If warm temperatures and dry climates are your thing, and you enjoy a strong sense of history, art, culture, and adventure, look no more. The beautiful city of Santa Fe is for you. This fourth-largest city in New Mexico was founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo México, after replacing San Gabriel (located near modern day Española) as capital. This makes it the oldest state capital in the United States. Today, it is considered one of the world’s best art cities due to the bountiful galleries. There are also many other wonderful places to see. Here are three favorites:
- Santa Fe Plaza – This National Historic Landmark is located downtown and is host to many great annual events, including the annual autumn festival called Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Spanish Market and more. The plaza, or city square, is an important gathering place and emanates the style of traditional Spanish-American colonial cities. It is a must-see destination for those interested in Native American and Mexican cultures, and for those who enjoy traditional jewelry, art, food, music, and dance.
- Museum of Indian Arts & Culture – This fantastic anthropology museum is dedicated to Native American art and culture. It is among eight museums in the state to be operated by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The museum works closely with the Native communities of the region and presents an accurate and culturally sensitive presentation of southwestern Native American cultures.
- The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi – Commonly known as Saint Francis Cathedral, this downtown Roman Catholic cathedral is well-worth seeing. The cathedral was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886, on the site of an older adobe church. Another church built on the same site was destroyed during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. The cathedral was designed in the Romanesque Revival Style and contains a large rose window and those of the twelve apostles, rounded arches, Corinthian columns, statues, a prayer garden, and more.
A trip to Santa Fe is a trip back in history. Known as “The City Different,” it has developed into a mecca for artists and collectors worldwide. There are a bounty of hotels, restaurants, museums, boutiques, and exciting exhibits to behold. And the cuisine features some of the world’s best foods, cooked by traditional methods and incorporating incredible local ingredients such as blue corn. Or sign up for a cooking class to learn how to make the ultimate New Mexican Feast. To request a free visitors’ guide of the city, head to santafe.org
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