Profile: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Brush up on Santa Fe basics with this overview of the city's history and stats.
By: Nancy Zimmerman
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Adobe Facade of Santa Fe Museum of Art

Adobe Facade of Santa Fe Museum of Art

The adobe facade of the Museum of Art in Santa Fe, N.M. is characteristic of Southwestern style. Adobe, a natural building material made from sand, clay and water, is extremely durable and has been used in the Southwest for thousands of years.

Population: 62,876

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b

Major Airports: The main point of entry is the Albuquerque International Sunport, 60 miles south of Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Municipal Airport offers only a handful of commuter flights.

Companies With a Major Presence: U.S. Federal Government, Santa Fe School District, State of New Mexico, St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, City of Santa Fe

Living in Santa Fe is a bit like living in a foreign country. Its long, diverse history is reflected in the architecture, the cuisine and the lifestyle itself. Distinctive flat-roofed adobe buildings and residences, some dating back to the late 1600s, hide inner courtyards and expansive covered porches (called portales here). Heart-stopping vistas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and a muted high-desert color palette add to the mystique that gives the town its nickname: the City Different.   

Santa Fe was a “foreign” city far longer than it’s been an American one. Spanish conquistadors rolled through here in the 1500s, and Santa Fe was established 13 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. It’s been a capital city since 1610: first of New Spain’s northern empire, then of Mexico’s northern territory from 1821 to 1846, of a U.S. territory until 1912 and of the state of New Mexico from then on. A strong Native American and Spanish presence persists to this day, creating an intriguing ethnic mix and singular aesthetic.

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