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Bristol City Profile: Santa Fe, New Mexico

The city of Santa Fe, meaning “holy faith” in Spanish, was founded by Spanish colonists in 1610 and is known as the oldest state capital city in the United States and the oldest city in New Mexico. 

30 March 2016

Santa Fe offers a tremendous assortment of modern sights and attractions intermingled with a native past. Influences of the Pueblo Indians and Spanish colonialist can still be seen in the city’s well preserved aesthetic today. Ithas a distinctive architectural style all its own. Originally derived from Native American dwelling styles of the Pueblo Indians, no other city in the country is filled with so many earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, consisting of a mixture of sun dried earth and straw. The color palette of the city and surrounding area are quite soothing.

With the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance, Santa Fe could very well become your next home.


Visitors and residents can agree that this is one of the country’s friendliest cities. The phrase “I came here for a visit, and I never left” has been uttered by many Santa Fe residents. Recently in Travel + Leisure magazine, readers voted Santa Fe in the top of five of best cities in North America, in the magazine’s World’s Best survey. Some people come to Santa Fe to find themselves while others come hoping to lose themselves entirely. Santa Fe calls itself “the city different” and prides itself on being down to earth. The dress code is casual and personal contact, informal. The people are laid back and everyone, be it visitor or resident, has their own degree of anonymity.

A City Built On Art

The city and the surrounding areas have a high concentration of artists. They have come over the decades to capture the natural beauty of the landscape. With more than 200 galleries, Santa Fe has the second largest art market in the country after New York. One of the best known New Mexico based artists whom you may have heard of, was Georgia O’Keeffe. There are many outdoor sculptures, including many statues of Francis of Assisi, and several other holy figures that you can find throughout the city.

It’s fairly well know that Santa Fe is an epicenter for artists. Not just painting and sculpture, but performing arts as well. The Santa Fe Opera is world renowned with 11 International and 44 American operas having debuted here.  Also, more than 20 musical performing groups, theater companies and dance troupes call the city home.

You will never be lacking entertainment in Santa Fe!

Santa Fe Slang

It’s often that the local residents of a city will develop their own language…their way of saying things that the rest of us just wouldn’t understand. And Santa Fe is no exception! From the sounds of it, Santa Fe is one fun place to be!

“Taos lightening” — any potent liquor

“Dyed in the wool” – ingrained

“Let drive” — to let it fly, let it slip

“Kick up a row” — create a disturbance

“Necessary”– once an outhouse or water closet, today a bathroom.

“No count” or “no account” – worthless

“Out and out” — completely, without reservation

“Out and outer” — first-class

“Let’er rip”– let it go free or unrestrained

“Little end of the horn” — to come away from a situation at a disadvantage, similar to the expression “short end of the stick”

“Long and short” — the result

Santa Fe Sights

The San Miguel Mission is known as the oldest church in America. The Santa Fe Trail is fascinating historical walk and quite a popular attraction for visitors. Taos, a short drive Santa Fe, is another popular spot for artists and outdoor lovers.

While in Santa Fe, stop by one of the many art galleries, or museums. You can take your pick of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, or Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Or you could marvel at the St. Francis Cathedral or the Loretto Chapel. If you would rather get back to nature, take a short drive to the Puye Cliff Dwellings, Tent Rock Monument, or the Petroglyph National Monument.  

Be sure not to miss a stroll down Canyon Road…the art district of Santa Fe, this area boasts over a hundred art galleries and studios.  And before you go, take a scenic drive on Enchanted Circle around the mountains and gaze at the vast landscape.


The most commonly used description of food in and around Santa Fe can be called, Southwestern…a fusion of recipes for things that might have been eaten by Spanish colonial settlers, cowboysNative Americans, and Mexicans and undoubtedly a layering of all the cultures that make up the city’s history. New Mexican cuisine it known for its dedication to the chile. In jest, some would say the official state question is, “red or green?” which refers to the color of the chiles used in a dish. The most notable chile of New Mexican or Southwestern cuisine, is the Hatch Chili. Part of eating out in New Mexico is that you will find a great deal of dishes containing port or beef and smothering a dish with either red chile or green chile sauces, or both, a mixing referred to as “Christmas” style.

Every Season is Festival Season

It should be no surprise that there are a plethora of art festivals and fairs to attend each year, all year, in Santa Fe.  It’s an artist’s dream.  In the heat of Summer, check out ART Santa Fe, a show where artists from around the world submit their work for your viewing pleasure.  If you’re more of a movie buff, make sure you check out the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in the Fall. This festival which has been gaining in popularity and ranks in the top 50 of film festivals by Moviemaker Magazine, will provide hours of entertainment as you watch aspiring filmmakers share their craft.

Ask any local and they will tell you a must see is the Fiestas de Santa Fe, a celebration with arts, crafts, plenty of food and mariachi bands! 

Another must do is the Harvest Festival. You’ll get to help make tortillas by hand, bake bread, string chiles and jump on some grapes to make wine. If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to cultivate the land, here’s your chance to experience it first-hand!

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