|Not all visitors know about Canyon Road. Santa Fe is second to New York City in the number of art galleries and artists it proudly represents. Santa Fe has a vibrant art scene with hundreds of art galleries, most located on Canyon Road. They represent both local and internationally acclaimed artists. Your hostess of Two Casitas, Wendy Kapp`s mother, Phyllis Kapp, has had the Waxlander Gallery for 27 years located right in the middle at 622 Canyon. Your reward after walking the mile long street of galleries will be some of the best award-winning restaurants in all of Santa Fe. My favorite is the oldest bar and restaurant, which features fantastic local music, is El Farol. On the way back experience some of Santa Fe`s finest architecture dating back hundreds of years to a time when the Spanish people first settled and used this area`s water source for a substance farming life style. The water and the street is named the Acequia Madre or "Mother Ditch" in English.
Most people who come to Santa Fe for the first time rightfully spend their time at the Santa Fe Plaza. However, Santa Fe has another major cultural attraction that adds a separate and unique element to Santa Fe’s experience. Canyon Road is one of the most concentrated centers of art galleries in the country, and there are very few places in the world where you will find such an abundance of quality art, dining, history, and charm as you will encounter at Canyon Rd. It is located on the East side of town, in the foothills of the Sangre De Christo Mountains, which is arguable a work of scenic art regardless of human intervention. There is no part of town that could be more suited to housing an art district. Walking down Canyon Road is a truly immersive experience where you will find bountiful and varied art, some of Santa Fe’s finest restaurants, and a one-of-a-kind cultural experience that will add a deeper level of appreciation for anyone who visits our fine town.
Canyon Road features over one hundred galleries with content ranging from Native American art and antiquities, traditional and modern Hispanic art, regional contemporary art, international folk art and international contemporary art and more. It is truly amazing that this kind of variety is collected on this small stretch of road that only takes twenty minutes to walk down.
Canyon Road wasn’t always Santa Fe’s arts district. It began as a residential area where people built homes in Pueblo Revival style. They used authentic adobe construction methods, and rooms were added on and expanded upon as needed as opposed to building the entire structure simultaneously. Many of the galleries that exist here today are built inside of these same old homes. This authentic, rustic quality is what drew many artists to this already picturesque part of town as a source of inspiration. They began to live on Canyon Road, and eventually began selling their work from their homes. This grew organically into a collective of art galleries and studios that were owned and managed by artists. Much of that tradition survives to this day. Eventually, Canyon Road blossomed into the tourist mecca that it is today.
If you are in Santa Fe during Christmas Eve, we cannot recommend attending Canyon Road’s farolito walk enough! This tradition began many years ago, and has become a staple of Santa Fe’s holiday culture. Farolitos (Spanish for paper lantern) are small candles placed at the bottom of paper bags filled with sand, and they are put out in droves along the road and the buildings. They adorn the entire town with a warm glow that can only be found in Santa Fe! On Canyon Road, Christmas Carols are sung, bonfires are lit, and christmas decorations light up every home and gallery as far as the eye can see. It’s a magnificent and celebratory spectacle that makes Christmas Eve feel more like a special event than just about anywhere else in the country! Anyone is welcome to join the festivities at no cost, and we hope that you take advantage of that wonderful opportunity.
On a personal note, Wendy’s (Owner of Two Casitas) mother has owned and operated Waxlander gallery on Canyon Road for well over thirty years, and we always refer our guests to her gallery for their art shopping needs.
Check out the video she did for PBS:
We also strongly suggest that you check out this complete list of establishments on Canyon Road so that you can better plan out your trip! Whether you are buying art, jewelry, or simply eating out, make sure you know where you want to go!