In an ancient city filed with lots of oldest this and oldest that, the Palace of the Governors, on the north side of Santa Fe's plaza, is the granddaddy of them all. It was build in 1610 as the original capital of the Spanish colony of New Mexico, making it the oldest continually occupied public building in the U.S. Today it's part of the New Mexico History Museum complex, which includes the Museum of New Mexico Press, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, and extensive photo archives. As you can imagine, the palace's 15,000-object collection spans centuries, including everything from conquistador helmets and native hide paintings to a stagecoach and a clock hit by a bullet during Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. The building itself is a historical artifact, having been the seat of four distinct regional governments—Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, and the Territory of New Mexico—and under the rule of no fewer than 100 governors. (Glass panels in the floor reveal ongoing excavations.) Visitors who are overwhelmed by all this history can catch free docent-led tours daily. Outside, under the palace's distinctive portal, registered Native American vendors sell jewelry, pottery, and more, all of which has met strict quality controls. You can see the highlights in about an hour, but if you're interested in history this place could fill days.
Santa Fe› Attraction
Palace of the Governors
105 W. Palace Ave.
Our Rating Neighborhood Downtown Hours Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; open Mon 10am–5pm in summer Phone 505/476-5100 Prices Admission $9, one-day pass to two state museums $15, four-day pass to all four state museums $20 Web site Palace of the Governors
Map105 W. Palace Ave. Santa Fe
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.