Few, if any, small cities in America can claim an arts scene as thriving as Santa Fe's—with opera, symphony, and theater in splendid abundance. The music acts here tend to be high-caliber, but rather sporadic. Nightlife, as in dance clubs, is considered fairly "bleak." When popular acts come to town the whole community shows up and dances like there's no tomorrow. A super, seven-week series of music on the Plaza bandstand runs through the summer with performances four nights a week. Gallery openings, poetry readings, plays, and dance concerts take place year-round, not to mention the famed opera and chamber-music festivals. Check the arts and entertainment listings in Santa Fe's daily newspaper, the New Mexican (www.santafenewmexican.com), particularly on Friday, when the arts and entertainment section, "Pasatiempo," is included, or check the weekly Santa Fe Reporter (www.sfreporter.com) for shows and events. As you probably suspect by now, activities peak in the summer.
- A winter stroll on Canyon Road There are few experiences to match walking this ancient street on Christmas Eve when it's covered with snow, scented by piñon fires burning in luminarias along the road, and echoing with the voices of carolers and happy families.
- A culinary adventure Start with blue-corn pancakes for breakfast and try Spanish tapas or farm-to-table regional Southwestern fare for dinner. Enjoy some strawberry-habanero gelato at Ecco or sip an Aztec Warrior Chocolate Elixir at Kakawa Chocolate. Take a cooking lesson. Santa Fe is an exceptional dining town, the perfect place to push the frontiers of your palate.
- Into the wild Follow the lead of locals and take any one of the many easy-access points into the incredible, and surprisingly lush, mountains that rise out of Santa Fe. Raft the Rio Grande, snowboard, snowshoe, or try mountain biking.
- Market mashup Summer offers the phenomenal International Folk Art Market, the famed Indian Market, and the two-for-one weekend of Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Hispanic Market. Plus there’s an outstanding farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. The offerings are breathtaking and the community involvement is yet another aspect of Santa Fe to fall in love with.