The City Different is the perfect place for romance, whether you’re exploring its historic architecture, dining at one of its fine restaurants, or exploring galleries. No matter what you are looking for, Santa Fe has no shortage of fun date night ideas.
Here are just a few ideas for your next Santa Fe date night:
Follow the Margarita Trail
This is a mainstay of any Santa Fe travel experience for tequila lovers. Both locals and visitors can sample drinks from 40 different establishments using the Margarita Trail Passport found at any Santa Fe Visitor Center downtown or downloaded on a smartphone. Use the passport to receive a $1 discount on each signature margarita and to help determine your next stop.
Start your journey at Joe’s Tequila Bar is a great place to start or finish up your tour. Stop in to enjoy our tart signature margarita. You can even take a break to enjoy dinner before heading into the Plaza to continue the quest.
Fall in Love with Fine Art on Canyon Road
With over 80 studios, galleries, and museums to explore, Canyon Road offers a day chock-full of culture. Bond over unusual designs at La Mesa of Santa Fe, or examine the curios at Intrigue Gallery—both make for interesting dinner conversation later in the night. Mixed media works, characteristic of modern Santa Fe art, are also on display. Ceramics and woodblocks at Hecho a Mano stun audiences, as do the sculptures and abstract works at Kay Contemporary Art.
Note that most galleries close up shop at 5:00 pm.
An exercise in mindfulness and quality time, bathing at Ojo Caliente’s spa, featuring water from local natural desert hot springs, is a stellar date night activity. The bathhouse has provided relaxation and healing through the sulfur-free, mineral-filled waters since 1868.
Try the Lithia Pool, and bathe in each other’s presence under the stars with this open-air bath. Or soak in any of the Upper and Lower Cliffside Pools after sunset for a romantic open-air experience. Stargaze in tandem or enjoy quiet, affectionate conversation along the resort’s edges.
Ojo Caliente is located about an hour north of Santa Fe’s downtown.
There’s nothing more classic than a dinner date with heavenly dishes on the menu. Lucky for couples, Santa Fe is home to a rich food scene. Classic eats like Southwestern-style steak and chile-topped enchiladas are fair game, though Santa Fe’s more contemporary fare is equally delicious.
Book a table at Geronimo, one of the best fine dining restaurants in America, located in a restored adobe home. Enjoy their Southwestern take on American-style farm-to-table cuisine.
Or book an evening at El Farol, one of New Mexico’s most famous restaurants. Enjoy their tapas-style menu, paella, cocktails, and some of the finest flamenco performances.
Turn date night into an overnight experience. Book a room at the Inn on the Alameda We offer deluxe rooms and suites perfect for evenings. Our king and queen-sized beds embody comfort, while the interior design and accents pay homage to the inn’s Southwestern heritage.
Our region of the country is blessed with a bountiful variety of flavorful foods – and the Santa Fe Farmers Market provides the ideal showcase for all manner of fresh vegetables, fruits, and tasty treats on Saturdays year-round and on Tuesdays May 2nd to November 20th.
Voted one of the “Top Ten Farmers’ Markets” by Sunset Magazine, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful growers’ markets in the country.
Serving more than 150 farmers and producers in 15 Northern New Mexico counties, the Market brings fresh food, education, and fun to our community and promotes small farms and sustainable agriculture in Northern New Mexico. With specialty shops, local crafts and ad hoc performances this farmers market has provided family-friendly fun for nearly everyone since 1968!
Hungry for something to do mid-week? In addition to the freshest produce around, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market will host fun family activities, provide multiple farm-fresh dinner options, and offer a diverse array of programming from Joe Hayes (author and storyteller) to Wise Fool New Mexico (circus entertainment.) And, we are proudly partnering with multiple businesses in the Railyard (including Blue Rain Gallery, EVOKE Contemporary and Tai Modern galleries; Second Street Brewery and other restaurants; and the Violet Crown) to bring you the weekly “Wednesday Eve @ The Railyard” event series. July 4th through September 26th, 3pm-6pm.
There is nothing like the taste of fresh locally grown produce. The Santa Fe Farmers Market features produce native to the region for locals and visitors to sample – and take home. The Saturday market is open year-round and features the widest variety of foods. The Tuesday market is open from 8am to 1pm daily from May 2 to Nov. 20. Along with farm fresh fruits and vegetables, the market features festive music and tasty burritos. Yum! Market, open from June 21 to Sept. 27, caters to the summertime after-work crowd. Hours are from 3-7 p.m.
One of the most defining artistic and symbolic elements of the Southwest is turquoise, a stone that possesses a captivating quality to natives and passers-through alike. The name “Turquoise” is an iteration of “Turkey,” the country from which the first turquoise imports to Europe came. This greenish blue mineral, consisting of hydrous phosphate, copper and iron, first emerged in ancient Egypt, where it was placed in tombs around 3000 BC.
In both old and new world cultures, turquoise was/is considered a holy stone – used for protection against unnatural death and hailed as a symbol of healing for both the body and the sacred land.
In the Southwest in particular, its hue is reminiscent of rain, essential to life and rebirth in the Puebloan tradition.
The story of turquoise in Santa Fe dates back over a thousand years (perhaps further), and is a complex one. The evidence of vast trade networks, connecting thousands of miles of land through multiple states and diverse cultural groups, has been recently uncovered by new archaeological techniques. Sharon Hull, a noted archaeologist, has spearheaded this endeavor by identifying clear evidence of pre-Columbian trade, stretching all the way from Nevada to the Cerrillos hills of Santa Fe.
While turquoise can be acquired today much easier than our ancestors’ methods, purchasing a piece of turquoise in Santa Fe ties you to the deep tradition of the bartering system of times passed. Most new turquoise jewelry sold today comes from mines in Nevada or Arizona, but the modern manufacturing tradition derives largely from the work of Fred Harvey and his collaboration with native New Mexican artisans. One of the fathers of modern tourism, Harvey pioneered many aspects of modern-day tourism. His handshake deal with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad to build inns, restaurants, and shops with organized tours of native performers, along the various railway stops helped shape our conception of current cultural tourism. This led to what’s been called ‘the first chain restaurants,’ as well as helped define and create the modern demand for southwestern styled silver and turquoise jewelry. Examples of this antique jewelry can be found in galleries throughout town.
Buying turquoise jewelry can be rewarding and intimidating all at once. Buying jewelry directly from native artisans at the Palace of the Governors located on the Santa Fe Plaza is one option. You can meet the artisans first hand and discuss the quality and history of the jewelry directly with the Native Americans who crafted it, placing yourself in an historical continuum of hundreds of years. The difference in cost between two roughly similar shaped and sized pieces can be thousands of dollars depending on whether the stone is natural or reconstituted and stabilized. Other options are to visit many well known and established shops in town that can take out most of the guesswork, and if you wish to read up on determining the quality of turquoise yourself, read through this guide that the Santa Fe Reporter wrote.
In addition to the native artisans present at the plaza, there are several Canyon Road galleries, located close to the Inn on the Alameda, that sell wearable turquoise art. For authentic Fred Harvey wares, Canyon Road offers the buyer many opportunities, including The Adobe Gallery and the Medicine Man gallery. Sessels on San Francisco St. and Keshi on Paseo de Peralta are additional shopping venues located close to the hotel.
The Inn on the Alameda strives to be the perfect ‘base camp’ for any shopping expedition and we would be happy to point you in the right direction based on your shopping desires.
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!
Summer in Santa Fe is the time of year when we celebrate the deep Hispanic roots of La Ciudad Diferente. It’s a satisfying experience to encounter a place that honors its traditional arts and, at the same time, celebrates the ingenuity of those artistic descendants who are drawn to more contemporary expressions of the heritage.
Spanish Town, Spanish Names!
Spanish Market means many things to many people. For some, it’s enough to enjoy the festive appearance of the Plaza, dressed up to remind us of the enduring legacy of the conquistadors and settlers who braved the ardors of the New World. For others, it may be the food, rich and spicy, tantalizing the taste buds with the thought of fresh green chile yet to come. For most, however, especially steadfast Santa Fe visitors who return annually at this time, it’s the opportunity to see how the artistic heritage of the past lives on today through the hands and the talents of over 200 artists. Delicate straw applique and colcha embroidery are crafts may have waxed and waned through the years, but thanks to a number of dedicated artisans, one can still encounter these humble traditional art-forms today. Painstakingly painted retablos and hand-carved bultos never go out of style, as befits an aesthetic so thoroughly entwined with its religious roots. And the weavers will be there to remind us that the heat of summer will soon enough be followed by the appeal of soft, warm wool.
Intricate Colcha Embroidery: Museum of New Mexico Collection
Presented by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, Spanish Market is making its 60th anniversary appearance on the Santa Fe Plaza over the weekend of July 30-31. Market hours on Saturday are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; on Sunday, the Market runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In conjunction with the Arts Market itself, chock-a-block with both familiar and new faces, a special Market Mass will be celebrated at our gorgeously renovated St. Francis Cathedral Basilica at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, July 31, at which time the public is invited to the join in the blessing of the Spanish Market art and its artisans. After the blessing, a procession begins at the Cathedral and winds around the Plaza, led by a cheerful Mariachi band.
The Beautiful Reredo at St. Francis Cathedral
There are a few informative events celebrating the Spanish heritage that will also take place over the weekend. On Thursday, July 28 at 5:30 p.m., a free “Layman’s Lecture About the Saints” will take place at the historic Santuario de Guadalupe, located at 100 South Guadalupe Street. Lecturer Marina Ochoa, curator and archivist for the Office of Historic-Artistic Patrimony, Archives, and Museum of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will discourse on the particularly meaningful saints depicted in many of the retablos and bultos one is likely to encounter at the Market.
Santa Fe’s purveyor of “todas cosas Espanolas,” The Spanish Table, located at 109 North Guadalupe Street, complements the weekend with two flavorful themed events to honor the Market. On Friday, July 29 at 12 noon, a Spanish sausage sampling complete with a lecture on how to make and cure your own Spanish-style sausages will be presented by Robert Fettig, with Flamenco guitarist Joaquin Gallegos on hand to provide an appropriate musical background. On Saturday, July 30, also at 12 noon, the staff at the Table will cook a gigantic Paella in front of the store. This is a great time to learn how to make this signature Spanish dish, and you can receive a recipe, ask questions and enjoy! Best of all, these events are also free to the public!
Paella? Muy Sabrosa!
To enhance this rewarding arts weekend, Santa Fe also welcomes the 25th appearance of the Contemporary Hispanic Market, held adjacent to the Plaza on Lincoln Avenue and mirroring the hours of the Traditional Market. With 134 different booths, each featuring a different twist on the Hispanic arts, this is a multitude of riches in and of itself! Those who are drawn to use their talents in newer art forms appreciate this opportunity to exhibit, and both casual and serious collectors enjoy the chance to converse with some of New Mexico’s well-respected Hispanic artists. This display of contemporary Hispanic works showcases individual expression in the mediums of painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, weaving and much, much more. In other words, this weekend is an artistic two-fer!!
Glorieta: Painting by Robb Rael
As with all of the summer Santa Fe Plaza events, the sun will likely be a constant visitor, so pay attention to our summer weather and dress accordingly. That’s the only caveat though, the rest of the weekend is yours to enjoy…or as we say aqui, bienvenidos y disfrutele mucho!
The Wheelwright Museum of the Almerican Indian, International Museum of Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture are all located on Museum Hill, Camino Lejo in Santa Fe, NM
New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe
New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe
Palace of the Governors is on the north side of the Santa Fe Plaza
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe
BRRRR! That’s all we can say about wandering around outdoors right now. While not as challenged by winter as many destinations, Santa Fe can have frigid weather, much to some travelers’ surprise. On those winter days when the sun is not shining, cold weather does negatively impact the desire to wander in and out of Santa Fe’s many unusual shops and boutiques. So we suggest combining your visit to our wonderful museums with a visit to the equally wonderful museum shops!
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
Starting on Museum Hill, a favorite has to be the Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Musemum of the American Indian. The museum itself is unusual in that it operates serarately from the New Mexico Museum group that includes the other major institutions in Santa Fe. Even more unusual is the fact that admission to the Wheelwright is by donation, so while the suggestion is thoughtfully observed, no actual fees are required. Currently on exhibit through April 17, 2011, is a fabulous show of Native American rugs woven by the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills master weavers. The show should not be missed, and a visit with these beautiful works of art can be followed by a walk down the stairs to the intimate Case Trading Post, where a desire to buy a rug can be easily satisfied.
The Case Trading Post
The Case Trading Post has been artistically designed to recreate the flavor of an early 20th century trading post on the Navajo Reservation, right down to the squeakiest floors in Santa Fe. The management of this little gem boasts some sharp eyes, much like the traders of yore, with a beautiful selection of old and new items that reflect the panoply of Native arts, past and present. Particular favorites for me begin at the “pawn” section in the back, where I regularly yearn for beautiful inlays and handsomely worn silver goodies. The pottery and weavings chosen by the Case’s skilled buyer offer a variety of styles and price points. I have bought some lovely little watercolors, very reasonably-priced, by Hopi painter Peter Sumatzkuku that I never get tired of seeing on the wall. There are plenty of books for adult minds and for children, and enough small affordable collectibles that you can bring the kids in without feeling like your wallet will be seriously depleted when you leave. Serious depletion here is for the adults, but when it occurs, you can be sure you’ll go home with something you love and treasure.
The Museum of International Folk Art is much praised and justly so, and its gift shop gets kudos too. After spending a few hours or a full day in MOIFA’s collection, the yen to take home a little piece of folk art can easily be assuaged in the shop located right by the entrance. Visitors have until January 31 of this year to see the exhibit, “A Century of Masters: The NEA National Heritage Fellows of New Mexico,” comprised of examples of the works of all the Fellows from New Mexico in its collections, from weavings, to pottery, tinwork, straw appliqué, retablos, and woodcarving. National Heritage Fellows must demonstrate artistic excellence and commitment to their art forms through process, technique, and subsequent transmission of the knowledge to strengthen and enrich their communities. This notion has been an ongoing tradition in New Mexico throughout the centuries, and this is an excellent opportunity to see the fruits of this heritage.
I Met ‘Em at the MOIFA Gift Shop!
The plethora of objects in the MOIFA tend to stun the mind, but there is always something memorable that stays with one. Even for those who choose to travel to Santa Fe at times other than the International Folk Art Market, desires inevitably arise: Need a calavera for Day of the Dead? Earrings made of bottle caps? Colcha embroidery? Name your fixation, and the friendly staff at the shop will help you find a souvenir or gift that accurately represents the finest in folk art traditions. And of course, if a visit makes it imperative to return in July for the Market, make your reservations now, because it is always a sell-out!
A Slogan Worth Remembering
While on Museum Hill, lovers of Native arts will want to stop in at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. History and art combine to educate and delight in the painstakingly acquired collection of this institution, and their website offers many resources, such as a Pueblo dance calendar to help you decide when to visit if this is part of your desired itinerary. Currently on display, but soon to leave in February, is an exhibition of Huichol art with the fine yarn paintings for which this indigenous culture is known. The concept of balance is central to Huichol art and culture, and who doesn’t need that in their life about now?
Inexpensive souvenirs are sometimes necessary for our wallets, but for those who want the real deal, museum shops are the go-to experience. Making a purchase at the Indian Arts and Culture Museum shop guarantees that you’ll be going home with authenticated goods, a certainty not always ensured by shopping at the many tiendas in Santa Fe. Shining silver bracelets, fine pottery and kachinas, tomes on Native art, you’ll find them there. The staff is knowledgeable about the art and the artists, and they’ll take the time to help you receive a better understanding of designs and the culture.
Huichol Yarn Paintings at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
If your Santa Fe visit is limited to downtown, you can find plenty to admire in our New Mexico Museum of Fine Art located on the northwest corner of the Plaza. A new exhibit entitled “Cloudscapes” just opened on January 14, comprising a selection of pictures from the museum’s permanent collection of works that by necessity spend much of their life in storage due to light sensitivity issues. Many of the pieces are from the mid-twenthieth century, along with more recent acquisitions, and works on display are by masters of the medium, including familiar names like Alfred Stieglitz, Laura Gilpin and Edward Weston, with more recent images by Paul Caponigro and William Clift. Following your trip through photographic history, make a stop at this museum store. Though petite in size, it will yield good postcards, always an inexpensive memento, as well as catalogues of past exhibits and a wide assortment of art books. And the art jewelry is always a delight!
The Distinctive New Mexico Museum of Art
Of course, a walk to the Plaza should include a trip to the New Mexico History Museum, where one can garner a comprehensive understanding of how the Southwest grew and changed through the centuries. Running through early April is an interesting exhibit entitled “Wild at Heart,” curated by New Mexico art historian David L. Witt of the Academy for the Love of Learning, home of the Seton Legacy Project in Santa Fe. The exhibit is a fascinating study of Ernest Thompson Seton, conservationist, author, artist, lecturer and co-founder of the Boy Scouts and includes a series of lecture programs that expand one’s understanding of Seton’s legacy and how it lives on in Santa Fe. And lo and behold, there’s more than one gift shop! Beautiful hand-crafted decor items and artistic creations by New Mexicans from all over the state will be found in the shop on the Lincoln Avenue side near the new museum, and a treasure trove of New Mexico books, archival photos and prints from the Museum of New Mexico Press will be found at the Washington Avenue location around the caorner from the Palace of the Governors.
Prints, Photos and Books Galore!
You truly can’t finish a downtown tour without a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum! Probably the most well-known name associated with the arts in our state, O’Keeffe is well-represented in this small but gorgeous museum, notable not only for the collection but also for the wonderful educational opportunities it offers to the community. The current exhibit, “O’Keefiana; Art and Art Materials” is itself an education experience, with artworks supplemented by the materials the artist used and the objects that inspired her. The exhibit runs through early May, and it is a pleasure to see the detailed notes O’Keefe made for herself regarding colors she used and the art materials she created to use, along with the art works that resulted from both.
The O’Keeffe Museum Gift Shop
The O’Keeffe gift shop is definitely postcard heaven, with the only hard part being to actually let go of the cards and mail them out! Who doesn’t want to keep these on a wall somewhere? And if you want it bigger, get a poster and frame it to have your own O’Keeffe! If you missed the movie version of O’Keeffe’s life, staring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, you can get on to enjoy by your own fireplace on a winter evening. The jewelry and clothing items are thoughtful extensions of O’Keeffe’s subject matter, and the books are definitely keepers, destined to be thumbed through repeatedly. The online store is well organized, too, so if you left without it, go online and get it!
Try making your museum hop into the museum shop, and you’ll not only go home with something uniquely Santa Fe, you’ll also know your spent your souvenir dollars to help keep the arts alive in the Land of Enchantment!