What do you DO in Santa Fe?

October 3, 2016


What do you do in Santa Fe for all those weeks?

Someone asked me that not too long ago, and I was astounded. Same with the comment “I didn’t find more than a day or two’s worth of things to do in Santa Fe –how can you stay a month?”

Were they serious?  I’ve been to Santa Fe maybe eight or nine times in my life and I am still discovering new things.

We’re on our way to Santa Fe today for six weeks, and here are some of the things we’re looking forward to.

A long term vacation rental is like a second home

When you stay more than a couple of weeks, in effect, you’re living there part-time. So you get into your routine, just like at home, except everything seems fresher and newer.  Different. But the same. We’re in the same house we rented last year, so it’s familiar. We even know the couple next door and their dog.

This year, we’re booked for six weeks and next year we’ve already found a bigger home for two months–two of the nephews and our sister-in-love plan to fly in from western New York for a big Santa Fe Thanksgiving. We’re already excited.


A good friend from my grad school days (and Michael’s law school days) has retired there with her husband, who is also a lawyer. The four of us have a boatload in common, including dogs and how we vacation. While in Santa Fe, we spend time with them and their dogs–dinner at one another’s houses, movie outings, dinners out, lectures. Since the four of us are meeting in Antigua in February and going to France together for some three weeks in May, we have a lot to talk about. Plus we’re celebrating both of their birthdays.

A writer friend I met at a conference in 1998 lives in Santa Fe. We’ve kept in touch all these years and seen one another in both states. She and I always get together once or twice during my visits for something fun. Last year we went out to Tesuque to look at glass blowing and sculptures and then ate Santa Fe food at a little casual restaurant. We also spent time at The Ark, Santa Fe’s New Age store.

We also invite friends to join us for long weekends. Last year, we had two sets of friends come in and a third visited but stayed separately. Dear friends from San Francisco are joining us this month for a few days. This will be the second year they’ve done this and we all love to spend time with them. Especially Riley.  This year we decided not to ask anyone else as we tend to overbook. Alright it’s me. I’m the one who overbooks. So we’re set for this year, as I have schoolwork and some work to do on my new business while I’m in Santa Fe.

Santa-FeFarmers Market

Santa Fe has the most incredible Farmers Market I’ve ever seen. It’s more an event than a market and we go every single Saturday. We eat breakfast there, listen to live music, browse crafts for sale and also buy our week’s produce.  It’s so much fun! Crisp fall air, the smell of roasting chilis, and gorgeous, fresh produce fresh off the farm.


Our current house is a block off Canyon Road. Riley loves to walk down Canyon and of course, when he’s not with us, we like to browse the galleries. It’s come a long way since most of the art was Remington-esque cowboy stuff. Plus there are galleries in other parts of town, too, and several Georgia O’Keefe things to do, including a fabulous special tour of her home and studio out in Abiquiu.  Santa Fe is inspirational for artists–the shapes, colors, environment–and there’s no shortage of creations of all kinds.


Museum Hill houses four outstanding museums but down in town there’s my favorite museum—the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Much of the work in this small museum is from a point of view we don’t often see and it’s often confrontational. I love it. It’s by far my favorite museum in the area. But there are amazing other museums, too. Palace of the Governors, Folk Art, missions—there are too many cultural opportunities to list. Don’t let me forget churches!


The. Best. Chocolate. In. The. World.  Kakawa. I’m not big on the drinking chocolate but the eating chocolate is the very best I’ve had.


Last year we began our trip with a ski lift ride up to see the fall colors at Ski Santa Fe. It was damn cold on that hill! But loved the golden colors.  Even just a walk around town or the square is fun and interesting. We’ve seen movies and TV shows being filmed, even. Just about every day we walk Riley down a long boulevard that’s lined with colorful fall trees–Alameda. What’s not to like about that?


There’s an amazing movie theatre with plush seats and beer and wine. Seeing a film there is an event!


Last year we heard an anthropology lecture at the Lensic, Santa Fe’s Performing Arts Center.  We’ll be on the lookout for who might be speaking this fall.

Santa-FeBalloon Fest

Nearby Albuquerque hosts a famous annual balloon festival. We’ve each been a few times but who knows, we might go again one year. If you haven’t gone, don’t miss it! Not this year for us, though. Maybe next. It’s way cool.

Over the past few years we’ve learned to make Santa Fe our own. We have the things we like to do regularly, and are open to whatever new comes up. We don’t consider it being “on vacation” and we don’t need to be entertained every minute of our time there. Even if we just sit at home watching TV or cooking a great meal, it’s enjoyable to be in a new environment.

Although we aren’t going to ever tie up our retirement assets by buying a second house, we consider Santa Fe our second home and for as long as we can, we’ll be spending extended periods there.  We love our rental house, but next year’s looks even better.

If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, be sure to put it on your list. Definitely worth it.

If you have questions about what to do or where to stay in Santa Fe, let me know. So glad to help!

20 comments on “What do you DO in Santa Fe?
  1. Mary-Anne says:

    Now I can’t stop humming the song “Do you know the way to Sante Fe” (Substituting for San Jose!)

    I hope to get there this fall – thanks for the travelogue of what to do there.

  2. This sounds like a nice place to visit. I really like farmer’s market and art so this could be very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Love this post!

  3. Elizabeth O. says:

    How can you not love a place like that! There’s plenty of room to discover new things while also sticking to the old ones that you’re familiar with. I would love to take the family here for a vacation, it sounds like such a relaxing place!

  4. Carolann says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time Carol. I would love to visit there someday. Have an amazing time!

  5. Glenda says:

    Thank you for sharing all the fantastic things to do in Santa Fe! It is nice you are able to share you experiences in Santa Fe with your friends and family as well.You must be excited to be able to stay there longer next year. Hopefully someday I will be able to live in another area part-time.

  6. Carissa says:

    Sante Fe sounds like a great place to visit! I’ve been to at balloon festival in WA state a few times and it was great. I’ve heard about the one in Sante Fe and that it’s even bigger and better!

  7. rain says:

    haha…i love that you have chocolate on the list….important.

  8. Jena Proctor says:

    It sounds like you had a great time. It looks beautiful! I want to visit one day!

  9. Never been there and would love to, especially after reading this! 🙂

  10. Ourfamilyworld says:

    Sounds like it is fun to go the the farmers market while the kids are in the museum. Sante Fe sounds like a lovely city.

  11. The best chocolate in the world?? Sign me up! 🙂

  12. Samantha says:

    Looks like you had fun! Such great adventures!

  13. Momina Arif says:

    I have heard so much about this place and it looks amazing. I really do hope I get o visit someday.

  14. So I was right when I noticed that my trip to Santa Fe before was very “fruitful”! I’m interested in that Kakawa, I mean, if you say it like that then it will definitely tickle my sweet tooth.

  15. I absolutely adore farmers’ markets! I hope one day I can visit this one. I might buy some chocolate there too. Just to taste if it is really that good, of course.

  16. It sounds like a lovely place, Carol. I want to go!

  17. Anna Palmer says:

    You have convinced me. Denver is not too far from there. We are planning a Utah New Mexico road trip in March…too bad you will be gone…

  18. Gary Mathews says:

    I’ve never had the pleasure of traveling in the southwest, but would love to see it some day. Sounds like Sante Fe is a great place to start :).

  19. Silly Mummy says:

    I’ve never been but this sounds like plenty to do to me!

  20. Santa Fe has so much to offer! This seems like the perfect destination and great ideas, Carol!

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