A round building with an entrance at each of the cardinal points, the 1966 New Mexico State Capitol (411 Old Santa Fe Tr., 505/986-4589, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) mimics the sun symbol, called a zia, used on the state flag. Inside it’s a maze of concentric halls, many of which are lined with an excellent collection of art by the state’s best-known creative types—all accessible for free.
On the ground level, check out the halls on the senate side; upstairs galleries combine folk art and rugs with more contemporary work, such as Holly Hughes’s giant buffalo-head sculpture. Head to the fourth-floor Governor’s Gallery (505/476-2200), established in 1973, for more traditional work and a rotating series of exhibits curated by the New Mexico Museum of Art , and don’t forget to look up at the stained-glass skylight over the rotunda, which has an Indian basket-weave pattern.
The floor of the rotunda is a mosaic rendition of the state seal: the Mexican brown eagle, grasping a snake and shielded by the American bald eagle.
When the legislature is in session—late January through February in even-numbered years, late January through March in odd—you’re welcome to sit in the galleries and watch the proceedings.