18 Reasons Why Santa Fe is a Spring Break Different

Staff | SantaFe.com - March 9, 2015

Even though there are exactly one billion reasons, we were able to narrow it down for you.

Santa Fe is popular throughout the globe as a world-class destination with old world charm. Not your typical party place, the culture and lifestyle are graciously unique – an art colony that plays host to amazing restaurants, exceptional outdoor activities and family-friendly fun. For locals and visitors alike, here are 18 reasons why the City Different delivers a spring break different.

1. Buffalo Thunder Resort 

The indoor pool, as opposed to the outside pool.

A luxury hotel and casino with Vegas-style action, Buffalo Thunder boasts a gorgeous golf course in the middle of the hills of the desert. The restaurants range from casually-delicious to the finest in the region. There are both indoor and outdoor pools, the therapeutic sanctuary known as Wo’P’in Spa, and an art collection like a well-curated museum.  This is the epitome of native glitz. A getaway to Buffalo Thunder will take locals on a micro-vacation and visitors will feel like they’ve surely been somewhere. Buffalo Thunder plays host to the 2nd annual March Fest Beer Festival on March 28, a 12k fundraising run with beer from Santa Fe Brewing Company, among other award-winning barley pop providers. The music line-up at the uptown-vibe Shadeh Nightclub showcases music anywhere from classics like the Fabulous Thunderbirds to the renaissance of 80s hair bands like Warrant and Winger. The Spencer Davis Group plays April 4 and the venerable Leon Russell will be at Shadeh on April 2. The resort is pet-friendly, and has shuttle service to Santa Fe. See the deals on stays and packages running now. 

 2. Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Photo courtesy of The Eldorado Hotel & Spa

The Eldorado has been a cornerstone of downtown Santa Fe’s hospitality industry for decades. Just around the block from the front door of the hotel is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. During your stay, take in sights, delectable meals, and view the works of one of history’s most influential painters with the Eldorado’s unique Georgia O’Keeffe Package. Nearly every day the skies surrounding our magnificent city are bright with colors and clouds that are straight out of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, and the Eldorado hotel pool is on the roof of Santa Fe’s tallest building offering visitors one of the best views of the skies, mountains and cityscape in town. The Old House Restaurant and Agave Lounge are two of Santa Fe’s most popular spots. The spa, Nidah, is a posh experience of signature treatments, including a “Spun Gold” massage. Pet-friendly, the Eldorado is running specials on stays, packages and discounts at local shops and restaurants. 

3.  Inn of the Governors 

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Governors

Within walking distance of the famous Santa Fe Plaza, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Frances de Assisi, the mysterious spiral staircase at Loretto Chapel, and all the shopping and dining of historic downtown, the Inn of the Governors is steeped in local folklore with illustrious stories of the past. Every afternoon at 4 p.m., hotel guests are treated to Tea and Sherry Hour. 2015 also marks the Inn’s 50th anniversary, which only means more good things for those interested in staying at this charming downtown hotel that comforts the budget. If your idea of enjoyment includes deluxe accommodations, great food and drink favored by locals, and good company in a genuine Santa Fe atmosphere, stay here.

 4.  Santa Fe Goldworks

A signature pendant by David Griego

Santa Fe Goldworks on the Plaza has been creating the most stunning collections of jewelry with Santa Fe distinction since 1972.  With Master Jeweler/Gemologist David Griego at the helm, the world recognizes his Native styling, signature opal inlay, highest-quality diamonds, and turquoise in all the right places. A piece from Santa Fe Goldworks will have you fondly remembering your trip to Santa Fe for a lifetime. 

5.  Harrell House of Natural Oddities 

Live Giant Beetle, part of the collection at Harrell House

Maybe spiders, scorpions, and bugs in general are not your cup of tea – but think of the kids, including your inner one. The Harrell House of Natural Oddities is home to both mounted and live invertebrate exhibitions that have few rivals anywhere. This place is mesmerizing and fun for everyone. Your host is not only knowledgeable in local and international species of invertebrates, but a storyteller and educator, too. A museum and gift shop with toys, mounted bugs, cards and books, jewelry, and quirky surprises in every corner, this museum is a must-see for anyone in Santa Fe. Watch the giant tarantula feedings every Wednesday. 

 6.  Sanbusco Center

Sanbusco Center is part of Santa Fe's Historical Registry

The Sanbusco Center, a building on Santa Fe’s Historical Registry, is in the heart of the Guadalupe District and houses some of the most eclectic and diverse boutiques and restaurants Santa Fe has to offer. From fun and funky clothes, to shoes, jewelry and home decor, the Sanbusco Center could take up a fun chunk of time.  With a salon of gifted stylists, favored El Salvador and Italian eateries, a fine pen collector’s boutique, and another just for your favorite pups, Sanbusco is Santa Fe shopping at its most distinct. 

7.  Skylight 

Jeff Tweedy courtesy of Wikipedia

Skylight is the newest addition to Santa Fe’s night life, and it promises to leave a lasting impression. Two dance floors, four bars and a full menu; it’s the perfect backdrop for Santa Fe’s evening entertainment.. Every Thursday is Latin Night, and every Friday brings Bonkerz Comedy, among other special guest appearances throughout the week. See Hurray For the Riff Raff on Monday, March 30, “an indelible stamp on American folk,” or Orgone on Saturday, April 4, a group with “fun, raw, adrenaline-fueled funk and sweat-dripping soul.” 

 8. Heath Concerts

John Doe of X courtesy Dave Lichterman

Santa Fe offers a plethora of amazing musical performances year round. This spring, Heath Concerts has an impressive series of concerts that will seal your fate to have your best spring getaway ever. Jeff Tweedy, founding member of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, is on tour with his 18-year-old son and drummer, Spencer Tweedy, and play March 26. You could  see Mary Chapin Carpenter on April 1. Maybe you prefer punk in Santa Fe:  LA’s legendary band “X” will play April 7. 

9. Cowgirl BBQ 

Santa Fe's hometown hitching post

In the historic Guadalupe District, The Cowgirl serves frozen margaritas, lots of beer on tap, famous, flying bartenders (ok, not flying, but you should see those cowboy hats move), and great ranch-style food. With a pool hall, and live music on most nights, the Cowgirl even has an enclosed playground for the kids.  Sunday morning the restaurant serves brunch, too, always with the best live music found in Santa Fe.  

10. La Boca and Taberna 

Photo by Chef James Campbell Caruso

Five-time James Beard nominee James Campbell Caruso has two of Santa Fe’s favorite restaurants in La Boca and her sister, Taberna. Modern bodegas meet Santa Fe, serving grilled gambas and pineapple-mango-onion salsa with saffron honey paired with a bottle of the Chef’s wine or sherry selections from his cellar – just one of the many mouth-watering possibilities.  What an international way to begin your evening on the town, après ski or for lunch. La Boca and La Taberna are the spot for late-night tapas; the kitchen closes at 1am most nights.
 

11. Santa Fe Spirits 

Raise a glass with the best.

The small distillery of Santa Fe Spirits is home to a group of five mastered spirits distilled to perfection. The alchemists behind the bar at the elegant  and comfortable Santa Fe Spirits tasting room are skilled mixologists who share their inspired recipes. Tour the distillery and learn from the best. 

12. Blue Corn Café and Brewery

Something for the whole gang.

Traditional New Mexican cuisine paired with great craft beer is the backbone of The Blue Corn Café and Brewery with two locations, downtown and southside, the Blue Corn is a staple of Santa Fe eateries. With a menu that is full of kid-friendly food, this place is great for the whole family. Inside the bar, you will find several large TV screens which will all be airing the most important collegiate basketball games during the end of March and beginning of April. The master brewer, James Warren hosts a monthly Brewer’s Table, an opportunity to taste food specially paired with his beer and talk with him and others who are passionate about the craft. 

 13. High Desert Angler

Taking you to Nirvana, New Mexico.

New Mexico plays host to some of the best fishing in the region, and High Desert Angler is Santa Fe’s oldest fly fishing establishment. The experts here are an enthusiastic group of experts, familiar with the area, the fauna, tying and casting. They teach newcomers and seasoned fisherman alike. Call or stop by to learn more about casting and tying classes, expeditions on the water, and a tai chi fly fishing intensives. 

 14. Ski Santa Fe

Photo courtesy Ski Santa Fe

Ski Santa Fe has over 70 trails of varied ski levels. Generally open until April 5, spring skiing in Santa Fe is some of the most fun you can have in the Southwest and this basin knows how to do it right. Ski Santa Fe has lessons, Chipmunk Corner for the little ones, Totemoff’s for a mid-run hot chocolate or hot toddy, and unlimited fun on the hills. This is one of the best ways to get a proper view of the Rio Grande Valley. For rental information, lift ticket prices, snow and trail conditions, visit skisantafe.com. The 26th annual Gladfelter Memorial Bump Run, Saturday, March 30, features a final hoorah for the season and the music of The Strange at Totemoff’s.

 15. Genoveva Chavez Community Center 

The GCCC is Santa Fe’s spectacular community recreation center. It houses a fitness center, racquetball courts, an ice rink for year-round figure skating and hockey, several basketball courts, indoor track, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and an adjacent water play area witha water slide and lazy river that make a great place to explore over multiple days. With a daycare center, and lessons for all ages, this center gives you every opportunity to stay active and have fun with the whole family on your vacation. Local spring breakers looking for camps forthe kids: check their website as they’re Santa Fe-mous for having the best programs in town. 

16. Puye Cliff Dwellings 

Distant voices of New Mexico's past are everywhere.

The history of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico is fascinating and a visit to the cliffs will help you learn more about the ancient residents and the events that changed our landscape and people forever. Located north of Santa Fe, the views are nothing if not dramatic and these ancient ruins are accessible to the public for hiking and guided tours throughout the year. Starting in April, the closing time is extended two hours to 6pm. Visit puyecliffs.com for hours, tours, directions and more information on the cliff dwellings.

 17.  Museum Hill

Santa Fe's Museum Hill is second-to-none.

Art is core to Santa Fe, so naturally a number of the country’s finest museums are located here to educate about various genres of art and art history. Centrally located and clustered in one area, Museum Hill is home to the Spanish Colonial Arts Society Museum, the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens and the International Folk Art Museum. There is the Museum Hill Café to nourish you if you want to make a day out of it. When you return from your trip to Santa Fe, your friends will ask you about the museums, so don’t disappoint them. Visit Museum Hill and come back with stories of the amazing things you saw.

18. Canyon Road

Canyon Road is a mecca for art in Santa Fe. Located downtown and nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it is a decidedly pleasant way to visit the world-renowned art galleries.

Pippin Contemporary

Pippin Contemporary is located at the gateway to Canyon Road. Featuring contemporary abstract work with great energy and color expression, the gallery is collaborating with The Teahouse (a few blocks east on Canyon) on March 21st pairing its own artists with teas that express their style. 

Giaobbe-Fritz Fine Art

Giacobbe Fritz Fine Art, a few blocks east, is housed in a 120 year old adobe building that embodies the essence of the art it houses. Chosen for quality and a unique blend of perceptions of our world, the artists are unique and varied. 

Ventana Fine Art

Ventana Fine Art is a gallery with a reputation for showing artists from around the world with a flair for exquisite contemporary reflections. Sculptures, paintings and a beautiful Santa Fe landscape make Ventana a perfect afternoon excursion. Beginning March 6, Ventana will feature the work of Paul-Henri Bourguignon-“Remembers Haiti”.