Top 10 Best New Mexico Tourist Attractions

Located in the south-west region of USA, New Mexico is the 5th largest state by area with a total population of merely 2.1 million. The state has the highest percentage of Spanish descendants and colonists who have occupied the area for several centuries. New Mexico’s capital city is Santa Fe and Albuquerque is its largest metro. The state’s economy mainly depends upon energy production from oil and gas as well as official spending by the federal govt. Tourism also promotes the economy with numerous sites providing insight to the Native American cultures, offering scenic views of natural wonders and outdoor festivity.

10. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual 9-day festival of hot air balloons, held in early days of October in Albuquerque. With over 500 balloons and a large number of participants, it is the biggest hot air balloon event in the world. During the event, the skies of the city are lit with marvelous display of multicolored balloons. The event offers thrilling balloon rides and a rare experience of soaring through the state’s skies. More than 100,000 spectators and tourists watch the inflation process as well as take-off and landing procedures.

9. New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Founded in 1986, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is a museum built in the city of Albuquerque and houses thrilling exhibits of scientific and natural history. The permanent displays of the museum include space exploration, a planetarium, IT artifacts as well as two halls specially dedicated in illustrating a time-journey. Moreover, an IMAX theater is also established along with galleries demonstrating extinct wildlife species and New Mexico’s cultural history. The museum inspires to preserve the natural and scientific significance of history through its education programs.

8. Bandelier National Monument

Home to the ancient community of Pueblo, Bandelier National Monument is a rugged landscape spanning over 33,000 acres and encompasses majestic archaeological sites, scenic landscapes containing canyons and volcanic ruins. Visitors can stroll up the 2-mile long trail to reach the visitor center which is accompanied by a museum. In here, the ancient artifacts, tools and paintings of the Pueblos are displayed in beautiful, interactive exhibits. Moreover, several aisles have been created around the Bandelier National Monument providing terrific hiking experience while leading to the majestic cliffs at the top.

Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument

7. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a non-profit museum located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was established in 1997 and devoted to the artistic tradition of the legendary artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. In here, the largest compilation of O’Keeffe’s works is conserved ranging from her innovative contemplations, iconic portraits, and architectural landscape paintings. Adjacent to the museum, a research center has been developed which houses a library, gallery of archives and several meeting rooms where educational talks and interesting performances are held. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is one of the most favored tourist attractions in New Mexico.

6. Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the northwestern region of New Mexico and preserves the most stunning and extensive compilation of historic ruins of the Native Americans. Traditionally, the place acted as a major cultural center for ancient Pueblos. There are hundreds of archaeological sites around the area constructed from sandstone formations. Apart from providing a terrific educational experience, the park also offers plenty of other activities. Hiking trails and dirt roads have been developed to take the tourists to the interpretive centers in the canyons where they can enjoy camping and astronomical experiences.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

5. Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railway

Spanning over an area of several thousand feet, Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railway is a narrow gauge railroad that runs between the states of Colorado and New Mexico. Constructed in the late 1880s, Cumbres-Toltec is the highest steam railroad in the country. The place boasts some of the most spectacular landscapes and sceneries of the state. Tourists can enjoy rail travel while riding the locomotive of their choice which includes coaches, trams, and deluxe cars. During the journey, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of Chama valley as well as explore the historic era of rail travel.

4. Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway

Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest aerial tram in the country and is built in the Sandia Mountains. Passengers ascend a 4000 meter mountain in a tramway within 15 minutes. During the transportation above the canyons, passengers experience superb views of the terrain below. The top of Sandia Peak offers world-class recreational activities as well as incredible panoramic scenery of the nearby valleys and woods. During the winters, Sandia Peak turns into a skiing resort and offers certified winter sport lessons and equipment for the visiting groups of tourists and hikers.

3. The Very Large Array

Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory situated to the west of Socorro. The place is home to 27 tremendous antennas equipped with the latest technologies and high-quality telescopes which are used to observe planetary motion and black hole formation. The array has assisted astronomers and space-readers through several significant projects over the years. Visitors can take self-guided as well as free guided tours around the array to explore the awe-inspiring scientific technology. To accommodate the tourists, museums and restaurants have also been built.

2. White Sands National Monument

Lying in the heart of Tularosa Basin, the White Sands National Monument is probably one of the most dazzling landscapes around New Mexico and receives thousands of visitors annually. The magnificent sands which are constantly displaced by the winds are composed of glittering gypsum crystals which are rarely found. The dunes offer sunset strolls and terrific scenic views. The Dune Drive, a 16-km trail through the sands, leads to a visiting center where tourists can learn about the history behind White Sands formation. Guided tours around the national monument and designated parks are also available.

1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns is a part of a huge cave compound located near the town of Carlsbad in south-east New Mexico. The place is a top tourist attraction of the state and is home to 120 caves. Almost the whole park has been designated as a wilderness area where tourists can take self-guided or guided tours to explore the magnificent limestone deposits and geological formations. For challenging experiences, tourists may use a walking trail or the elevation system to reach the Big Room; the world’s largest underground chamber where they can find electrocuted stalagmites and natural pools with treasures hidden underneath.

Carlsbad Caverns Big Room
Carlsbad Caverns Big Room
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