AOL PICK from our Editors
Santa Fe is a shopper’s paradise, especially if you’re hunting for something a little different, from hand crafted Native American jewelry to embroidered cowboy boots to chile-spiked chocolate. Santa Fe is one of the nation’s largest art markets, but even if you’re not buying, the galleries are friendly to browsers and the museum shops are a great source for arty gifts. Silver and turquoise jewelry are high on the shopping list for many visitors. Buying direct from the artisans, who are usually happy to chat about the making of the piece, lends a special touch to the purchase. Summer’s Indian Market and Spanish Market are prime opportunities to meet the artists, but it’s a year-round sport here. For home décor, hot picks include Native American rugs and pottery, Spanish Colonial style furniture, punched tinwork, and carved santos (saints). New Mexican gourmet treats are a must—salsas, hot sauces, and seasonings, blue corn and Piñon (pine nut) pancake mixes, or anise-flavored bizcochitos perhaps. A bright red chile ristra to hang in your kitchen or patio is a festive memento of your Santa Fe trip.
Santa Fe Plaza
Neighborhood: Santa Fe Plaza/Downtown
Boutiques, art galleries and gift stores line the square and the roads spidering from it. For jewelry, head to the Palace of the Governors, where silversmiths from area Pueblos sit under the portal with their wares. Two Christmas shops on East Palace Avenue sparkle with New Mexican yule decorations, and Seret & Sons (on Galisteo, southwest of the Plaza) is a trove of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Tibetan treasures—you’ll recognize it by the fabulous carved doors displayed outside. On your debut Plaza foray, resist buying the first wonderful concho belt, silk scarf or Native American pot you see—unless you’re totally in love with it. Wander round to see the choices and prices on offer, or you could easily blow your budget in your first hour.
Neighborhood: Canyon Road
One of the country’s most famous art shopping streets, Canyon Road has over 100 galleries showing the full gamut of art: fine art by emerging and established artists, avant garde sculpture, European works, antiques, textiles, you name it. Even if you’re not buying, it’s a enjoyable stroll along the narrow tree-lined road, with a smattering of restaurants and other small shops. The Nathalie boutique has a stunning array of fancy cowboy boots and upscale western gear. Try to time your Canyon Road visit for Friday evening, when many galleries have open-houses and artist events, and there’s a street-party atmosphere. Canyon Road leads off Paseo de Peralta, south of East Alameda.
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Neighborhood: Greater Santa Fe
Nambé is instantly recognizable to many. Design gurus love it and its home and table ware is sold around the world. Nambé has its roots in New Mexico, when a woman living near Nambé Pueblo, 18 miles north of Santa Fe, collaborated with a metallurgist from Los Alamos National Laboratories who developed an alloy that could retain heat or cold—the silver metal in Nambé’s glossy cookware. In the two Downtown stores, you may find heavily discounted seconds and overstocks.
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Neighborhood: Santa Fe Railyard / Guadalupe Street
Santa Fe Railyard is home to the highly regarded Santa Fe Farmers Market, plus shops, galleries, and restaurants. The Santa Fe Farmers Market is as much an experience as a shopping opportunity. You can meet artisan farmers selling their locally grown produce (third party sellers aren’t allowed). You can also buy jam and honey, baked goods, and herbal and body care products. There’s also live music and cooking demonstrations. The market takes place several times a week in summer and Saturday year-round. The Railyard also hosts the New Mexico Artisans Market on Sunday, with local arts, crafts, and entertainment. The neighboring Sanbusco Market Center (500 Montezuma) has some unusual boutiques with contemporary textiles, fashion, jewelry, and imports. Just around the corner, the consignment and vintage store Double Take at the Ranch (321 South Guadalupe Street) sells fabulous retro cowboy shirts.
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Neighborhood: Santa Fe Plaza/Downtown
At the open air Tesque Pueblo Flea Market, you can shop for Native American crafts, jewelry, pottery, baskets, and rugs; antiques, imports, beads—the range is wide and you never know what booty you’ll unearth here, but prices are usually cheaper than in the city. The food vendors are great too, from Native American to Mexican and New Mexican, with fresh corn on the cob in season, and smashing breakfast burritos for the early birds. The open air Tesuque Pueblo Flea Market is held most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (It’s closed in January and February, and sometimes cancels in bad weather.) It’s about ten minutes’ drive from the Plaza.
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