With galleries now aboard, your next stop is the new arts district
Shabby bohemian chic has never been Santa Fe's style. Sure, its most distinctive city buildings are made of mud, but its arts scene and civic soul have long had a lustrous, upscale classicism. Which makes what's happening in this industrial, 50-acre lot ―once used as a switching ground for trains ― so unexpected. Drawn by lofty warehouses and a sense of artistic ferment, some of Santa Fe's trendiest galleries are relocating to the Railyard District with restaurants and boutiques in tow, giving this area the vitality of a tiny Santa Monica. It may be only half a mile from the historic Plaza, but the old railyard feels as if it exists in a different century. This one.Site Santa Fe.
What: The most important contemporary art space in the Southwest, with exhibits both exhilarating and discomfiting. (And host of the Sixth International Biennial, which begins July 9.) When: 10-5 Wed-Sat, 10-7 Fri, 12-5 Sun. How much: $8, free on Fridays; $10 during the Biennial. Where: 1606 Paseo de Peralta; www.sitesantafe.org or 505/989-1199.
What: The neighborhood pioneer, open since last year. Its stark white space exudes L.A. cool. Through the end of May, catch the scavenged-material sculptures of Albuquerque artist Matt Jones. When: 10-5 Tue-Sat. Where: 1611A Paseo de Peralta; 505/989-4897.
Casa Nova and Asian Adobe.
What: Two import shops under one roof. One nods to southern Africa with ceramic tableware, chunky jewelry, and handbags woven from gum wrappers; the other looks to China, with pearls and silk pashminas. When: 10-5 Mon-Sat. Where: 530 S. Guadalupe; 505/983-8558 (Casa Nova); 505/992-6846 (Asian Adobe).
Railyard Restaurant & Saloon.
What: Smokestack Lightning Burgers and Bloody Train Wreck cocktails served in an old-time railway storage warehouse. When: Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner daily. How much: $$. Where: 530 S. Guadalupe; 505/989-3300.
Santa Fe Southern Railway.
What: Vintage cars, plush seats, and a scenic 18-mile route through the high desert to Lamy and back. When: 10:30-3 Mon-Sat; the shorter Hotshot trip runs to the Galisteo Basin 2-4:30 Sun. How much: From $28, $14 ages 3-13. Where: 410 S. Guadalupe; www.thetraininsantafe.com or 888/989-8600.
Info: The Railyard District is about ½ mile south-west of the historic Santa Fe Plaza, with Guadalupe St., Paseo de Peralta, and Cerrillos Rd. as its major thoroughfares.