Santa Fe (/ˌsæntə ˈf, ˈsæntə f/ SAN-tə FAY, -⁠ fay; Spanish: [santaˈfe]) is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico, and the county seat of Santa Fe County. With over 89,000 residents,[5] Santa Fe is the fourth-most populous city in the state,[6] and part of the Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Los Alamos combined statistical area, which had a population of 1,162,523 in 2020. Situated at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the city is at the highest altitude of any U.S. state capital, with an elevation of 7,199 feet (2,194 m).[7]

Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís
Official logo of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Etymology: Spanish for "Holy Faith"
The City Different
Location in Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Santa Fe is located in New Mexico
Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Location within New Mexico
Santa Fe is located in the United States
Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 35°40′2″N 105°57′52″W / 35.66722°N 105.96444°W / 35.66722; -105.96444
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
CountySanta Fe
Founded1610; 414 years ago (1610)
Founded byPedro de Peralta
Named forSt. Francis of Assisi
 • MayorAlan Webber (D)
 • City Council
 • City52.34 sq mi (135.57 km2)
 • Land52.23 sq mi (135.28 km2)
 • Water0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)
Elevation7,199 ft (2,194 m)
 • City87,505
 • Density1,675.28/sq mi (646.83/km2)
 • Metro
154,823 (Santa Fe MSA)
1,162,523 (Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Los Alamos CSA)
Demonym(s)Santa Fean; Santafesino, -na
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP Codes
87501–87509, 87540, 87592, 87594
Area code505
FIPS code35-70500
GNIS feature ID936823[3]
Primary airportAlbuquerque International Sunport
ABQ (Major/International)
Secondary airportSanta Fe Regional Airport-
KSAF (Public) Edit this at Wikidata

Founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo México, a province of New Spain, Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the United States and the earliest European settlement west of the Mississippi River. Its name is Spanish for "Holy Faith", and an abbreviation of its formal name, La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís—"the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi".[8][9]

Into the early 20th century, Santa Fe remained the largest and wealthiest settlement in western North America.[10] The city prospered as the region's leading commercial and transportation hub for both Europeans and Native Americans,[11] driven by lucrative trade and migration routes such as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and the Santa Fe Trail. Santa Fe maintained its status as the political and cultural center of New Mexico throughout the Spanish, Mexican, and American periods, which have each impacted the city's development and character.

Blending indigenous, Spanish, and American influences, Santa Fe is considered the cultural capital of the American southwest,[12] and is widely regarded as one of the country's great art cities due to its vibrant art scene.[13][14] In 2005, it was the first U.S. city inducted into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.[15] Santa Fe hosts over 250 art galleries, a large concentration of museums, and three annual art events: the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market; the Traditional Spanish Colonial Market and the Indian Market. One-tenth of all employment is related to artistic and cultural industries, with writers and authors comprising the highest proportion of the labor force of any U.S. city.[11]

Santa Fe's cultural highlights include Santa Fe Plaza, Santa Fe Historic District, the Palace of the Governors, and Fiesta de Santa Fe; the city is also known for its contributions to New Mexican cuisine and New Mexico music. Among Santa Fe's many artistic institutions are the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Chuck Jones Gallery, and the art collective Meow Wolf. The cityscape is known for its adobe-style Pueblo Revival and Territorial Revival architecture, much of which is preserved and protected.[16]



Before European colonization of the Americas, the area Santa Fe occupied between 900 CE and the 1500s was known to the Tewa peoples as Oghá P'o'oge[a] ("white shell water place", one of a number of places named for their water access)[18] and by the Navajo people as Yootó ("bead" + "water place").[citation needed]

In 1598, Juan de Oñate established the area as Santa Fe de Nuevo México, a province of New Spain.[18] Formal Spanish settlements were developed leading the colonial governor Pedro de Peralta to rename the area La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís ("the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi").[18]



The area of Santa Fe was originally occupied by indigenous Tanoan peoples, who lived in numerous Pueblo villages along the Rio Grande. One of the earliest known settlements in what is known as downtown Santa Fe today came sometime after 900 AD. A group of native Tewa built a cluster of homes that centered around the site of today's Plaza and spread for 12 mile (800 m) to the south and west; the village was called Oghá P'o'oge in Tewa.[19] The Tanoans and other Pueblo peoples settled along the Santa Fe River from the mid 11th to mid 12th centuries,[20] but had abandoned the site for at least 200 years by the time Spanish arrived in the early 17th century.[21][22]

In 1692, Diego de Vargas reconquered Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt, famously without spilling blood. This is commemorated every year in the Fiestas de Santa Fe.

Spanish era


Don Juan de Oñate led the first Spanish effort to colonize the region in 1598, establishing Santa Fe de Nuevo México as a province of New Spain. Under Juan de Oñate and his son, the capital of the province was the settlement of San Juan de los Caballeros north of Santa Fe near modern Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Juan de Oñate was banished and exiled from New Mexico by the Spanish, after his rule was deemed cruel towards the indigenous population.

The Palace of the Governors, built by governor Pedro de Peralta in 1610

New Mexico's second Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta, however, founded a new city at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in 1607, which he called La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís, the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1610, he designated it as the capital of the province, which it has almost constantly remained,[23] making it the oldest state capital in the United States.

Lack of Native American representation within the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, New Spain (current New Mexico's early government) led to the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, when groups of different Native Pueblo peoples were successful in driving the Spaniards out of New Mexico to El Paso. The Pueblo people continued running New Mexico from the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe from 1680 to 1692.

San Miguel Mission, built 1610, is the oldest church in the United States.

The territory was reconquered in 1692 by Don Diego de Vargas through the so-called "Bloodless Reconquest", which was criticized as violent even at the time. The next governor, Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, started to broker peace, including the founding of Albuquerque, to guarantee better representation and trade access for Pueblos in New Mexico's government. Other governors of New Mexico, such as Tomás Vélez Cachupin, continued to be better known for their more forward-thinking work with the indigenous population of New Mexico.

Mexican era

Santa Fe in 1846, then a Mexican territorial capital, approaching the onset of the Mexican-American War.

Santa Fe was Spain's provincial seat at outbreak of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. It was considered important to fur traders based in present-day Saint Louis, Missouri. When the area was still under Spanish rule, the Chouteau brothers of Saint Louis gained a monopoly on the fur trade, before the United States acquired Missouri under the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The fur trade contributed to the wealth of Saint Louis. The city's status as the capital of the Mexican territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México was formalized in the 1824 Constitution after Mexico achieved independence from Spain.

In addition to remaining the administrative and political heart of Nuevo Mexico, Santa Fe maintained its status as the central trading and transportation hub west of the Mississippi. Beginning in the 1820s, the Santa Fe Trail brought lucrative commercial links to what was then the American frontier in Missouri, attracting both indigenous and Euro-American traders.[24] The opening of trade and migration with the U.S. also facilitated friendly relations between the new Mexican republic and its American counterpart, for which Santa Fe was the primary nexus.[24]

When the Republic of Texas seceded from Mexico in 1836, it attempted to claim Santa Fe and other parts of Nuevo México as part of the western portion of Texas along the Río Grande. In 1841, a small military and trading expedition set out from Austin, intending to take control of the Santa Fe Trail. Known as the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, the force was poorly prepared and easily captured by the New Mexican military.

Notwithstanding these incursions, as well as recurring conflicts between Euro-American settlers and native peoples, Santa Fe witnessed multiple migrations through the three trails that led to the city, which would give way to the railroad, Route 66, and the interstate.

United States

Santa Fe Plaza c, 1850, after the Mexican Cession to the United States

In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico. Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny led the main body of his Army of the West of some 1,700 soldiers into Santa Fe to claim it and the whole New Mexico Territory for the United States. By 1848 the U.S. officially gained New Mexico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Colonel Alexander William Doniphan, under the command of Kearny, recovered ammunition from Santa Fe labeled "Spain 1776" showing both the lack of communications and quality of military support New Mexico received under Mexican rule.[25]

In 1846, following the annexation of Texas, they claimed Santa Fe along with other territory in eastern New Mexico. Texas Governor Peter H. Bell sent a letter to President Zachary Taylor, who died before he could read it, demanding that the U.S. Army stop defending New Mexico. In response, Taylor's successor Millard Fillmore stationed additional troops to the area to halt any incursion by the Texas Militia.[26] Territorial claims were also brought by the California Republic and State of Deseret each claiming parts of western New Mexico. These territorial disputes were finally resolved by the Compromise of 1850, which designated the 103rd meridian west as Texas's western border and resulted in California's statehood, and the establishment of the land claims of the Utah and New Mexico Territory.

Campos Courthouse, built 1853-89

Some American visitors at first saw little promise in the remote town. One traveller in 1849 wrote:

I can hardly imagine how Santa Fe is supported. The country around it is barren. At the North stands a snow-capped mountain while the valley in which the town is situated is drab and sandy. The streets are narrow ... A Mexican will walk about town all day to sell a bundle of grass worth about a dime. They are the poorest looking people I ever saw. They subsist principally on mutton, onions and red pepper.[27]

In 1851, Jean Baptiste Lamy arrived, becoming bishop of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado in 1853. During his leadership, he traveled to France, Rome, Tucson, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Mexico City. He built the Santa Fe Saint Francis Cathedral and shaped Catholicism in the region until his death in 1888.[28]

The St. Francis Cathedral Basilica, built by Bishop Lamy between 1869-86

As part of the New Mexico Campaign of the Civil War, General Henry Sibley occupied the city, flying the Confederate flag over Santa Fe for a few days in March 1862. Sibley was forced to withdraw after Union troops destroyed his logistical trains following the Battle of Glorieta Pass. The Santa Fe National Cemetery was created by the federal government after the war in 1870 to inter the Union soldiers who died fighting there.

On October 21, 1887, Anton Docher, "The Padre of Isleta", went to New Mexico where he was ordained as a priest in the St Francis Cathedral of Santa Fe by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Salpointe. After a few years serving in Santa Fe,[29] Bernalillo and Taos,[30] he moved to Isleta on December 28, 1891. He wrote an ethnological article published in The Santa Fé Magazine in June 1913, in which he describes early 20th century life in the Pueblos.[31]

Loretto Chapel, built in 1878

As railroads were extended into the West, Santa Fe was originally envisioned as an important stop on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. But as the tracks were constructed into New Mexico, the civil engineers decided that it was more practical to go through Lamy, a town in Santa Fe County to the south of Santa Fe. A branch line was completed from Lamy to Santa Fe in 1880.[32] The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad extended the narrow gauge Chili Line from the nearby city of Española to Santa Fe in 1886.[33] The Territory of New Mexico incorporated the City of Santa Fe on June 17, 1891.

Neither was sufficient to offset the negative effects of Santa Fe's having been bypassed by the main railroad route. It suffered gradual economic decline into the early 20th century. Activists created a number of resources for the arts and archaeology, notably the School of American Research, created in 1907 under the leadership of the prominent archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewett. In the early 20th century, Santa Fe became a base for numerous writers and artists. The first airplane to fly over Santa Fe was piloted by Rose Dugan, carrying Vera von Blumenthal as passenger. Together the two women started the development of the Pueblo Indian pottery industry, helping native women to market their wares. They contributed to the founding of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

20th century

Built in 1900, the Bataan Building served as the New Mexico's first state capitol following statehood in 1912.

In 1912, New Mexico was admitted as the 47th U.S. state, with Santa Fe as its capital. At this time, with an approximate population of 5,000 people, the city's civic leaders designed and enacted a sophisticated city plan that incorporated elements of the contemporary City Beautiful movement, city planning, and historic preservation. The latter was particularly influenced by similar movements in Germany. The plan anticipated limited future growth, considered the scarcity of water, and recognized the future prospects of suburban development on the outskirts. The planners foresaw that its development must be in harmony with the city's character.[34]

After the mainline of the railroad bypassed Santa Fe, it lost population. However, artists and writers, as well as retirees, were attracted to the cultural richness of the area, the beauty of the landscapes, and its dry climate. Local leaders began promoting the city as a tourist attraction. The city sponsored architectural restoration projects and erected new buildings according to traditional techniques and styles, thus creating the Santa Fe Style.

La Fonda on the Plaza, a historic Pueblo Revival hotel built in 1922

Edgar L. Hewett, founder and first director of the School of American Research and the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, was a leading promoter. He began the Santa Fe Fiesta in 1919 and the Southwest Indian Fair in 1922 (now known as the Indian Market). When Hewett tried to attract a summer program for Texas women, many artists rebelled, saying the city should not promote artificial tourism at the expense of its artistic culture. The writers and artists formed the Old Santa Fe Association and defeated the plan.[35]

Japanese-American internment camp


New Mexico voted against interning any of its citizens of Japanese heritage, so none of the Japanese New Mexicans were interned during World War II.[36] During World War II, the federal government ordered a Japanese-American internment camp to be established. Beginning in June 1942, the Department of Justice arrested 826 Japanese-American men after the attack on Pearl Harbor; they held them near Santa Fe, in a former Civilian Conservation Corps site that had been acquired and expanded for the purpose. Although there was a lack of evidence and no due process, the men were held on suspicion of fifth column activity. Security at Santa Fe was similar to a military prison, with twelve-foot barbed wire fences, guard towers equipped with searchlights, and guards carrying rifles, side arms and tear gas.[37] By September, the internees had been transferred to other facilities—523 to War Relocation Authority concentration camps in the interior of the West, and 302 to Army internment camps.

The Fiestas de Santa Fe, c. 1930

The Santa Fe site was used next to hold German and Italian nationals, who were considered enemy aliens after the outbreak of war.[38] In February 1943, these civilian detainees were transferred to Department of Justice custody.

The camp was expanded at that time to take in 2,100 men segregated from the general population of Japanese-American inmates. These were mostly Nisei and Kibei who renounced their U.S. citizenship rather than sign an oath to "give up loyalty to the Japanese emperor" (offending them, since they had no identification with the emperor & were being asked to enlist in fighting him while their Japanese-born parents were interned) and other "troublemakers" from the Tule Lake Segregation Center.[37] In 1945, four internees were seriously injured when violence broke out between the internees and guards in an event known as the Santa Fe Riot. The camp remained open past the end of the war; the last detainees were released in mid 1946. The facility was closed and sold as surplus soon after.[38] The camp was located in what is now the Casa Solana neighborhood.[39]


The Santa Fe River in downtown

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.4 sq mi (96.9 km2), of which 37.3 sq mi (96.7 km2) are land and 0.077 sq mi (0.2 km2) (0.21%) is covered by water.[citation needed]

Santa Fe is located at 7,199 feet (2,194 m) above sea level, making it the highest state capital in the United States.[40]

The Santa Fe River and the arroyos of Santa Fe drain the region to the Rio Grande at Cochiti Dam.


Climate chart for Santa Fe

Santa Fe's climate is characterized by cool, dry winters, hot summers, and relatively low precipitation. According to the Köppen climate classification, depending on which variant of the system is used, the city has a cold semi-arid climate (BSk), common at 35°N.[41][42] The 24-hour average temperature in the city ranges from 30.3 °F (−0.9 °C) in December to 70.1 °F (21.2 °C) in July. Due to the relative aridity and elevation, average diurnal temperature variation exceeds 25 °F (14 °C) in every month, and 30 °F (17 °C) much of the year. The city usually receives six to eight snowfalls a year between November and April. The heaviest rainfall occurs in July and August, with the arrival of the North American Monsoon.

Climate data for Santa Fe, New Mexico (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1972–present), elevation 7,198 ft (2,194 m)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
Mean maximum °F (°C) 56.3
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 43.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 17.9
Mean minimum °F (°C) 1.9
Record low °F (°C) −14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.55
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.7
Average extreme snow depth inches (cm) 4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.4 3.6 4.3 3.9 4.7 5.0 9.9 10.1 6.1 4.8 3.7 4.3 63.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.7 1.2 1.2 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.6 1.9 7.5
Average relative humidity (%) 67 60 45 36 34 32 45 45 48 47 51 64 48
Mean monthly sunshine hours 220.1 200.6 300.7 342.0 365.8 360.0 362.7 365.8 342.0 232.5 222.0 220.1 3,534.3
Mean daily sunshine hours 7.1 7.1 9.7 11.4 11.8 12 11.7 11.8 11.4 7.5 7.4 7.1 9.7
Mean daily daylight hours 10.1 10.9 12.0 13.1 14.1 14.5 14.3 13.5 12.4 11.3 10.3 9.8 12.2
Percent possible sunshine 70 65 81 87 84 83 82 87 92 66 72 72 78
Average ultraviolet index 5 8 9 11 12 13 13 12 11 8 5 4 9
Source 1: NOAA(Snow depth 2002-2023)[43][44]
Source 2: Weather Atlas [45] (humidity, sun data) Nomadseason(UV 2022[46])


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[47][4]

As of the 2020 census, there were 87,505 people living in the city, up from 67,947 in 2010, equating to an annual growth of close to 3%. As per the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the city residents was 78.9% White, 2.1% Native American; 1.4% Black, 1.4% Asian; and 3.7% from two or more races. A total of 48.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic Whites were 39.5% of the population.[48]

2020 census

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the US census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop 2000[49] Pop 2010[50] Pop 2020[51] %2000 %2010 %2020
White (NH) 29,300 31,412 36,252 47.10% 46.23% 41.43%
Black or African American (NH) 341 530 830 0.55% 0.78% 0.95%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 1,019 891 1,287 1.64% 1.31% 1.47%
Asian (NH) 761 927 1,589 1.22% 1.36% 1.82%
Pacific Islander (NH) 36 25 33 0.06% 0.04% 0.04%
Some Other Race (NH) 98 182 554 0.16% 0.27% 0.63%
Mixed race or Multi-Racial (NH) 904 891 2,318 1.45% 1.31% 2.65%
Hispanic or Latino 29,744 33,089 44,642 47.82% 48.70% 51.02%
Total 62,203 67,947 87,505 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

According to the 2022 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, the ethnic and racial makeup of the city was 49.4% White, 1.6% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.6% African American, 16.9% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races.[52] Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 50.6% of the population.[53]

There were 27,569 households, out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals living alone, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.90.

The age distribution was 20.3% under 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 women aged 18 and over, there were 89.0 men.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,392, and the median income for a family was $49,705. Men had a median income of $32,373 versus $27,431 for women. The per capita income for the city was $25,454. About 9.5% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.2% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.

Approximately 23% of households identify as LGBT. This city has a history of inclusivity, with diverse community organizations.[54]


Downtown Santa Fe

In a September 2003 report by Angelou Economics, it was determined that Santa Fe should focus its economic development efforts in the following seven industries: Arts and Culture, Design, Hospitality, Conservation Technologies, Software Development, Publishing and New Media, and Outdoor Gear and Apparel. Three secondary targeted industries for Santa Fe to focus development in are health care, retiree services, and food & beverage. Angelou Economics recognized three economic signs that Santa Fe's economy was at risk of long-term deterioration. The seven industries recommended by the report "represent a good mix for short-, mid-, and long-term economic cultivation."[55]


The Inn & Spa at Loretto

Tourism is a major element of the Santa Fe economy, with visitors attracted year-round by the climate and related outdoor activities (such as skiing in years of adequate snowfall; hiking in other seasons) plus cultural activities of the city and the region. Tourism information is provided by the convention and visitor bureau[56] and the chamber of commerce.[57]

Some tourist activities take place in the historic downtown, especially on and around the Plaza, a one-block square adjacent to the Palace of the Governors, the original seat of New Mexico's territorial government since the time of Spanish colonization. Other areas include "Museum Hill", the site of several art museums as well as the annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. There are numerous art and craft galleries along Canyon Road. During the second week of September, the aspens in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains turn yellow. This is also the time of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe, celebrating the "reconquering" of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas, a highlight of which is the burning Zozobra ("Old Man Gloom"), a 50-foot (15 m) marionette.[citation needed]

Day trips in the Santa Fe area include locations such as the town of Taos, about 70 mi (113 km) north of Santa Fe. The historic Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera are located approximately 30 mi (48 km) away. Santa Fe's ski resort, Ski Santa Fe, is about 16 mi (26 km) northeast of the city. Chimayo is also nearby and many locals complete the annual pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo.[citation needed]

Science and technology

Hotel St. Francis

Santa Fe been associated with science and technology since 1943 when it served as the gateway to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a 45-minute drive from the city. In 1984, the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) was founded to research complex systems in the physical, biological, economic, and political sciences. It has hosted such Nobel laureates as Murray Gell-Mann (physics), Philip Warren Anderson (physics), and Kenneth Arrow (economics). The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) was founded in 1994 to focus on research at the intersection among bioscience, computing, and mathematics.[58] In the 1990s and 2000s several technology companies formed to commercialize technologies from LANL, SFI and NCGR.

Due to the presence of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the Santa Fe Institute, and because of its attractiveness for visitors and an established tourist industry, Santa Fe routinely serves as a host to a variety of scientific meetings, summer schools, and public lectures, such as International q-bio Conference on Cellular Information Processing, Santa Fe Institute's Complex Systems Summer School,[59] and LANL's Center For Nonlinear Studies Annual Conference.[60]

Arts and culture


The city is well known as a center for arts that reflect the multicultural character of the city; since 2005, it has been designated as a UNESCO Creative City in Crafts and Folk Art.[61] In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch and U.S. News & World Report.[62][63]


Institute of American Indian Arts

The Spanish laid out the city according to the "Laws of the Indies", town planning rules and ordinances which had been established in 1573 by King Philip II. The fundamental principle was that the town be laid out around a central plaza. On its north side was the Palace of the Governors, while on the east was the church that later became the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.

An important style implemented in planning the city was the radiating grid of streets centered on the central Plaza. Many were narrow and included small alley-ways, but each gradually merged into the more casual byways of the agricultural perimeter areas. As the city grew throughout the 19th century, the building styles evolved too, so that by statehood in 1912, the eclectic nature of the buildings caused it to look like "Anywhere USA".[64] The city government realized that the economic decline, which had started more than twenty years before with the railway moving west and the federal government closing down Fort Marcy, might be reversed by the promotion of tourism.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

To achieve that goal, the city created the idea of imposing a unified building style – the Santa Fe Pueblo Revival look, which was based on work done restoring the Palace of the Governors. The sources for this style came from the many defining features of local architecture: vigas (rough, exposed beams that extrude through supporting walls, and are thus visible outside as well as inside the building) and canales (rain spouts cut into short parapet walls around flat roofs), features borrowed from many old adobe homes and churches built many years before and found in the pueblos, along with the earth-toned look (reproduced in stucco) of the old adobe exteriors.

After 1912 this style became official: all buildings were to be built using these elements. By 1930 there was a broadening to include the "Territorial", a style of the pre-statehood period which included the addition of portales (large, covered porches) and white-painted window and door pediments (and also sometimes terra cotta tiles on sloped roofs, but with flat roofs still dominating). The city had become "different". However, "in the rush to pueblofy"[65] Santa Fe, the city lost a great deal of its architectural history and eclecticism. Among the architects most closely associated with this new style are T. Charles Gaastra and John Gaw Meem.

By an ordinance passed in 1957, new and rebuilt buildings, especially those in designated historic districts, must exhibit a Spanish Territorial or Pueblo style of architecture, with flat roofs and other features suggestive of the area's traditional adobe construction. However, many contemporary houses in the city are built from lumber, concrete blocks, and other common building materials, but with stucco surfaces (sometimes referred to as "faux-dobe", pronounced as one word: "foe-dough-bee") reflecting the historic style.

Visual arts

New Mexico Museum of Art

Canyon Road, east of the Plaza, has the highest concentration of art galleries in the city, and is a destination for international collectors, tourists and locals. The Canyon Road galleries showcase a array of contemporary, Southwestern, Indigenous American, and experimental art, in addition Taos Masters, and Native American pieces. There are several outdoor sculptures in the city, including many statues of Francis of Assisi, and several other holy figures, such as Kateri Tekakwitha.[citation needed]

SITE Santa Fe exhibits new developments in contemporary art, encouraging artistic exploration, and expanding traditional museum experiences. Launched in 1995 SITE organizes an international biennial of contemporary art in the United States, similar to exhibitions as the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale but at a smaller scale.[66][better source needed]

Statue of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Santa Fe contains a lively contemporary art scene, with Meow Wolf as its main art collective. Originally backed by author George R. R. Martin,[67] Meow Wolf opened an elaborate art installation space, called House of Eternal Return, in 2016.[68]



Numerous authors followed the influx of specialists in the visual arts. Well-known writers like D. H. Lawrence, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Tobias, Kate Braverman, Douglas Adams, Tony Hillerman, Roger Zelazny, Alice Corbin Henderson, Mary Austin, Witter Bynner, Dan Flores, Paul Horgan, Rudolfo Anaya, George R. R. Martin, Mitch Cullin, David Morrell, Evan S. Connell, Richard Bradford, John Masters, Jack Schaefer, Hampton Sides, Ariel Gore and Michael McGarrity are or were residents of Santa Fe. Walker Percy lived on a dude ranch outside of Santa Fe before returning to Louisiana to begin his literary career.[69]

Music, dance, and opera

Lensic Theater, built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1931

Performance Santa Fe, formerly the Santa Fe Concert Association, is the oldest presenting organization in Santa Fe. Founded in 1937, Performance Santa Fe brings celebrated and legendary musicians as well as some of the world's greatest dancers and actors to the city year-round.[70] The Santa Fe Opera stages its productions between late June and late August each year. The city also hosts the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival which is held at about the same time, mostly in the St. Francis Auditorium and in the Lensic Theater. In July and August, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale holds its summer festival. Santa Fe has its own professional ballet company, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, which performs in both cities and tours nationally and internationally. Santa Fe is also home to internationally acclaimed Flamenco dancer's María Benítez Institute for Spanish Arts which offers programs and performance in Flamenco, Spanish Guitar and similar arts year-round.


Santuario de Guadalupe is the oldest church in the country dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe


Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe has many museums located near the downtown Plaza:

Several other museums are located in the area known as Museum Hill:[71]





The New Mexico Style were an American Basketball Association franchise founded in 2005, but reformed in Texas for the 2007–08 season as the El Paso S'ol (which folded without playing an ABA game in their new city). The Santa Fe Roadrunners were a North American Hockey League team, but moved to Kansas to become the Topeka Roadrunners. Santa Fe's rodeo, the Rodeo De Santa Fe, is held annually the last week of June.[73] In May 2012, Santa Fe became the home of the Santa Fe Fuego of the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs. They play their home games at Fort Marcy Ballfield. Horse racing events were held at The Downs at Santa Fe from 1971 until 1997.


The New Mexico State Capitol, commonly known as The Roundhouse, was built in a Territorial Revival style

Santa Fe is a charter city governed by a mayor-council system.[74] The city is divided into four electoral districts, each represented by two councilors. Councilors are elected to staggered four-year terms and one councilor from each district is elected every two years.[74]: Article VI  The current mayor of Santa Fe is Alan Webber;[75] current city council members are Alma Castro, Signe I. Lindell, Michael Garcia, Carol Romero-Wirth, Pilar Faulkner, Lee Garcia, Jamie Cassutt, and Amanda Chávez.

The municipal judgeship is an elected position and a requirement of the holder is that they be a member of the state bar. The judge is elected to four-year terms.[74]: Article VII 

Santiago Campos U.S. Courthouse

The mayor is the chief executive officer of the city and a member of the governing body. The mayor has numerous powers and duties, and while previously the mayor could only vote when there was a tie among the city council, the city charter was amended by referendum in 2014 to allow the mayor to vote on all matters in front of the council. Starting in 2018, the position of mayor will be a full-time professional paid position within city government.[74]: Article V  Day-to-day operations of the municipality are undertaken by the city manager's office.[74]: Article VIII 



The Joseph M. Montoya Federal Building and Post Office serves as an office for U.S. federal government operations. It also contains the primary United States Postal Service post office in the city.[76] Other post offices in the Santa Fe city limits include Coronado,[77] De Vargas Mall,[78] and Santa Fe Place Mall.[79] The U.S. Courthouse building, constructed in 1889, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[80]



Adelina Otero-Warren, a leading suffragist in New Mexico, became one of the state's first female government officials when she served as superintendent of Santa Fe public schools from 1917 to 1929. In 1922, she also became the first Hispanic woman to run for the U.S. Congress, as the Republican nominee to represent New Mexico's at-large district. In 2022, Otero-Warren was one of five women chosen for the American Women Quarters Program, which honors women who have made notable contributions to the country.


Santa Fe Public Library

Public schools in Santa Fe are operated by Santa Fe Public Schools, with the exception of the New Mexico School for the Arts, which is a public/private partnership comprising the NMSA-Art Institute, a nonprofit art educational institution, and NMSA-Charter School, an accredited New Mexico state charter high school.

Santa Fe has three public high schools:

The city's institutions of higher education include St. John's College, a liberal arts college; the Institute of American Indian Arts, a tribal college for Native American arts; Southwestern College, a graduate school for counseling and art therapy; and Santa Fe Community College.

The city has six private college preparatory high schools: Santa Fe Waldorf School,[81] St. Michael's High School, Desert Academy,[82] New Mexico School for the Deaf, Santa Fe Secondary School, Santa Fe Preparatory School, and the Mandela International Magnet School. The Santa Fe Indian School is an off-reservation school for Native Americans. Santa Fe is also the location of the New Mexico School for the Arts, a public-private partnership, arts-focused high school. The city has many private elementary schools as well, including Little Earth School,[83] Santa Fe International Elementary School,[84] Rio Grande School, Desert Montessori School,[85] La Mariposa Montessori, The Tara School, Fayette Street Academy, The Santa Fe Girls' School, The Academy for the Love of Learning, and Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences.


The Lamy Building, built in 1878.

Santa Fe's daily newspaper is the Santa Fe New Mexican and each Friday, it publishes Pasatiempo, its long-running calendar and commentary on arts and events.[citation needed]



Santa Fe is served by the Santa Fe Municipal Airport. American Airlines provides regional jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. United Airlines has regional jet service to Denver International Airport.


Downtown Santa Fe

Santa Fe is located on I-25. In addition, U.S. Routes 84 and 285 pass through the city, along St. Francis Drive. NM-599 forms a limited-access road bypass around the northwestern part of the city.

In its earliest alignment (1926–1937), U.S. Route 66 ran through Santa Fe.[86]

Public transit

Santa Fe Depot is served by the New Mexico Rail Runner Express

Santa Fe Trails, run by the city, operates a number of bus routes within the city during business hours and also provides connections to regional transit.

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is a commuter rail service operating in Valencia, Bernalillo (including Albuquerque), Sandoval, and Santa Fe Counties. In Santa Fe County, the service uses 18 miles (29 km) of new right-of-way connecting the BNSF Railway's old transcontinental mainline to existing right-of-way in Santa Fe used by the Santa Fe Southern Railway. Santa Fe is currently served by four stations, Santa Fe Depot, South Capitol, Zia Road, and Santa Fe County/NM 599.

New Mexico Park and Ride, a division of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the North Central Regional Transit District operate primarily weekday commuter coach/bus service to Santa Fe from Torrance, Rio Arriba, Taos, San Miguel and Los Alamos Counties in addition to shuttle services within Santa Fe connecting major government activity centers.[87][88] Prior to the Rail Runner's extension to Santa Fe, Park and Ride operated commuter coach service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Greyhound Lines serves Santa Fe on its route from Denver to El Paso, Texas. Groome Transportation provides shuttles between Santa Fe and the Albuquerque International Sunport.[89]


The New Mexico Rail Runner Express connects Santa Fe to the Albuquerque area

Along with the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, a commuter rail line serving the metropolitan areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the city or its environs are served by two other railroads. The Santa Fe Southern Railway, now mostly a tourist rail experience but also carrying freight, operates excursion services out of Santa Fe as far as Lamy, 15 miles (24 km) to the southeast. The Santa Fe Southern line is one of the United States' few rails with trails. Lamy is also served by Amtrak's daily Southwest Chief for train service to Chicago, Los Angeles, and intermediate points. Passengers transiting Lamy may use a special connecting coach/van service to reach Santa Fe.



Multi-use bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian trails are increasingly popular in Santa Fe, for both recreation and commuting. These include the Dale Ball Trails, a 24.4-mile (39.3 km) network starting within two miles (3.2 km) of the Santa Fe Plaza; the long Santa Fe Rail Trail to Lamy; the Atalaya Trail up Atalaya Mountain; and the Santa Fe River Trail. Santa Fe is the terminus of three National Historic Trails: El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Sister cities


Santa Fe's sister cities are:[90]

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ Also spelled Kuapooge, Apoga, Apoge, Cua P'Hoge, Cua-P'ho-o-ge, Cua-po-oge, Cua-Po-o-que, Kua-p'o-o-ge, Oga P'Hoge, Og-a-p'o-ge, Poga, Poge, Po-o-ge, etc.[17]


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Further reading