Santa Fe Plaza

The Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico in the style of traditional Spanish-American colonial cities. The plaza, or "city-square", was originally, and is still to this day, the center gathering place in town. Many know it as "the heart of Santa Fe". The landmark has since grown into a playground for many tourists interested in Spanish, Native American, and Mexican cultures, and includes music, design, jewelry, art and dance. Known to locals simply as the "Plaza," it is home to annual events including Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Spanish Market, the Santa Fe Bandstand, and the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza.jpg
Santa Fe Plaza in 2006
Santa Fe Plaza is located in New Mexico
Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe Plaza is located in the United States
Santa Fe Plaza
LocationSanta Fe Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Coordinates35°41′14.7474″N 105°56′18.6714″W / 35.687429833°N 105.938519833°W / 35.687429833; -105.938519833Coordinates: 35°41′14.7474″N 105°56′18.6714″W / 35.687429833°N 105.938519833°W / 35.687429833; -105.938519833
Area2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built1821 (1821)
Part ofSanta Fe Historic District (ID73001150[1])
NRHP reference No.66000491[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDecember 19, 1960[2]
Designated CPJuly 23, 1973
Designated NMSRCPSeptember 29, 1972

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Plaza consists of a central park lined with grass, trees, and benches, which add to the cultural scenery, especially at Christmas time when the Plaza streets and buildings glow with farolitos and the occasional luminaria, and trees glow with lights. Included in the park is a performing arts stage.


Encompassed in the general Plaza area are historic monuments, restaurants, businesses and art galleries, including the Palace of the Governors (the oldest public building in the U.S.), the New Mexico Museum of Art, Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, and the Loretto Chapel. In true pueblo fashion, the Plaza architecture is traditional adobe. Just 16 miles (26 km) from the Santa Fe ski basin, the Plaza dates back to the early 17th century when Santa Fe was settled by conquistadors. Until the mid-19th century, the Plaza lacked landscaping, and ownership of the area transitioned between the Spaniards and the Mexicans throughout the earlier years.

Precolumbian eraEdit

The area now known as Santa Fe had been inhabited by Tewa and other peoples, for which there is archaeological evidence as near to the Plaza as the Sena compound.

Spanish eraEdit

The Plaza is Santa Fe's historic, cultural and geographic center since c. 1610 when it was established by Don Pedro de Peralta.

Defensive natureEdit

All Spanish colonial towns with a regional governor's office (for Santa Fe de Nuevo México, that was the Palace of the Governors) were required by the civic planning section of the laws of the Indies to have a Plaza de Armas to marshal the palace guard in. The original Plaza was a presidio (fort) surrounded by a large defensive wall that enclosed residences, barracks, a chapel, a prison and the Governor's palace. Eventually the wall gave way to large houses built by high-ranking Spanish officers and officials. In the early days, it was found at the end of El Camino Real (the Spanish Royal Road from Mexico City).

Mexican eraEdit

US territorial eraEdit

In 1822 the famed Santa Fe Trail, a trade route connecting New Mexico with Missouri, was opened with its western terminus at the Santa Fe Plaza.[3]. The Old Pecos Trail also passed nearby before it was rerouted.

US statehoodEdit

Today the Plaza is ringed by structures in the Pueblo, Spanish and Territorial styles that reflect its diverse history. Among the most noted are the original palacio, the Palace of the Governors, built between 1610 and 1612 and San Miguel Mission, a noted landmark c. 1640, and one of the oldest churches in the United States.[4] The Plaza is surrounded by restaurants, shops and museums and it serves as a gathering place for both locals and tourists. Many seasonal community events are held at the Plaza, and it is then filled to capacity with people enjoying the magic that is 'The City Different'.[5]

Points of interestEdit

The Plaza has several mature trees, street lamps, a banco, a central monument, a buried time capsule[citation needed], a bandstand and a water fountain. Wireless internet access is also available as of 2019[citation needed].

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Survey, New Mexico" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Santa Fe National Historic Trail, National Park Service
  4. ^ Santa Fe Plaza-American Southwest-A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
  5. ^ Santa Fe Plaza

External linksEdit