’m in Santa Fe. Great guide!

  • Thanks for the guide. I grew up in Albuquerque and spent lots of time in Santa Fe–this write-up encapsulates the city well.

    I just finished writing a guide of my own on New Mexico which explains the significance, origin and history of its foods, crafts, architecture, and general personality. You can check it out at http://www.eyemusebooks.com/books.html!

  • Lived in Santa Fe a number of years ago ans it still holds a treasured place in my heart. Your guide was quite complete, covering all the cool spots for shopping, eating and curiosities. I collect rubber stamps. There is the coolest stamp store located near the Plaza and the downtown Starbucks, Guadalupe’s Rubber Stamps. (They also have a website.) Lots of SW /Mexican themed stamps. Check it out!

  • We have a train now !. The Railrunner Express runs between Belen, NM and Santa Fe. There is a shuttle to and from the airport in Albuquerque. It’s so great to take in all the beautiful scenery and not have to drive.

  • Good article. I and my family recently visited this place and it’s really one of the amazing places I have visited. The jewelry and boots are really looking lovely and the other house hold products are also very amazing.

  • On Canyon Rd, you cannot miss Bittersweet Designs. Hand crafted cards, journals and frames using vintage wallpaper and embellishments. Also a line of jewelry using antique pieces. The owner, Laurie, is an absolute doll. Stop in and say hello!


  • So great to see more interest in New Mexico! As a native myself, I’ve always felt that NM is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and it’s awesome to see such an expansion in the interest of the Land of Enchantment. :)

  • I believe Papergami went out of business last year. Also, the road to Tent Rocks is being paved this summer, so check for closings before heading out.

    If you are exploring the area around Santa Fe, don’t forget that there is more to Albuquerque than the airport and Railrunner stop.

  • oops! sorry about the papergami..tried to delete all things expired-but may have missed a few..so your updates are welcome!
    yes–lots to do in albuquerque-but think that it could be it’s own separate guide..this is more north way..

  • As a Santa Fe native, La Choza is my favorite for New Mexican. Just at the south end of the new Railyard park, La Choza is an old standby and offers all the New Mexican favorites. The Carne Adova is my fav – pork or chicken baked in red chile then folded in to a burrito or enchilada. The more adventurous traveler looking for some real heat needs to try Horseman’s Haven on Cerrillos Rd in the south part of town. And no trip is complete without a good old breakfast burrito smothered in green chile – Tia Sofia’s or The Pantry are two excellent options. Que viva!

  • I won’t say how many years it’s been since I graduated from Santa Fe HS, but I’ll keep this guide handy for my reunion, which takes place next summer.

    Bandelier, a short drive from Santa Fe – great hiking, as I mentioned in that first comment.

  • No one has mentioned my favorite shop in Santa Fe – Desert Son on Canyon Rd. It’s a sliver of a shop with an excellent selection on bags (Henry Beguelin etc.), belts, boots and jewelry – a lot of the leather work is done on site. Not inexpensive, but beautiful, high quality items.

  • Headed home from NJ for a couple of weeks and can’t wait to put this design guide to good use!

  • If you are visiting Santa Fe with kiddos, be sure and have a meal at Tortilla Flats. We were lucky enough to visit last year, and ate there twice with my granddaughter. She still talks about their cheese dip. It was a good moderately priced restaurant.
    We even had to look it up on Google Earth when we got back so she could get another look at it. Such fun.

  • PERFECT TIMING! I leave for Santa Fe on Sunday, and will have this handy guide with me for sure!

  • A few more…Pecos National Monument is GORGEOUS and a good day trip for the family – kids love the kiva. Eat breakfast at Harry’s Roadhouse on the way there! And don’t forget to visit Mr. Poster at 901 Canyon Rd. To. Die. For. original vintage posters…my husband and I could spend all day there – but in case it’s not your thing, right next door is Bittersweet for fun shopping. Must get back to NM soon!

  • I’ve been going to Santa Fe with the family for years- I’m actually going next week! but if you go, you have to stay at the El Rey Inn on Cerrillos, it’s was built in the 1930s and has been kept up fabulously by the family that owns it- it is absolutely full of classic Santa Fe charm

  • Site Santa Fe needs to be on here!!!!

    One of my all time favorite museums…

    And you gotta eat at Cafe Pasquals, it’s SO GOOD!!!

    And go to the Photo Eye gallery and bookstore. It’s awesome and there is a great coffee shop next door with an amazing magazine rack.

  • I just had to mention the Balloon Fiesta which takes place in October every year in Albuquerque–this would make the perfect day trip if you are visiting Sante Fe in the Fall (which is the best time to be there, in my opinion!). Hundreds of fantastically shaped balloons being inflated in a huge field and set afloat at sunrise to the backdrop of the Sandias Mountains…. one of the biggest events in New Mexico.

    Also, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a bit of a drive, but it’s an amazing day trip, riding an old-fashioned narrow gauge train to view the wildness of the mountains and see the aspens flaming into gold in late September!
    Thanks for this guide–I love seeing New Mexico featured. Even though it’s been a long time since I lived there, I still think it’s truly The Land of Enchantment.

  • After reading all the wonderful comments about Santa Fe, I needed to tell you of a new, good place to shop.. just opened this spring… on the south end of town.. you can take St. Francis to 25… and it is off the service road.. think it is called FLEA… a wonderful new flea market in a large white circus tent.. with vendors outside with goods in the back of their pickups… the tent was damaged this summer with a hard rain, but is back in good shape now… lots of great flea market finds for sure..

  • The Spanish Table, 109 N Guadalupe St, is also a GREAT stop. My husband and I always make sure to pop in and see what delicious goods they have. The Santa Fe Cooking School store is also a great place to pick up things that can be hard to find elsewhere.

    Geronimo has the most divine food, but when the author said it’s “serious,” she means not just the food, but the bill, too. My husband and I can’t afford it, but when my folks go down to Santa Fe with us and pick up the tab, it’s the only place on my mind.

  • If you’re traveling through Chimayo, a fantastic place to stay is the Rancho Manzana B&B run by the fabulous Jody Apple. It is absolutely beautiful; an old restored adobe estate filled with gorgeous antiques and things from Jody’s travels around the world. Jody has excellent taste, in food, design and decor. There are horses, an apple orchard, hot tub, pond and even a lavender field.

  • Great overview of Santa Fe…one small correction…The restuarant Mauka closed several months ago; chef Joel Coleman is supposed to have a new project coming at the old Palace Restaurant on Palace Ave. Also, I didn’t see my favorite cafe on Guadalupe– Max’s, a kind of contemporary fusion/Italian bistro. It was named best new restaurant in the January 2010 issue of Santa Fean Magazine.

  • just back from Santa Fe–few updates:
    Mindy and Clyde’s has closed.
    La Stazione is called Railyard restaurant once again.
    Bar at Hotel St Francis–cool and fun place for a drink.

  • Santa Fe is a special place! My art Instruction is growing here for those who love learning drawing and watercolor. Check out my website. New updates coming soon about about my illustration and about my recent class at Ghost Ranch.

  • I just spent a week in Santa Fe with some dear friends and toted this guide around with me. A few things worth noting…

    The Farmer’s Market by the railyard is now on Saturdays and Sundays, and it is a MUST do. The Flea has relocated to a spot directly across the railroad tracks, and there were some great things there. I found a jeweler named Julienne Barth who has some truly gorgeous things.

    The Georgia O’Keefe museum is worth a trip, it is just the right size so as not to cause museum fatigue. We also made a trip out to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiue. I was generally unimpressed with the place until we went on the guided tour of the places where O’Keefe painted. Our guide was fabulous and a great storyteller. Make reservations for the tour before you make the drive out there. O’Keefe’s Abiquiue house is also available for tour but we didn’t make reservations and couldn’t get in.

    One of the most fun things that we did was take a tamale class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. I learned a new skill and ate well, you can’t beat that.

    I found that the gallery scene started to blend, but my favorite gallery hands down was the Nedra Matteucci gallery. I can’t afford a thing there, but everything is well selected and gorgeous. Be sure to check out the sculpture garden behind the gallery, it is an amazing oasis in the middle of Santa Fe.

    Downtown Taos didn’t do much for me (lots of t-shirts and incense), but the drive out on the high road was stunning. Chimayo is a must do, and the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos is also beautiful.

  • It’s actually Kowboyz. Just went and got an awesome pair of boots! Check it out- 5,000 pairs of used and vintage cowboy boots! Some cool clothes too.

  • Tried to check out Surrender Dorothy this week, but couldn’t find it — maybe it’s gone out of business?

  • I apologize in advance if someone already left a comment about this, but a MUST VISIT brunch place I’ve grown to love is Counter Culture. Not only will the smart design of the restaurant win you over, but their gigantic blueberry muffins will too! I usually opt for the Salmon Lox with Dill….soooo good.

  • I’m lucky to be here in Santa Fe for two months. My favorite restaurant, Mucho Gusto, is small and tucked away. The food is amazing and the staff very eager to please. My favorite day trip is through Jemez Canyon to Valle Cauldera and Bandelier. My favorite quick stop is 1 mile off Rt 25, Coronado State Monument, with an amazing painted kiva. I love the ladies clothes shopping at Sambusco. Best cookie was at Swiss Bakery.

  • Don’t miss Bittersweet Designs on Canyon Rd.- Beautiful jeweley and so much warmth and personality in this little gem of a boutique.

  • The Treehouse Cafe has moved to the DeVargas mall, and Surrender Dorothy has closed.

  • Anyone have recommendations for great vegetarian restaurants? or dishes at restaurants?

  • All the awesome stores in Sanbusco are moving. Most have gone to DeVargas mall. If you’re in the market for sumptuous textiles (sheets, towels, throws, robes), check out Pandora’s. They just moved to DeVargas this week. I got a great Alpaca throw from them and the customer service can’t be beaten!