25 Things We Love About Santa Fe

The aerial photos that made up this week’s cover image are from a drone soaring over above downtown during one of our summer markets. We love this view and we love this city. We thought now was a great time to tell you why.

Plus, SFR is gearing up for our annual Best of Santa Fe awards. With no electoral college to contend with, this popular vote puts the power in the hands of our readers. Check out sfreporter.com/bosf beginning Feb. 1 to nominate your faves.

We’ve got all the Condé Nast superlatives a town could want

If anyone loves Santa Fe more than we do, it's the writers and readers of travel magazines. You name the travel mag, we'll show you the list.

Condé Nast Traveler:

  • The world’s 5th best shopping city
  • We’re the 2nd best place in the US to retire
  • The magazine dubbed us the 8th best US city for vegetarians
  • Readers voted Santa Fe the 3rd best small city in the US (behind Aspen? Come on…)

Travel + Leisure:

  • Santa Fe is the 4th best US city for travelers
  • We’re one of the world’s 30 friendliest cities (We see you, Lisbon, Portugal. And we’re smiling)
  • Santa Fe is the 4th best city for gay travel and one of the top cities for a girls’ getaway

Pets are the best and everyone knows it

It seems pretty rare to have a completely animal-free home in this town, and when it comes to caring for those pets, Santa Fe is full of great resources. You can’t swing a leash without hitting a high-quality, locally owned pet supply store, a pet acupuncturist or a walking trail complete with poop bag stations. The expansive, un-fenced Frank S Ortiz dog park on Camino de las Crucitas is probably the most scenic dog park in the country (those mountain views, though!)—and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter has fenced-in dog runs for social play or for individual exercise. Dog daycares are booming businesses here. Most local shops allow a well-behaved pooch to roam the aisles with its owner.

It's not all good news, though. New Mexico does still have a high rate of animal abuse and neglect, and our lax anti-cruelty laws have been called some of the nation's worst. Thankfully, dozens of hard-working nonprofits are dedicated to helping out companion animals in our state, and Santa Feans are always quick to volunteer.

So while other towns might roll their eyes at a sentence like, "My cat has a massage appointment right after my dog's Reiki session," Santa Feans would likely beam at the concept … and have a few of their own favorite practitioners to recommend. (Charlotte Jusinski)

You can get drunk off local stuff

Bring a case of Bud to a party in Santa Fe and you're likely to be laughed out. You can drink every hue of brew fermented right here in the high desert: from the lightest lager, like the Freestyle Pilsner brewed at Santa Fe Brewing Company, to the darkest chocolatey porter like the Old Pecos Porter made by Second Street Brewery. Duel Brewing ventures from the lager path and specializes in Belgian-style beers, which tend toward fruity flavors and sometimes include unique ingredients, like their Whistler, a blonde ale with orange peel. We even have a brewery that specializes in making hard cider: New Mexico Hard Cider presses apples, pears and other fruits from local orchards, in places like Galisteo and Villanueva, to make a variety of ciders, including their Dry Mariachi Tart Cherry Cider, which is almost too easy to drink. If you aren't a bubbly-brew imbiber, have no fear—Santa Fe Spirits is near, and they make whiskey, vodka, gin and more at their distillery on the Southside. And we do have to say, hot damn. These local establishments produce some fine products; the cans and labels alone are enough to have you salivating, like we are right now. (Maria Egolf-Romero)

The opera isn’t just for snobs

At the Santa Fe Opera, aficionados love the world-class productions, and opera newcomers appreciate that they can tailgate and wear jeans (OK, so the veteran opera fans are down with that too). The views from its perch near Tesuque are breathtaking, and the open-air theater is a refreshing alternative to stately old houses.

Not only does the Santa Fe Opera present innovative productions of classic operas, but often a world premiere packs the opera house.

Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul premiered in Chinese in 2007 with a hypnotic percussive quality reminiscent of dripping water. In 2015 it was an operatic take on the Civil War epic Cold Mountain, which actually sold so well that the company added an additional performance. Highly anticipated in 2017 is The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs, which, according to the SFO, "captures the buzzing sphere of Silicon Valley with a kinetic electro-acoustic score, an absorbing non-linear narrative and a high-tech production."

Want to go? The company is accommodating to travelers, offering packages tailored to arrival and departure dates, and for tourists and locals alike it's possible to work out a payment plan for a package of tickets. Single tickets can get down to less than $40, and you could spend more than that on dinner and a few beers downtown. All the more reason to head up the hill and get some culture. (CJ)

The markets are always on the upswing

Okay, sometimes we grumble about the traffic and congestion that always comes with our summer art events, but when it comes down to it, Santa Fe is an incredible venue for world-class art, and markets are one of the best ways to see it all, giving sometimes-underserved artists a much-needed venue.

The International Folk Art Market (July 14-16 on Museum Hill) is the only one that requires an entrance fee, but is often considered the favorite among locals and tourists. Since the inaugural market in 2004, it's hosted artists from 92 countries. Artists bring the best in jewelry, rugs, sculpture, paper art, basketry and more for a one-of-a-kind tour of the world. For more economically depressed regions, the market also is sometimes those artists' sole source of income all year.

The Plaza hosts Indian Market, which celebrates its 96th year August 19 and 20. The market, usually crowded as a mosh pit, is considered the largest event of its kind in the world. Indigenous artists from across the United States gather for exposure, sales, connection, and no small amount of Native pride. Keep an eye out for contemporary markets popping up in the Railyard, too.

Of course, there's also Spanish Market and the Contemporary Hispanic Market, coming up July 29 and 30 this year, when a dizzying array of straw art, retablos, painting, wood carving and jewelry will line the streets.

Periodic art fairs in the Plaza and Railyard areas fill in the weekends between the huge markets, so any time you're looking for a unique gift or something to fill that blank space on the living room wall, summer in Santa Fe's got you covered. (CJ)

Pollo in a porn store parking lot

Nestled betwixt Cheeks (Santa Fe’s only strip club) and Arcade News (Santa Fe’s only adult movie and novelty shop), you’ll discover an unassuming food truck serving up some of our fair city’s finest fare courtesy of owner/chef/all-around badass Ludovico Arizmendi. Ah yes, it is

Pollo Asado

(2864 Cerrillos Road, 316-4085)

, a dream come true for fans of expertly prepared chicken, Mexican food or even just the glorious world of food trucks. And though Arizmendi’s menu boasts such tried-and-true items as tacos ($7 for four), massive beef or ham tortas ($7) and the good old-fashioned burrito, the true star of the show is the whole or half chicken dinner ($10-$20). Flame-grilled to a perfect tenderness and served up with refried beans, rice and a couple tortillas, it’s enough to feed your family or, if you’re so inclined, just your damn self. Given the perfectly seasoned, melt-in-your-mouth tastes and textures at play, you’d be forgiven for diving into this pollo alone. Oh, and don’t let the location deter you. After all, we’re a modern society of multi-taskers, so why wouldn’t we want to order up some of the best chicken in town and then peruse some toys or snag a quick dance while we wait? (Alex De Vore)

You can make your dreams come true—at a party, no less

If you have a business idea, Santa Fe is a good place to turn it into a reality. There are entire organizations—some state-funded, some private endeavors and some a partnership between the two—dedicated to helping budding businesses flourish. The Santa Fe Business Incubator (sfbi.net), Creative Santa Fe (creativesantafe.org) and MIX Santa Fe (mixsantafe.com) are among them. Each conducts business differently, teaching, pushing and helping however they can, and some groups business-accelerate in innovative (really fun) ways. The Santa Fe Business Incubator hosts workshops and seminars and offers office, lab and manufacturing space in their 30,000-square-foot facility. Creative Santa Fe leads collaborative projects and facilitates relationships at events like their annual FantaSe Dome Fest, which brings interactive light art and live music to DeVargas Park each summer. MIX Santa Fe holds a yearly competition between emerging local businesses called BizMIX (with over $50,000 in prizes) and hosts 10 networking events annually with attendance usually between 200 and 400 people, often in underexposed places around town. Efforts of entrepreneurial support make this town a place for dreamers, but they also help it perk up and make Santa Fe a little less sleepy. (MER)

It’s a grind

A few years back, the Trust for Public Land heralded the arrival of the skate park as a smart investment for forward-looking cities. Because of their propensity to "lure troublesome youth off street corners," the TPL report said, well-designed skate parks serve the crowd that isn't playing basketball, football or some other organized sport. Santa Fe's two skate parks at DeVargas Park near downtown and General Franklin E Miles Park just off Cerrillos Road on Camino Carlos Rey have been around for years. For a city our size, that's impressive foresight. The design left something to be desired, though. Joe Lehm, a local advocate and owner of the indoor skate park at Skate School Santa Fe, says that when the city decided to upgrade De Vargas seven years ago, it took some arm-twisting before they decided to do it right. "The challenge was to convince the city to bulldoze it and not to refurbish it," Lehm says. Almost four years later, De Vargas has held up well enough that Santa Fe is spending half a million dollars to build a new skate park at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. A true design-build effort, it's slated to open in June. That gives the city three skate parks for its 80,000 residents, a number that would likely impress the TPL and keep certain "troublesome youth" busy for years to come. (Matt Grubs)

No one ever gained weight in a more delicious way

For a town that can be so health-conscious, it sure is easy to get fat around here.

Of course, New Mexican food is king. Enchiladas, green chile cheeseburgers, sopaipillas with honey, rellenos—yeah, nobody ever got skinny on a diet like that. SFR readers voted La Choza (905 Alarid St., 982-0909) the best New Mexican food in 2016. There's plenty of good barbecue—the ribs at the Ranch House (2571 Cristo's Road, 424-8900) are our personal favorite. Beyond American delights, you can gorge on great sushi (SFR readers like Shohko Café, 321 Johnson St., 982-9708—but our wallets are more fond of Kohnami, 313 S Guadalupe St., 984-2002), Indian food (we love India House, 2501 Cerrillos Road, 471-2651, and Raaga, 544 Agua Fria St., 820-6440), Afro-Caribbean cuisine at Jambo Café (2010 Cerrillos Road, 473-1269) and more. For fine dining, it's hard to beat Geronimo (724 Canyon Road, 982-1500)—it was also recently recognized by OpenTable as one of the top 100 restaurants in the country.

This list doesn't even scratch the surface of the options you have for caloric intake. Grab SFR's Restaurant Guide for more info, or just pick a place and eat there. You're likely to be happy. (CJ)

It’s the other City of the Stars

Remember some years ago when Gene Hackman slapped some homeless guy who was harassing Mrs. Hackman? How about the other day when Ali McGraw got busted driving and cell-phoning? Some of you will recall a time when it wasn't odd to run into Shirley MacLaine at the mall or Val Kilmer gassing up his car. Georgia O'Keeffe once roamed the land nearby, George RR Martin basically pumps whatever cash he can into the arts and there was even a time when a dude like Archbishop Lamy rolled into town like, "What's up, you guys?"

Yeah, Santa Fe has long been a haven for the rich and famous, a glamorous home away from the mirage-like glitz and glamour of Tinseltown, where the horizon goes on forever and the sunsets are so beautiful they're a guaranteed a hundred Instagram likes no prob. Jane Fonda calls it her sometimes home; ditto Julia Roberts and Alan Arkin. So this begs the question: Does the presence of the rich and famous make Santa Fe worth loving, or is it so lovable the rich and famous couldn't resist? Probably the second one—but just make sure you don't hassle Gene Hackman's wife or he'll mess you up good. (ADV)

You (probably) won’t be murdered

For the last decade or so, Santa Fe has recorded between two and three murders a year, according to crime statistics kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That puts us at about half the national average. Factors that keep homicides down include the city's older-skewing population, lack of gang presence and strong community involvement, according to Deputy Police Chief Mario Salbidrez. It also helps that our nightlife is limited and confined to a small section of downtown. "Being aware of those locations, we can identify when they become problem areas," says Salbidrez. That being said, Santa Fe has recently seen an uptick in other crimes, particularly burglaries and auto theft. Salbidrez attributes the latter spike to crime rings that run between our city, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, New Mexico. (Steven Hsieh)

We support young artists rather than stifle them

A cursory glance at the people who work for and/or run arts organizations like Santa Fe Performing Arts (SFPA), Meow Wolf and even this very newspaper tells the tale of a scrappy bunch of young Santa Feans who were once given the tools to learn, plot and execute their own artistic visions, and that's a huge deal. Places like Warehouse 21 have tirelessly crusaded for the youth of this city, and they've also inspired others to go on and create their own programs. Just look at Meow Wolf's Chimera, a nonprofit arts education offshoot of the collective, or the youth classes at SFPA, and you'll notice a trickle-down effect; those who were once given a shot want to impart their knowledge to other generations who we hope will do the same. Hell, we've even got an entire school dedicated to youth in arts, and when New Mexico School for the Arts eventually takes over the Sanbusco Center, we're pretty sure they'll be churning out dancers and singers and musicians who rival the very best in the country, age irrelevant. In a world like ours that makes it so easy to simply do nothing, resources like these will have their work cut out for them. But as long as there are young people willing to learn, there will be teachers dying to make that happen. (ADV)

There’s, like, music everywhere

Let's break down the whole music situation around here in a decidedly un-fun yet interesting way: with math! Santa Fe's population is, give or take, around 80,000 people. We can take half off the top right away for being too old, too young or too boring to go to shows. Take another half away because they're sick or they're working or they've fallen victim to the siren song of Netflix. Are you keeping up? Good. Now we'll take away another half to account for the people who just hate fun and friendship, another half of that for folks who don't drink, another half of that for folks who are traveling and another half of that for those who live in the more rural parts of town. You get the gist. By the point it all boils down, we can generously say there are maybe 1,500 people out and about on any given night. And man, do those people have options. They can catch big-name touring acts at Meow Wolf, similar-level artists plus locals at Skylight or Boxcar. AMP Concerts takes over the Railyard each summer with a totally free series of shows, Warehouse 21 hosts metal, punk and hip-hop every week, and there are non-stop performances at Cowgirl and both Second Street Breweries. No-name (which does not mean bad) bands that absolutely slay play all the time at DIY spaces like Ghost and Zephyr, jazz geniuses take over GiG all the time, Vanessie hosts pianist/vocalists most nights and this doesn't even account for the hotel bars, the out-of-the way spaces and myriad house shows, studio events and parties going down basically always. It's actually pretty insane if you think about it, so pick a day and go nuts—you can assume something musically worthwhile is going down. (ADV)

Our gender- neutral baños

It’s been less than two years since the City of Santa Fe’s governing body passed an ordinance requiring businesses to label all single-occupancy bathrooms as gender-neutral. The move signaled an important, if small, step towards equality for the transgender community.

The nod towards inclusivity happened right before other parts of the nation bolted in the other direction. City Council's move preceded North Carolina's vehemently anti-LGBT "bathroom bill," which last year catapulted the issue into the national spotlight, triggering boycotts and civil rights lawsuits. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a show in Greensboro. The NBA moved the All-Star game from Charlotte. Mayor Javier Gonzales banned "non-essential" official travel to the Tar Heel State.

But as SFR reported last year, businesses have taken some time getting into compliance with the ordinance. The All Families Matter Coalition took on the challenge, taking stock of the city's single-stall bathrooms and educating business owners of the new policy. "We're met with support for the ordinance. Businesses are just not aware of it," says Jenn Jevertson, who led the campaign.

Notably, Betterday Coffee and La Montañita Co-op quickly came into compliance.

All Families Matter's campaign halted for a few months, but Jevertson says they're ready to kick it back into third gear.

We're still lookin' at you, Allsups. (SH)

The arts that don’t take place on Canyon Road

A sizeable number of local artists, writers and musicians have taken a look around town, decided the arts scene wasn't quite what they were looking for, and then started their own damn projects. Look to groups like Strangers Collective (full disclosure: Our visual arts writer, Jordan Eddy, is a founding member), a loosely affiliated group of artists and writers who host events, openings, conversations and more, Southside DIY arts/music space Zephyr and their commitment to underappreciated touring bands, or SCUBA, whom we hear will soon have a new space with a focus on collaborative output. This doesn't even include the innumerable free-agent artists who show in unexpected locations like Iconik Coffee Roasters and independent facilitators like Curate Santa Fe's Niomi Fawn, whose utilitarian project Hitch married form and function in the shape of arts-adorned bicycle hitches located throughout the downtown area. There are still more scads of locals working out the details of their own less-mainstream projects. Respect to the galleries, but we're way more excited for whatever may be underground. (ADV)

Our airport actually has flights to other places

For most Santafesinos, catching a plane outta here involves the hour-long drive to the Albuquerque International Sunport. But the Santa Fe Municipal Airport is once again trying to up its game. This time, there’s a twist. New flights between Santa Fe’s dinky hub and the exotic destination of Phoenix began a couple weeks before Christmas. If too few passengers book tickets on a given flight, however, a fund established by a handful of local businesses and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau has agreed to pony up the difference to get the airline to its break-even guarantee. So far, donors including the city and county governments and individuals such as realtors have pitched in about $350,000 to sock away for those revenue guarantees and to buy advertising.

Sure, the flights might cost a little more than the Duke City version. Yet, if time is money, spending a little extra to take one of the American or United legs from Santa Fe to Denver, Dallas or the Valley of the Sun might just be your bag. Plus, bumming a ride to or from the airport is a lot easier when the drive is 15 miles instead of 60. Depending on where you go and when you want to get there, you might be surprised how few dollars separate the two cities.

And if this effort pays off, the head of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce says, we might even have a chance of getting those direct-to-Los Angeles flights back on the schedule. (Julie Ann Grimm)

You (theoretically) won’t get arrested for marijuana

The City of Santa Fe prides itself for upholding so-called progressive values. So advocates for criminal justice reform cheered when our governing body finally decriminalized marijuana in 2014, reducing penalties for minor possession to $25. That's a far cry from the potential jail time and permanent criminal record faced by pot possessors under state law.

But as SFR reported last year, police for two years rarely followed the decriminalization ordinance, regularly arresting people for carrying small quantities of marijuana—or, like one unfortunate guy, for smoking in a parked car before catching a movie.

Things could be poised to change. Late last year, City Councilor Joseph Maestas raised concerns that the police department failed to honor the spirit of their rule, which called for officers to treat marijuana as "the lowest law enforcement priority."

Police Chief Patrick Gallagher responded by instructing officers to take "refresher" courses on the ordinance, which runs through the process for issuing civil marijuana citations and encourages officers to defer to the municipal option with cooperative individuals without criminal records.

Whether the re-training will lead to change in the department is still to be seen.

We'll keep you posted. (SH)

You can access super-speedy, publicly funded internet (if you work near the Railyard)

At the beginning of 2016, a city-funded contractor finally completed work on a fiber-optic cable line through the Railyard, creating a public competitor to CenturyLink for the hyper-speed Internet market.

State government buildings are already hooked up to the $1 million line. And this summer, Cyber Mesa, the company tapped to install the infrastructure, started providing wireless access to the system to customers including Hyde Park Estates and the Santa Fe Opera.

Now the challenge is getting private businesses hardwired to their line, which runs two miles between the Simms Building on St. Francis and CenturyLink's central offices on Alameda. High costs and low accessibility present barriers to entry, according to Jane Hill, president of Cyber Mesa.

"I'm hoping the city will invest in building this out further," Hill says. "This is a great start, but it's limited at the moment."

Leonard Pascual, owner of ABN Solutions, which provides residential integration services, receives wireless services from Cyber Mesa but would prefer to get hardwired. That wasn't an option five months ago, says Pascual, whose business is about a block from the Railyard.

Hill says if Pascual tried now, her company could get him hooked up. "But he probably wouldn't like the price," she adds.

SITE Santa Fe expects to go online with fiber-optic internet in the next week or two, making the organization the first non-government entity to physically connect to the system.

"We're going up to warp speed with this new system. We're very excited and we think we'll be keeping with our new building in being on the forefront of technology," says Anne Wrinkle, SITE's Director of External Affairs. (SH)

We win at social media—sort of

Sure, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is awesome, and White Sands is unparalleled in its eerie beauty. They have both, however, been beaten in at least one ranking: Instagram prowess. According to USA Today in December 2016, Santa Fe's own Meow Wolf (1352 Rufina Circle, 395-6369) claims the distinction as being New Mexico's most Instagrammed attraction.

The Balloon Fiesta has been around since 1972, and White Sands has been around, well, forever, and Meow Wolf's current location only opened in March 2016. So this overtaking in popularity was swift and brutal.

At the time of this writing, there are 25,523 public posts with the hashtag #meowwolf, and that isn't even counting images with geotags. The Insta-popularity of Meow Wolf could be due to a number of things (for example, the demographic that goes there is probably the demographic most likely to use Instagram). USA Today simply says that the rankings were pulled from "Instagram data," whatever that means. But, hell. We'll take it. In your face, White Sands! (CJ)

Your boss has to pay you enough to live

The minimum wage in the city of Santa Fe has a cute name; the city ordinance that created it relabels the concept a "living wage." Currently, the dollar figure sits at $10.91, but city officials tell SFR it's likely to increase to $11.08 on March 1.

That's because the wage is tied to a federal labor statistic called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (West Region). If that number increases, the city is supposed to hike the wage by a similar percentage. Between 2015 and 2016, it rose 1.6 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those earning this pay rate are still well behind the area median income, however, the amount they must be paid is much higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and the New Mexico minimum of $7.50.

Yet, Santa Fe County's wage rules have mirrored the city's since 2016, so workers at all the 6,910 registered area business can save those extra dimes for a rainy day. (JAG)

You can go to museums for free (sometimes)

While we're kicking around the idea that Santa Fe is lovable, did y'all know you can go to state museums for free once a month if you're a resident? Yup. That means you have access to some of the finest arts and history exhibits in the country, and just from a sheer numbers standpoint, you're coming out on top. You could even make a day of it. If that was our plan, we'd start things off at the New Mexico Museum of Art, an impressive combination of contemporary works, culturally significant paintings, photos, sculpture and more, plus an ever-rotating exhibit space that has, just in the last year, featured shows like the history of the guitar and the expanded arts of the lowrider world. Then pop around the corner to the New Mexico History Museum, a beautiful two-story building that continues the lowrider love affair with the nation's very first photo archive on the subject, plus incredible recent exhibits on such fascinating topics as the Spanish Inquisition and the Harvey Girls. Nearby, the Palace of the Governors is worth an hour or two for its view into how the politicians of yesteryear lived, but also for its interesting catalog of artifacts. Around the corner, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum offers free admission on the first Friday of the month, and since she's all important to the history of art, you might wanna swing by. Santa Fe even has an entire hill dedicated to museums, and the International Museum of Folk Art should absolutely be on your list. In the last year they've featured events like a lecture on the history of tattoos, the mind-boggling Morris Miniature Circus and so much more it would be impossible to include everything. Across the courtyard you'll find the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, both boasting compelling insight into Native arts and culture, both free the first Sunday of the month and both recognized as some of the most well-curated and enriching museum experiences in the country. Same goes for the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. If it's more contemporary or experimental you're looking for, SITE Santa Fe has the weirdness you crave and is free all day on Fridays and from 10 am-noon on Saturdays. What?! And there's more where that came from. You'll just have to get out there and live. Or, y'know, look it up. (ADV)

Buses that go up to the ski hill are sweeter than our cars

Picture this: The snow gods have just dropped some fluffy, wet powder and then a little icy rain. Lifts open in less than an hour and Hyde Park Road is bumper-to-bumper with drivers in sedans who really thought they could make it up. Several vehicles have slid off the shoulder, nearly into trees, or begun to float backwards out of control after losing traction. Then, the blue bus starts up the mountain. Safe and sound inside her warm interior and with our gear stowed on the racks in the back, we're comforted by the crunchy sound of the tire chains and all-wheel drive. The driver's from Michigan, so she knows how to let the rear end of the bus slide just a little on those corners. While two dudes in sneakers push their Honda Civic into the downhill position, we're heading up in the southbound lane. The guys behind them—annoyed at their thwarted Subaru—stare at us, jaws agape. We wave. The driver hollers, "You shoulda taken the bus!" We cheer.

The North Central Regional Transit District's Mountain Trail Route is running for its second year and it still seems to be a well-kept secret. For $5 each way, skiers and boarders get dropped off at the Ski Santa Fe upper lot. On the way up, the driver also hands each rider a token worth $5 at the base snack bar. (So, like, free pie and a safe ride!)

In the summer, bikers and hikers and leaf peepers can also catch a ride.

On your next snow day, meet the shuttle at the Fort Marcy lot (right above where they burn Zozobra) and avoid all the downtown stops. First bus leaves at 8:15 am. Get more of the schedule at ncrtd.org. (JAG)

We can see movies somewhere other than giant multiplexes

Santa Fe should be proud of its recreational options given its small size, and we can think of no arena that exemplifies this humblebrag better than the non-mainstream cinemas. With such celebrated screens as the Jean Cocteau Cinema (419 Montezuma St., 466-5528), The Center for Contemporary Arts' Cinematheque (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-1338) and The Screen at Santa Fe University of Art & Design (1600 St. Michael's Drive, 473-6494) hosting myriad films week to week (not to mention author appearances, readings, magic shows, political events and so much more), it's easier than ever to catch award-winning indies, heart-wrenching documentaries and foreign gems. Even the Violet Crown (1606 Alcaldesa St., 216-5678) has been known to cut loose and host one-off documentary screenings, the works of independent filmmakers and special events featuring classics like Dr. Zhivago (the print was gorgeous, by the way). Plus, there's beer there, so…

Anyway, added up, Santa Fe has some of the finest cinematic programming in the country (even with the recent closing of the UA theater at the DeVargas Center) put together by curators who live, breathe and love film. And, when we remember the oodles of exciting film fests such as the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, the Santa Fe Film Festival and the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, we begin to realize that it isn't just impressive for the size of the town, it's impressive period. (ADV)

This is ground zero for conspiracy theories

You've seen those streaks of frozen water vapor trailing passenger planes across the sky, right? We (and NASA) promise those aren't chemical agents dispersed by the government to control your mind. Are electromagnetic signals causing your nausea? Not according to most doctors. Did Bush plant explosives in the Twin Towers? Get the fuck out of here. Sometimes the capital of this state feels more like the mecca for conspiracy theorists. As a Southwestern town with New Age flair, we attract some of the country's strongest left-libertarian impulses. "You have folks who are suspicious of government. You have people who are suspicious of medical institutions. It's a real, 'We are different, and we have our own beliefs' kind of attitude," says Mark Fenster, a professor at the University of Florida and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. But Santa Fe bears little resemblance to your racist Midwestern uncle's wacky world where Obama is a Kenyan Muslim and Clinton runs a child trafficking ring out of a Washington DC pizzeria. Here, chemtrails and Trutherism rule the conspiratorial mind.

"The people who would believe in the latter conspiracies are more likely to maybe listen to NPR or non-mainstream music," Fenster says. (SH)

Wow. Look at those sunsets


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