New Mexico's 19 Pueblos
New Mexico's 19 Pueblos are generous in opening their doors to nontribal members and sharing glimpses of their ancient and rich cultures. However, visitors are expected to act appropriately. Tribal members are not actors, and their homes are not theme parks. Because in the past outsiders have tried to change Pueblo culture and heritage, pueblos have become guarded with their traditional ways and beliefs. Here's a general list of etiquette tips that can be...
1 hide detailInternationally-Renowned Art Museum
Our Local Expert Says:
The IAIA is the country's premier showcase for contemporary Native American artists, as well as a highly regarded training program for aspiring painters and sculptors. Its continuously changing exhibition schedule is as varied as its artists, and many are curated by talented up and coming students.
Located in downtown, across the street from the St. Francis Cathedral, this is the only museum in the world that highlights contemporary Native American arts. Carl Beam, James Lavadour, Gerald Clarke and Tom Fields are but a small sampling of artists whose works are on display. Each May, the works of students who are graduating from the institute are put on display. Other events include lectures, book signings and children's activities.
2 hide detailMore Than A Museum
Our Local Expert Says:
Celebrates historic and contemporary Native American art, with a focus on the American Southwest. The permanent collection includes works by Shonto Begay, Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird, and Julia Jumbo. Book signings, lectures, and storytelling hours are held frequently, and the courtyard is a pleasant respite from the city streets just beyond.
Mary Cabot Wheelwright founded this museum in 1937 as a way to preserve the traditional Navajo religion. Over the years it has undergone several transformations and currently houses an amazing display of traditional and contemporary Native American arts and crafts. The exhibits are on a four-month rotation, so you will always see something new. At The Case Trading Post Museum Shop you can purchase books, jewelry, kachinas and more. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
3 hide detail400 years of history
Our Local Expert Says:
You really get close with Southwest history here - after all you’re inside a nearly 400 year-old building.
The oldest continual in-use building in the United Sates. This National Historic Landmark adobe structure borders the north side of the Santa Fe Plaza and is home to the New Mexico History Museum. This is where visitors can get the best historical overview of Santa Fe and the region. Old documents and photos explain the area's colorful history. The Palace of the Governors can be likened to Washington D.C.; however, this was Spain's government seat and is the place where, in the early 1600's, Spain ruled the region that is now the American Southwest. Revolving exhibitions at the Palace of the Governors give visitors lively presentations of historical events, ideas, and themes in New Mexico's past, interpreting objects from the archives that reflect the Spanish colonial, Mexican, and U.S. Territorial control all the way to New Mexico's statehood in 1912. One of the busiest places in town, extending the length of the block long Palace of the Governors, is the daily Indian street market where one hundred or so New Mexican Pueblo, Navajo and Apache artisans sell their handmade jewelry, pottery and crafts. It is regulated and items for sale are guaranteed to be authentic, high quality and fairly priced.
4 hide detailNatural History Tours
This tour is one of the most interesting Southwestern experiences available. You'll fly in a small plane 1,000 feet off the ground to various destinations while pilot Bruce Adams explains millions of years of geologic history. En route to the Grand Canyon, for instance, you may pass by the ancient ruins of Chaco Canyon and over the vivid colors of the Painted Desert, and then, of course, over the spectacular Grand Canyon itself. Trips to many Southwestern destinations are available, including Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and Arches/Canyonlands, as well as a trip to Capulin Volcano and the ruins at Aztec, New Mexico. Local half-hour, 1- and 2-hour scenic flights are available as well, to places such as the Rio Grande Gorge, the back route in to Acoma Pueblo, and Abiquiu Valley -- Georgia O'Keeffe country. Tours depart from the Santa Fe Airport.
5 hide detailIncredible rock formations
The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a must-visit for anyone new to Santa Fe. For a bit of offbeat geology and top-notch hiking, drive forty miles southwest of the Santa Fe Plaza to one of the most interesting geological formations in the Northern Hemisphere. Named for their tepee-, or tent-, like shapes, these white rock formations are the curious result of ancient volcanic action for over 1.5 million years. Tent Rocks was named a national monument in 2001. Because it is on Cochiti Indian tribal land, it is open for day use only. A not-too strenuous 1.3 mile hiking trail leads up through a slot canyon to a lookout point where the tent shaped rocks can be viewed from above. Take Interstate Highway 25 southwest about twenty miles towards Albuquerque to the Cochiti Exit. Signs will direct you from there. Pets are not permitted.
The national monument includes 4,645 acres of public lands located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 55 miles northeast of Albuquerque, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. From Albuquerque, take the exit for Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) off I-25 onto NM 22. Follow the signs on NM 22 to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Turn right off NM 22 at the pueblo water tower (painted like a drum) onto Tribal Route 92, which connects to Forest Service Road 266. From the fee station, travel five miles on a gravel road to the national monument's designated parking/picnic area and trailhead.
From Santa Fe, take the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264 off I-25 onto NM 16. Turn right off NM 16 onto NM 22, and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and the national monument.
A portion of the five-mile access road to the national monument crosses Pueblo de Cochiti tribal land. Along with the pueblo, neighbors in the vicinity include the Santo Domingo Indians, the Jemez Indians, private landowners, the Santa Fe National Forest and State of New Mexico. Please respect these landowners and their property.