Cold-Weather Escapes: Santa Fe

Your guide to off-season escapades. —By Michael Coleman

A glade run at Ski Santa Fe. / Courtesy photo

In January, the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that soar over Santa Fe’s adobe architecture are capped with snow, but downtown it’s usually sunny and mild. Most tourists descend on the 400-year-old city in the summer, but this idyllic southwestern destination is every bit as appealing—if not more so—during the less crowded winter months.

Start downtown, where Native American jewelry vendors surround the Santa Fe Plaza, or along Canyon Road’s dense collection of fine-art galleries. Check out Gerald Peters Gallery for America’s finest collection of western art, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to see the full breadth of the legendary modernist’s work. Whatever you do, don’t miss the funky local arts collective Meow Wolf. Founded in 2008, the space hosts fully immersive art experiences that will leave you dazzled, confused, inspired, or possibly all three.

Meow Wolf / Courtesy photo

If you’re looking for a more vigorous pursuit than shopping or gallery hopping, try Ski Santa Fe, an unheralded but seriously challenging ski mountain (with better-than-12,000-foot peaks) about 35 minutes from downtown. Or head to the Puye Cliffs to see ancient cliff dwellings and early Pueblo architecture.

Santa Fe is a mecca for mouth-watering southwestern cuisine, but there is a lot more to the city’s kitchens than enchiladas. For New American fare with an elegant western flair, try the signature elk tenderloin at Geronimo, nestled in a cozy, 18th-century adobe home along Canyon Road. For elevated Latin American cuisine, make a reservation at Sazón, where chef Fernando Olea, a Mexico City native, whips up daily specialties with different varieties of mole.

Gerald Peters Gallery / Courtesy photo

Excellent hotels aren’t hard to find, but the Inn of the Five Graces is in a class by itself. At the exquisite property in the heart of downtown, classic adobe homes have been converted into 25 luxurious and beautifully appointed guest rooms. Delicious made-to-order breakfasts, included in the room price, will get you out the door and on your way to sightseeing with zero hassle—just the way the locals like it.

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American Airlines to Albuquerque International Airport

On the way down from the local ski mountain, stop at Ten Thousand Waves for a Japanese massage and a soak in one of the spa’s private baths overlooking the piñon- and juniper-studded mountainside.

More cold-weather escapes from our Boston Traveler 2018 issue.