• Tuesday, September 29, 2020

what to do in Santa Fe

Santa Fe - The City Different
August 18, 2020
By , Galavante Tastemaker

Good for: Come one, come all.  Families, couples, groups and friends and anyone looking to explore a fascinating and culturally rich part of the United States.  

When to go:  All year round – this is a destination for anytime of the year where the summers a low-humidity and the winters bring you the mountains of Taos for skiing.  Everything in between is stunning sunset perfection.  

The extraordinary views and painted skies are reason enough alone to visit this unique destination. Located in an Alpine Desert, at an elevation of 7,500 feet, the stars, sunsets, and light bring a unique sense a joy - yes joy - to all who visit.  Santa Fe is known as “The City Different” because of the great amount of culture that surrounds the area. The charm of this small city transports you to a place full of beautiful mountain ranges, wild horses, dirt roads, authentic New Mexican cuisine, world-class galleries, and an extraordinary five star inn hidden like turquoise within the hillside.

The Highlights:

  • Walking around town.  Yes this is a city, but it feels like a town where you immediately are welcomed like a local.  The art galleries, restaurants, shops and cafes make you lose track of time.
  • The art scene.  Speaking of art galleries, there's a reason why Georgia O'Keeffe, one of the greatest contemporary American artists, was inspired by Santa Fe.  Head to her  museum in downntown Santa Fe, then check out the local artists, who Galavante can hook you up with for a bespoke art tour based on your interests. Textiles, pottery, watercolor, oil, large installations - this is a place that inspires the most creative of the creative.  My parents are also artists - Elizabeth and Scott Christopher, where art is ingrained in who we are as a family.  We'd love to have you at our studio!  
  • The hiking.  As much as there is culture, history and art, there is also a draw to get out in nature.  Santa Fe has stunning hikes. The best hikes in and near Santa Fe are:

            Sun Mountain
            Galisteo Basin
            Santa Fe Ski Area  
            Tesuque Creek Trail
            Lamy Walks near the Amtrak Station 

  • Take a local road trip.  Even when I go home, as I spent my most of my life in Santa Fe, I look forward to taking a drive on the open road.  There is something about the never-ending vistas and freedom you feel cranking up the tunes and exploring with your family.  These are a few of my family's favorite drives: 

            High Road to Taos and the Low Road Home / greatest loop in the USA
            Madrid Mine Shaft on the old Route 66
            Pecos River, great drive and walk along the rive if they like water (there is also the Pecos Monument) 

Where to Stay: 

My choice when my husband and I are in town and want to treat ourselves for a few days and not staying with my parents is The Inn of the Five Graces.  It is an experience all onto its own. A boutique style, family run, ancient adobe establishment is not to be missed. Internationally known exporters of exotic antiques, rugs, textiles, and architectural elements the property has become a showcase of their creative talents. Private kivas are stocked with fragrant pinion wood. Fresh chocolate covered strawberries are delivered during the duvet turndown. A made to order breakfast can be served in bed or at one of the small beautiful dining areas. No doubt you will leave here feeling as though you have traveled to a far off land while your five senses have been pampered in the best of ways. 

If you are looking to stay awhile, which may not be a bad idea during this pandemic, the company to work with is Santa Fe Rental.  They have access to the best homes in the area, and can make it a full-service experience with concierge, private chef, daily housekeeping and other bespoke services.  One of our favorite houses is Mesa Verde, which looks like a hotel, but is a private adobe home modernized with its own art gallery, screening room, massive entertaining space and swimming pool worthy to be in a Drake video.  

And then of course, if you want to be out of the center of town and in nature, the Four Seasons is the plush, super luxury option.  They have excellent food venues and a spa that is tops in the state.  Rosewood took over the Inn of the Anasazi a while back which is also a beautiful, international choice.  

Out and About:

Canyon Road is full art galleries and the most gourmet fine dining in town (Geronimo). Geronimo is set in a 1756 adobe home. Ten Thousand Waves is a Japanese health spa situated at the base of the ski mountain. You want to have a true New Mexican dinner at the Shed.

If you are up for a day trip take the low road to Taos and return to Santa Fe on the high road. This loop provided awe-inspiring scenery and a journey through remote mountain villages. The Taos Pueblo is UNESCO protected with over 1000 years of tradition through the Native American tribe of Puebloan people. Definitely make the time to stop at Ojo Caliente for a soak in their mineral tubs.  

Another activity not to be missed during the summer months is a hot air balloon ride with pilot Johnny. Johnny has over 6000 hours of balloon flights. He runs Santa Fe Balloons. His crew picks you up in a huge pick-up truck from your hotel and takes you out to the middle of nowhere at dawn for the most spectacular ride in the sky. He navigates through the valleys of wide-open spaces. Upon descent you are greeted with champagne, lunch and certificates from your successful hot air balloon ride. 

Any time of year is lovely in this special mountain town. World class skiing is offered during the winter months. It never gets too hot in the summer thanks to the elevation providing zero humidity. There are the Indian and Spanish Markets during July and August. The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival in September is festive. Opera season is ideal. http://www.santafeopera.org/calendar/

What to Know:

A few inside tips from a local: If you fly into Albuquerque take route 66 through the old mining town of Madrid into Santa Fe (stop at the mine shaft for the guacamole), listen to the coyotes howl before bed to appreciate the natural solitude of the area, go to Tent Rocks and Bandelier, make sure to properly enjoy a sunset over the horizon (the cross of the Martyrs is a locals favorite). The best moments happen in Santa Fe by just letting things unfold the way they are meant to. 

Restaurants - The Local Favorites

*note Cafe Pasqual's is on our list too, but is currently closed due to COVID-19.  

Thank you to local Tatiana Jacques for her insider list on the very best restaurants.