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Visit Santa Fe

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of AssisiWith a population of 70,000 primarily Hispanic, Anglo and Native American people, Santa Fe, which means Holy Faith in Spanish, is situated at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains. It was founded between 1607 and 1610, making it the second oldest city as well as the highest and oldest capital in the U.S. Today its unique offerings of art, culture and ancient traditions make it a world-class tourist destination, drawing more than 1 million visitors each year.

santa fe operaSanta Fe has long been a center for arts and culture. Due to sales, it now ranks as the country's third largest art market with nearly 300 galleries and dealers. There also are more than a dozen major museums showcasing an array of art, culture, history and traditions, as well the world-class Santa Fe Opera, In recent years, the city has also earned a reputation with food-lovers. Whether you're hankering for basic New Mexican food, creative Southwestern cuisine, or authentic Italian, French, Asian and other world cuisines, the city offers more than 200 choices.

Getting to Santa Fe

Santa Fe is located in Northern New Mexico, an hour's drive north of Albuquerque, the state's largest city and major air gateway. The Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) is serviced by all of the major U.S. airlines. Flying into Albuquerque, booking your accommodations here, and renting a car is by far the most popular way of traveling around New Mexico. But not the only way. Train service provides access to Santa Fe on a daily basis. Once in town, getting around is easy. Downtown Santa Fe and the surrounding historic districts are compact and most conveniently traveled on foot. For longer trips there is a local taxi service and a public transportation system.

New Mexico Rail Runner Express

New Mexico Rail RunnerThe New Mexico Rail Runner Express carries passengers in and out of Santa Fe between Albuquerque and points south. The Rail Runner terminates (80 minutes after leaving Albuquerque) at the tiny Santa Fe depot in the historic Railyard District, popular for shopping and entertainment. Across the tracks at the Sanbusco Market Center, you can browse specialty shops and import bazaars and enjoy a delicious meal at El Tosoro Café or one of the other eateries. The best part: Our hotel shuttle will drop and pick you up at the ABQ downtown station!

Click here to download a pdf of the weekday train schedule.

Click here to download a pdf of the Saturday train schedule.

Click here to download a pdf of the Sunday train schedule.

One block away, galleries, boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants line South Guadalupe Street. The art-deco-style Zia serves what is called "international comfort food,” while Cowgirl BBQ specializes in mesquite-smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, and frozen margaritas.

For the signature Santa Fe experience, head for the historic Santa Fe Plaza, the soul of the city. It’s an eight-block walk from the depot. If you don't want to hike, you can catch the Santa Fe Pick-Up, a free shuttle bus that leaves from the north end of the tracks soon after each train arrives. The bus loops the historic district and stops a block from the famous plaza, as well as at Canyon Road with its art galleries.

New Mexico History MuseumFor a thousand years, traders from as far away as the Pacific Coast and the Mayan empire in Mexico (and beyond) gathered in the central plazas of Indian pueblos in New Mexico. Today Indians from 23 tribes and pueblos continue the tradition in the Santa Fe Plaza. Like their ancestors, the artisans offer their wares on blankets spread on the ground. Every day, they line the portal of the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors, now part of the New Mexico History Museum.

The New Mexico History Museum juries the vendors and inspects their workshops to ensure that all items are original and trademarked. Silver must be sterling and turquoise either natural or stabilized stone, but not color-enhanced. You can shop with confidence that you’re getting authentic American goods, not imported or mass-produced merchandise.

The New Mexico Museum of Art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and the Institute of American Indian Arts also are located near the plaza. One can easily spend several hours just looking at all the exhibits.

A long row of connected adobe storefronts lines East Plaza Street one block off the plaza. Built centuries ago as family homes, these dwellings now house galleries, courtyard restaurants, and boutiques. One unobtrusive door, 109 East Palace, was the secret gateway for the Manhattan Project. There, families headed to Los Alamos were provisioned so they could settle in that hastily built town where the first atomic bomb was developed.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de AssisiWhen the evening light transmutes the adobe buildings to gold, the stone towers of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi come to life. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi is a glowing reminder of old Santa Fe. Built in 1869, the landmark anchors the east side of the downtown historic zone. The oldest statue of the Virgin Mary in the United States, brought here in 1625, is the city’s patroness and a distinguishing feature of this beautiful house of worship.

You can reach Canyon Road via the free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle, which has two stop locations there. In addition to art, the road hosts eateries such as Geronimo and The Compound; so, you may want to plan to dine in this district.

Click here to download a pdf of the Santa Fe Pick-Up schedule.

Just a bit south of the Canyon Road art district is Santa Fe's Museum Hill, which is served by a bus — the "M" bus — which departs from Santa Fe Plaza. Fares are very inexpensive. Four museums line Camino Lejo. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian focus on the heritage and evolving culture of Southwest Indians. The Museum of International Folk Art encompasses even more cultures, displaying thousands of toys, textiles, and hand-carved dioramas from around the world. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art features objects from throughout the Hispanic world.

Military aficionados will want to stop at Santa Fe's Bataan Memorial Military Museum and Library to salute the past. Nearly all of New Mexico's national guard was among the thousands of Filipino and American soldiers forced to participate in the renowned Bataan Death March during World War II. The museum commemorates the event and other conflicts that involved New Mexicans.

New Mexico Rail RunnerTrains return to Albuquerque in the afternoon and evening, so you have plenty of time to soak up the best of Santa Fe before you leave. Then relax and listen to the “beep-beep” as Rail Runner speeds you back to Albuquerque. It's a great way to get to Santa Fe without worrying about driving or parking a car.

For more information about the train contact:

New Mexico Rail Runner Express
809 Copper Ave. N.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(866) 795-7245

Downtown Parking
Metered parking spots in downtown Santa Fe cost $1.00 an hour and are in operation from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding major holidays. For additional information on public parking, including lot and garage locations, click here for a PDF of the city's Parking Locations.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe Shuttle Service
Sandia Shuttle Express (aka Santa Fe Shuttle) 1-888-775-5696, 505-474-5696 Provides 15 runs daily between downtown Santa Fe hotels and Albuquerque and 14 runs back between Albuquerque and downtown Santa Fe hotels.

Santa Fe Markets

Santa Fe Museums

albuquerque motel

museum of spanish colonial art
Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
wheelwright museum
Wheelwright Museum  
georgia o;keefe museum
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
new mexico museum of art
New Mexico Museum of Art

Zia Lounge
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Event Space

Rio Grande Inn meeting room
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Rio Grande Inn lobby
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Rio Grande Inn sunfire logoRio Grande Inn Green logoBEST WESTERN PLUS Rio Grande Inn
1015 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
Tel:505-843-9500 | Fax: 505-843-9238
Toll Free Reservations: 800-959-4726
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