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November 2018
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Senior Spectrum Publications

Simply Smart Travel
by Jeff & Virginia Orenstein
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Santa Fe, New Mexico High Culture and History

If you are seeking a delightfully different urban experience, try Santa Fe. It lives up to its billing as “the city different”. Its distinctive features include an eclectic mixture of native American, Spanish colonial and contemporary Western cultures, great architecture and an emphasis on art, entertainment and cuisine.

Colorful native dancing is a part of the annual Southwest Indian Market
Colorful native dancing is a part of the annual Southwest Indian Market which happens every August in Santa Fe, attracting art dealers far and wide. Credit: Tourism Santa Fe and SWAIA

Its gorgeous setting at 7.000 feet at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, surrounded by forests, leads to the town cherishing its views and protecting them with a city code that prohibits high rise buildings in city limits. It also boasts an average of 325 days of sunshine.

The architecture and food in the city are worth a trip in themselves. But there is a lot more too. Beautiful and historic adobe structures dominate, and the native New Mexico cuisine is flavored by pungent native American peppers. It is simply delicious and very different from TexMex and other Spanish inspired foods. There are also over 400 restaurants in Santa Fe.

If you are looking for art and entertainment, Santa Fe has what you seek. It is home to over 250 galleries and abounds with native American art and jewelry as well as art from around the world. The city also has 20 major museums and many government buildings (including the state capitol) as which house many precious pieces of art. The city also boasts an opera company, dance companies and an orchestra.

The town’s history is amazing, rivalling places like At. Augustine and Boston. The nation’s oldest state capital, established in 1610, Santa Fe is the site of the Palace of the Governors, the nation’s oldest continuously occupied government building (dating from 1610), the oldest house and church are nearby and the Santa Fe Fiesta dates from 1712.

The best way to take it all (including some attractions elsewhere in New Mexico) is to purchase a New Mexico Culture Pass for only $30. It includes admission to eight museums and seven historic sights.

The Rail Runner train terminates at this historic train station
The Rail Runner train terminates at this historic train station in the restored Railyard area, home to shops and galleries and the Santa Fe Farmers; Market. Credit: Jeff Orenstein, Simply Smart Travel

Check out:

Getting There:

Santa Fe can be reached by highway, air or train.

Botanical Gardens and three beautiful museums of folk art and native American art
Home to the Botanical Gardens and three beautiful museums of folk art and native American art, Museum Hill is a must-see. Credit: Tourism Santa Fe

Must Sees For A Short Trip:

If You Have Several Days, Some of Your Best Options Are:

colorful buildings and fascinating architecture
Some of the colorful buildings and fascinating architecture that are found in downtown Santa Fe. Credit: Jeff Orenstein, Simply Smart Travel Travel

Ginny O’s Tips For Dressing

The Simply Smart Travel Way For Santa Fe: Santa Fe is very artsy and you’ll want to look good and fit in. Think resort casual and you will be fine. Wear comfortable shoes.

This Destination At A Glance Over 50 Advantage:

Great galleries, gourmet restaurants, walkable attractions, opportunities for relaxation and good public transportation.

Mobility Level: Moderate with no notable impediments.

When To Go: Indian Market in August is popular but crowded. September through November is less crowded and the weather is good.

Where To Stay: The La Fonda On The Plaza Hotel is in the heart of things. The Inn Of The Governors is also recommended. There is a good selection of national lodging chains and bed and breakfast properties.

beautiful and historic La Fonda On The Plaza Hotel
The beautiful and historic La Fonda On The Plaza Hotel is a tourist attraction in itself. Credit: Jeff Orenstein, Simply Smart Travel

Special Travel Interests: Native American art, adobe architecture, history.

Jeffrey & Virginia Orenstein are travel writers from Sarasota, Florida. Their column appears in newspapers in eight states and major websites.

Contact them at: jorenstein@SimplySmartTravel.com