The Twinkling Lights of Downtown Santa Fe

How to begin? The beautiful night-lights adorning the bare trees? The plethora of specialty stores and cute restaurants with a distinctly New Mexican flavor? The Five and Dime General Store with that ridiculously good Frito Pie (yes, the exact same kind that Anthony Bourdain ate in Parts Unknown)?

The Shed Restaurant, Santa Fe

Mall at Santa Fe

Frito Pie, Santa Fe

Let’s make it simple and tell our story in a chronological order. After our 20-hour train ride to New Mexico, we arrived at our Airbnb location dirty, tired and slightly irritated at everything. After a warm welcome by our host (stay tuned for our take on the crazy, friendly Santa Fe hospitality), we walked to the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe to grab dinner.

It was late at night, so we didn’t really see the adobe houses clearly the first time – but the lights stole the show. Hanging from tree branches like garlands of starlight in all colors imaginable, they lit up the night and defined the Santa Fe holiday season experience for us. On top of the adobe houses, thousands of electric candles stood in a demure row, casting a mysterious glow on the streets.

The Plaza at Santa Fe

Alysta at the Plaza

Night Lights at Santa Fe

The Plaza in the morning looks very different. There were musicians every day we visited, singing as children danced around them. The Palace of the Governors market was in full swing – Native American vendors and artists laid out their beautiful jewelry, guitar picks and leatherwork. Some artists were featured in the galleries spread throughout downtown Sante Fe – we were lucky to have a chat with one of them, an elderly woman specializing in hopi pueblo pottery, and saw her paint her vase with a thin blade of grass! Read more about this experience within the next few weeks.

Santa Fe Palace of Governors


Athena exploring Downtown Santa Fe

Musicians at Santa Fe

Hopi Pueblo Pottery, Santa Fe

And then there’s the food. Each meal is an adventure with New Mexican feel-good restaurants, food vendors at the edge of the Plaza, Native American chocolate drinks recipes, and that amazing Frito Pie. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive look at Santa Fe’s cuisine (curated by our lovely Airbnb host) within the next few weeks!


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9 thoughts on “The Twinkling Lights of Downtown Santa Fe

  1. I love New Mexico! I was there for the first time in April and fell in love instantly. I flew into ABQ so I did not get to Santa Fe (I was in a town halfway between the two major cities.) Like you, I definitely plan to go back. I never knew the desert could be so beautiful and peaceful.


  2. Thank for the lovely introduction to the city of Santa Fe! Until today I knew this town only from watching Western movies. I like the colourful images very much. Looking forward to see more of them.


  3. Pingback: Touchdown: Santa Fe | mypassengerdiaries

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