Photograph by Sarah Kim
Before an average of 225 inches of winter snow lures skiers to the Santa Fe Ski Area’s seven lifts and 77 trails, enjoy autumn’s shorter days in the New Mexico capital this month and the high-desert city’s most famous asset: its amazing range of visual art. The Santa Fe Gallery Association claims the city of nearly 70,000 has the world’s largest concentration of galleries—more than 200 within 2 square miles. You want contemporary? Old Masters? Native American, Western, folk, or Asian? Add three bustling arts districts and more than a dozen museums and your art-viewing itinerary can stretch for days.
Three words: See Canyon Road. The art artery packs more than 100 galleries, boutiques, and restaurants into a half mile framed by towering trees and rustic adobe buildings; Fridays often feature artist visits. A $25 New Mexico Culture Pass covers a one-time admission to 15 museums and historic sites, including Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art and New Mexico Museum of Art. Open daily, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum houses the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work, offering an intimate and illuminating immersion in her sensual and serene style (free to $12).
A local, upscale institution, Canyon Road’s Geronimo puts a New Mexican spin on seasonal ingredients with artful plates of chile-accented prawns ($36) and elk tenderloin ($42), and its four-course vegetarian tasting menu ($60) featuring eggplant-and-black-truffle lasagna. A James Beard Award best new restaurant semifinalist, chef Martin Rios’ Restaurant Martin has been gathering accolades since its 2010 opening. Lunch, brunch, and dinner menus feature an international ingredients list on which Thai basil accents a salmon entree ($31), and traditional red and green chiles give huevos rancheros a fiery kick ($13).
The new, ultraluxurious Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe has 65 spacious guest room casitas ($325 to $2,000)—many with private terraces and soaking tubs—on 57 scenic acres, affording expansive mountain views. The resort’s fireplace butler lights aromatic pinyon wood in the kiva and pours a complimentary hot chocolate or cider. A block from Santa Fe Plaza and adjacent to the Loretto Chapel, the art-filled inn and spa at loretto ($189 to $409) re-creates the architecture of the Taos Pueblo, and has an interior rich with traditional Native American decor, plus an artist-in-residence program.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express shuttles passengers between downtown Albuquerque and its northern terminus at the Santa Fe Railyard in about an hour and 45 minutes. One-way fares: $4 or $9.