Santa Fe has always been known for creative innovation in art, craftsmanship, and design. Since its founding in 1609, art has always characterized this colorful city. The city’s art history is a diverse blend of styles from Pueblo ancestors in 1050 A.D. to its current inhabitants. There are many traditional art forms to experience here.
Replete with natural materials, such as wool and plant fibers like yucca, Santa Fe and its surrounding areas were conducive to woven works. Ancestors fashioned blankets, sandals, baskets, and other goods. Traditional pottery featured painted motifs and optical illusions that fascinate archaeologists today. Potters applied readily available plant or ground mineral pigments to clay, wielding frayed twigs or yucca brushes to create various effects. Pueblo dwellers used vessels for storing or serving food and water. These days, artisans take the pottery tradition to fine art heights with delicately painted motifs.
As more Spanish settlers made their way to Santa Fe in the 1600s, the more word spread about this mysterious, remote land. Spanish colonists brought Catholicism, and religious motifs became common themes for artwork. They introduced embroidery, furniture-making, wood carving, painted flourishes, tinwork, and jewelry making to the local art traditions.
Around the 1920s, Santa Fe’s bustling art scene and natural environs beckoned creatives from across the country. Among these aspiring newcomers was Georgia O’Keefe, whose life’s work is on display at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.
Current Ways to Experience Art in Santa Fe
Today, you can find artistic works in every corner of Santa Fe, but Canyon Road is a cultural mecca, boasting countless galleries, outdoor exhibits, museums, and restaurants along the mile-long meandering road.
Regular events such as the weekly Road Art Stroll help preserve Santa Fe’s prominent standing in the art world and bolster local artists. But it is also easy to spend time exploring on your own. Browse the collections, dine at a cafe or restaurant, and spend an afternoon at any of the 80 galleries found there.
Aside from conventional art forms like pottery and weaving, Canyon Road is home to contemporary art forms like glassworks, abstract paintings, and digital media. Boutiques deliver a range of jewelry, bespoke footwear, leather outerwear, and handmade wooden furniture. No matter what artistic styles you prefer or your budget, there is something on Canyon Road for everyone.
Find your inner artist
Are you more of a hands-on type of traveler? Unleash your creative side with the help of Lisa Flynn’s Inner Artist Workshop as she takes you on a tour of historic Santa Fe and helps you create watercolor postcards of what you find along the way. The customizable session accommodates both individuals and groups of all ages and levels. Just bring an open, curious mind—Lisa Flynn provides the art supplies needed for the class.
Are you looking for a place to stay during your artistic explorations of Santa Fe? The Inn on the Alameda is the perfect place for your Santa Fe getaway. To learn more about the Santa Fe area, or for help planning your trip to Inn on the Alameda, visit our website.
When winter chills give way to friendlier weather, Springtime is a beautiful time to visit Santa Fe. From March through June, Santa Fe temperatures warm up from an average high of 41 degrees in March to highs in the 60s by May and into the 70s in June. You may want to pack a jacket for chilly mornings or cool nights, but with 325 sunny days a year, you’ll find that our mild spring weather makes it an excellent time to explore Santa Fe and its surroundings. Here is just a sampling of things you can do on your visit.
Take a stroll or go on a hike
One of the best ways to see Santa Fe is on foot, as you explore the streets and architecture of the city or head outside of town for more hiking adventures. Santa Fe has an extensive network of wilderness paths and paved urban trails to enjoy as you explore the city. For archaeology and nature buffs, Bandelier National Monument, located about a 50-minute drive from Santa Fe, can’t be missed. Examine ancient petroglyphs and imagine life 11,000 years ago as you explore the well-preserved ruins and hike along the trails in the park.
Visit Santa Fe’s Extraordinary Museums
The City Different is known for its museums and galleries, featuring various artists and styles. There are so many different museums that you are sure to find one that meets your desires. But here are a few suggestions. Suppose you want to learn more about Native Southwest populations through storytelling, research, and stewardship. In that case, The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is the perfect place to begin your explorations of the culture, stories, and art of the people of the Southwest.
Looking for something more modern and interactive, look no further than Meow Wolf. The museum opened in 2008 and is known for its immersive experiences that invite visitors to explore and become part of the story and the environment.
Originally from Wisconsin, Georgia O’Keeffe first came to New Mexico in 1929 and fell in love with the high desert, where the landscape and the culture inspired her work. She spent at least part of every year here until she died in 1986. You can learn more about Georgia and follow her artistic arc from childhood to her later watercolor works and other special exhibits at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Enjoy the colorful cuisine
Every bite in Santa Fe’s cuisine packs a punch, from its complex and spicy dishes topped with red or green chile sauce (or the locals’ favorite, Christmas: a mix of both), to decadent hot chocolate, tasty margaritas, world-class fine dining, and green chile cheeseburgers. Santa Fe is the perfect place to sample all that Northern New Mexican cuisine has to offer. Whether you are looking for upscale dining or a quaint café or restaurant, Santa Fe has a variety of options to meet your needs.
The newest offering at Inn on the Alameda is Joe’s Tequila Bar. Relax in front of our fireplace or out under the stars on our patio as we serve up one of the best tequila menus in town, a full bar selection of wine, beer, and spirits, and dinner from 5-9 pm. Joe’s is also a part of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, offering unique takes on the classic margarita. Spend part of your evening with us for a meal, a margarita, or one of our tequila flights.
Book your stay for spring
Celebrate Spring in Santa Fe with a stay at Inn on the Alameda. Staying at the Inn puts you two blocks away from The Santa Fe Plaza, the city’s shopping, dining, and cultural center, and just a few minutes’ walk from Canyon Road with its wide variety of galleries and shops. We offer a variety of rooms to meet your unique needs, including traditional and deluxe rooms and suites. Our pet-friendly rooms mean your favorite furry friend is welcome too. Book your stay now!
Jewish history in New Mexico goes back, it has been argued, to the founding of the colony. There is evidence that some contemporary New Mexican Hispanics may be descended from “Crypto-Jews” or Marranos. These would have been Sephardic Jews during the 15th and 16th century who, under penalties of the inquisition, were forced to convert to Catholicism; yet still retained certain cultural markers of Jewish identity.
Temple Montefiore, Las Vegas, NM –
First Jewish House of Worship in NM
Facing enormous consequences if caught, the “conversos” who chose to continue practicing Jewish rituals and identity found themselves forced to the edge of the Spanish Empire, or the New Mexican colonies of the Southwest. Though the evidence is controversial, there have been both ethnographic and genetic pieces of evidence linking the latino culture of New Mexico with Jewish descent. There are oral accounts of keeping practices like Kosher slaughter and celebration of the sabbath as well as DNA evidence. One genetic study of 78 latino New Mexicans centering on Albuquerque found 30 displaying genetic markers associated with Jewish descent, markers found in only 1% of the general population.
Temple Beth Shalom,
Santa Fe, NM
The history of Ashkenazic Jews in New Mexico is more recent and less controversial. Like many pioneers, they welcomed the opportunities present with the opening of the Southwest and the United States’ control over the New Mexico territory. Trade routes that were oriented to Mexico and were zealously guarded by Spanish policy became disrupted as New Mexico began to orient itself with the greater American market and economy.
Jewish heritage places high values on learning and education, and with a propensity for business, these immigrants were able to grow in prominence in the mercantile trade.
Some of the Jewish families who responded to these opportunities were the Bibo family, ten siblings who immigrated to New Mexico during the 1870s. Three of them started mercantile businesses. Jewish traditions of helping out family and relatives led to increased immigration as Jews prospered and sent for their families back east. The Spiegelberg family, for instance, was a major influence in the territorial economy. Wili Spiegelberg was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Second National Bank of Santa Fe. The Spiegelbergs provided work and welcome for many Jewish immigrants, employing several members of the Bibo family and welcoming their cousins, the Zeckendorfs, who opened several stores in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque.
After the Civil War, however, business got tougher and the Zeckendorfs headed to Tucson and opened a store there. Eventually they migrated back to New York where they became successful real-estate developers. In the 1980s, Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf returned again to Santa Fe and became leading developers and patrons of the arts, instrumental in both the growth of the Santa Fe Opera and the creation of the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
The Jewish community remains a vibrant one in Santa Fe and one which visitors can explore. During your next stay at the Inn, be sure to take a trip to the Santa Fe Opera House and the Lensic Performing Arts Center – two Santa Fe landmarks that exist today thanks to the hard work and dedication of my friends, the Zeckendorfs.
Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, Friends of Joe Schepps
Inn on the Alameda, That Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, proudly presents all historical blog posts written by Joe & Michael Schepps. Read about the authors here.
It was in the early 1980’s when I first attended the Santa Fe Opera, one of the most beautiful and most unique opera houses in the world. It is, perhaps, a side effect of coming of age during the 1960s that I can no longer remember exactly which opera I first saw, but the setting itself has always made an impression on me.
John Crosby, a musical genius from Manhattan (recently biographized by Santa Fe writer Craig Smith in A Vision of Voices: John Crosby and the Santa Fe Opera), had a dream of an outdoor summer opera company that would take advantage of the countless performers, musicians, conductors, and technicians who were annually idle when the Metropolitan Opera in New York City closed for the summer. He found the San Juan Ranch outside of Santa Fe and with his family was able to purchase what would become the location. He found the perfect acoustical setting and the rest is history.
The house is designed so the brilliantly dying light of the setting sun comes straight through the open but covered stage, a stunning backdrop for any opera.
Photo credit wikimedia commons
To the East, each evening, the image of the reddening Sangre de Cristo mountains attests to the appropriateness of their name. The otherworldly red of the foothills struck the Spanish settlers as evidence of the divine, the blood of Christ made manifest. It is these features that shelter the bowl of the opera house providing an appropriately awe-inspiring landscape upon which the fine arts of mankind can play themselves out. But I digress.
Since that first production, I try to see at least one opera per season, always the one recommended by Nancy Zeckendorf, my close friend and co-founding director of the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Nancy’s influence on me cannot be described. It was she who brought me onto the board of the opera in 1986, first to run the business fund drive, later as treasurer and chairman of the facilities committee.
Even still, I cannot remember my first opera’s name! It was a board-known fact that I never developed the deep understanding and knowledge of opera. Nevertheless, it was just as board-known that my enthusiasm and drive more than made up for my other shortcomings.
Besides, I was surrounded by people who knew everything about opera. My speech and drama background from college drove my interests more to the physical plant side of the performing arts, and therein lay the key to my interest in helping create Santa Fe’s finest and most versatile venue: the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Along with Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, Patricia McFate, and Alexis Girard, the dream came true, a dream that is much more fitting to my strengths as a builder and developer (like Bill).
The Lensic offers such a variety of programming. To name a few: the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Lannan and Santa Fe Institute lecture series, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Met Live, and Performance Santa Fe. All valuable cultural institutions, all as worthwhile as the opera, and all of which I’ve attended.
As for opera, I have seen dozens since that first one now forgotten, and I’ve always been impressed and had a wonderful evening. And what it’s taught me is how communal and convivial an outing it is—before, during, and after. Operagoers—regulars and first-timers—typically turn a night at the opera into a nightlong experience, with drinks or dinner beforehand (the opening night tailgate at the Santa Fe Opera is legendary), food and libations at intermission (though moderately), or dinner and/or drinks afterward.
Which is why I heartily recommend our own Agoyo Lounge as the perfect complement—to the opera or any of the many other cultural events going on throughout Santa Fe. Come in for an early dinner (starting at 5:30–please call for reservations) or an aperitif beforehand, or if it’s a shorter performance, come by for a late dinner or digestif.
Whatever your taste in the arts, the tastes at the Agoyo are unsurpassed and you will always be pleased, just as I have at the many operas I have attended. I just wish I could remember that first one. No matter. What I do remember vividly is the first time I watched lightning and giant black rainstorms rolling into town past the SFO stage, which now, like the entire audience, is fortunately covered from the elements.
Santa Fe has a vibrant musical scene, and not just during the summer season, when we welcome the Santa Fe Opera and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. We are fortunate that our small town is rich in talented musicians all year-round.
Spencer Myer, Photo Courtesy Santa Fe Symphony & Chorus
The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus is one of our local treasures, and not just because they bring us the Messiah every holiday season! The Symphony, under the baton of Stephen Smith, offers the orchestral repertoire, and a range of soloists, to music lovers throughout the year. This Sunday, January 20 at 4:00 pm, a concert entitled Winter Brilliance features pianist Spencer Myer in a performance of Rachmaninov’s riveting Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on the bill are works by Nielsen and Tchaikovsky, sure to delight away from the cold and crisp afternoon in the warmth of the Lensic.
Pianist Louis Lortie Goes to the Opera with the Santa Fe Concert Association
The weekend that just passed brought us the wonders of Jules Massenet’s comic opera, Cinderella, performed in the historic Scottish Rite Center, the former Masonic Temple of Santa Fe, thanks to the Santa Fe Concert Association. What a delightful adventure that was, and with three free performances at the Scottish Rite, and performances in the Santa Fe Public Schools for over 1200 3rd and 4th graders, once could say the Concert Association paid their New Year’s dues. But no, they are back again on January 24, when famed pianist Louis Lortie performs a concert of opera music at 7:30 pm in the St. Francis Auditorium. Their educational mission closes out the month of January at 7:30 pm on the 29th at the United Church of Christ as Executive Director Joseph Illick takes his audience inside the compelling story of Richard Wagner’s life in music.
Pianist Jan Lisiecki, Photo Santa Fe Pro Musica
Not to be outdone, Santa Fe’s beloved baroque ensemble, Santa Fe Pro Musica, celebrates a Winter Classic Weekend at the Lensic. On Friday, January 25 at 7:30 pm, Friday, Jan Lisiecki performs Frederic Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10 & 25. The Classic Weekend continues on Saturday, January 26 at 6:00 pm and Sunday, January 27 at 3:00 pm, when the ensemble performs Beethoven’s Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, and the Haydn Symphony No. 101 in D Major, “Clock” Hob. I:101. and Mr. Lisiecki performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58. With the crisp, clean sounds of a seasoned ensemble, Santa Fe Pro Musica does itself proud.
Matisyahu: Photo by Natalie Zigdon www.matisyahuworld.com
For those whose musical tastes run to the more contemporary, Heath Concerts welcomes the one and only Matisyahu, the talented Hassidic Reggae singer, once a novelty but now a highly respected and inventive musician with a deeply spiritual outlook. This will be his first Santa Fe appearance, and this don’t-miss-it experience is a sure bet to sell out the Lensic, on January 31 at 7:30 pm.
Take time to enjoy some memorable music in Santa Fe!
We’re thinking holidays, how about you? Planning to travel to New Mexico in December? We are happy to offer some suggestions to make your Santa Fe holiday travel bright!
Here at the Inn on the Alameda, we welcome the arrival of the winter holiday season by lighting the Chanukah candles on Saturday, December 8 after sunset.
On Sunday, December 9, beginning at 3:00pm, Chabad Santa Fe invites everyone to attend a free Chanukah event on the Santa Fe Plaza, with a Community Menorah Lighting followed by a concert, featuring Jono Manson. And the Inn is also delighted to welcome any of our guests to light the candles in our Lobby on any of the eight nights of Chanukah.
Also on December 9, the annual holiday tradition of Las Posadas, a re-eanctment of the Holy Family’s search for shelter, takes place beginning at 5:30pm on the Plaza. This procession begins at the Palace pf the Governors and processes around the Plaza, and all are welcome to join. The devil makes an appearance to taunt the crowd, and booing ensues until an angel appears with a light sending blessings on those assembled. The walk concludes back at the Palace of the Governors, where biscochitos and hot cider are on tap.
Warming Up after Las Posadas
Thanks to the many wonderful museum gift shops and unique boutiques, Santa Fe has great options for picking up a holiday gift that cannot be duplicated. Each museum shop’s selection is curated around the individual museum’s mission, so you can find Native American treasures, Spanish heritage gifts, and folk art oddities. The Plaza area is a mecca for cowboy boots, souvenir potholders, velvet skirts, and of course, jewelry. And don’t worry, guys, there’s a cigar shop if you need to escape !
Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Museum
Holiday music will be resounding through the City Different, known for its commitment to the musical performance. The Lensic has a roster of lyrical events to pick and choose from. Aaron Neville brings his sweet voice to Santa Fe with a Christmas concert on Monday, December 10 at 7:30pm. The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus celebrates its birthday in music on Sunday, December 16 at 4:00pm. On Monday, December 17, the Santa Fe Concert Band, led by the inestimable Greg Heltman, offers its annual free concert at 7:00pm; this is your chance to carol! On December 24, at 5:00pm, the Santa Fe Concert Association welcomes an 11-year-old virtuoso pianist and composer, Emily Bear, to perform a Christmas Eve concert, also at the Lensic. And the musical year ends on New Year’s Eve with a performance by the Harlem String Quartet at 5:00pm.
Of course, the Lensic is not our only venue! Santa Fe Pro Musica will be ensconced in the Loretto Chapel for two performances nightly at 6:00pm and 8:00pm from Thursday, December 20 through Monday, December 24, presenting their annual Baroque Christmas Concert. On Saturday, December 29 at 6:00pm and Sunday, December 30 at 3:00pm, Pro Musica offers a Mozart Holiday Concert at the St. Francis Auditorium.
Our Beautiful Cathedral is Perfect for Carols
On December 14, 18, 20, 21 & 22, at 8:00pm, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale presents a concert of Carols and Lullabies in the perfect location for such music, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. And on Sunday, December 15, the Chorale welcomes any and all to The Big Sing, a performance guaranteed to be the largest choir singing in New Mexico, taking place at 3:00pm at Cristo Rey Church. Not to be outdone, the 12-voice Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble performs A Winter Festival of Song on Saturday, December 14 at 7:00pm at the Loretto Chapel and Sunday, December 15 at 3:00pm at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel.
If you are staying in Santa Fe over the winter holidays, it’s a very good idea to have dinner reservations, and our concierge-trained staff is happy to recommend and reserve for you. We are here to answer all of your holiday questions, whether you are staying with us or not…just ask!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT THE INN!