EXPLORE SANTA FE
HISTORIC SANTA FE
There are many unforgettable things to do in Santa Fe: explore its history, learn about its culture, and shop world-renowed art markets and galleries. Discover the art, the history, the cuisine and the landscapes that made Santa Fe #3 City in the U.S. 2020 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards.
Just 30 minutes north of Santa Fe tucked between fields, orchards and rolling hills you'll find the village of Chimayo, home to the famed Santuario de Chimayo pilgrimage church and nearby sacred sites, internationally renowned weavers, artists and craftsmen, and savory northern New Mexico cuisine. Learn more below.
Santa Fe's Canyon Road is home to more than 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants in one magical half mile. Stroll along this picturesque road for a day of Santa Fe outdoor activities, fine art, antiques, sculptures - and unparalleled shopping. Link to learn more below.
Go inside the history and culture of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico with any one of an array of guided tours and Santa Fe outdoor activities lead by our partner Heritage Inspirations.See New Mexico from above with a hot air balloon ride or from the water with a white water adventure or river float. Learn more below.
Santa Fe is a great place to get active. Enjoy our clear mountain air while cruising bike trails in the city or hiking trails in the nearby mountains. There are five golf courses in the area and opportunities for Santa Fe outdoor activities such as rock climbing and whitewater rafting. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time in Santa Fe you will return home rich in memories of this unique “City Different.”
Heritage Inspirations offers half and full-day excursions, multi-day adventures, and custom-crafted itineraries. With more than twenty tours across Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces including active outdoor expeditions, specially curated walking tours, and roving glamping adventures, Heritage Inspirations has a unique and dynamic option for every traveler. As a partner of Heritage Inspirations, Heritage Hotels & Resorts provides an exclusive discount to those who stay at one of our properties in Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces before or after a tour.
Heritage Inspirations offers a tour and rental shop at our sister property, Inn & Spa at Loretto. Daily E-Bike tours, rentals, and merchandise will be available in the shop to take home a piece of your journey. Link to learn more below.
As New Mexico's Premier Travel Company, we invite you to join us and take a walk in our shoes. Let us introduce you to the adventure, to the people, the art and culture, to the voices and stories and wild places. These elements combined exemplify the magic of New Mexico. Our mission is to create inspirational travel experiences that elevate your senses and compel you to an unmatched encounter with the Land of Enchantment. Storytelling is our passion. Our E-Bike Tours explore the deep-rooted historical dialogue of our state, while unveiling undiscovered destinations along the way. Our Glamping Tours take you to rugged and hard-to-reach places in style, inviting you to "go luxuriously wild". Step off the beaten path, beyond ordinary tourist routes and transcend boundaries through our ethically curated, intimate and immersive New Mexico excursions. Heritage Inspirations LLC. New Mexico's Premier Travel Company. To book now, call 1-888-344-8687 or visit www.heritageinspirations.com.
Located adjacent to the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum collection features over 3,000 works with 1,149 pieces created by the famous artist. The museum also presents special exhibitions and has shown works by more than 140 other artists. Link to learn more below.
Relatively new to the Santa Fe museum scene, the New Mexico History Museum is located on the Santa Fe Plaza, where interactive exhibits illustrate the history of Native peoples, Spanish colonialists, New Mexico’s Mexican Period, as well as travel and commerce along the historic Santa Fe Trail. This museum includes the Palace of the Governors, the Palace Press, and the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library and Photo Archives. Link to learn more below.
Santa Fe is known for its art. Canyon Road in Santa Fe has over a hundred art galleries in a half mile stretch of road. Find art created by internationally acclaimed artists in both traditional and contemporary traditions. Link to learn more below.
Experience the art of New Mexico from a fresh perspective. Exhibitions range from the richness of New Mexico's art and history, to innovations in contemporary art to exploration of art in general. Link to learn more below.
With 3,700 objects, the collections are the most comprehensive compilation of Spanish Colonial art of their kind. Among the various media featured are santos (painted and sculpted images of saints,) textiles, tinwork, silverwork, goldwork, ironwork, straw appliqué, ceramics, furniture, books and more. Link to learn more below.
Since its opening in September 1953, the Museum of International Folk Art has gained national and international recognition as an accredited museum that is home to the world's largest collection of folk art with more than 135,000 artifacts. Link to learn more below.
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a premier repository of Native art and material culture and tells the stories of the people of the Southwest from pre-history through contemporary art. Link to learn more below.
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian offers unique exhibitions of contemporary and historic Native American art. The museum is famous for its focus on little-known genres, and for solo shows by living Native American artists. Link to learn more below.
The Santa Fe Opera is a world-renowned performance venue. The striking, open-air theater features performers in a wide-ranging and challenging repetoire in a remarkable setting that is recognized as one of the world's leading cultural attractions. Link to learn more below.
Just 30 minutes north of our Santa Fe hotel is a historic 17th-century Spanish village that is rich in New Mexico culture. Nestled among fields, orchards and rolling hills, Chimayó gives visitors a glimpse into a way of life steeped in tradition and folklore. Chimayó is home to a pilgrimage church and nearby sacred sites, internationally renowned weavers, locally crafted artwork and savory northern New Mexico cuisine.
One legend tells us that Chimayó means "the place where three rivers meet" in the ancient Tewa language. Other storytellers claim that the village is named after T'si Mayoh, the Hill of the East which overlooks the valley. Whatever tradition appeals to you, Chimayó is undoubtedly an incomparable opportunity to immerse yourself in New Mexico heritage and tradition.
Founded by the Ortega, Martinez, Chavez, Trujillo, Lopez, and Vigil families whose 3,000 descendents still live there, Chimayó's heritage encompasses collective struggle and triumph, self-sufficiency and interdependence, spirituality, culture and art
SUGGESTED READING AND REFERENCES ON CHIMAYO
Sabino's Map: Life in Chimayó's Old Plaza by Don J. Unser
Chimayó Association of Businesses
FOODS OF CHIMAYÓ
Chimayó authentic food and Northern New Mexico cuisine are based on the chile pepper, which appears in time-tested recipes handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Chile has been a staple Chimayó crop for centuries, as well as a major trade good in generations past. Today the small, crooked heirloom Chimayó chile pepper, which has a mild but robust flavor, is on the brink of extinction, although an agricultural growing project is working to revive the strain by encouraging local farmers to plant and preserve it.
Chimayó's early growing methods relied on directing river water to small fields via acequias, a linked system of water ditches that in some areas of New Mexico predate the arrival of the Spaniards. Today, this same traditional method brings water to the fields for the short growing season of about 150 days. Local agriculture centers on the “three sisters” that were grown together on indigenous New Mexico farms—squash, beans and corn—as well as garlic and onions, and wild greens called quelites or lamb's quarters.
Authentic Chimayó cuisine that every visitor should taste includes homemade tamales, tortas (egg patties), hand-formed yellow, white or blue corn tortillas, posole (hominy stew), and enchiladas filled with beef, chicken or cheese. No visit to Chimayó is complete without answering the State Question: “Red or green?” Referring to different sauces, made with chiles at different stages of ripeness, one reply might be "Which is hotter?" Adventurous diners might also ask for a serving of both, called “Christmas” because of the combination of colors.
CHIMAYÓ, NEW MEXICO
Northern New Mexico's Catholic spiritual tradition arises from the Spanish saying, “Tiene uno que sufrir para merecer,” or “One must suffer to be worthy.” Chimayó is a prime example of this New Mexico spirit, which manifests in both private and public places throughout the community.
New Mexico spirits, as well as those who arrive from afar on spiritual retreats in New Mexico, are rejuvenated here, where the Santuario de Chimayó's holy dirt works healing miracles every day. Each year, thousands make pilgrimage to Chimayó, the “Lourdes of America,” entreating Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas (Our Lord of Esquipulas) with prayers to alleviate their suffering from both minor and serious illnesses. The tiny shrine, which is dedicated to the legendary and miraculous return of a crucifix found by Bernardo de Abeyta in the early 1800s, features a small pit of sacred soil which is said to have curative powers.
Steps away from the Santuario de Chimayó sits the Shrine of Santo Niño de Atocha, also built in 1856 by Abeyta, who was one of the founders of the New Mexico Penitente Brotherhood. Even today, tens of thousands of individuals of every faith and lifestyle make a pilgrimage to Chimayó during Holy Week, walking along roadways and highways toward the community.
On the west side of the Plaza del Cerro (Old Plaza) near the Santuario is the small chapel constructed by Abeyta's son-in-law, Pedro Ortega, in the early 1800s. Originally built for family use, the Oratorio de San Buenaventura, or simply the Oratorio, quickly became a community treasure and alternative worship site for local residents. Acquired by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1963, and lovingly restored 30 years later, the Oratorio features a new bell, elegantly simple altar screens, and chandeliers which were the pattern for the Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe's guest room light fixtures.
If the Santuario de Chimayó is the "Lourdes of America," so Chimayó is the "Lourdes of Lowriders," the unique, contemporary Hispanic car culture of Northern New Mexico.
“Low and slow” refers to the cruising style of custom automobiles whose bodies hover only inches above the ground. Lowriding requires no destination, no deadline, nowhere to be. It is about being seen, living large, and about cars that display feats of acrobatics—some of these hydraulic-equipped creations can jump 10 feet or more into the air. It's not unusual to see entire extended families piled into a single lowrider for a leisurely drive through the streets of Northern New Mexico towns such as Española and Chimayó.
While it is possible that the history of New Mexico lowriders reaches back to the early 20th century, recorded lowrider culture dates to the 1950s. Artists of lowriders explore the importance of their faith, family, culture, and creativity through their distinctive custom cars. Lowrider artists, such as Randy Martinez of Chimayó, spend thousands of hours expressing their personalities through these cars.
One of the best examples of lowrider culture, style and artistry is rooted in Chimayó but on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This '69 Ford LTD, called Dave's Dream, commemorates the life and faith of David Jaramillo and includes a family portrait of the Jaramillo family on the doors. The car was blessed by a priest at the Santuario de Chimayó in the presence of more than 500 well-wishers before it was transported to Washington, D.C.
Lowlow's Lowrider Art Place, a gallery located near the Santuario de Chimayó, displays and sells the work of Chimayó artists LowLow and Joan Medina. Their paintings, murals, handmade jewelry, culinary products and other items illustrate the passion and artistry that goes into each car.
Hotel Chimayo is happy to offer special Lowrider tours exclusively to guests of Heritage Hotels & Resorts. The Lowrider tours take you throughout the Downtown Santa Fe area which features historic landmarks such as the Plaza, Loretto Chapel, museums and much more! Reservations required. To book a tour please call 505-988-4900.