Santa Fe, NM: State Capitol Tour

We're now "collecting" state capitol buildings. See all the state capitol buildings we've toured here.

Quick Notes:
- Date: Monday, July 17, 2017
- Tour was: Guided for about 20 minutes, then self-guided; free
- Has it burned down?: An earlier 1880s building on a different site did burn down, but this current iteration hasn't yet.
- Most interesting thing: It is both the highest-elevation state capitol building in the country and the only round state capitol building in the country.
- Visited: dome area/rotunda, house of representatives, senate chamber, governor's office and art gallery, and main art gallery.
- Our 9th State Capitol building visited
Tour information website

On the drive from Albuquerque to Taos (where we are spending the rest of July), we made sure to stop at the state capitol in Santa Fe. There is a dedicated parking garage for the building which was free when we were there. The capitol building is the only round capitol building in the country. It definitely doesn't look like any other capitol building we've been to.

When we walked in, we inquired at the security guard's desk about tour information, self-guided or otherwise. He said a guided tour had just started and we could hop on it, so we did (there was one other couple on the tour). Our guide was nice enough but it really felt like she had memorized a script. We got on the tour when the guide was just finishing up talking about the "great seal" on the floor, so I'm sure we missed some information, but she only took us to the House of Representatives visitor gallery, to the governor's office, and to a few select pieces of art. We spent around 20 minutes with her, then she rather abruptly left us in the art gallery in the governor's office. It was definitely not the best tour we've been on, and we went back down to the visitor information area to pick up a self-guided tour brochure. We looked into the senate visitor gallery (visitors are not allowed on the floor in either the senate or house) and looked at some more art (there are several hundred pieces of selected art displayed around the building), then headed out.

The House of Representatives

The Senate

The house and senate are each half-moons back to back in the round building, which was kind of cool. The visitor galleries felt enormous and like we were supposed to be watching a sporting match (with the accompanying annoyance of poles blocking some seats). The guide told us the house is very technology-driven - everything done electronically, including voting - while the senate is old fashioned and "traditional" (to "keep the power", she put it) and does all the votes with "aye" or "nay".

This is a famous buffalo art piece that apparently people come from all over just to see. It is made out of various items like old paintbrushes, fishing reel, pottery shards, and Buffalo-themed newspaper clippings.

This and the series below go together, a panorama of New Mexico and Arizona. The artist took some liberties - you see the erupting volcano, though the volcanos around here are all quiet. 

This is a quilt of the Colorado state capitol in Denver. 

This capitol building was only built in 1966, making it the 3rd newest capitol building in the United States. Santa Fe also has the oldest capitol building in the country, dating from 1609, which is now a museum that we didn't stop at on this trip. That building is interesting because it's been the capitol building for three different nations (Spain, Mexico, USA); Santa Fe is the oldest capitol city in the country. The building we toured certainly felt "new" (compared to the others we've been to) so it would be cool to visit the original sometime.

Santa Fe, NM: State Capitol Tour Santa Fe, NM: State Capitol Tour Reviewed by Maria on 6:50:00 PM Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. We were just in Santa Fe a few weeks ago as well, though we didn't see the capitol building. Our destination was The House of Eternal Return (, which I can't really describe in a short comment.


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