Santa Fe, Culture and Art
The vibrant, colorful artists' community of Santa Fe has history and beauty to spare. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the foothills of the Rockies, Santa Fe is graced with 325 days of sunshine a year and a rich blue desert sky. With hundreds of art galleries, plentiful arts programs, luxurious spas, and a calendar filled with festivities, you'll enjoy the getaway vacation of your dreams in Santa Fe.
Begin your tour with the historic Plaza de Santa Fe that marks the end of the eight-hundred-mile Santa Fe Trail. Here you will see the La Fonda Hotel, which once served as headquarters for the Confederacy, and The Palace of the Governors, which was built in 1609-1610 by the Spanish and is the nation's oldest government building. This will give you a firm footing in Santa Fe's past, an element that plays a part in nearly every piece of art and design you'll see here.
Art is the blood that pumps through the heart of Santa Fe. Though it's a small town, Santa Fe has over 300 art galleries showing works by local artists and craftspeople. It's also the home of the world-class Santa Fe Opera, which is famous for its grand productions. The city is also a popular foodie destination. With its unique blends of international, Southwestern, and Mexican cuisine, this the place to enjoy a true tour of senses.
This high desert town has plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Set at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this is the ideal place to go hiking and biking. Other outdoor sports like river rafting, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, fly-fishing, ice-skating, and swimming are popular here. You'll find plenty of yoga, Pilates, and other fitness classes in town, and many people flock here for the great downhill skiing between Thanksgiving and Easter.
You won't want to miss the St. Francis Cathedral, the San Miguel Mission, and the Santuario de Chimayo Church. Explore Santa Fe's cultural past with a visit to one of the eight Native American pueblos located nearby and see the past and present day life come together. Be sure to make time for the Nambe Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh, the Picuris Pueblo, the Pojoaque Pueblo, and the San Ildefonso Pueblo.
If you're interested in New Mexico's desert wildlife, look no farther than Santa Fe's Randall Davey Audubon Center. You'll enjoy bird walks, nature talks, and plenty of wildlife at this 135-acre nature sanctuary in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos. Don't miss the historic buildings and the works of art by the late Santa Fe master. (1800 Upper Canyon Road, 505-983-4609)
Santa Fe may be known as a place to buy art, but it's also a center for people who want to make art. Even if you aren't a skilled painter, potter, or drawer, you'll find plenty of classes here that can help you improve in any art form you choose, from calligraphy to photography. And be sure not to miss museums like the New Mexico Museum of Art (formerly the Museum of Fine Arts), the three sites on Museum Hill, the Institute for American Indian Arts, and the ever-popular Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.