Santa Fe New Mexico History and Attractions

The oldest state capital in the USA, the Santa Fe area was first inhabited by Pueblo Indians as far back as the year 1000. The city at its current location was founded by the Spaniards in the year 1610 (with the much longer name of La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís), and in 1912, when New Mexico became the 47th state, Santa Fe was made its capital.

  • Ghost Ranch
  • Tent Rocks National Monument
  • Santuario Chimayo
  • Taos Pueblo Taos Pueblo, about an hour away, is a thousand years old, and on the High Road to Taos, you will find the Sanctuario de Chimayo, a small Spanish mission, to which thousands pilgrimage for healing for themselves or loved ones.
  • El Rancho de las Golindras
  • Santa Fe Railyard
Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier, with its cliff dwellings, is a little less than an hour away and the landscape along the way is some of the most beautiful anywhere.

De Vargas Street House

The foundation of this house was built by pueblo Indians in the 13th century. Later the Spanish resettled this spot  in 1646 after the Native American Indians  having vacated it in the 1400’s. By 1680 Spanish, Navajo and Apache all used this house. There is a museum and gift shop on the premises today. The shop offers multi-cultural treasures that reflect the complex history of this spot in the barrio de Analco historic district. Here visitors can see the original dirt floors, low ceilings and adobe walls built hundreds of years ago. No one can be a 100% sure yet this is claimed to be the oldest house still standing in the United States.

This is very near the San Miguel church which is said to be the oldest church in America.

(505) 988-2488
El Santuario de Chimayo

This National Historic Landmark, famous for the story of its founding as a pilgrimage site, receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Most visitors are seeking a miraculous cure with the aid of the "holy dirt" in the pocito.

Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs is a favorite choice for spiritual and recreational retreats because of its natural beauty, laid-back atmosphere, and opportunities to disconnect with digital distractions--and reconnect with who is really important. Along with its famous hot springs, discover the rich heritage of the area going as far back as 2,500 BC. 

Loretto Chapel

Somehow this chapel was built in 1878 with a choir loft 22 feet above with no access. Carpenters could not come up with any solution besides a ladder due to the tight space. The nuns were not keen on climbing a ladder to access the choir loft. The legend told for generations explains that the sisters made a novena to Saint Joseph praying for a solution. On the ninth and final day of the novena a man appeared at the chapel. He came on donkey, had a tool box and was looking for work. After some months the circular staircase was completed and the man left without being paid. Even after placing an ad in the paper the man could not be found. The mystery of who that man was, what type of wood was used and how the spiral staircase was constructed without nails supports the possibility it was Saint Joseph himself that had constructed it.

(505) 982-0092
Loretto Staircase

Legend states that after a nine-day novena to St. Joseph by the nuns of the Loretto Chapel, a stranger appeared and volunteered to complete the necessary staircase up to the 22-foot choir loft. With no central support, nails, or glue, the spiral staircase makes two complete 360-degree turns. Discover the mysteries of the "miraculous staircase" of Santa Fe's Loretto Chapel.

Monastery of Christ in the Desert

Located in the breathakingly beautiful Chama Canyon wilderness, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert shelters a community of monks that live the contemplatve life of St. Benedict. Visit for the day to participate in any of the daily liturgical services offered

Museum Hill

On Museum Hill, explore four world-class museums: The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, The International Folk Art Museum, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Browse the historical and contemporary collections or grab a bite to eat at the Museum Hill Cafe as you enjoy the breathtaking view from the patio.

New Mexico History Museum

The New Mexico History Museum includes permanent and temporary exhibits that span the early period of indigenous populations, Spanish colonization, and New Mexico's role in the history of the United States.

Northern New Mexico Pueblos

In New Mexico, eight pueblos in the northern steppes of the state have capitvated visitors with their beauty and traditional Native American cultures. Dances, arts and crafts, and even fishing are all recreational and cultural activities that make a visit to the northern pueblos unforgettable.

Palace of the Governors

Home of the Museum of New Mexico and adjacent to the New Mexico History Museum, this adobe structure was the seat of the government for centuries. It is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.  Built in 1610 to oversee Nuevo Mexico which at that time included the present day states of Arizona, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California and New Mexico.

Visitors flock to the portal or porch area of this building where Native American vendors sell their jewelry and art outside.  One of the best places to browse unique treasures for sale without awkward pressure tactics vendors will often happily explain how they created the beautiful crafts and jewelry there.

(505) 476-5100
Plaza Blanca

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, the imposing limestone formations were made famous by the renowned painter, Georgia O'Keeffe, who named it the White Place. Take a hike to explore the area.

San Miguel Mission

Built in the early 1600s by two priests and Tlaxcalan Native Americans from Mexico, the San Miguel Mission stands as one of the oldest churches in the United States still in use today. View its remarkable adobe structure and learn the interesting history of this National Historic Landmark.

Santa Fe Plaza

This National Historic Landmark is the gathering center of Santa Fe. The Spanish-American style “heart of the city” square has park benches, a performing arts stage, local musicians and vendors offering ethnic foods and gifts. The original plaza in 1610 was a fort established by Don Pedro de Peralta, a Spanish conquistador. Casa Pacifica is located on a road that is called Paseo de Peralta and is only a twenty minute walk from the Plaza which to this day remains a commercial, social and political center of Santa Fe. The Spanish Art Market and Indian Art Market as well as many arts and crafts shows are presented in the Santa Fe Plaza.

(505) 955-6200
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Founded in 1610 and re-constructed in the Romanesque style of architecture in the 19th century, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is a fundamental part of Santa Fe's heritage. Admire the architecture, view the stained glass panes in the lower bay, or take a pilgrimage to the small adobe chapel that shelters Our Lady La Conquistadora, a statue brought from Spain in 1625 that is the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States.

Valles Caldera

The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a 13.7 mile wide crater created from the eruption and collapse of a supervolcano. Famous now for its expanse of grassy plains, meandering streams, and the dome of Redondo Peak, Valles Caldera is best enjoyed on its miles of trails on horseback.