10. Learn some Spanish
Knowing how to pronounce Spanish words goes a long way in Santa Fe. For example, a double L (LL) is pronounced with a Y sound — Cerrillos road, for example is prounounce Sa-Ree-Yos. Bonus points if you can roll your double Rs. You don’t need to speak Spanish fluently (or at all) to get by in town, but being able to speak some can definitely help communicate in certain situations. After all, Spanish was spoken here long before English ever was.
11. Yes, we really do put green chile on everything
As we mentioned above, town smells like roasting chiles in the fall. It’s on our license plates. And we love it on and in everything from enchiladas to pizza. Yes, you read that right: we love it on pizza. And on cheeseburgers . . . and tons of other stuff.
And when you get fully acclimated to green chile, you’ll start to explore with red. They are actually from the same plant. The red chiles just mature on the plant and have a very different flavor that is more earthy and almost smokey. It’s amazing on pork, eggs, and a host of other rich foods.
You’ll end up loving it. The flavor is amazing, but it turns out you actually have a physical reaction to the chile that can become a mild addiction.
12. Famous people like to hide out in Santa Fe
There are a host of Hollywood types in Santa Fe. Stars like Gene Hackman, Val Kilmer, Wes Studi, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, and Ally MacGraw have called or do call Santa Fe home. It’s not uncommon to see famous people around town doing things ordinary people do. Most of the locals don’t really care and treat them like every other person, which is why celebrities like it here.
13. Learn to appreciate art
Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the country. But the story really started about 100 years ago when artists began flocking to the area. Painters and photographers from the East Coast especially began coming for the dramatic light, epic landscapes and new subject matter. With their big-money patrons in the big cities, they were able to make a living here in New Mexico while popularizing the area. More artists came. Many settled into the adobe homes that line Canyon Road. Others, like Georgia O’Keeffe (If you’re a fan, be sure to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Ghost Ranch!), ventured further afield to places like Abiquiu and Taos.
For a while Santa Fe was known for its western art, but these days it produces a wide variety of styles and media that appeal to anyone who appreciates art. Check out our Santa Fe Art Gallery Guide.
14. You need a guy (or gal)
Santa Feans love to feel like they have the inside scoop on the best auto mechanic, tree guy, electrician or whatever. The reason is because it can be hard to find the right person to take care of your home, auto, etc and even harder to find someone to show up on time. When you find the right person it’s awesome. But the process for getting there can be hectic. If you need some help, check out the Santa Fe business directory to find reputable local businesses that can take care of all your needs.
15. markets, events, and shopping
This is a lot crammed into one category! Santa Fe is famous for our annual markets: the Indian Market, Spanish Market, and the International Folk Art Market, where artists from across the country and even around the world gather to offer their creations. We also have big events that draw locals and tourists alike, such as the annual Burning of Zozobra and the Wine & Chile Festival. Find our Major Events Calendar here. And shopping! While we’ve got big box stores, the real shopping is done at locally owned stores where you can truly support local with your spending. Head to the acclaimed Santa Fe Farmers Market to buy directly from growers and producers. Local baked goods, jam, or honey, anyone? Find locally owned businesses here.
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