Downtown area, the best area to stay in Santa Fe
The downtown area is particularly small as well as vibrant and offers a fun and eventful stroll through the main tourist area. It is generally busy during night as well as day and being a big hit with the tourists, means that the place is well guarded by police making it an incredibly safe neighbourhood to stay in.
The downtown area is served by a whole host of public transport services including buses and trains from and to the airport as well as getting around the city. This area has a remarkable number of small roads and pathways with the main road being Paseo de Peralta and has a good number of shops dotted all along it as well as restaurants, pubs, cafes and some hotels.
The best place to start your journey of the city is by the Santa Fe Plaza, which is where people from all over the city and further afield come to meet loved ones, friends, business partners and lots of others. The Plaza is home to cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels and some tourist attractions including the New Mexico History Museum, which happens to be the oldest public building in the country and now houses a brilliant historical museum with many floors that display artefacts from the earliest settlers to the present.
Another interesting one is the Museum of Art, which is focuses mainly on New Mexico art with the International Folk Art Museum having various exhibitions on local, regional and national textiles, traditional arts, toys, model villages, clothes and much more.
Other museums to note are the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, which has many exhibitions on Hispanic art, and Ranchos de los Golondrinas, which has a huge outdoor museum that has reconstructions of villages, vineyards, mills, farms that imitate those in the Spanish colonial days.
The main historic sights in the downtown neighbourhood include St Francis Cathedral, which is impressive inside and out with striking art, colour and structure. Loretto Chapel was built in the late 19th century and was modelled after the Gothic Sainte Chapelle in Paris with the staircase being one of the major highlights and the San Miguel Mission is one of the oldest churches in the country.
The majority of the shopping can seem very art based as you will notice the sheer amount of art galleries and gift shops dedicated to art as you walk around the downtown area. These art galleries and shops have pretty much sell everything to do with the subject from Native American techniques to Asian works, though the area is dominated with arts from Native America and one of the most popular roads to see these is on Canyon Road.
Try the main square in the downtown area for other shops and there are a few small markets and malls like De Vargas Centre and Sanbusco Centre, which sell toys, food, books, clothes, technology, jewellery, handmade crafts and much more.
Night time is one of the most popular times of the city with the downtown area wonderfully lit up and many theatres and halls putting on numerous productions including musicals, operas, concerts, dance performances and much more with the Santuario de Guadalupe Greer Garson Theatre and St Francis Auditorium being some of the most famous.
Let’s hope you like your spicy food as there is a huge collection of Mexican restaurants found in the centre, though there are plenty of other options with San Francisco Street having seafood places, French, Guatemalan, Chinese, Thai, Italian and many other cuisines. The whole downtown area is infested with pubs, bars and clubs, so you are never too far away from one and many places focus on beer and general alcoholic drinks from Mexico.
You are also spoilt for choice in terms of accommodation options with the best area being centred around the main plaza, which cater for all budgets and most offer spacious rooms and excellent customer service.