Founded by Spanish settlers as "The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi" in 1608 on the site of what had been the Pueblo Indian village of Ogapoge for perhaps 500 years, Santa Fe became part of the US territory of New Mexico in 1848. In 1912 the city became the capital of the 47th US state.
“The City Different” as it's been recently tagged, has by city ordinance been built for the past century in the Spanish Territorial or Pueblo adobe style of architecture. Arts and culture have been among several focus industries for the city for some time and Canyon Road, east of the Plaza, with the highest concentration of art galleries in the city is a major destination for international collectors and tourists - an American art center second only to New York City. Writers also came to live here, and music, opera and theater are well represented too. See some listings at our events/experiences page.
The arts have long been a draw for gay people and the city is New Mexico's most popular gay destination. The social scene here is more attuned to a couples-in-relationship older set rather than single young club-hoppers, and one of the most popular gay social spots is at the G/L retirement community. Other specifically-gay bars have come and gone, but many mainstream bars have gay followings and gay-owned clubs are as open to straight people as the general-public downtown clubs are to gay people.
Getting here, getting around
The Santa Fe Municipal Airport has connections to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, but many people fly into the Albuquerque International Sunport to get here, with it's dozen major scheduled airlines and far-reaching connections.
New Mexico Railrunner Express trains connect 14 stations between Santa Fe and Belen, including Albuquerque. There are airport shuttles connecting with Albuquerque Airport on weekdays. Purchase tickets online, or on-board from ticket agents. Santa Fe attractions such as museums, restaurants, galleries, shops, and the famous Santa Fe Plaza are within easy walking distance of the Santa Fe Railyard Station. There are over possible 60 bus connections from Rail Runner stations for rides as far north as Taos or as far south as Socorro.
For city bus information, see the pages about public transportation on the official Santa Fe city website. Buses do not operate after 10pm weekends, Saturday nights after 8pm or anytime on Sundays, so a rental car or taxi is needed to get anywhere during most clubbing hours.
Santa Fe Limo has daily limo service to and from the airport to Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos or wherever you need to go in New Mexico.
Media & resources
Santa Fe is the official travel site for the city, with accommodations, dining, shopping, attractions and events information from the Convention & Vistitors Bureau.
Santa Fe VIP is a blog/events calendar and online look around at businesses, restaurants, galleries and nightlife specials of the city.
For an overview of the local theater, opera, and symphony orchestra scene, see the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
Hotels & Guesthouses
Inn at Vanessie (427 W Water St; 505-984-1193), 18 unique boutique guestrooms two blocks from The Plaza, wood burning fireplaces, goose down duvets, concierge, business center; cocktail lounge/restaurant with live music and entertainment.
Inn of the Five Graces (150 E DeVargas St, The Plaza; 505-992-0957), exotic and lavish, far-East-inspired decor, spa; classically prepared French cuisine fine dining, wine bar at their 315 Santa Fe Restaurant.
Inn Of The Turquoise Bear (342 E Buena Vista St, Old Santa Fe Trail; 505 983-0798), gay-owned, romantic 11-guestroom B&B, walking distance to The Plaza; private entrances, full breakfast, concierge services, video and book libraries, terraced gardens.
La Posada de Santa Fe (330 E Palace Ave, The Plaza; 505-278-5276), 157 rooms/suites luxury resort hotel and spa, outdoor pool; Julia fine dining, Southwestern flavors, Patio Restaurant, and Staab House Lounge cocktail bar.
Ten Thousand Waves Spa Resort Hotel (3451 Hyde Park Rd; 505-982-9304), lodgings, Ofuro / Ichiban style outdoor hot tubs, sauna and spa suites, massage, bodywork & skin care, 10 minutes drive from Santa Fe; Izanami Restaurant izakaya Japanese-inspired small plates dining.
CLOSED: Triangle Inn (Arroyo Cuyamungue), LGBT/friends guesthouse.
For restaurants, and a dozen more hotel listings, see our maps & listings tab.
Cafe Sonder (326 S Guadalupe St), upscale restaurant/lounge; modern American and New Mexican comfort food, meat, seafood, vegan/veggie options, lunch/brunch, dinner; beer/wine.
Cowgirl (319 S Guadalupe St), bar/grill, BBQ and regional American, classical European, and Asian-fusion food, live music, karaoke.
El Farol (808 Canyon Rd), Spanish/Lain cantina, tapas and dining; music and entertainment nightly - blues, jazz, flamenco, poetry.
Matador (116 W San Francisco St), funky basement, young, mixed, Indie/Punk crowd in The Plaza; DJs, cult films
Pink Adobe (406 Old Santa Fe Trail, Barrio de Analco), Guadalupe Cafe steaks, fish and New Mexico lunch and dinner; Dragon Room Lounge, art, trees through the roof patio bar.
The Screen (Santa Fe University of Art & Design, 1600 St Michaels Dr), cinemateque art house/ Indie films and documentaries; ballet and opera films in state-of-the-art theater.
Starlight Lounge & Garbos Restaurant (500 Rodeo Rd), dance club and cabaret lounge at Rainbow Vision Condominium for Independent and Assisted Living in El Centro; restaurant lunch & dinner.
Vanessie Inn Restaurant & Nightclub (427 W Water St, The Plaza), 17-room guesthouse, cocktail lounge/restaurant; steaks, seafood, pasta, and vegetarian dishes, dancing, piano bar live music entertainment.
Warehouse 21 Black Box Theatre (1614 Paseo de Peralta, Rail Yard), two stages, theater, concerts, dance, films, lectures, workshops and meetings; LGBT themes among their various offerings.
CLOSED: Blue Rooster (101 W Marcy St), gay/mixed neighborhood bar, NM Gay Rodeo and Pride events, theme parties.
See two dozen restaurant & cafe suggestions at our map & listings pages.