Tour the structure that was once New Mexico's seat of government.
At the Palace of the Governors, you can stroll and shop. This humble one-story building on the north side of the Plaza has flown the flags of Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the U.S. Territory. Appropriately, it is now part of the New Mexico History Museum, featuring changing and permanent exhibits as well as a terrific gift shop.
Dating back to the 17th century, it's the oldest continuously operating public building in the U.S. and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1960, as well as given the rare designation of National Historic Treasure. Inside, visitors can view religious artifacts that date between the 1700s and 1900s. Historic photographs, postcards, lantern slides and more are also showcased. Free guided and self-guided tours are offered to the public daily, but times vary throughout the year, so call ahead or check the official website before your visit.
Under the Palace's shady portal facing the Plaza, Pueblo artisans spread blankets year-round and lay out turquoise-and-silver jewelry, beadwork, and other keepsakes that make perfect gifts for you and anyone else. The program is strictly enforced so that only the artists themselves can sell, and so long as they are working only with authentic materials. Much of the jewelry is finely made — and much less expensive than what you will find in retail stores.
Photo courtesy of Palace of the Governors