Santa Fe is recognized worldwide as one of the most intriguing cities in the United States and, thanks to its natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle, diverse cultures, and abundant recreational options, it’s one of the country’s most popular destinations. You can dine in a wide array of unique restaurants; relaxing at a spa; see an opera; and explore shops, galleries, and museums. Here are a few quintessential summertime Santa Fe experiences you won’t want to miss.
You can’t visit the City Different without visiting the lively Railyard District. If sightseeing is on your mind, hop aboard the Santa Fe Southern Railway Scenic Day Train. The vintage cars ramble from the Railyard’s central depot to the town of Lamy, offering rare views of high desert scenery in between. Trains depart at 11 a.m. and return by 3 p.m. most Wednesdays through Sundays. Snacks and drinks are available onboard. Afternoon trains are also offered occasionally. Call 505.989.8600 or visit www.sfsr.com for schedules and more information.
But there’s more to the Railyard than trains. In addition to intriguing galleries, shops, and restaurants, on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon, the Railyard hosts the Santa Fe Farmers Market (1607 Paseo de Peralta, 505.983.4098). Vendors offer everything from locally made goat cheese to grass-fed beef along with arts and crafts of all sorts. Local musicians add to the inviting, festive air.
Take advantage of Santa Fe’s clear, crisp air and a moderate climate — enjoy a some food and drink on a patio at one of the city’s many restaurants and cafés. A popular outpost of Second Street Brewery, one of Santa Fe’s original brewpubs, is located just steps from the farmers market. A few miles off, the original Second Street Brewery and restaurant (1814 Second Street) is home to one of the most relaxing and enjoyable patios in Santa Fe. Closer to the Plaza, Coyote Café’s Rooftop Cantina (132 West Water Street) is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Try the duck quesadillas or Cubano sandwich and a “lava lamp” (draft beer with a dollop of frozen margarita).
The food truck trend has been taking the nation by storm lately. Since summer is prime time for noshing outdoors, check out two of Santa Fe’s most popular mobile eateries, Le Pod and Slurp. Both are open 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Monday–Friday.
Le Pod is anchored in the gravely parking lot at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta (across the street from another local landmark, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market). Chef Jean-Luc Salles is a native of Bordeaux, and his focus is French “street food” — namely crêpes, sandwiches, and plump Hebrew National hot dogs, which are served in crusty French baguettes.
Jean-Luc is also one of the great minds behind Slurp, which serves soups and a few other tasty treads out of a vintage trailer at 444 Galisteo Street. Each day’s soups — one is always vegetarian or vegan — are served in biodegradable containers and accompanied by a hefty wedge of focaccia. Check Slurp’s Facebook page for daily specials.
Opera lovers flock to Santa Fe every summer for the world-renowned open-air productions of the Santa Fe Opera (seven miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. Highway 84/285). The company is internationally renowned for its presentation of both classic and avant-garde operas. The unique setting, an adobe amphitheater open to fresh air and clear skies, blends with the dramatic landscape.
Enjoy a breathtaking sunset along with new productions of classics like Puccini’s Tosca. This season also includes The Pearl Fishers, which ensured Bizet’s status among operatic geniuses; the world premiere of a new version of Rossini’s comedy Maometto II; King Roger, a masterwork by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski; and Strauss’s Arabella, which blends romantic comedy with social commentary. The 2012 season runs from the end of June through late August, and tickets range from $37 to $225. For details and to purchase tickets, call 800.280.4654 or visit santafeopera.org.