One of the biggest cities in the state of New Mexico, Santa Fe is also the state capital. The city is located in Santa Fe County in the central part of New Mexico and is nicknamed 'The City Different'. Santa Fe has a population of over 80,000 people, making it the fourth most populous city in the state, and covers an area of 37.4 square miles. Santa Fe was used as a home by various indigenous peoples over a period of several thousand years, with these peoples building little villages in the area that would later go on to become the city of Santa Fe. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Santa Fe

Santa Fe
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The city itself was officially founded in 1610 by Spanish settlers and its name translates to 'holy faith' in English. Due to the fact that it was founded such a long time ago, Santa Fe is technically the oldest state capital in the United States. The city was first part of New Spain, then later became part of Mexico, before eventually becoming part of the United States after the Mexican-American way of 1846-1848. In 1912, New Mexico became an official state, and the 20th century saw great changes and developments in the region in order to elevate the status of the city and attract more businesses and residents.

It was during this time that the "City Different" nickname started to come about, as Santa Fe began to be seen as a prime place for freedom of expression. With a welcoming attitude, friendly people, and a culture that encourages people to be themselves, the city stands out from many other locations around the United States and the world. Many of the homes and buildings in the area are Mexican-style, due to the history of this location.

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2.Elevation of Santa Fe

Elevation of Santa Fe
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The elevation of a town or city tells us how high it is above sea level. Santa Fe has a relatively high elevation of 7,199 feet (2,194 m). When compared to many other major cities around the United States and the rest of the world, the elevation of Santa Fe is much higher. Many people live in coastal locations, which tend to have an elevation of 500 feet (152 m) or less. The elevation of Santa Fe is so high that visitors to the area may need some time to adjust to the city’s conditions. The air gets thinner at higher altitudes and the temperatures get colder too, with various other side effects.

New Mexico residents are generally used to living at high altitudes as the state is the fourth highest overall in terms of elevation, trailing only Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. The mean elevation in New Mexico is 5,700 feet (1,740 m). Therefore, compared to the mean elevation of New Mexico, the city of Santa Fe is one of the state’s highest points. The highest city in New Mexico, however, is the Taos Ski Valley, a small ski resort town in Taos County, which has a base elevation of 9,207 feet (2,806 m) and can reach heights of up to 12,581 feet (3,835 m), with several homes and business being based above 10,000 feet (3,048)

The highest point in all of New Mexico is Wheeler Peak, which has an elevation of 13,167 feet (4013.3 m) and can be found northeast of Taos. The state's lowest point is the Red Bluff Reservoir, situated on the Texas-New Mexico border, which has an elevation of 2,844 feet (867 m). Other major cities around New Mexico include Albuquerque, which has an elevation of 5312 feet (1619 m) and Las Cruces, which has an elevation of 3,900 feet (1,200 m).

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3.Climate and Things to Do in Santa Fe

Climate and Things to Do in Santa Fe
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Santa Fe has a dry steppe climate due to its location, meaning it has hot summers and quite cold winters, with generally dry conditions and low amounts of rainfall throughout the year. The temperatures in Santa Fe can change quite suddenly as the sun sets and rises, with the days generally being quite warm and the nights dropping down to much colder temperatures. Snowfall can occur in this region, with several inches expected through winter, but rain only really falls in any large quantities during the summer months, which is the North American Monsoon season.

Modern day Santa Fe attracts many visitors with a strong range of museums, attractions, historic sites, live shows, and recreational activities nearby. Tourism is a big part of Santa Fe's economy, so there are plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. The Plaza area in Downtown Santa Fe is a popular gathering point for tourists, and various fiestas and annual events are held here at various times of the year.

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Santa Fe Elevation

Attraction Spotlight: Museum of International Folk Art

The Museum of International Folk Art is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More then 130,000 folk art objects from over 100 cultures make the permanent collection the largest folk art collection in the world. The collection is organized geographically and represents over 30 countries across all seven continents. Additional focused collections include Spanish colonial art, contemporary Latino art, as well as textiles and clothing.

Highlights from the collection include Indonesian shadow puppets, African metalwork, wood sculptures from Brazil, Indian textiles, southwestern U.S. pottery, Japanese woodblock prints, Chinese New Year prints, and weavings from northern New Mexico. In addition to the works of art, the Bartlett Library & Archives at the museum houses documents, books, audiovisual files, periodicals and artist’s notes related to objects in the collection, their history and the context in which they were created.

The Bartlett Wing is the museum’s original gallery, which first opened in 1953, and houses rotating exhibits pulled from the museum’s permanent collection. The Girard Wing opened in 1982, named for donors Alexander and Susan Girard, who have significantly contributed to the museum’s permanent collection. Girard, a renowned designer for Herman Miller, designed the unique exhibit himself, which features objects displayed at varying heights in groupings based on visual experience rather than date or origin. The Hispanic Heritage Wing opened in 1989 to display the museum’s special collections related to traditional and contemporary Hispanic art.

Recent additions include the museum’s Neutrogena Wing, which opened in 1998 and houses textiles collections, most notably the Neutrogena collection assembled by donor Lloyd Cotsen. The Gallery of Conscience opened in 2010. The exhibit space is dedicated to examining issues that threaten the ongoing creation of traditional arts. Interactive exhibits are meant to increase awareness of world events and solicit feedback and discussion among visitors.

History: The museum and library were founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett with a core collection of 2,500 folk art objects. Ms. Bartlett not only provided the museum’s founding collection, but worked with the architect John Gaw Meem to design the museum’s building and library, and provided the museum with a foundation to financially support its ongoing efforst. Florence was a philanthropist from Chicago who began visiting New Mexico in the 1920’s. Her interest in collecting folk art was based in a desire to find connection and bridge differences between cultures and communities across the world. Florence passed just eight months after the opening of the museum in 1954, leaving a legacy of lifelong devotion to what she preferred to call “civic work.”

Since it’s founding, the museum has expanded to include a Hispanic Heritage Wing and Contemporary Hispanic Gallery. The Gallery of Conscience, Neutrogena Wing and Girard Wing were added most recently. Significant gifts of works of art include the Alexander and Susan Girard of over 106,000 objects, and the Lloyd Cotsen Neutrogena Collection of over 2,600 objects and textiles.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Docent-led walk-in tours are available daily. Groups are required to make reservations ahead of time. New Mexico residents attend free the first Sunday of each month. The museum hosts events monthly to showcase the permanent collection, involve the community and educate guests. Interactive, family friendly events include a cigar box guitar making workshop and art making for Day of the Dead. An annual Folk Art Flea Market takes place each spring. The annual Museum Hill Community Day takes place each September and involves additional area museums as well as the National Parks Service and the International Folk Art Alliance.

Past and Future Exhibits: Past exhibits have included Flamenco: From Spain to New Mexico. The exhibit featured over 150 works of art related to the living art form. Works from the permanent collection were featured alongside loans from private collectors. Between Two Worlds featured folk art that reflects on the immigrant experience. Dancing Shadows, Epic Tales featured Indonesian shadow puppets and the epic 24-hour Wayang kulit puppet shows based in the Javanese culture. Pottery of the U.S. South exhibited the contemporary works of southwestern potters based in traditional and utilitarian wares. Additional exhibits have featured Japanese kites, geometric Amish quilts and traditional African beadwork.

What’s Nearby: The museum is located on Sante Fe’s Museum Hill, which is also home to the Santa Fel Botanical Garden, the Wheelwright Museum, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

706 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505, Phone: 505-476-1200

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Attraction Spotlight: Santa Fe Opera House

The Santa Fe Opera House is a uniquely situated opera organization in the New Mexico desert. Its open-air opera house in Santa Fe with superior acoustics has won several design awards. The 155-acre campus is also home to a three-story orchestra hall. The Ranch provides housing to musicians and singers, allowing them to learn new roles and perform without the usual pressures of opera in the big city.

The Crosby Theater offers panoramic views of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Originally built in 1957, it has since expanded its seating capacity from 480 to over 2,000. Each seat and standing position offers a clear view to a digital opera titles screen, which translates the operas to English. A curved roof of over 25,000 square feet has been designed to reflect the sounds of the stage to the audience, and doubles as a rain-water collector, annually capturing 60,000 gallons, which are used to maintain the opera grounds.

The Stieren Orchestra Hall was built in 2001 with a donation from opera supporters Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Stieren. The building offers over 12,000 square feet of studio space for orchestra rehearsals, as well as private rehearsal studios for singers, and climate-controlled storage for the opera’s costumes.

With an expansive campus and ample parking on the mesa above the theater, opera attendees enjoy an evening under the stars, and may attend a preview dinner before each show, order a luxury picnic, or bring their own picnics for tailgating in the parking area up to three hours prior to each performance.

History: The Santa Fe Opera was founded by visionary John O. Crosby as a gathering of musical luminaries in the early 1950’s. Crosby’s vision included the operation of a rustic guest ranch to which musicians and signers were invited to spend time learning from one another. In 1956, with an investment from his parents, Crosby was at last able to build an open-air theater, and legend has it that he and acoustician Jack Purcell drove through the desert firing guns from their Jeep to find the most suitable sonic location in which to construct the amphitheater. After the original opera house was damaged by fire in 1967, the architectural firm of James Stewart Polshek and Partners designed the present day theater, with assistance from acousticians Purcell & Noppe & Associates. The opera house has been referred to as a ‘miracle in the desert’ and its achievement in design has been lauded over the years by Time Magazine, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal among others.

Ongoing Programs and Education: The Stieren Orchestra Hall is home to the opera’s Prelude Talks as well as guest lecturers, special events, and recitals. Prelude Talks take place before the opera’s performances and invite guest speakers to engage the audience with additional information about the evening’s performance. In keeping with Crosby’s original vision, the opera offers an Apprentice Program for singers. The internationally acclaimed program accepts 40 singers annually from a competitive pool of applicants. An Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians has been operating since 1965. The program offers technicians instruction in production design, lighting, audio and video, make up and costuming.

Visits to the opera may be enhanced with one-hour backstage tours, or tours of the opera’s ranch. Ranch tours meet the last Friday of each month, and include a Meet the Artist presentation with one of the resident apprentice singers. Opera Insider Days take place on Saturdays throughout the summer and incorporate a light breakfast with an insider’s look at the opera, a backstage tour, and a scavenger hunt for children.

The opera runs an extensive array of programming for youth and the community. Youth programs include summer camps, youth nights at the opera, and high school mastery programs for students interested in opera production and technical theater. The Pueblo Opera Program, or POP, has been ongoing since 1973 and introduces over 1,000 Native American children from New Mexico’s pueblos and reservations to operatic performances. Opera for All Voices is a consortium that commissions works of opera from up and coming artists who desire to make opera more accessible and affordable for all.

Past and Future Exhibits: The 2018 opera season begins in June with Madame Butterfly. Additional 2018 performances will include Candide, Doctor Atomic, The Italian Girl in Algiers, and Ariadne auf Naxos. The season concludes in August.

301 Opera Drive Santa Fe, NM 87506, Phone: 800-280-4654

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Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fewas founded in 2002 by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and is currently the only museum in the country dedicated to exhibiting and interpreting the art of the Hispanic Southwest.

Set in a ‘Spanish-Pueblo Revival’-style building designed by renowned architect, John Gaw Meem, the small museum houses an extraordinary collection of over 3,700 works from the Hispanic Southwest, including historically significant and contemporary pieces. Signature exhibits include ‘La Casa Delgado’ (‘The Delgado Room’), which recreates the late colonial New Mexican room of captain Manuel Delgado, and the ‘Costume Corner,’ which showcases traditional outfits from the 19th century and Spanish Colonial era.


The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art was established in 2002 by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, which was founded in 1925 by writer Mary Austin and artist Frank G. Applegate with the aim of preserving and presenting art forms and the art of all the Spanish colonies. The Society managed to do just that and 90 year on, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art not only exhibits its now vast collection of works from the Hispanic Southwest but also offers a range of educational and community outreach programs and sponsors the semi-annual ‘Spanish Market’ exhibition, which is held every summer on the Santa Fe Plaza in July since 1965. A Winter Spanish Market was added in 1989 by the Society and takes place in December at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Exhibits / Collections

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art houses an extraordinary collection of over 3,700 works from the Hispanic Southwest, including historically significant and contemporary pieces. Signature exhibits include ‘La Casa Delgado’ (‘The Delgado Room’), which recreates the late colonial New Mexican room of captain Manuel Delgado, and the ‘Costume Corner,’ which showcases traditional outfits from the 19th century and Spanish Colonial era.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art’s collection of Spanish Colonial art date from the Middle Ages to the New Millennium, and include a vast array of different artifacts, objects, materials and more. The collections contain ceramics, books, silver and goldwork, textiles, straw appliqué, ironwork, and furniture, along with the traditional Santos - painted and sculpted images of saints.

The Museum is also the primary sponsor of the semi-annual Traditional Spanish Market held every summer and now the Winter Spanish Market every December at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The oldest and largest juried Spanish market in the country, the summer market is a celebration of Hispanic Heritage and culture. In addition to fabulous artworks, there is also traditional Hispanic food, music, and dance on offer. Both the summer and winter markets provide a space for over 250 artists to share their heritage and culture with the public, showcasing original works where traditional methods and materials have been used to ensure authenticity. The summer market, called Traditional Spanish Market, also features the Youth Market where up-and-coming artists between the ages of seven and 17 and learn about the traditional arts.

Educational Programs

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art offers a wide range of educational programs for both children and adults. Programs for adults include art classes and workshops, lecture series and symposiums on archeology, history, culture, and geography, and guided docent-led tours of the facility. Youth programs are held in the Youth Gallery where children can complete puzzles, enjoy coloring sheets and weaving activities, read a story or examine Costume Nicho. Free educational outreach programs include ‘ArtConnections,’ which are classes in the traditional Spanish colonial arts, such as straw appliqué, colcha embroidery, retablos, pottery, tinwork, and weaving. Field trips are also available along with docent-led museum tours.

Visitor Information

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is located at 750 Camino Lejo in Santa Fe and is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and seven days a week during the summer. Docent-led tours are free of charge to chaperoned school groups (advanced booking required), and the Curtin-Paloheimo Museum Shop sells a unique selection of locally made artworks and a hand-picked assortment of regional gifts, along with educational books, fine and costume jewelry, wearable art, and original artworks.

750 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Phone: 505-982-2226

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