“When I got to New Mexico, that was mine. As soon as I saw it, that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air, it’s just different. The sky is different, the stars are different, the wind is different.” -Georgia O’Keefe
Santa Fe: The City Different. This nickname is commonly used to describe Santa Fe, and most people that come here would agree with it. Walking around the plaza, strolling down Canyon Road or tasting the traditional Northern New Mexican cuisine at any local restaurant, it becomes almost impossible to disagree with the fact that Santa Fe is, indeed, different. But how exactly did Santa Fe earn its nickname “The City Different”?
Set at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US and is rooted in a rich history that spans the past 400 years.Throughout the 19th century there was major growth throughout the city, which caused Santa Fe to look like many other towns in the US. When New Mexico achieved statehood in 1912, the Santa Fe city government realized that the economy was declining following the departure of the railway to Lamy, NM. In an effort to promote tourism and the Santa Fe economy, the city officials mandated that all buildings be built in the Pueblo adobe style. Later in the 1930s, the mandate was broadened to also include the Spanish Territorial style of architecture. With these changes, the city became “different” and Santa Fe was officially nicknamed “The City Different.”
Over 100 years later, the city continues to uphold its reputation as being different. Santa Fe exemplifies the unique combination of Native American, Spanish and Anglo cultures, which is reflected in the art, food, architecture and local traditions.
The City Different is known as the third largest art market in the United States, behind New York and Los Angeles. With over 250 galleries and summer art markets, such as the Indian and Spanish market, Santa Fe offers locals and visitors big city art with a small town feel. The city offers art forms for everyone, with galleries on Canyon Road, the Santa Fe Opera, shows at the Lensic, or a day at Meow Wolf.
The top-rated art in Santa Fe might only be rivaled by the incredible food and restaurant options in the city. Our signature cooking style is alive and vibrant with local dishes, such as enchiladas and sopapillas, and you’ll be hard pressed to find better green chile anywhere else in the world.
Santa Fe is situated in the beautiful state of New Mexico, which, as Georgia O’Keefe believed, is also different. While Santa Fe, architecturally and visually, looks different than the rest of the US, the diversity of cultures and deep rooted history makes the city unlike any other, and it will always be known as “The City Different.” And in what other city can you bring your worries and troubles to Old Man Gloom at the annual burning of Zozobra?
Stay tuned for more posts that highlight Santa Fe’s history and places that make it unique!