7 Tips for Travel to Santa Fe Indian Market

Storm clouds at end of day, Indian Market
Storm clouds at end of day, Indian Market

Destination: Santa Fe Indian Market

Held the third weekend in August every year, the Santa Fe Indian Market celebrated its 90th birthday in 2011. Over at the Tahoma Blog, I wrote about Geronima Cruz Montoya, an artist who was six years old when the Market started, grew up to be an artist and teacher, and still paints and  exhibits at Indian Market.  The Santa Fe Indian Market is the largest and most prestigious showing of American Indian art held anywhere in the world.  It is a great place to get an introduction to the many different cultures and styles of art that we have across this continent.

Today I’d like to give you some tips for enjoying Indian Market. It is not too early to plan for next year, is it?

1. Avoid high-priced hotels and rent an apartment from HomeAway or VRBO.  And rent early.  The apartment we found, big enough for at least four people, had a view to die for from the balcony and was decorated to the max with Southwestern art.

Home Away Condo Apartment
"Our" Home Away Apartment

The fully equipped kitchen and the comfy beds guaranteed a cozy home away from home that was perfect for those moments when we were not busy with Market activities. This apartment is close to the Plaza (allegedly walking distance, but save your feet for walking up and down the rows of booths. Drive and park near the Plaza.) This condo was reasonably priced–not hiked up just for the special event. ($158 per night, including taxes.)

2. Because we had an apartment, we did not have to worry about shoehorning into the Santa Fe restaurants. We visited the nearby Sunflower Market and Albertson’s and for under $100, fed three people most meals for four days. Yes, they have fantastic restaurants in Santa Fe, and if you want to try them out, I recommend coming early or staying after the Market,  because getting in during the busy market time is quite a challenge.

3. Believe it or not, perusing the art of the 1100 artists, and watching some great entertainment at the Market is FREE. But if you have never been before, you might want to spring for $50 to go to the Preview showing on Friday night when the prizes are announced. The admission charge includes membership into SWAIA, (Southwest Association for Indian Arts) the sponsoring organization.

See pictures of some of the art available in this post at Tahoma Blog.

4. Pick up a guide to the Market on Friday so you can plan ahead, and particularly so you can see where you want to park. There are plenty of parking places near the Plaza, but they generally cost $10 a day. With some, you can show your receipt and come back in depending on availability. We like the one directly behind the Cathedral, entered from Paseo de Peralta.

5. The market runs from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday morning until 5:00 pm.  If you come a few days early, you can take advantage of tie-ins at galleries throughout town (there are hundreds) and at the wonderful museums like the Wheelwright, the Indian Arts and Culture Museum, or the Folk Arts Museum on Museum Hill a few miles away from the center of town or the New Mexico Museum of Art on the Plaza, or the Georgia O’Keefe and other museums near the Plaza.

Exterior of Adobe Gallery
Entrance to Adobe Gallery on Canyon Road

Speaking of tie-ins at galleries, Adobe Gallery is currently running an exhibit of paintings by Quincy Tahoma and held a reception for Charnell and me on opening night of the show–Thursday before the Market weekend.

The Tahoma show at Adobe Gallery
The Tahoma paintings at Adobe Gallery

6. Wear comfy shoes and carry a lightweight bag to gather any items you can’t resist buying.  Don’t forget your camera. Vendors sell water and coffee and other essentials to keep body together, but expect to take breaks whenever you have a chance to sit down. Restaurants around the Plaza, including those in the historic La Fonda, a former Harvey Hotel are open during the Market.

Collected Works Bookstore Sign
Sign for Bookstore and Cafe

7. As a book lover, you’ll also want to make a stop at Collected Works, just three short blocks from the Plaza take the street that runs past the Baskins Robbins store on the SW corner of the Plaza and turn left on Galisteo Street. But save your appetite for the delicious pastries, coffees and teas served in the Bookstore’s Cafe.

Collected Works Booskstore Cafe area
Collected Works Bookstore Cafe Area

Here’s a slide show overview of a few of the treats for the eye at Santa Fe’s 90th Indian Market–pottery, painting, fiber art, jewelry, costumes, and skateboarding(?), ending with the rainbow that led to this pot of gold.

Most of the photos in this post were taken by Ken Badertscher or Vera Marie Badertscher. Charnell Havens is the photographer that captured the beautiful rainbow. All rights reserved on all photos. Please ask before copying.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

17 thoughts on “7 Tips for Travel to Santa Fe Indian Market

  1. Love these tips- my daughter checked out the home away for her honeymoon- she loved it!

    Love the bookstores you find everywhere you go!!

    1. I’m woefully behind the times when it comes on places to eat in Santa Fe, since I’m always there to WORK, so I’m trying to get by cheaply. Ken and I never miss stopping in Bernallilo to eat at the Range Cafe, packed with art and an innovative menu. There’s a couple elsewhere, but they just aren’t the same! My favorite splurge dinner (which isn’t by far the most expensive or trendy place) is the Pink Adobe–lots of character and charm. It is always fun to eat at La Fonda hotel because of the history and the people watching is fantastic. It’s one of those places where you feel like you could see anyone you’ve ever known walk in. Finally, for blue corn pancakes and good old fashioned breakfast, the Plaza Cafe, with big windows looking right out on the Plaza is one of my favorites.

  2. I haven’t been to Santa Fe since my family left New Mexico in 2000, but this brings back so many images from our time there: the stucco buidlings, the food, the rainbows. It’s very different from most other places in the country but offers a refreshing change of scenery.

  3. I haven’t been to Santa Fe since my family left New Mexico in 2000, but this brings back so many images from our time there: the stucco buidlings, the food, the rainbows. It’s very different from most other places in the country but offers a refreshing change of scenery.

  4. What gorgeous photos! This event sounds like a blast, and so cool that you rented an apartment and were able to eat on such a great budget.

  5. I love those Indian corn necklaces in the slideshow… it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I’ve got one in orange, of course. I hope you had time for at least one good meal in Santa Fe – maybe breakfast at Cafe Pasqual’s?

  6. Thank you to Vera and Charnell for this lovely article and for including the condo pictured above.

    We take care of the condo in the photo for our friends who live in Texas. There is no minimum stay. The two websites for finding this and their other very similar condo are:

    http://www.vrbo.com/157160 or HomeAway.com/228600
    http://www.vrbo.com/157170 or HomeAway.com/228602

    We welcome you back soon, Vera. Fall is splendid too!

  7. Sounds like such a great event! Was there a minimum number of days for your Home Away stay? Would have liked to attend the reception and see the art.

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