The Art and Allure of Santa Fe, New Mexico

by Marlene Shyer
Santa Fe, New Mexico Pueblo Revival

Santa Fe calls itself “The City Different,” and that's just half of it. It's also the city remarkable, and of course, the city cool.

Marlene Fanta Shyer

Where there are LGBTQ people, there must be brunch, and walking into Café Pasqual’s ( is like walking into a Fiesta. Lively and so New Mexican with its hanging ristras and papel picado, it’s the place for huevos rancheros, the favorite smoked trout hash, or maybe corn pancakes. Afterwards, follow the yellow bricks (yes, a mini yellow brick road) to the upstairs Café Pasqual’s Gallery. It’s got Rick Phelps sculptures and other items that hang or sit, the likes of which are testaments to human ingenuity, like a woman sculpted entirely out of hymnals.

The Shiprock Gallery ( has a huge assortment of Navajo rugs. There is a large 20th Century vintage collection and the oldest rug here dates back to when there really were American Indians weaving in the area. There’s also silver jewelry, men’s bracelets and rings, and some trading post type 19th Century pottery.

Shiprock Gallery, Santa Fe

Shiprock Gallery

Human ingenuity has also been hard at work at OJO Optique (, owned by Adam Tate Hoffberg and his partner of fifteen years, Christopher Cain. Adam’s brother, Jed Hoffberg is the third partner in this luxe eyeglass store. Can you see yourself in a pair of handmade specs that make you look not only sexy but also prosperous? Everything here is hand-made, small-batch-designed, and unique. The three-D printed Titanium glasses go for $2,400. Others range from $300-$500.

Lew Allen Galleries - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Lew Allen Galleries (Art by Emily Mason)

And if your eyeglasses are making you look like someone who’s just breezed in from Hollywood, it’s hard to leave without also buying a pair of genuine, Texas-made leather boots. At Lucchese (, (this store was originally Italian-owned) you’ll find fine leather foot glamour. There’s a high-end pair made from American Alligator at $13,000, but others here cost less, much less.

Where to stay: The posh Hotel Santa Fe ( is a walk to the Plaza, but why walk? The hotel offers a free shuttle and will drive you at any time to anywhere in downtown Santa Fe. This is a spa hotel and paying extra to stay in the Hacienda section is a good deal because it comes with free breakfast and a daily happy hour that includes wine and snacks. That’s pretty relaxing after you’ve had a White Sage massage or Pumpkin Spice Facial, let’s say.

Another less expensive option is Hotel Chimayo (, known for its fun bar that stays open late. It has a great location in the center of town.

Since the airport in Santa Fe is small and offers limited flights, it’s likely you’ll fly into Albuquerque and take the 90-minute shuttle to town. The Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel ( is a short walk from the airport in the event you want to spend the night altitude-adjusting. Albuquerque is at 5,000 feet.

Santa Fe Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Plaza
Photo: Tourism Santa Fe

For an overview of gay life in Santa Fe visit, where you can also check out Friends of Dorothy, a welcoming group that gathers once a month. It’s a place to “meet, mix and make new friends.”

Santa Fe calls itself “The City Different,” and that’s just half of it. It’s also the city remarkable, and of course, the city cool.

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