Santa Fe Plaza picture1 of 3
Santa Fe Plaza2 of 3
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Key Info

Santa Fe Plaza

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 Mission and the Palace of the Governors, the plaza continues to be the epicenter of Santa Fean affairs, from live music to September's Santa Fe Fiesta. The plaza, which is a National Historic Landmark, hosts Indian and Spanish markets regularly, in addition to concerts and community gatherings. Any night of the week, the plaza is buzzing with activity with people enjoying restaurants, perusing galleries and checking out souvenir shops. Save a little money to do some trinket shopping while here: Santa Fe Plaza is full of vendors selling authentic Native American crafts, but be wary of the inflated prices.

Visitors say you have to make a point to stop by the Santa Fe Plaza to experience the lively atmosphere, noting that there always seems to be something going on, whether it's a parade, a market or a festival. Recent travelers also suggested taking time to browse the various shops around the plaza, but do warn things seemed a little overpriced. Others said it serves as a great jumping off point for exploring Santa Fe's top attractions, many of which spool out from the plaza.

The free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle stops nearby and many of Santa Fe's top attractions are located within walking distance of this central area as well. In addition to the mission and the Palace of the Governors, you can also make a short walk to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The plaza is free to visit 24/7, though individual businesses operate their own hours.

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More Best Things To Do in Santa Fe

Canyon Road1 of 14
Santa Fe Opera House2 of 14
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Canyon Road

If there's any doubt that Santa Fe is a prime destination for art lovers, Canyon Road quashes it. Situated just east of the Santa Fe Plaza, Canyon Road is home to a slew of art galleries selling renowned artwork from famed artists, such as Fernando Botero and cultural treasures like hand-woven Navajo rugs and Southwestern wood carvings. The area is touted as an art lover's mecca because of the variety of mediums used to highlight art. Pop into the different galleries (there are more than 100) along the street and you'll find everything from jewelry and pottery to sculptures and paintings. The street itself is also a feast for the eyes: Many of the galleries found here are housed in historic adobe buildings laced with brilliantly colored flowers, art installations are often showcased outside and the spicy odor of chile peppers wafts from the doorways of top-notch eateries like Geronimo Restaurant and Compound Restaurant.

Recent visitors said the best way to experience this arts district is simply by strolling down the street, adding that it's a wonderful way to experience art without being stuck indoors or inside a single museum. Travelers were impressed with everything from the variety of art to the pueblo architecture and said there are ample opportunities to snap photos of this vibrant site.

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Terence Faircloth/Flickr
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