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noun | part of encyclopedia/culture
Pronounced: \pla-see-tah\
IPA: /ˈplɑˈsi tɑ/
Plural: placitas

Definition of placita

  • A square or gathering place within a Pueblo, Nuevo México, or New Mexico Territory settlement, today particularly in New Mexico but also across the Southwestern United States. Typically consisting of a central plaza surrounded by businesses, churches, homes, and government buildings.  With emblematic hallmarks of the architectural style in the region reflecting the indigenous, New Mexican, and pioneer heritage of the region. Placitas serve as focal points for community events.
  • It can also refer to a central gathering spot in an outdoor space, on large villa style private ranches.

Examples of placita

Origin of placita

The term comes from the diminutive cute form of the Spanish term “plaza”. They can be found in most towns in the Southwest established prior to the 20th century, as well as in later ranching and farming communities well into the present day. They can be found in Downtown Santa Fe, Old Town Albuquerque, Acoma Pueblo, the grounds of McCall’s Pumpkin Patch, Downtown Taos, and in Taos Pueblo along the Rio Pueblo de Taos. The term placita is also the namesake of the town Placitas, New Mexico.

Alternate names and spellings exist; Plazita, Plasita.
First Known Use: 19th century (in New Mexico English).