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7 Ways Albuquerque is Different from Santa Fe

These two cities are close in proximity, but vastly different from each other. Let us count the ways.

7. How easy it is to navigate

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Albuquerque streets are laid out in a rough grid system, with some diagonal streets. Santa Fe is, um... not. According to Wikipedia, "An important style implemented in planning the city was the radiating grid of streets centering from the central Plaza. Many were narrow and included small alley-ways, but each gradually merged into the more casual byways of the agricultural perimeter areas." Santa Fe's streets loop back on themselves multiple times, are curved in ways you weren't quite expecting and are, in fact, quite narrow at times. Use a reliable GPS.

6. Population

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Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and boasts a population of 69,204, according to the 2010 Census. Albuquerque, on the other hand, has a population of 555,417. Santa Fe doesn't quite make it onto the "Smallest Capital" list, but for every kid who thought that the larger city should be the capital, Santa Fe was hella confusing.

5. Art


New Mexico as a whole is known to be pretty artsy (hello Georgia O'Keefe, Anita Rodriguez, and Elliot Porter), but Santa Fe is known as more of an artist community. For example, Santa Fe has over 300 art galleries, compared the 100 or so in Albuquerque (via itsatrip.org).

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3. Altitude difference

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Albuquerque sits at 5,312 feet, and Santa Fe at 7,260. If you like to ski, this might mean that Santa Fe is a good choice for your winter visits, as it's more likely to have snow because of the higher elevation.

2. Awesome nicknames

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Albuquerque is known as the Duke City, while Santa Fe is known as the City Different. The Duke City nickname comes from the city being named in honor of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva y Enríquez de Cabrera, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. One of de la Cueva's aristocratic titles was Duke of Alburquerque, referring to the Spanish town of Alburquerque (via wikipedia). The City Different nickname appears to come from the push the city made in the early 20th century to "pueblofy" the way the city looked, so the buildings weren't such a hodgepodge of architecture, and would attract more tourism and revenue.

1. George R. R. Martin lives in Santa Fe

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Don't go to weddings in Santa Fe. Just don't.