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Twice a month, Say Hello To America will be showcasing the voices behind the official social media accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Frank X. Cordero, the voice for Santa Fe, New Mexico. Frank has lived in Santa Fe for 38 years and has been working for TOURISM Santa Fe for one year and seven months.
1. What time of year is best to travel to Santa Fe?
The best time to travel to Santa Fe is in the fall between September and November. Temperatures range from the high 20s to high 70s during this time. The chile harvest comes in, the restaurants are filled with fresh local flavors, and the leaves around town and on the mountain explode with color and the skies are as rich a blue as you can find.
2. How would you describe the people of Santa Fe?
Santa Feans are friendly, eclectic and love their city. Residents here are primarily Hispanic, Anglo and Native American. We have more artists per capita than any other city and so Santa Feans are also very creative, talented and interested in making the world a better, more fun and interesting place.
3. What is your favorite thing about Santa Fe?
The weather and sunsets. Santa Fe has a very dry climate with intense sunlight. We experience more than 310 sunny days per year. July and August are usually in the 80 – 90 degree range. Our rainy season is usually from July through August. I love how thunderstorms quickly come and go in the afternoon. Fall and winter are also favorites. Autumn is glorious in the fall with the aspens changing color in the Santa Fe National Forest. Many are surprised to find out that it snows in Santa Fe. We have a Ski Basin and it was most recently named the fourth best ski resort in the U.S. and Canada by readers of Conde Nast.
4. What is Santa Fe’s most famous landmark or attraction?
I’d have to say the Palace of the Governors which is 406 years old and recently given the rare distinction of National Historic Treasure. Just walking into the building, you are immediately reminded of a mix of so many people that once inhabited these ancient walls. The Palace was originally constructed to house the first Spanish royal governor of New Mexico who was Don Pedro de Peralta. It has flown four flags: The Spanish the Mexican, the American Confederate and the Stars and Stripes.
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5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.
The Cross of the Martyrs. If you want a good view of the city, this would be the outlook to visit. And this place can’t be beat for the quintessential Santa Fe jaw-dropping sunset photo. This is short walk from the plaza.
If you’re visiting in June, you should pay a visit to CURRENTS. Currents: A New Media Festival is replete with exhibitions, multimedia performances showcasing the power of art and technology. Truly a feast for your optic and auditory senses!
6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?
First off, you can walk almost anywhere. The bicycling is world class. If you need a ride, take your pick. The Santa Fe Pick Up is free and does a loop every twenty minutes to all the key stops. We also have UBER, a city owned transit system, and a cab company.
7. Is there any festival or event in Santa Fe that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?
If you’re an opera lover you may want to visit during a week in July or August where you will be able to view all five different operas in succession at the world-renowned Santa Fe Opera and the extraordinary Crosby Theater. Check out the tailgating scene outside! If you love Native American jewelry and art, the Santa Fe Indian Market is a bucket list must and takes place the third weekend in August.
8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Santa Fe has to offer?
Santa Fe art collective Meow Wolf recently opened their installation “The House of Eternal Return.” This exhibit is an interactive multimedia art experience that has been referred to as “immersive storytelling.” I won’t go too much into detail as I don’t want to spoil your surprise, but local resident and owner of the property George R.R. Martin of Game Of Thrones fame says, “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
9. What is Santa Fe’s signature food that every visitor has to try?
Red and green enchiladas. Order your enchiladas from a waiter and ask him to make them Christmas (referring to red AND green chile). You also need to try “sopaipillas” which a fried pastry and type of quick bread which is also served with honey.
10. If I only had one day to explore Santa Fe, what MUST I see or do?
I’d book a room in downtown Santa Fe. By doing so, you’ll be able to walk to several museums. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum should not be missed. Visit the St. Francis Cathedral which was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886. One block away is the world famous “Loretto Chapel”. You’ll also want to sit on a bench on the historic Santa Fe plaza and watch the world go by. Several restaurants are in walking distance. One of my favorites for lunch is The Shed. Come dinner time, check out Santacafé restaurant.
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