Walking Tour of Santa Fe, NM
This 400-year-old city is noted for the distinctive adobe architecture that has been painstakingly and lovingly preserved, mandated, and enforced throughout the capital through strict local ordinances, Even the State Capitol Building conforms. The area has also become a center for Native Arts and Crafts.
My walk begins at the center of activity in Santa Fe, The Plaza. This main square is a popular gathering place and is also convenient to the major attractions of the city.
On the northern side of the Plaza is the Palace of the Governors, a long, low structure, erected in 1610, and claiming to be the oldest public building in the United States. It is now a museum, but the real interest here is outside the Palace. The front of the building is host to numerous Native American artisans who display and hawk their wares to passers-by. On other sides of the Plaza are a variety of shops and restaurants.
Exit the Plaza by walking east on East Palace Avenue. Sena Plaza is one your left and the Cathedral of St Francis of Assisi is straight ahead at Cathedral Park. The Romanesque-style church harbors a statue of the Virgin Mary which is almost 400 years old.
Leave the Cathedral and turn left onto Cathedral Street, then turn right on East Water Street and left on Old Santa Fe Trail. On your left is the Loretto Chapel, famous for its "miraculous staircase," a spiral staircase erected without nails or supporting beams. Learn about the legend and enjoy the attractive interior of the church, which has been the scene of numerous weddings.
Continue south on Old Santa Fe Trail. Take a short detour by turning left on East DeVargas Street. The home at #215 is reputed to be the country’s Oldest House. Then return to the Santa Fe Trail and turn left to arrive at the ancient San Miguel Mission Church, built in 1610, in the classic adobe architecture of the region.
Across the street and slightly south is the New Mexico State Capitol building, very different looking from the typical buildings with their columns and domes.
Continue south and turn right onto Paseo de Peralta, and right again on Don Gaspar Avenue, heading back toward the city center. Turn left when you reach Water Street and then go right on Sandoval. This road curves right becoming West Palace Avenue. Turn left on Grant Avenue. At the intersection with Johnson Street, turn left to visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, which displays the work of this American artist who came to paint and never left.
Head back to Grant Avenue and turn left, then right on South Federal Street. The Greek-revival courthouse is ahead on the left. Turn right at Lincoln Avenue, past Santa Fe’s City Hall and back to the Plaza where the walk began.