The Plaza is the heart and center of Sante Fe. Known for great shopping, dining and many historical sites, be prepared to spend more than one day in this area.
First, we visit the Loretto Chapel and its mysterious helix shaped staircase. The story (told by the Sisters of Loretto) is that they were in desperate need of a staircase in the chapel. A stranger shows up on their door step one day and said he would build it but in complete privacy. After three months the stranger disappeared and the staircase complete (his name is never known). The staircase is 20 feet high without the use of nails or center support. A railing was added to the staircase many years later. Today it is a museum but is still a popular wedding destination.
We stopped for a bite to eat at Pasqual’s. A small café that has been a mainstay in Sante Fe for about 36 years. We had the carne asada, I cannot describe to you how wonderful this dish was. The beef was so tender and the black beans full of flavor. I see why they have been popular for so many years and loved by the locals. Next, we pass by a breakfast/bakery shop called Angel’s. Couldn’t pass up a few sweets for the road. The peach empanadas and chocolate croissants were perfect! They offer a breakfast menu also that’s very reasonable and large portions. So many choices of restaurants and cafes on the Plaza, you definitely will not go hungry. And of course, you will always be asked the question of red or green with your meal. Red or green chilies of course. I never pick sides I just go for both.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the other museums, art galleries and historical sites. On the east end of The Plaza, near the Palace of the Governors (the oldest public building in the U.S.), the local natives sell their jewelry arranged on blankets as they have for many years here. Always eager to chat with you and explain their jewelry making process. One weekend in August, you can experience the annual Indian Market.
After a full day of exploring, we stopped at a little café and enjoyed a glass of wine. Good to relax and people watch out on the patio. The Plaza is just a fun place to be!
Tips: Parking is limited. Park at one of the Public park areas (small fee) and walk. If you are staying in Albuquerque, you can take the Railrunner train to Sante Fe.