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Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum

#5 in Best Things To Do in Santa Fe

Palace of the Governors picture in Santa Fe
ivanastar / Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • $12 for adults; free for kids 16 and younger
  • Hours vary, see website for details

Details

  • Museums, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Constructed in 1610, the Palace of the Governors was the original Capitol of New Mexico. The adobe structure was the site of the only successful Native American uprising, which took place in 1680, and it has been in public use longer than any other structure in the country. Today, the National Historic Landmark showcases 400 years of the state's history (officially as part of the New Mexico History Museum) with the help of such artifacts as a stagecoach dating back to the days of the Santa Fe Trail and an altarpiece made in 1830 for a church in Taos. Outside, Native American craftsmen sell handmade souvenirs, jewelry and more. Meanwhile, the New Mexico History Museum (situated behind the Palace of the Governors) features a variety of exhibits showcasing the Land of Enchantment's fascinating past. Displays include artifacts from Native American history, the Spanish Colonial period and the Mexican period. You can learn about the renowned Santa Fe Trail (the 19th-century transportation route connecting Missouri to Santa Fe) and the Museum of New Mexico Press.

Recent travelers said they gleaned a great deal of knowledge from visiting this site, noting that not only did the guides offer insights into the building's past and New Mexico's history but the vendors also educated them on the different crafts and wares for sale (and weren't too pushy, either).

Sitting on the Santa Fe Plaza, the Palace of the Governors and New Mexico Museum of History are both open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (and on Mondays in the summertime). Admission is $12 for out-of-state visitors and $7 for New Mexico residents, and children 16 and younger can enter for free. What's more, free docent-led tours are available daily. The Palace of the Governors also offers a downtown walking tour from April through October for $10. For more information on tours, schedules and more, visit the website.

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#2 Santa Fe Plaza Since the city's founding in 1610, the Santa Fe Plaza has been its cultural hub, hosting bullfights and fandangos. Today, surrounded by numerous ancient buildings like the San Miguel ... Read more » puroticorico / Flickr

#3 Santa Fe Opera House The Santa Fe Opera House is a world-renowned venue that plays host to a variety of operas each summer. The company has presented operas – comedies, dramas, tragedies and more – every ... Read more » Robert Godwin / Tourism Santa Fe

#4 Museum of International Folk Art Of all the museums that make up the New Mexico History Museum group, this one is probably the most unique. Southwestern art is definitely represented, but the Museum of International ... Read more » Granger Meadow / Flickr

#5 Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum Constructed in 1610, the Palace of the Governors was the original Capitol of New Mexico. The adobe structure was the site of the only successful Native American uprising, which took ... Read more » ivanastar / Getty Images

Eugene Kim / Flickr

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#8 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Having moved from the East Coast, Georgia O'Keeffe was inspired by Santa Fe's blazing landscape, and soon her portrayals of New Mexico earned her a reputation as one ... Read more » Robert Reck / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

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#12 Liquid Light Glass Established in 1986, Liquid Light Glass is a hub for glass-blown art, sculptures, ornaments, vases and more. The shop is located in the Baca Street Arts District, an up-and-coming neighborhood ... Read more » Courtesy of Liquid Light Glass

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Obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza picture in Santa Fe
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Palace of the Governors picture in Santa Fe
Santa Fe Farmers Market picture in Santa Fe
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi picture in Santa Fe
Gallery at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum picture in Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe picture in Santa Fe
Bandelier National Monument picture in Santa Fe
New Mexico Museum of Art picture in Santa Fe
Liquid Light Glass Sculptures picture in Santa Fe
Canyon Road Gallery picture in Santa Fe
Obelisk in Santa Fe Plaza picture in Santa Fe
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Museum of International Folk Art picture in Santa Fe
Palace of the Governors picture in Santa Fe
Santa Fe Farmers Market picture in Santa Fe
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi picture in Santa Fe
Gallery at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum picture in Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe picture in Santa Fe
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Built in 1610, the Palace of the Governors served as the seat of government for the State of New Mexico for several centuries. ivanastar / Getty Images

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This Romanesque cathedral – named for the patron saint of the diocese – was constructed in the mid- to late 19th century. Chris Corrie / Tourism Santa Fe

Although she was originally from the East Coast, Georgia O'Keeffe's representations of Santa Fe's landscape earned her a reputation as one of the Southwest's best artists. Robert Reck / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

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This museum is the state's oldest art museum and is known for its adobe structure and rotating exhibits. Chris Corrie / TOURISM Santa Fe

The Liquid Light Glass studio showcases colorful glass-blown art. Courtesy of Liquid Light Glass

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