There is a pocket in Santa Fe where you would expect nothing more than defunct steely masses, bowled over in a torrent of coal. You picture thick framed carriages, stubbed along rusted tracks, backing stained walls. After all, the word “Railyard” itself heightens any archaic qualities that exist in association with trains. But alas (thankfully), that is not the case. In fact, this renowned region of Santa Fe even smarts a subtle Game of Thrones vibe. But you have to look carefully because finding the odd visual graffiti reminiscent of the mystical world is similar to spotting hidden mickeys in a Disney theme park. They exist but are attenuated amongst the whirlwind of detail that stems from this unique place. In fact, there is so much to see here that I’ve decided to block of your morning (you can thank me later) and take you with me to Santa Fe’s Railyard District. Aren’t you excited?
The Farmer’s Market is a bustling fairyland of vibrant reds and greens. We shuffle through a series of white-topped tents that appear to stretch endlessly. Each is showered in a unique selection of locally-grown produce. The fresh vibe that is emitted by the walk streams from indoors to outdoors. The plethora of vegetables are scattered on table after table, making a true feast for both our eyes and senses. It’s one of the liveliest Farmer’s Markets we will ever visit.
Graffiti Arts Tour
If the title Warehouse 21 evokes the image of a covert underage club, you wouldn’t be too far off. Warehouse 21 is actually a medley of workshops and performance areas geared as a creative haven for Santa Fe’s young adult population. Indoors, we find a plentiful live music scene, one of the many outlets that the youth can rope in. And as we walk around the small shed-like complex, we find ourselves marvelling over the detailed graffiti – a flurry of bold blues and rich black. At the high school level in the US, specialized arts can often be hindered and unwillingly discouraged, so we are delighted to see a city that is providing an outlet for students to showcase their gift to the world.
One of Santa Fe’s strongest holds as a city is the distinct lack of chain stores. If you are craving McDonalds and Denny’s or even just searching for a Macy’s department store, I have dragged you to the wrong city (in which case, I duly apologize). It isn’t that such places don’t exist. The city is just designed in a such a way that it takes far too much of an effort to find them. But what Santa Fe abounds in is a varied array of premium independent outlets. We start with the chic casual clothing store, Daniella, which bolsters an oh-so-slightly high-end and edgy twist on classic everyday women’s fashion. It’s a pleasant break from Santa Fe’s heavy-set beatnik patterns (imagine a permanent Coachella festival). To snap back into the Bohemian vibe that sprawls the city, we visit The Big Star Bookstore, an urban mix of everything from spiritual and meditative hardbacks to used classics.
Daniella Boutique: 500 Market Street Santa Fe, NM 87501 (next to Verizon Wireless); 10AM – 6PM (closed Sundays)
Big Star Bookstore: 329 Garfield St. Santa Fe, New Mexico; 505-820-7827; 10AM – 7PM
By now, I’m sure you are craving the much needed caffeine we need to reenergize for the rest of the day (or it might just be me). The Railyard has multiple coffee houses that are must see stops. Montezuma is ideal for a morning dose of bittersweet black coffee. Still not satisfied? Try Ohori’s Coffee Roasters to indulge in flaky fresh made donuts while relaxing in a laid back Arabic-American environment.
Montezuma Coffee Co: 236 Montezuma Ave. Santa Fe, NM 87501; 505-820-1800
Ohori’s Coffee Roasters (Luna Location): 505 Cerrillos Rd. Santa Fe, NM
To wrap up the day, we are visiting an independent movie theater. Guess who owns the theater? Come on. Take a guess. George RR Martin. Yes, the one and only. Crammed shelves stuffed with copies of Games of Thrones available for purchase line along backlit purple walls. Intricate steel pieces with a mystical tone are in juxtaposition to abstract art. Ever dreamed of seeing the season premiere on big screen or even just reruns? Then, this is the place. If you are looking to catch a not so mainstream flick – something that borders indie or even a long-standing classic – then the Jean Cocteau Cinema plays the role of a well-versed movie DJ as well. Would you like to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail with me? Hint: the answer is yes.
Jean Cocteau Cinema: 418 Montezuma Ave, Santa Fe NM 87501
Did you find this guide to the Railyard helpful? Do you enjoy Game of Thrones? Comment down below and tell me. As always, I would love to hear from you.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Seratt from Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa for the tour around the Railyard. My trip to the Railyard was arranged by the Santa Fe Tourism Board, but all thoughts, opinions, and fangirl moments are very much my own!