Santa Fe, NM

Don Pedro de Peralta, the second Spanish governor of Nuevo México, founded the town of La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís, the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi. That was a mouthful, so the name was soon shortened to Santa Fe, which became the provential capital in 1610. Today we know it as the capital city of New Mexico, the oldest state capital in the United States.

I made it to Santa Fe three or four times when I lived in New Mexico, and returned in Sept of 2021 for another visit. It's hard to cover everything of interest in a few short visits, but I did my best. Several of Santa Fe's more famous attractions are presented here, along with a few businesses and other places of personal interest.

Around the Plaza

The Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. The plaza was originally, and still is, a commercial and recreational space for the town residents.

Spanish colonial towns were typically laid out with a central plaza surrounded by buildings, as is the case for Santa Fe Plaza. Known as "the heart of Santa Fe", it's the epicenter for a fusion of cultures: Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and of course Anglo tourists. A myriad of shops and other commercial buildings surround the plaza, and it's the venue for various events throughout the year.
A war memorial obelisk once stood in place of the salmon colored box pictured in the far right photo. It was torn down by protesters (aka vandals) on October 12, 2020.

Santa Fe Plaza Stage

Santa Fe Plaza

The Palace of the Governors is a single story adobe building located on the north side of Santa Fe Plaza. Built in 1610, it's the oldest continuously occupied public building in the continental United States. It served as the seat of colonial government for several hundred years. The Palace became home to the Museum of New Mexico in 1909, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. It has been renovated in the Spanish-Pueblo Revival style to reflect the architectural character of Santa Fe. Native American artisans set up shop under the covered portico running the length of the Palace, trading jewelry and other crafts for tourist dollars.

Palace of the Governors

Palace of the Governors

Catron Block
East Side Santa Fe Plaza

IAIA (Institute of American Indian Arts) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

IAIA (Institute of American Indian Arts)
Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886 and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The first church in Santa Fe was a simple abobe structure built in 1610 with the founding of the town. This was replaced in 1630 by a second church that was destroyed in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. La Parroquia was the third church built in 1714-1717 on the site of the first two. Finally, St. Francis Cathedral was built around La Parroquia which was dismantled and removed. A small chapel on the north side of the Cathedral is all that remains of La Parroquia. Saint Francis Cathedral was designed in the Romanesque Revival style featuring round arches separated by Corinthian columns set in truncated square towers. The Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi was officially elevated to a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI on October 4, 2005 and named the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. The basilica is located on Cathedral Place just east of the Plaza.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
131 Cathedral Place

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
131 Cathedral Place

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
131 Cathedral Place

San Francisco Street

San Francisco Street extends from Cathedral Place on the east to Paseo de Peralta on the west. It is divided into East and West San Francisco at its intersection with Don Gaspar Avenue. East San Francisco Street is the southern boundry of Santa Fe Plaza.

View west along San Francisco Street just west of the Plaza

Hervé Wine Bar
139 W San Francisco Street

JS Candelario "Original Old Curio Store"
201 W San Francisco Street

The Lensic Theater was constructed by Nathan Salmon and E. John Greer and opened on 24 June 1931. The 821 seat theater, designed in pseudo-Moorish Spanish Renaissance style, provided Santa Fe with vaudeville and movie entertainment from the 1930s through the 1960s. Renovation of the Lensic was completed in 2001, and it now serves as a modern venue for the performing arts.

Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W San Francisco Street

Burro Alley 2015

Burro Alley 2021

Burro in Burro Alley

Water Street

Water Street is located one block south of San Francisco Street. It runs from the intersection with Cathedral Place on the east to the intersection with Sandoval Street on the west. Water Street is loaded with shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

View East along W Water Street

Cos Bar, Turquoise House, Coyote Cantina
West Water Street

Coyote Cantina Bar
132 West Water Street

131 West Water Street

Shops along East Water Street

Old Santa Fe Trail

Old Santa Fe Trail (County Road 67) starts at its intersection with Palace Avenue and continues south for about eleven miles. My guess is the street is part of the Historic Old Santa Fe Trail. Old Santa Fe Trail forms the east boundry of Santa Fe Plaza. Only the first few blocks south of the Plaza are of interest here.

Turquoise Trail Jewelry
228 Old Santa Fe Trail

Construction of the Chapel of Our Lady of Light, as Loretto Chapel was first known, began in 1873. Somehow, the chapel was completed without access to the choir loft. A staircase would have taken up too much space in the small chapel - big problem. Legend has it the Sisters of Loretto prayed for guidance to St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Carpenters. Their prayers were answered when an anonymous carpenter appeared and built a spiral staircase using exotic hardwood, simple tools, and wooden pegs, then disappeared without a by your leave or request for payment. The "Miraculous Staircase", as it is now known, has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. I am still kicking myself for not taking any photos of the chapel interior or the "Miraculous Staircase".

Loretto Chapel
207 Old Santa Fe Trail

San Miguel Church
401 Old Santa Fe Trail

San Miguel Church is considered the oldest church in the United States, with construction beginning sometime around 1610. The original adobe walls were built by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan friars. The church was built on top of an earlier Pueblo settlement.

San Miguel Church
401 Old Santa Fe Trail

Around The Railyard

The Railyard District is located along Guadalupe Street between Agua Fria Sreet and Paseo de Peralta. There is a large railroad water tank along Market Street that marks the district. There are lots of eateries, drinkeries, shops, boutiques, and galleries, as well as a park and performance areas. The district takes its name from the Rail Runner and Santa Fe Depot.

Santa Fe Depot

Santa Fe Depot

Rail Runner

Hotel Santa Fe
1501 Paseo de Peralta

Virgins Saints & Angels Jewelry
541 S Guadalupe St

Georgia O'Keefe Museum

The Georgia O'Keefe Museum, located at 217 Johnson Street, is dedicated to the legacy of the American Modernist painter. Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986) was a superb artist and fascinating woman. I recommend you watch the movie, "Georgia O'Keefe" staring Joan Allen. I think it's an excellent portrayal of O'Keefe's life. Many of her paintings are presented in this section.

"I paint what interests me and what I see."

"Georgia O'Keefe" 1922
by Alfred Stieglitz (husband)

"Old Tree" 1918
Georgia O'Keefe

"Corn, No.2" 1924
Georgia O'Keefe

"Autumn Trees - The Maple" 1924
Georgia O'Keefe

"Abstraction White Rose" 1927
Georgia O'Keefe

"Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory" 1938
Georgia O'Keefe

"Pelvis Series, Red and Yellow" 1945
Georgia O'Keefe

"Blue Black and Grey" 1960
Georgia O'Keefe

Inn of the Turquoise Bear Bed & Breakfast

The Inn was originally the home of Witter Bynner, a prominent resident who was intimately involved in Santa Fe arts and culture. Guests at his home included A-listers like Ansel Adams, Robert Frost, and Georgia O'Keefe. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places. I spent a weekend at the Turquoise Bear in February 2016.

Inn of the Turquoise Bear

Inn of the Turquoise Bear

Impressive Landscaping

Casita where I stayed

Another View

Kiva fireplace in the Casita

Santa Fe Jackalope Mercado

Jackalope has two stores, one in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. The Jackalope Mercado in Santa Fe has merchandise from Peru, Guatemala, Tibet, Mexico, Thailand, etc. I think the photos speak for themselves.

Jackalope Mercado

Tibetan Gift Shop

Colorful Wall Decorations

Big Pots

Urban Prairie Dogs

Lots of Pots

Background information sources: Wikipedia,,,
Use the form on the Home Page to submit comments, questions, or suggestions.  TD Productions Copyright © 2018-2021