To Know Before you Go
Santa Fe is high desert country. The altitude is over 7200 feet (2134 meters), and although the sun is very warm during the day, it cools off rapidly at night. Temperatures in May will range from 40-50 during the evenings and from 65-75 during the day. It also is a walking city, and most attractions are within walking distance of the hotel. To be comfortable, bring:
There is no need to make reservation in advance, unless you plan on visiting the most famous local Spa, Ten Thousand Waves Spa, information below .
You may also want to bring some loose fitting clothing in case you’d like to try restorative yoga (when in Santa Fe… do as the Santa Feans do).
From Albuquerque Sunport Airport to Santa Fe, you can take a shuttle for $28 each way or if the times work out with your flight, you can ride the Rail Runner train, which is very enjoyable. Check out these links:
What is the City Different Known For?
Surrounded by mountains, Santa Fe is indeed “the city different,” as it has billed itself for nearly a century. This 400-year-old city is the oldest capital in the United States and has the country’s oldest house, oldest church and oldest public building still in use.
Earth-colored adobe houses line its streets, giving the City an other-worldly feel.
The city provides a feeling of openness and freedom, and the sunlight attracts artists, such as Georgia O’Keefe, whose museum is around the corner from the hotel. Given these traits, Santa Fe has a large, well-heeled retiree population from around the world, soon to be joined by our own Richard Alderman.
Art-lovers will enjoy the 10 museums and more than 250 art galleries in town. This is more art per capita than in any American city. In the summer, Santa Fe hosts an Indian Market (arts and crafts); a Traditional Spanish Market (Spanish colonial art); and a Folk Art Market with artists from 40 countries. Whatever your taste in art, you will find it in a Santa Fe gallery.
Like the rest of the state, most residents are from one of three cultures, Hispanic, Anglo (white, non-Hispanic), or Native American. Hispanics outnumber Anglos in the state and Native Americans make up 10% of the population. While it is obviously part of the United States so of course English predominates, Spanish is spoken in many places. There are also over a dozen Native languages spoken.
Santa Fe is perfect for walkers. It is wonderful that the Hilton Hotel is near the plaza, the heart and soul of the City. There are fabulous walking tours, ones to look for chocolate, green chile, etc. We even have a Jewish walking tour if anyone is interested: http://santafe.org/Visiting_Santa_Fe/Free_Walking_Tours/.
One Mini-tour to Get Acquainted with the City
To get a feel for the City, walk up from the Hilton to the plaza, which is surrounded by museums, galleries, restaurants and exquisite shops. On its north side, the former Palace of the Governors, the country’s oldest public building in continuous use, is now the New Mexico History Museum (113 Lincoln Avenue; 505-476-5200; www.nmhistorymuseum.org). Inside, one can learn how so many immigrant families came here, “one bold traveler arrived first in a new land and sent for others to follow.” This is one of our favorite museums.
Outside, facing the plaza, Native American artisans display their wares daily.
On weekends, other artists also show their works in the plaza.
If you walk two blocks west on Palace Avenue, turn right on Grant, and left on Johnson, you’ll reach the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (217 Johnson Street; 505-946-1000;). O’Keeffe transformed blue sky, red rock and sun-bleached cattle bones into unforgettable paintings. This is also a wonderful museum.
Return to the plaza to shop or continue to the staircase at the Loretto Chapel, which has a lovely story behind it, but we won’t ruin the surprise.
Next go left on Paseo de Peralta and continue south to Canyon Road, where you’ll find a multitude of galleries, not to be missed. This street supposedly has the highest concentration of art galleries in the country.
Here is a full list of the museums in the Plaza area and out on Museum Hill, just a few miles away and an easy taxi ride.
For more information on museums, see http://www.santafenm.info/museums.htm
Also visit the chamber of commerce site for more ideas. http://www.santafechamber.com/
If you like spas, you must visit the Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa. You simply won’t forget this amazing spa deep in the mountains only four miles from town. The Spa has private hot tubs in the woods and a variety of spa treatments. Be sure to book well in advance so you don’t miss the experience.
Books and Films about Santa Fe
Ride the Pink Horse (Canongate Books) by Dorothy Bell Hughes uses the Santa Fe Fiesta as backdrop for a highly visual crime novel with sharp dialogue. Artist Eli Levin describes the town’s transformation from a refuge for artists into a cultural boomtown in Santa Fe Bohemia: The Art Colony, 1964-1980 (Sunstone Press). Robert Montgomery directed and starred in a 1947 film adaptation; parts were filmed in the La Fonda Hotel. There have been dozens of films shot in and around Santa Fe, including The Lone Ranger, Cowboys and Aliens, Transformers The Movie, Natural Born Killers and The Men Who Stare at Goats. The TV hit series Breaking Bad was shot just down the road in Albuquerque. www.nmfilm.com
The area around Santa Fe also provides outstanding hiking, biking and even river rafting. If you spend an extra day or two, you should consider a visit to some of the local Native American sites, such as Bandelier National Monument and Taos Pueblo, or Georgia O’Keefe’s home and Ghost Ranch.
Tecolote Café for breakfast
Plaza Café for breakfast
The Shed for dinner
Coyote Café and Cantina (Conference dinner)
Café Pasqual’s for any meal