Santa Fe: Pueblos & Spanish Colonial
SEE The Museum of Indian Art & Culture
710 Camino Lejo, 505/476-1250, miaclab.org
A state museum, MIAC focuses on Native American art and culture. It houses an impressive permanent collection, and offers special exhibits, public lectures, and field trips. Open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $7, 16 and under free.
SEE The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
704 Camino Lejo, 800/607-4636, 505/982-4636 wheelwright.org
Changing exhibits of American Indian and traditional and contemporary art highlight the Southwest. The Case Trading Post museum shop hosts related lectures, artist receptions, and other events. Open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sun. 1-5 p.m. Free.
SHOP Portal of the Palace of the Governors
105 W. Palace Ave., 505/476-5100
In a long-standing tradition, Native American artists draw a daily lottery to determine who gets to sell their work-rain or shine-under the palace portal. Tourists and locals chat with artists and buy their silver and turquoise jewelry, elegant pottery, beaded items, and other coveted pieces.
PLAY Camel Rock Casino
10 minutes north of Santa Fe on U.S. Highway 84/285 800/462-2635, camelrockcasino.com
The casino circuit fronts major highways near Santa Fe, and the Pueblo-owned resorts have cheap buffet spreads, hotels, and venues for major acts such as comedian Jerry Seinfeld and the rock band Metallica. Owned by the Tesuque Pueblo tribe, this cavernous casino has table games, more than 700 slots, bingo, and a $5 southwestern buffet on Saturdays. This is a place to hole up and play the numbers.
ESCAPE Pueblo dances
Colorful and mesmerizing with rhythmic drumming and chanting, pueblo dances are centered on seasonal cycles and spiritual beliefs tied to nature. Many of New Mexico's 19 pueblos open their dances to the public. Respectful behavior is mandatory, so don't do any of the following: talk during the dance, applaud once it's over, assume you can take photographs, or walk into people's houses or sacred sites on the pueblo. Performances depend on the position of the moon, so call ahead for schedules.
SEE Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
750 Camino Lejo, 505/982-2226, spanishcolonial.org
Inside an early-20th-century Spanish Colonial-style building designed by famed Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem, this museum documents the fabulous art and rich culture of the Spanish colonies that thrived in New Mexico and elsewhere. Open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $6, New Mexico residents $3, 17 and under free.
SHOP Spanish Market
Hispanic artists working with Spanish Colonial traditions sell their work twice a year in festival-style markets featuring demonstrations, live music, and regional food. The art reflects the religious beliefs of the 16th-century Spanish settlers. Find the summer market on the Santa Fe Plaza the first full weekend in July, and the winter market on the first full weekend in December at the Sweeney Convention Center (201 W. Marcy St.) Free.
PLAY Maria Benitez Cabaret at the Radisson Santa Fe
750 N. Saint Francis Dr., 800/982-9198, 505/992-5800
Famed flamenco dancer Maria Benitez's Teatro Flamenco troupe takes the summer stage at the romantic cabaret that bears her name. Wrought-iron rails, faux ivy, soft candlelight, and fiery guitarists contribute to the Old Spanish atmosphere. Call for schedule and ticket info.
ESCAPE El Rancho de las Golondrinas
15 miles south of Santa Fe, Exit 276 off Interstate 25 334 Los Pinos Rd., 505/471-2261, golondrinas.org
A living-history museum devoted to the heritage and culture of Spanish Colonial New Mexico, with more than 30 historic buildings. Costumed docents interpret life in early New Mexico, and special events and festivals celebrate old traditions that still thrive in the northern part of the state. Keep an eye out for the golondrinas, or swallows. Open June-Oct., Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5.