Santa Fe’s Railyard District is an excellent example of creating a wonderfully appealing venue from what was once a blighted assortment of buildings gathered near the old Santa Fe Railway station. What was once exciting is again at the Santa Fe Railyard! It’s a great place to visit and even to live.
The Santa Fe Railway brought its first trainloads of curious visitors to Santa Fe in 1880. One hundred years later, the depot grew quiet as people were instead traveling by automobile and the area surrounding the railyard fell into disuse.
In a bold move, the City of Santa Fe purchased the land from the railroad and worked with residents to develop a plan for the best use of the 37 acres. The rebirth of the Railyard District involved a huge amount of work and input from citizens, the city, and even volunteer architects. A master plan was approved in 2002 and a grand opening took place in September 2008, drawing more than 10,000 visitors, including many who arrived on the RailRunner Express commuter train.
In the years since, the Railyard has evolved into a beloved part of Santa Fe. Residents and visitors enjoy wandering the area’s new and repurposed buildings, perhaps hoping to discover just the right thing to take home, whether it’s a new pair of hiking boots, ingredients for a delicious meal, or a piece of art created by a Santa Fe artist.
The Santa Fe Depot is still there, and area tracks are used by the RailRunner as well as Sky Railway, which offers a range of excursions to enjoy. You can take a train to the Railyard, then take another for a special outing!
Today’s Railyard is a destination of its own, drawing residents and visitors to explore restaurants, shopping, area businesses, and creatively developed open spaces. You can spend an entire day visiting the galleries and museums, catching a movie, enjoying a meal, and experiencing the outdoors. Some people are even lucky enough to live in this very walkable community! Find out about this and other Santa Fe neighborhoods here.
In July of 2023, the famed International Folk Art Market is moving to the Railyard from its traditional home on Museum Hill. This exciting event brings more than 160 artists from more than 50 countries around to world to offer their creations.
Farmers Market and Artisan Market
The Railyard is perhaps most notably recognized for being home to the award-winning Santa Fe Farmers Market as well as the Artisan Market. Visit the Farmers Market Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (and Wednesdays during summer) and the Railyard Artisan Market Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Buy fresh produce grown by area farmers, grab a delicious meal from a vendor, and take home a gift or flowers for loved ones.
What Else is at the Railyard?
The Railyard is home to local businesses and nonprofit organizations, many art destinations, and restaurants. But it’s not all buildings and business. Acres were set aside for greenspace to enjoy. There are numerous picnic areas in the Railyard, as well as a performance green, a children’s play area, and tree-lined open spaces. Two residential buildings are within the Railyard, providing housing that is close to downtown with easy access to restaurants, shopping, recreation, and the RailRunner.
Getting to the Railyard
Parking is located nearby, including a 400-space garage at Manhattan Avenue and Camino de la Familia plus 500 spaces throughout the Railyard, both north and south of Paseo de Peralta. Parking meters accept credit cards for your convenience.
The Railyard is only seven blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, so you can walk from one destination to the other. Other options include riding a bike, taking the bus, or even experiencing a pedicab. Of course, depending on where you’re starting from, you can take the RailRunner right to the Santa Fe Depot.
Story by Cheryl Fallstead