Santa Fe offers a broad range of art, from very traditional Native American crafts and Hispanic folk art to extremely innovative contemporary work. Some locals call Santa Fe one of the top art markets in the world. Galleries speckle the downtown area, and as an artists' thoroughfare, Canyon Road is preeminent. The greatest concentration of Native American crafts is displayed beneath the portal of the Palace of the Governors.
Any serious arts aficionado should try to attend one or more of the city's great arts festivals -- the Spring Festival of the Arts in May, the Spanish Market in July, the Indian Market in August, and the Fall Festival of the Arts in October.
Art Van Gogh
If you'd like to go gallery hopping or out to dinner without worrying about parking, or if you don't have access to an automobile, call Art Van Gogh, a new on-call service that takes patrons to select businesses that sponsor it. The businesses range from the golf and country club Quail Run to the village of Tesuque to Ten Thousand Waves Spa, as well as the Compound restaurant on Canyon Road, Tomasitas in the railyard, and Nedra Matteucci Galleries a few blocks from downtown, among many others. The service also picks up and delivers at most of the parking lots in downtown. It runs Monday to Wednesday 10am to 7pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am to 10pm, and Sunday noon to 7pm. Call tel. 505/570-0603.
Fetishes: Gifts of Power
According to Zuni lore, in the early years of human existence, the Sun sent down his two children to assist humans, who were under siege from earthly predators. The Sun's sons shot lightning bolts from their shields and destroyed the predators. For generations, Zunis, traveling across their lands in western New Mexico, have found stones shaped like particular animals. The Zunis believe the stones to be the remains of those long-lost predators, still containing their souls or last breaths.
In many shops in Santa Fe, you too can pick up a carved animal figure called a fetish. According to belief, the owner of the fetish is able to absorb the power of that creature. Many fetishes were long ago used for protection and might in the hunt. Today, a person might carry a bear for health and strength, or an eagle for keen perspective. A mole might be placed in a home's foundation for protection from elements underground, a frog buried with crops for fertility and rain, a ram carried in the purse for prosperity. For love, some locals recommend pairs of fetishes -- often foxes or coyotes carved from a single piece of stone.
Many fetishes, arranged with bundles on top and attached with sinew, serve as an offering to the animal spirit that resides within the stone. Fetishes are still carved by many of the pueblos. A good fetish is not necessarily one that is meticulously carved. Some fetishes are barely carved at all, since the original shape of the stone already contains the form of the animal. When you have a sense of the quality and elegance available, decide which animal (and power) suits you best. Native Americans caution, however, that the fetish cannot be expected to impart an attribute you don't already possess. Instead, it will help elicit the power that already resides within you. Good sources for fetishes are Price-Dewey Galleries Limited, 53 Old Santa Fe Trail, second floor (on the plaza; tel. 505/982-8632) and Keshi, 227 Don Gaspar (tel. 505/989-8728; www.keshi.com). Expect to pay $25 to $50 or more for a good one.
Arcade Shopping on the Plaza
Opened in 2004, the Santa Fe Arcade, 60 E. San Francisco St. (tel. 505/988-5792), on the south side of the plaza, offers three stories of shops in a sleek, glassy European-style space. It's a far cry from the Woolworth's that once lived there. Showy Western wear, fine Indian jewelry, and hip clothing fill the display windows of some 60 spaces in the mall. If you like to pamper yourself with natural products, many made in northern New Mexico, step into Sombria (Ste. 222; tel. 888/480-5554 or 505/982-7383). Look for their margarita salt glow, made with salt from Utah's Great Salt Lake. Prima Fine Jewelry's Oro Fino (Ste. 218; tel. 505/983-9699) sells contemporary and Southwestern inlaid jewelry in silver, gold, and platinum. After all the shopping, if you find yourself hungry, head to the Rooftop Pizzeria (top floor; tel. 505/984-0008; www.rooftoppizzeria.com) for some of the city's best pizza. Two types of crust, an "artisan" or a blue corn, are topped with imaginative concoctions such as smoked duck and roasted garlic or wild mushroom and alfredo sauce. Salads and pasta dishes, and beer and wine are also available. It's open Sunday through Thursday 11am to 10pm and Friday and Saturday 11am to 11pm.
Even if you don't shop, you'll want to wander down Gypsy Alley, one of Canyon Road's older artist enclaves. Though the once-crooked shops and studios have been replaced by sleek galleries, it still retains a row of whimsically painted mail boxes -- a great photo op. Emilia Poochie, 708 Canyon Rd., no. 3 (tel. 505/438-9663; www.emiliapoochie.com), likes to "pamper your pooch," and they're not kidding. If you take your doggie in with you, he or she will get treats and water, and can choose from an array of designer beds, dog houses, and games. Monopoly fans should check out the Dog-opoly. Across the alley, Cielo, 702[b/f]1/2 Canyon Rd. (tel. 505/995-8008; www.cielohome.com), offers an eclectic selection of furniture, tableware, and bath and beauty items that's great fun perusing.
More Than Dinosaurs
A timeless adventure tucked into a small space, Dinosaurs & More, 102 W. San Francisco St., upstairs in Suite 5 (tel. 505/988-3299; www.meteoritefossilgallery.com), caters to children of all ages, even those simply young at heart. Rockhound Charlie Snell has been hunting and collecting fossils, minerals, and meteorites for 25 years. He displays and sells them here, with special attention to children's curiosity. At the back of the shop, kids can participate in the archaeology by brushing and scraping away rock and dust from real dinosaur bones.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.