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Christmas Dinner in Santa Fe

by Susan Orth

Contrary to many of the stereotypes we see every year during the holidays on television and in the movies, not everyone or every family stays home for Christmas dinner. In addition to giving the family chef a rest, here are some other reasons to get out of the house for Christmas dinner:

  • It can be a fun change of pace, especially for those who “always” have Christmas dinner at home
  • Many of the restaurants that are open on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day will quite often have special entree and appetizer items, along with special prices on certain meals
  • Popular and trendy restaurants that are often too crowded to be comfortable will likely be significantly less crowded owing to the many others who stayed at home for Christmas dinner

So, if you live in or near the city of Santa Fe, or if you’ll be visiting the area on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and you are thinking about (or need to) go out for dinner, you are in luck.

Some of the city’s best local eateries are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or both. Listed below are a few of these restaurants, along with a brief description of them and, where applicable, any of the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day specials they may be offering:

Geronimo: Located on the historic Canyon Road in the heart of Santa Fe, Geronimo is an 18-year-old local legend among the city’s eclectic, impressive fine dining restaurants. Geronimo’s website does not specify a particular dish special for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; however, it is a safe bet that they will offer a traditional turkey dinner with the typical side dishes.

Fuego Restaurant & Wine Bar: Situated within the classy and stylish La Posada de Santa Fe resort and spa, Fuego Restaurant & Wine Bar is an excellent choice for those who want a true escape from the holiday bustle. A world-class wine list, a cozy fireplace setting and inventive cuisine combine to create a relaxed dining experience away from the traditional bells and whistles.

Anasazi: The Anasazi Restaurant is recognized as among the finest culinary destinations in all of New Mexico. The ambience is a seamless blend of elegant fine dining and classic American Southwestern charm. Additionally, Anasazi features special meal deals during much of the holiday season. Check them out at their website:

La Casa Sena and Santacafé: Each of these landmark Santa Fe restaurants not only offers a glimpse into the city’s 400-year history, but they also serve up some great fare on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Santacafé dishes up Christmas Eve dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Christmas Day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. And you can fill your tummy at La Casa Sena on Christmas Eve from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Christmas Day from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Christmas in Santa Fe & Canyon Road Christmas Eve Walk

by Susan Orth

Farolitos + Fire = Free Fun

At Christmas time, Santa Fe is bathed in a warm, golden light that literally shines with the spirit of the holiday season.  

Residing in a region that can arguably be called the heart and soul of the American Southwest, Santa Fe is one of the area’s signature cities. Its definitive Mexican inspired architecture, culturally rich resident population, and diverse outdoor and indoor entertainment and recreational opportunities are second to none. It’s one of the few cities that are immediately recognizable for anyone who has lived in or visited it.

Along with its natural beauty and Native American heritage, Santa Fe is a city that has developed a kind of mystical, aura about it. This magical sense that exists in Santa Fe is strongly enhanced during the holidays. One of Santa Fe’s signature seasonal events is the Canyon Road Farolito Walk, which takes place on Christmas Eve.

The Canyon Road Farolito Walk – also known as the Farolito Walk and the Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, Canyon Road Farolito Walk – is an incredibly moving and entrancing event.

Small paper bags are filled with sand and small votive candles, and then placed side-to-side along historic Canyon Road. When these candles are lit, the bags are transformed into farolitos (the Spanish word translates to small paper lantern).

On Christmas Eve, people gather in downtown Santa Fe close to the New Mexico State Capitol building. As twilight begins to darken the winter sky, the lighted farolitos provide a calming, resplendent glow for walkers and carolers as they stroll along the golden path.

Many of the businesses along the Canyon Road Farolito Walk route traditionally offer hot cocoa and hot cider to revelers, and there are usually a couple of bonfires along the way for participants to warm up before rejoining the walk or singing some carols.

You do not have to be in Santa Fe on Christmas Eve, however, to be a part of this unique city’s wondrous holiday season celebration. All you have to do is get yourself to Santa Fe’s historic Plaza in its downtown area on any chilly, star-filled night during the weeks between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.

On these meditative evenings, the adobe shops and restaurants blush with the receding light of the setting sun, and all of the trees in the Plaza come alive with the silvery glow of strung lights. The holiday season is a special time sure to create memories for residents and visitors to Santa Fe.

Santa Fe's 400 Year Old Road

by Susan Orth

Archaeologists recently discovered what may well be one of Santa Fe’s earliest streets – dating from the 1600s – while working on a dig downtown.

The New Mexico office of Archaeological Studies became involved with an area a couple of blocks east of Santa Fe Plaza, an area that Drury Southwest, a hotel chain, plans to redevelop from its former life as the St. Vincent Hospital complex. During the redevelopment process in 2008, an excavation discovered a cobbled surface four feet below grade which represents four feet and four centuries of accumulated civilization. Today’s Cienega Street area was once a spring-fed marsh.

A second archaeological dig of the area commenced in September of this year and ended on October 20th with the reburying of the site. The dig determined that the cobbled surface was a street which ran mainly north-south. The original name of the street is unknown, as are its beginning and ending points, but archaeologists believe the street ran along the path of today’s Otero Street. They surmise that street may have led to Santa Fe’s initial parroquia – a parish church. The street is not seen on the first known map of Santa Fe in 1766.

The dig exposed roughly half of what they believe to be a thoroughfare with a standard Spanish width of 7-1/2 varas (21 feet). It could be Santa Fe’s oldest street, but archaeologist Jim Moore indicated that the cobblestone is unlike European or Spanish paving techniques. “It just looks like somebody brought in a couple of loads of gravel and dumped them on the road to create a nice solid surface,” said Moore. (Santa Fe New Mexican, October 19, 2011)

Interestingly, archaeologists discovered portions of Pueblo Indian pottery, some of it glazed ware from Galisteo Pueblo and other southern villages that was no longer produced after the early 1700s. They also found types of majolica pottery from Puebla, Mexico of a type that was discontinued after the 1600s; the interpretation of these finds is that the avenue was used during Santa Fe’s first century as a Spanish city.

Another excavation a few meters away from the road surface explored a garbage pit. Several different types of objects were found, including a piece of Chinese porcelain which may have been made a century earlier than Santa Fe’s founding. Archaeologists estimate that it may have been acquired in the Philippines and was then taken by Spanish galleon to Mexico and later brought to Santa Fe by wagon along the Camino Real.

Drury Southwest is expected to retain some of the artifacts to display inside its new hotel.

Santa Fe History 101

When many people think of Santa Fe, New Mexico they think of amazing artwork, beautiful countryside, great outdoor activities and astonishingly spectacular restaurants. All of these attributes are incredibly true of Santa Fe, but were you aware that it's the oldest U.S. capital city? Dating back 400 years to its elevation to capital city status, it's filled with historic ambiance and culture. But even though Santa Fe's 400 year old road ties into the city’s prominence in the past, the city’s history is actually much richer and older.

Going back to approximately 1050 A.D., the area was originally occupied by Pueblo Indian villagers. Archaeologists concur that these villages were essentially abandoned (for unknown reasons) as early as 200 years prior to the conquistador Coronado's arrival in 1540. He claimed the area for the Spanish crown, and he didn't stop there. Coronado and his men also are credited with having discovered the Great Plains and the Grand Canyon.

Eight Indian Pueblos still exist north of Santa Fe, and there are a total of 19 pueblos across New Mexico. The rich cultural legacy of Native Americans is still in great evidence here - whether expressed in beautiful hand-crafted works of art, jewelry and clothing in local stores, via some of the many festivals which take place, or through delicious Native cuisine and their hauntingly lovely music - you can enjoy all of those aspects in modern day Santa Fe, year-round.

Fun, Cultural & Outdoor Activities and More! 

In addition to art galleries, festivals and amazing restaurants, there are several museums which can magically transport you back to a simpler day and age. Many of these offer classes, workshops, educational programs and fascinating community events. One of the city's many free walking tours is an excellent way to enlighten yourself about Santa Fe's history as well as its modern day offerings.

The area is filled with excellent outdoor activities including world-class golf and skiing & snowboarding; there's exciting river rafting; great hiking, camping and fishing; bicycling paths; numerous parks and recreation areas and more. You'll find many kids activities here, too, so there's truly something for everyone, no matter their age or interests.  Like great shopping, resorts, bed & breakfasts, performing arts centers....the list goes on.

Yes, Santa Fe's more than 400 year old history beckons you to come visit or live, learn, and enjoy its many modern day amenities.

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Contact Information

Susan Orth
City Different Realty
518 Old Santa Fe Trail #190
Santa Fe NM 87505