Shop Santa Fe until you drop or go broke

Santa Fe just got another accolade. USA Today readers voted it the number one city for shopping in the country. That’s no surprise to us. We were shopping in The City Different even before we moved here. Many of the boutiques that dot the city’s streets seem to have been stocked with me in mind. We used to make trips to Santa Fe from Colorado so I could shop. I’m not alone. People from around the world come to shop here. Like anywhere, you have to know what to shop for. Here are my top picks of things to shop Santa Fe for.


Art at the former Beals and Abbate (now Abbate) Fine Art 2012, photo/Steve Collins

Art at the former Beals and Abbate (now Abbate) Fine Art 2012, photo/Steve Collins

Santa Fe boasts the third largest art market in the United States has over 200 galleries. While they are scattered all over town, the four principle areas to gallery hop are Canyon Road (home to over half the town’s galleries as well as unique boutiques, and restaurants), West Palace Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and The Railyard. Many think that there’s only southwestern or western art, but that’s really a drop in a very eclectic bucket. In recent years, the contemporary market has forged a strong place for itself. The Santa Fe Gallery Association and The Collector’s Guide are great places to start your research.

Navajo rugs at Malouf's on the Plaza, photo/Steve Collins

Navajo rugs and pillow at Malouf’s on the Plaza, photo/Steve Collins

Native American art
Whether you come for Santa Fe Indian Market in August or one of the other Native American shows held here throughout the year, Santa Fe is one of the best places in the world to buy Native American art. Many shops and galleries specialize in it and other shops have good selections. Here’s the caveat: there are also reproductions around and dishonest dealers. Do your research. You can discover which shops have been fined for selling fakes. It’s illegal in New Mexico to claim something is made by Natives when it isn’t.

Home accessories can be found at La Mesa of Santa Fe, phooto/courtesy La Mesa of Santa Fe

Home accessories can be found at La Mesa of Santa Fe, phooto/courtesy La Mesa of Santa Fe

Furniture and home accessories
Santa Fe shops sell some unique furniture from new to antique and anything in between. There are new shops, consignment shops and more. Accessories run the gamut from chic and cutting-edge to timeless.

Looking for decorative items for your home? The choices are boggling and range from pottery to textiles to metal work and beyond.

Weaving at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, photo/Steve Collins

Weaving at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, photo/Steve Collins

One of the things I love about shopping here is the large array of quality international items on sale here. From the Travelers Market, a dealer collective that feels like an upscale foreign bazaar, to small shops to flea markets to our annual International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe is an intriguing world bazaar.

Clothing and accessories

Lucchese,on the Santa Fe Plaza all decked out for the holidays photo/Steve Collins

Lucchese,on the Santa Fe Plaza all decked out for the holidays photo/Steve Collins

Western wear
Want that ultimate pair of cowboy boots? Santa Fe is loaded with them. From production to custom made to vintage, the selection is fabulous. And there are shops that have great western inspired clothing that even the chicest woman would be comfortable sporting and accessorize it with some of that incredible Native American jewelry and a concho belt from one of the many shops and galleries that offer them.

If you want a cowboy hat or a western belt, there are lots to choose from including custom options from a few shops.

Art to wear
Santa Fe has a number of shops offering wearable art. Many of the artists on display are local, but savvy buyers go beyond Santa Fe to find beautiful items to delight their customers.

Unique wearable art can be found at Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, photo/ourtesy Santa fe Weaving Gallery

Unique wearable art can be found at Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, photo/ourtesy Santa fe Weaving Gallery

There are also shops that specialize in that wonderful flowing clothing that I used to call the “goddess look” and places teeming with the over-sized uneven hemmed clothing that has come to be known as “lagenlook”.

The myriad choices include contemporary clothing, casual clothing, evening wear and high end sweaters. If I haven’t hit your style here, keep looking. Santa Fe may have just what you’re looking for.

And the jewelry selection in town runs from Native American, to vintage, to estate to contemporary designs in precious and semi-precious stones and metals.


An array of olive oils and more at /leacae, photo Steve Collins

An array of olive oils and more at /leacae, photo Steve Collins

Santa Fe is a foodie town and none would be complete without a few specialty food shops. One of the things to definitely take home if you are a spice fan is New Mexico-grown chiles. While your here, check out all the locally grown and produced foods at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. But don’t stop there. You can discover imported olive oils, vinegars, chocolate and other gourmet delicacies produced anywhere from locally to around the world. Treat yourself or buy a gift for someone back home.

This post just scratches the surface. There are hundreds of unique galleries, boutiques and shops for you to find that perfect thing you can’t live without. Trust me, I have a house full. Come find out for yourself.

Thanks to La Mesa of Santa Fe and Santa Fe Weaving Gallery for supplying photos for this post.





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18 Responses to “Shop Santa Fe until you drop or go broke”

  1. Agness
    December 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm #

    Lovely items, I love to buy local handmade crafts!

    • Billie Frank
      December 9, 2019 at 11:24 am #

      Me, too. I collect local hand-crafts when I can while traveling.

  2. Michele Peterson
    December 9, 2019 at 6:45 pm #

    Really good tips! I’m so glad you included food items as I often tote back delicious New Mexico chiles, jams and various foods and risk getting nabbed by Agriculture Canada. So worth it!

    • Billie Frank
      December 9, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

      Today’s post is all food stuff. Check it out if you have time. Good luck on the NM imports!

  3. Suzanne Fluhr
    December 11, 2019 at 1:14 am #

    I’ve never been much of a shopper. My parents were of modest means. I never felt deprived, but shopping was done when it was an absolute necessity. Some people react to that by becoming out of control shoppers if they ever have the means. I never did. I like very little about the shopping experience. I enjoyed visiting the galleries when we visited Santa Fe although in a gallery, versus a museum, I always feel like a bit of a poser because I know I’m not going to buy anything. Now that we’re double downsized empty nesters, the downsizing process has made me vow not to bring home any more “things”—even nice things. So, I’m afraid a refrigerator magnet is all I have to remind me of the City Different. I think if we had not been flying home, I might have considered purchasing a ristra. I love the color of the drying chiles. However, as you well know, since you had to find us an Italian restaurant, there would be no danger of us actually eating any of the chiles.

    • Billie Frank
      December 11, 2019 at 9:50 am #

      I think probably most people who go into galleries are merely browsing, but then one sale makes their day or week or month. I mostly shop out of necessity these days. The urge for recreational shopping dies after years of stocking a store and having to go shopping. I lost my zest. But, I enjoy checking out the shops here at my leisure.

  4. Jerome Shaw
    December 12, 2019 at 6:56 pm #

    It is good to know there is plenty of shopping in Santa Fe because I’ll be coming down next May so I’ll plan to bring my entire shopping budget for 2014 with me. I’ll be teaching a travel writing and photography workshop so I’ll be picking your brains for great places to eat and the best places for craft beer.

  5. Linda ~ Journey Jottings
    December 13, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    Wow Billie ~ You are sooooo lucky to have such a gorgeous array of areas to go shopping that are actually culturally enriching -
    Most shopping centres today are so bland and plastic!
    To find such a huge selection of hand made goods in one place -
    I’ve made a note that if passing through Santa Fe allow one day for all the gallery shops - I particularly love the look of the hand crafted felt jackets and vests - Yum!! :)

    • Billie Frank
      December 13, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

      There is an amazing variety of hand-crafted items here. In the downtown Plaza area (very touristy- but also some great shops) there are a handful of national chain stores- others have tried and failed. It keeps the unique character of the area alive. Bring lots of $$$- it’s not inexpensive. That being said- there are great resale shops and a few flea markets.

  6. Patti
    December 13, 2019 at 8:40 pm #

    One can spend days roaming in and out of Santa Fe’s shopping venues - actually, I have! 😉

  7. Suzanne (The Travelbunny)
    December 14, 2019 at 2:00 am #

    just as well this is so far away from me or I’d be right over! love those ceramics…
    One of yr pics is upside down (with the lamps) or is it my browser?

    • Billie Frank
      December 14, 2019 at 9:31 am #

      Is it the pottery photo? It’s showing right side up for us- but we did have a problem with it at one point. Thanks for letting us know.

  8. Leigh
    December 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm #

    I have a rug, two paintings, a piece of sculpture and I’ve had sweaters and lots of food from Santa Fe. You have to be very disciplined not to overspend!

    • Billie Frank
      December 16, 2019 at 5:24 pm #

      On behalf of the Santa Fe economy- thanks! Come back!!

  9. Ginger Wolf
    December 17, 2019 at 2:04 pm #

    Am looking for the larger fresh red chili rista for my patio. Will be driving through on my way to Colorado for the holidays. Any chance there might be some left hanging for purchase? An address, hopefully around Santa Fe proper, as we will only have this Sunday for shopping. Thank you in advance.

    • Billie Frank
      December 18, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

      I see ristras for sale around town all the time0 you should be able to find one. I suggest calling the CVB- they may know who sells them. Also the Chile Store may have smaller ones. Other than that, I can’t think of anyone offhand. We usually stop and get ours at roadside stands or at the farmers market.

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