25 Things We Love about Santa Fe Right Now

We hate getting root canals, we hate watching CNN, we hate love songs—but we love Santa Fe. And as has become an annual tradition from Team SFR, this feature is about naming some of the reasons we are especially grateful right now.

And in a not-entirely-self-serving way, it's also a way to get ready for the Feb. 1 start of the 2018 Best of Santa Fe readers poll, where we ask you to choose the best businesses, nonprofits and experiences the city has to offer. Nominate your favorites and learn how to participate at SFReporter.com/bosf.

1. Deep, dark skies

As an 18-year-old, a new friend and I drove off into the desert one night during our first week as freshmen at the College of Santa Fe. We thought we were in the middle of nowhere. (I later figured out we were actually in Eldorado.) We pulled over and looked up at the sky.

"Man, it's beautiful," I said. "Too bad about that band of clouds right across the middle, huh?"

"Uh, Charlotte," he said. "That's the Milky Way."

It's a scene that's likely played out with many folks coming to the impressively dark landscape of New Mexico for the first time. The combination of low population and almost no industry makes for a sky that twinkles more than most, and our state's Night Sky Protection Act, put into place in 1999, regulates outdoor light fixtures and sets guidelines for energy conservation. Paradoxically, less light makes it easier to see when driving at night; and, while some light can make us safer, the International Dark Sky Association suggests that "Dark Campus" programs actually reduce crime and vandalism.

Head to darkskynm.org to find ordinances by county or municipality—then head down some side roads and stare up for a while. (Charlotte Jusinski)

2. We have such good food

Say what you will about rich people, but really good food is often a byproduct of their existence, and the closest thing to a successful demonstration of trickle-down economics most of us will ever see. A truly world-class dining experience is often just a short walk away from your appointment at the county building or City Hall. But it's not just restaurants; we grow stuff. Most of it's legal and most of it's delicious. The farmers market is churning out produce and other crafty goods both in downtown and on the Southside, and there are delicious, cheap taco trucks all over town. It's a good time to be hungry, Santa Fe. (Matt Grubs)

3. Soaking is something normal (not just rich) people do

What do your metropolitan friends from New York or Seattle or Houston do to relax? Hit a happy hour, see a movie, sometimes spend way too much on a massage. OK, sure; those are all nice things we do here, too.

Tell your city-slicker buds, though, about how you hopped in the car after work and 20 minutes later were carrying a rolled kimono past a koi pond, getting ready to sit in a hot tub beneath the pines for the evening—all for about as much as they spent on their flick 'n' popcorn.

Or, if you have a little more time to spare, tell them how you drove for an hour or so and sat in a natural hot spring for zero dollars, under the dang open sky or beside the dang Rio Grande or next to a dang mountain. They may ask: Is this real life?

The short list of nearby hot water in which to steep your body includes Ten Thousand Waves, Ojo CalienteSunrise Springs, the Montezuma Hot Springs (searchable at visitlasvegasnm.com), the Stagecoach Hot Springs (searchable at taos.org) and the Jemez Hot Springs (searchable at jemezsprings.org).

It is real life, my friends. It is. It's how we roll. (CJ)

4. And just like … walking

Santa Fe County has an entire department dedicated to wide-open areas. Since 1999, the Open Space and Trails Planning department has purchased large tracts from private owners "specifically for conservation and preservation," and has sought input from community members for how each of its eight areas—totaling 6,610 acres of open lands, 155 acres of parks, and 34 miles of trails—should be managed.

"The planning program, the open space program at the county, are very community-driven. We always listen to our community members; we always take their concerns into consideration and to the best of our ability," says Maria Lohmann, the senior planner at the Open Space and Trails department.

Some of these concerns, she says, often tend to deal with how best to make a space open for humans while also not threatening theanimals and plants that live there. For example, the plan for the San Pedro Open Space, located in southern Santa Fe County and acquired as a "scenic gateway to the San Pedro Mountains," identifies small critters and juniper woodland populations. The Los Potreros plan, for a plot of land in Chimayó, includes suggestions for a "grazing period" for livestock and small animals.

The related environmental review process, which solicits guidance from people in surrounding communities, can run for years, and at least one area, the South Meadows Open Space, has been in a planning period for almost two decades (in fairness, it's located next to an old nuke-parts plant, so that might be part of the holdup). But the amount of time the county is willing to put into environmental planning makes the slow trot worth it, in our view. (Aaron Cantú)

5. The museums are expanding

We're an arts mecca, and you can confirm that with visitors, but we sure hope everyone at home is aware of the many museums Santa Fe has to offer. And though we're always down to check a new exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art or the Institute of American Indian Arts' Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, we'll hand it to the New Mexico Museum of Art and SITE Santa Fe—cause they poppin' lately!

Not only did SITE go nuts with renovations—including that absolutely stunning steel prow which now juts out toward Paseo de Peralta—but the state art museum is also planning a new satellite location nearby next year in the Halpin Building on Montezuma Avenue.

SITE celebrated its grand reopening with the ongoing exhibition called Future Shock and this month launched a solo show from Luke DuBois on the timely issue of democracy and elections. The art museum got a major facelift and has put up three exhibits in honor of its centennial. Did we mention many of these places have at least one day every week when admission is free?
(Alex De Vore)

6. You can walk around in a big illustrious poncho and people only give you compliments

For Christmas, my mom bought me a really incredible poncho from a border town in Mexico. It's large and warm, and has an Aztec sun pattern woven into it. I've worn it a lot since then, and I've felt at various points like a broad-shouldered mammal who can ward off a mountain lion if I need to. Professionally crafted ponchos are a new addition to my wardrobe, and my excitement has clearly eclipsed that of those around me: Nobody in Santa Fe cares I'm wearing what is essentially a large blanket draped over my shoulders, and the only time anybody ever comments on it is to give a compliment. "Hey, that looks really warm!" somebody said to me as I was buying my coffee the other day. "Hey, thanks," I replied. That was it.

In any other city of this size, at least anywhere outside the Southwest, a large and illustrious poncho such as mine may be too eccentric to wear regularly while avoiding extemporaneous comments. In larger cities like New York, I'd worry about getting the tassels caught in a subway car door, or, while sitting in a cramped restaurant, making a big show of lifting it over my head and probably grazing somebody's face in the process. How embarrassing and unsanitary.

But in Santa Fe, you can stretch out your arms and puff out your poncho like a bluffing spider monkey and it's totally normal. I love it. (AC)

7. It’s also OK to wear fringe (see #6)

Millennials call it "extra." Slightly-older-than-millennials might call it "flair." Older-than-those-people probably call it "pizzazz" or something. It's the ol' razzle-dazzle. Baubles, bling, accoutrements, the bits and bobs of a haberdasher, accessories—whatever you refer to it as, it's stuff. And you look really, really fun when you employ it in your wardrobe.

In most other parts of the country, when you dress like a weird hippie with scarves and rings and multiple piercings in one nostril, when you're a dude and your socks are cooler than your girl's, or when your purse has long dangley fringes hanging down to your knees (that goes for any gender or lack thereof), it's not that you "may" get the side-eye. You definitely do.

Here, the more junk you add to your person, the better you look. Brightly colored fringed floral kimono? Bring it on! Wrapping a Christmas garland in your braid in March? Aw yiss. Giant wool coat with massive embroidered flowers and a big ol' rhinestone cow skull across the yoke? Nothing is cooler.

Sure, this style isn't for everyone. But think of it this way: The more plainly you dress, you're not more likely to get mocked. However, the more outrageously you bedeck yourself, often the more folks roll their eyes. But not here. Either end of the simple-to-ridiculous spectrum is equally respected. (CJ)

8. You can get really good haircuts

Barbers and cosmetologists say they covet the Santa Fe market because the cost of cuts here is relatively more expensive than elsewhere in New Mexico. This is because the clientele tend to be older, retired, or just passing through and looking for a way to pamper themselves, cosmetologists tell SFR.

Where you go matters; many of the salons and barbershops clustered near the Plaza might not even be open in the afternoon if they haven't already booked clients for those times. But there's plenty of cheaper spots that more than likely have talented people on their staff. For classic male cuts at an affordable price, we like the Solana Barber Shop (931 W Alameda St., 983-9816) and Dino's Drive-In BarberShop (1300 Luisa St., 908-0902).

If you're looking for something a bit more involved but don't want to blow your bank account, check out TNA Hair Salon (112 W San Francisco St., Ste. 309, 920-8019), owned and operated by a very chill, tattooed and pompadoured guy named Tommy Lucero. And if you're willing to take a risk with your head, you can get a cut or color at Vogue College of Cosmetology (2434 Cerrillos Road, 473-5552). The person who cuts your hair will be a student, so you have to be willing to let them try and fail on you; but the prices are rock-bottom cheap, and you can actually get a decent cut there, since they're working under the gaze of instructors on the salon floor. (AC)

9. The county is building a mental health crisis center

America sucks when it comes to mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates about 43 million people suffer from one or more diagnosable mental conditions in a given year, though the severity and fleetingness of a person's condition can range. About 10 million are functionally impaired due to their mental health, and in Santa Fe County, there are about 2,500 people in that camp. And whether a person is temporarily gripped by anguish, it's not easy to get treatment.

That's why Santa Fe county's plan to build a "crisis triage center" is right on time. The basic idea is that shoppers will pay a new tax on goods and services that will generate over $1 million each year for the operation of a mental health refuge in the county—meant to be a first line of defense for people in the throes of crises. Community Services Department Director Rachel O'Connor told SFR last year that the center will feature qualified mental health and addiction counselors and other specialists on site at all hours of the day, including employees from Christus St. Vincent, the addiction and transitional housing center The Life Link, and reps from the city's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program.

The county's crisis center is part of a broader effort by mental and social service workers in Santa Fe to tear down any barriers. Over the last year, the county has formed a plan to rope about a dozen local health and social service providers into a coordinated plan to treat vulnerable people in the county, the idea being that if one place doesn't have what a person needs, they can easily and quickly send them over to another organization that does. The county's crisis triage center, which will probably break ground in 2019, aims to act as an anchor. (AC)

10. Big-name bands seem to suddenly be aware of us

As we write this, we've got visions of recent shows shows from acts like Wavves, Joyce Manor and Future Islands dancing in our heads. On the horizon, Talib Kweli at Meow Wolf next month and Portugal. The Man at the convention center in April are reminders that maybe we're gonna have a viable non-local music scene after all.

And though we'll tip our hat to the hardworking Santa Feans in the trenches week after week—not to mention the thriving DIY scene being cultivated by spaces like Zephyr Community Art Studio and Ghost—we're gonna go ahead and point out the obvious: Meow Wolf is doing things that simply haven't been done here since the days of Club Luna, Allegria and The Paramount. We can only hope the trajectory keeps climbing, but we're not complaining (yet); more like reveling in the awesomeness while the reveling is good. (ADV)

11. Lots of people really freakin’ love coyotes

"Living here in this ancient land where coyotes first evolved, we understand in Santa Fe that the coyote is one of the great magic shows of nature. Getting to see coyotes here is like seeing whales breach in the Pacific."

Those are the reverential words of Dan Flores, author of the book Coyote America, resident of the Galisteo Valley, and nationally renowned expert on coyotes. When it comes to the statues, paintings, jewelry and Christmas ornaments in downtown shop windows, Flores tells SFR of his travels around the United States: "I've never seen so many vernacular references to coyotes as I have in Santa Fe."

In general, Santa Feans respect coyotes' sovereignty. They were here long before us, and they're gonna be here long after the Homo sapien apocalypse. "Trying to resist coyotes is futile; that's not going to happen," Flores says. "The best strategy is to learn how to coexist with them." (Step one is a no-brainer: Keep your pets inside.)

Unscientific and ineffective coyote-killing contests still occur in New Mexico, but not without vehement protests. And, Flores says, we could be closer than ever to getting them outlawed (California's already done so): Last year a bill banning them passed the state Senate, but died in the House. Keep up with Project Coyote (projectcoyote.org) and Animal Protection Voters (apvnm.org) for advocacy opportunities. (CJ)

12. Mountain biking for days

We have so many trails. They're so accessible and so rarely crowded. And while we're getting more mountain bikers, we're also getting more trails. They can get dusty and washed out, but even that is getting a little better as a handful of groups who care about —and know how to go about—taking care of them make their way through Santa Fe's myriad singletrack sightlines. Sure, the National Forest trails require a bit more appreciation for crowds (to the grump who told me "I hope you fall" on Raven's Ridge … I didn't.) And sure, we still have people who think a trail is the perfect place to let their dog off-leash (it isn't, and it's usually illegal), but most folks are happy to accommodate each other regardless of the way they're using the trails. It's gorgeous out, anyway—what's not to smile about? (MG)

13. Many—not all—creative types can make a living

Without getting into a whole thing about how artists can sometimes be taken advantage of (a story for another day), have you ever stopped to think about just how many people in Santa Fe make their living creatively? From session musicians and street performers to sculptors, filmmakers, painters, theater folk and countless other sub-classifications of jobs, it's quite possible to ditch that 9-to-5 for a career in the arts and make a fairly comfortable living. Oh, we're not saying it's going to be easy, and the hustle might be tough, but at the end of the day, the only real thing stopping you is you. Call that gallery, take those songs out of your bedroom and stop assuming you have more time; Santa Fe might be the land of mañana, but the artistry is all the time. (ADV)

14. Most of the construction on Cerrillos Road is done

We're actually scared to type this for fear it may cause a water main to burst—but most of the widening and improving and even God-awful double-diamonding of Cerrillos Road is complete. It's been such a pain for so long that it seems fairly likely there's an undiscovered morality play by Sophocles exploring the allure of the shortest route to Home Depot or Natural Grocers but for the treachery of using Cerrillos Road to get there.

There are some things of which we're certain, including that there's a repair that will pop up sometime soon or, eventually, a section that needs to be widened again—in fact, no sooner had we started typing this than the state confirmed it is studying a project for the stretch of Cerrillos from Osage Avenue to St. Francis Drive. Gah! But nothing is planned or funded for the next four years.

We're also certain that no amount of widening or flow-fixing construction can fix stupid drivers. Maybe it can at least make them more tolerable. Maybe. (MG)

15. Even when there’s no real snow, we ski

We don't love that it's been a record-breaking dry winter, and we know we are gonna miss the snowpack in the spring. But we do love that Ski Santa Fe is able to use the marvels of modern technology to somehow keep snow on the ground, and that you can get there in well under an hour from the city. Sure, it's super weird riding the ski lift over hundreds of feet of bare, brown earth, and there may come a time when using water to make snow just isn't fair or feasible. But those corduroy runs still offer the mountain's special brand of exercise and relaxation, even if ski basin officials count 18 runs open and there are realistically only seven ways down. Snow-making crews work in the dead of night and apply a special skill at making smooth surface for our boards and planks.

Get thee to Totemoff's for live music on the patio on weekends, too. (Julie Ann Grimm)

16. The interchange at Jaguar and 599 is finally open

The Cook family from Española paid to build the state's only privately funded interchange onto a state highway. It took a minute, but it's finally open and has the potential to change more than just the daily commute for thousands of Santa Feans who live in Tierra Contenta. Imagine being able to take Highway 599 into downtown instead of having to chug up Cerrillos Road? Bliss.

The interchange also opens up access to the SWAN Park on the city's Southside, which features a baseball field, soccer field and a big, grassy field that's good for frisbee or anything else. There's a cool playground and basketball courts, too. Soon, the Village Plaza development could start popping up, with restaurants and other Southside businesses that could give the West Airport Road corridor some actual local flavor. In the somewhat distant future the other side of the interchange is supposed to lead to a new entrance to the airport and potentially open up city land for development and extra cash for city coffers. (MG)

17. Yeah, but it’s a dry heat

When we're shriveling up in 100-degree temps for that week or so each summer that it gets that hot, many folks feel blind rage when a starry-eyed tourist utters those six words.

But honestly … It really is a dry heat, and it really is much nicer than a wet heat, if you ask just about anyone. Sure, we wake up occasionally at 4 am choking from a sudden dryness in our throats, and you can't leave bread out on the counter for 10 minutes without it turning into an inedible knob.

But think of the last August you spent in New Jersey. Think of peeling off your skivvies on a summer evening in New Orleans, or a Florida springtime where you need to swim through the air. Even a weekend trip to Austin one May had me pawing wretchedly at my clothes and lamenting the unbearable moisture—until my friend pointed out that humidity was at 30 percent. A dry day, by Austin standards. I couldn't wait to get back to New Mexico.

Weather and climate website wunderground.com calculates that our average annual humidity is 15 percent. Keeping that in mind, according to researcher TC Scheffer's 1991 paper on historic wood structures for the Forest Research Laboratory of Oregon State University, "If wood moisture content is 20 percent or less, … serious decay is unlikely."

So, in short, we're all gonna look good forever.

Conclusion: Every other city on the planet is a sopping wet mess and this desert is heavenly. (Insert gripes about climate change and drought here; I know, I know. I'm just talking about surface pleasures here.) If you don't like it, just go try and breathe on the Gulf of Mexico this summer and get back to us. (CJ)

18. All the right people don’t care if you’re from Hollywood, and all the right people do

I've bumped into Judge Reinhold at the grocery store, sat next to Gene Hackman at lunch, Alan Arkin at dinner and been tailgated by Wilford Brimley (BACK OFF, DIABEETUS!). Shirley MacLaine has given me the stink-eye (playfully—I think) and Val Kilmer once hit on the receptionist at a former workplace. There's even some family lore about laughing at the guy at Whole Foods who totally thought he was Christian Bale (he was totally Christian Bale). And you can't swing a tote bag in this town without striking Ali MacGraw (please don't, though, she's lovely). The point is, these aren't special stories. They're anecdotes and everyone has them. If you're cool with us, we're cool with you. The one guy in town who really does care if you're from Hollywood is Eric Witt of the Santa Fe Film Office—and he just wants to help you make money. (MG)

19. We have a ton of nonprofits, and most actually do something

Santa Fe is awash in nonprofits. We even have nonprofits that serve nonprofits. The Santa Fe Community Foundation estimates there are around 800 nonprofits registered in Santa Fe County. There are groups devoted to getting kids to dance, adults to move creatively, all of us to think and some of us to become better caregivers. Speaking of, we care about finding homes for pets and saving historic homes from relentless progress. We have groups that want us to love music, whether sung, played or created on a computer.

"I think we have a lot of good-hearted people who see our rural community as needing those resources that can't be found in other places," Jamie Aranda of the Santa Fe Community Foundation tells SFR. "We work with so many that we see the great work that they do in the community. They fill gaps that businesses don't or that the government doesn't. It's truly valuable."

As an added bonus, the array of community groups makes volunteering easier than ever. It's always hard to take the first step (guilty), but once you're plugged in, it's a breeze and immensely rewarding. (MG)

20. All things considered, there’s very little street harassment

Yes, there is street harassment everywhere, including in Santa Fe. But let's get real here: The frequency at which women experience street harassment in this town, anecdotally at least, is remarkably lower than in most places.

There are the exhausting and endless "bless you, mami"s from stoops in Brooklyn, or detouring around construction sites in San Francisco to find entire new routes to work (walking for 15 more minutes is preferable to passing those guys every day). Tales abound from Austin to Adelaide.

While research and advocacy group Stop Street Harassment finds that 95 percent of its survey respondents have been honked or whistled at, and 40 percent say it happens at least monthly, you deduce quickly that, when walking while female in Santa Fe, it's not nearly as pervasive a problem here as in other places.

In a very unscientific survey of a very small sample (female employees and freelancers at SFR of varying ages), four of 11 said they'd been catcalled/whistled at/honked at in Santa Fe during the last month. In many American cities, among women whose office is in a downtown area (as SFR's is), we'd posit that closer to 11 of 11 would have responded in the affirmative.

Sure, you may have had a different experience. (Let's make the app Hollaback!, a street harassment tracker, more popular in New Mexico, shall we?) But on the whole, dudes here keep it real. We can usually walk bar to bar without getting leered at. We can usually walk down Alameda without honks spooking our dogs. We can usually make eye contact on the street without inviting vulgarity.

Bless you, papi.

Usually. (CJ)

21. More tattooers than ever!

In the old days, Santa Fe was host to maybe, like, two good shops—and even then, it was only because Four Star founder-artists Mark Vigil and Dawn Purnell went their separate ways.

Today, however, we've got more options than ever—and they're good ones, all y'all tattoo fans. While Four Star Tattoo (825 Topeka St., 984-9131) and Dawn's Custom Tattoo (1100 Hickox St. 986-0002) keep doing their thing, Vigil's one-time apprentice Crow B Rising has opened an appointment-only studio, Talis Fortuna (931 Shoofly St., talisfortuna.com), one-time Four Star guest artist Guido Baldini splintered off with apprentice Owen Lostetter to form Lost Cowboy Tattoo & Gallery (307 Johnson St., 983-6928), and Tina's Ink (Santa Fe Village, 227 Don Gaspar Ave., 920-2903) can tack it if you can hack it.

Of course, this is a mere smattering of options, but with permanent tattooers like Scott Buffington, Jeffrey Pitt and Amelia Albright creating custom pieces alongside out-of-town guest artists like Max Ireland and Julie Bolene, this little mountain town has a lot going on. Go forth, get cut, tip well. (ADV)

22. Twenty-two theater companies. Twenty-two!

When this newspaper started putting together lists of organizations and businesses to prepare for the Best of Santa Fe nomination period, I was asked to draw up a list of theater companies. I started from memory, hit about 15; when I got stuck, I consulted Theatre Santa Fe's website to mine the others.

When I came up for air, my list was at 22 active companies—from Blue Raven Theatre, which hosted its inaugural show in November 2017, to the Santa Fe Playhouse, which was founded in 1922 and hasn't missed a season since. I define "active" as any group that puts on at least one event a year.

For a small city—or, really, for any city—Santa Fe's theater scene is on fire. The first couple weeks of January tend to be a little quiet, but once the year gets going in earnest, there is at least one theatrical production up every single weekend the rest of the year—and sometimes as many as four or five shows. And we're not talking piddly productions; these are truly impressive, fully staged shows, whether you want Shakespeare or Arthur Miller or something brand-new from a local playwright.

They're weird (looking at you, Theater Grottesco) or emotionally challenging (Teatro Paraguas' hard-hitting Latinx works) or colorful musical romps (have you ever attended an Artspring from those NMSA students? My god!).

In short, it's a bloomin' petri dish in here. And SFR's events calendar will always have the deets, so don't miss out. (CJ)

23. The Supreme Court finally knocked some sense into the city attorney’s office

Look. We get it. Change is scary. Ranked-choice voting is new, untested 'round these-here parts, and every day it seems like a newfangled steam engine is takin' jobs away from stagecoach drivers. So when the city of Santa Fe put off using the system for a whole decade after voters changed the city charter to require its use, we understood. But consarnit, only to a point, ya hear?

The software was initially expensive. And explaining how it works does take some doing, but as state District Court Judge David Thomson pointed out, it's the will of the people. Nearly two out of three people who voted for the change in 2008 said it shall be so. So when the system became available and affordable and other cities started using it (San Francisco, Minneapolis, Oakland), it kind of seemed we were at that point.

Instead, the city fought the measure kicking and screaming, finally saying that, despite no one we can recall bringing up the issue over the past 10 years, the whole darn thing was unconstitutional.


In 2008, the people spoke on a measure that was vetted by a special commission and by the then-city attorney and the then-City Council. This fall, the now-city attorney's office argued it's patently against the constitution. Seeking to address the question, Judge Thomson dutifully listened and decided ranked-choice voting wasn't expressly prohibited as a form of runoff election. But the city, at the behest of five councilors, felt there was still a question of constitutionality. So it appealed to the Supreme Court. The court decided the argument wasn't even worth hearing. And that's a body that knows a thing or two about the state constitution.

Get out your rankin' boots. (MG)

24. UUGE ravens everywhere

"Nevermore" or whatever, a raven said to Edgar Allan Poe somewhere in New England. In Santa Fe, the massive birds are more likely to croak from atop a utility pole, swooping down into dumpsters alone or in small packs to scavenge. They seriously look about the size of small turkeys as they soar through the sky, hawklike and jet-black. Their beaks appear to have evolved for the sole purpose of plucking out eyeballs. But we respect the ravens, truly.

The ravens in Santa Fe "are actually smaller than other subspecies" of the bird, says Scot Pipkin, director of community education at the Randall Davey Audubon Center. There are bigger ravens further north, although if you travel east or south into the grasslands, you might encounter a smaller variety called Chihuahuan ravens.

Ravens can look a lot like crows, which are also common in Santa Fe and the continental US, but there are some easy ways to tell them apart: Ravens are a lot bigger and have a diamond-shaped tail. Crows make a caw sound, while ravens tend to emit guttural noises, and are usually alone or in pairs (though they can be in larger groups when they're circling around a large source of food). Pipkin says ravens are some of the smartest birds in our region.

"They have extremely diverse vocalizations [when] they are communicating," Pipkin says.

Even though they may look menacing, ravens aren't a threat to humans or pets. They have been known to "test boundaries," sauntering up behind dogs or cats and tugging on their tail to gauge their reaction. They aren't known to eat pets—the bigger danger there would be the great horned owl—but they do like to play around. So, if you run into a raven in public, just chill. Even better, scatter some food around for them. Human scraps are largely what they've evolved to
eat. (AC)

25. More movie screens per capita than pretty much anywhere else

The movie screen situation here is out of control in the very best way. Let's say Santa Fe is home to roughly 80,000 people. And now let's say that we cut that in half to account for things like the too-old, too-young, too-sick. We've hit 40,000. Cut in half again for people who just don't like going to movies. That's 20,000. Cut it again for people who travel a lot, work elsewhere or are otherwise engaged. We're at 10,000. OK, now cut it in half one last time, just for funsies, and we're at 5,000. These people have five movie houses to choose from, ranging from the mainstream hits at Regal Cinemas, the artistic tour de forces at the Center for Contemporary Arts, The Screen and the Jean Cocteau Cinema and all points in between at Violet Crown. By this completely bulletproof math, one could surmise that the entire movie going public of Santa Fe might realistically fill out the theaters in town weekly with seats to spare, and that ain't half bad. (ADV)

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