Santa Fe Plaza is the sentimental if not geographic center of Santa Fe. It is an excellent place for visitors to get their bearings and begin exploring Santa Fe. In addition to just being a lovely and sedate park, The Palace of the Governors lies alongside the Plaza and many of Santa Fe’s best museums, arts & crafts and jewelry shops are within easy strolling distance.
While many of the shops on and around the Plaza are filled with handmade jewelry, paintings, sculpture and clothing from local designers and artists, one of the area’s signature attractions is just a short walk from the Plaza. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum sits a few blocks off of the Plaza and offers unique insights into the life, process and works of this modern master.
Originally constructed as the seat of government for, what is today the American Southwest, today the Palace of the Governors is the New Mexico state history museum and houses museum collections, archives and exhibits related to Santa Fe and New Mexico history. The building itself is a registered National Historic Landmark and was named an American Treasure in 1999.
Less than a mile from the Plaza, the shops and galleries of Canyon Road represent, to many, the cream of the Santa Fe shopping crop. While Canyon Road galleries such as the Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery and the Adobe Gallery carry, sculpture, painting, pottery and photography from the 19th century through the contemporary period, the area is also home to a host of shops specializing in southwestern jewelry, fashion and décor.
Resorts Casinos & Golfing in Santa Fe
There are numerous resorts, casinos, and golf courses in the Santa Fe area. But a new resort just north of town offers all three of these getaway staples in a uniquely southwestern pueblo-themed environment that blends luxury and classic styling. The new Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino complex offers its guests the opportunity to be pampered in the extreme, both physically and emotionally.
Buffalo Thunder offers shows, gaming, 36 holes of world-class golf, and fine dining all on property.
The resort is decorated in the traditional pueblo style, and boasts hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of original art works ranging from sculptures, and paintings to original pueblo artifacts. Buffalo Thunder hosts events from small intimate gatherings to large corporate parties, and also offers shows featuring nationally renowned performers. Beneath the main resort level sits a casino that includes 1,200 slot machines, 22 table games, and a 10-table poker room.
Between the art, history, and shopping possibilities of the Santa Fe Plaza area and the golf, gaming and spa facilities at the new Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, visitors to northern New Mexico who want to spend a few days shopping, golfing, museum touring or basking in the lap of luxury can do it all in Santa Fe.
About Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico is the capital city of New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment” and the fourth largest city in the state with a population of approximately 75,000. Despite its small size it offers tourist a variety of activities and attractions without the “big city hassle” of trying to get around. History, art, opera, fine dining, and great accommodations await a visitor in the city proper while recreation activities, casino gambling, and the Eight Northern Pueblo are within easy traveling distance. Visit this site to know more.
Among the attractions in the city are the state government buildings including the new Mexico state capitol as well as sites worth seeing from its Spanish including the Palace of the Governors, the Loretto Chapel site of the “Miraculous Stairs”, the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Francis whose construction was begun by Bishop Lamy, fictionalized by Willa Cather in Death Comes to the Archbishop. These are only a few.
Santa Fe, New Mexico “Under Four Flag”
Part of the historical richness of the city is that since the first colonists arrived in Santa Fe. The city itself has flown under four flags: Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and that of the United States.
Art Galleries, Museums, and More
Both downtown and Canyon Road feature art galleries for both art mediums and style for every taste. Sculpture, jewelry, painting, furnishing in many styles are available from Native American, contemporary, impressionist, and Spanish inspired artists. Several major art markets including Spanish Market, Indian Market, and an International Folk Art Market are annual events which draw together thousands of artists, dealers, and art buyers. Canyon Road is the home of many of the city’s art galleries and offers the tourist the ability to just stroll from gallery to gallery.
Santa Fe is also the home of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and her Ghost Ranch is located just over an hour away in Abiquiu.
Lodging and Dining in Santa Fe
Accommodations in the area vary from historic downtown hotels such as La Fonda Hotel, bed and breakfast locations varying in price from modest to luxurious, hotels, motels, a youth hostel, RV parks and campsites. There are several casino type resorts within one hour driving time such as the new Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque.
A variety of dining experiences are available. Cuisines from nay cultures are available including Mexican, Traditional Southwest, French, Italian, Thai, Chinese, and El Salvadoran. The casino hotels in the area are famous for their all you can eat buffets at very reasonable prices. Also, for first time visitors they offer discounts and incentives for casino gambling, lodging, and dining.
The area abounds with natural beauty and a range of activities throughout the year. In winter one can ski in Santa Fe or take a two hour ride north to the slopes at Taos. In summer fishing at boat are available at many of the area lakes and streams including several of the Native American reservations including Santa Clara and Nambé. Nambé Pueblo not only has a fishing lake but also has a beautiful waterfall with day picnicking and overnight camping available.
Getting To and Around Santa Fe
Santa Fe has an airport but due to limited flight into it and the price difference that most travelers find when booking airfare, the Albuquerque Sunport, less than a two hours is a better bargain.
While in town, there is Santa Fe Trails bus service, the New Mexico Rail Runner, train service connecting the region, as well as Park and Ride. Free bus service is provided by some of the casinos from downtown locations and the Regional Transit District (RTD) also provides free bus service along scheduled routes.
Santa Fe really has something for everyone at costs which would fit most budgets. The city would be a wonderful starting point for a vacationer’s Southwest outdoor adventure.
Read more: A Brief Review of Belterra Casino Resort