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Holiday Time in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tips for a Festive Time


Farolitos under window - Santa Fe

Farolitos under window - Santa Fe

Chris Corrie
A Secret Holiday Place

I just found out about the joys of the holidays in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sometimes the best ideas come from enthusiastic friends who have explored their “secret holiday place” for several years and cannot contain their excitement.

It was over Memphis bar-b-que in Arlington, Virginia, of all places, that I heard about an ideal holiday vacation. My friend, who lives in Texas, has been vacationing in Santa Fe over the holidays for several years. She returns annually and here’s why:

Better Than a Hotel

Lynn shared that if you plan ahead, you may land a vacation home, rented by the day, week or month. She plans far ahead and rents through Vacation Rentals by Owner. She has found that having a complete kitchen adds to the enjoyment of the holidays. Since Lynn makes her reservation several months ahead of time, she can often find a place close in to old town. Being in walking distance from holiday shopping and festivities just adds to the fun.

The Holiday Scene

As we munched on our pulled pork sandwiches, Lynn painted an exciting picture of the Santa Fe holiday scene. Galleries are open in the evenings along Canyon Road. Holiday shoppers and visitors stroll from gallery to gallery, taking in the art and, in some, stopping for a sip of wine. After a short walk, you will encounter holiday revelers standing around bonfires lighting the corners and singing Christmas Carols.

An ideal evening starts out with drinks at a local restaurant listening to live music. Then it’s off for a brief stroll to any one of a selection of fine Santa Fe restaurants. My friend raved over The Shed, with their blue corn enchiladas, The Pink Adobe with continental and New Mexican fare, and for Mexican food, she said, “Try Tomasitas.” Thomasitas Santa Fe Station is located at 500 South Guadalupe. The restaurant is housed in a converted train station left over from the wild, wild west.


Right through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on to New Year’s there is plenty to do and enjoy in Santa Fe. Lynn likes to attend holiday concerts at the Lensic Theatre. She cautioned, “Don’t go without a ticket, though… you must plan in advance.” She said the concerts on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are very special. You can purchase tickets on the website.

At the Native American Pueblos, there are unique festivities planned. She suggested the traditional dancing held over the holidays. Eight Northern Pueblos information, 505-852-4265.

A Special Breakfast

Out Cerrillos Road, you will encounter “Tecolote,” which means owl in Spanish. At Techolote Cafe, they make their own bread and are known for breakfast delights featuring home-made bread. The French toast sounded good to me.

Spas, Shopping and Two Buck Chuck

I soon found out that they don’t have Trader Joe’s in Texas. Lynn thought she had another big secret and suggested making a Trader Joe’s run while in Santa Fe to stock up on snacks and “Two Buck Chuck.” For those that are “Trader Joe’s-deprived,” Two Buck Chuck is a nickname for Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw wines. For two or three dollars, depending on the taxes, you can enjoy a great Chardonnnay or Cabernet Savignon. Try some and you will find out why folks buy cases at a time.

Santa Fe has some great shopping. Jewelry, artwork and even chocolate candy with southwest peppers provides the shopper with plenty of southwest gift choices.

With all the activities, walking from gallery to gallery and holiday hustle and bustle, you may need a spa break during your stay. An unusual place, “10,000 Waves,” is a “Japanese Pagoda Spa,” and it sounded like an ideal place to ensure that you return home relaxed and refreshed.

Planning Ahead

It does sound like it may not be easy to descend on Santa Fe the day before Christmas and easily enjoy all the festivities. So this might be a plan-ahead type of vacation. I suggest the following websites to help you with your planning and reservations:

Vacation Rentals By Owner
Santa Fe Visitor's Bureau
Order a Free Santa Fe Visitors Guide
Holiday Traditions in Santa Fe
All About Farolitos

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