2023 New Mexico Visitors Guide
New Mexico boasts a strong cultural heritage, a sparse yet beautiful environment, and a host of amenities that facilitate travel in every corner of this southern state. Both American Indian and Mexican culture is woven prominently into the fabric of New Mexico, a fact that is evident in everything from local art to food to annual festivals. The climate in New Mexico is conducive to a number of activities throughout the year, including golfing in the Las Cruces area, skiing in the Taos mountains, and ballooning over Albuquerque. Santa Fe is the capital of the state and boasts several galleries that showcase the colorful and unique artwork indicative of New Mexico. Santa Fe is also known for its striking scenery and there are a number of local tour companies that specialize in acquainting visitors with the New Mexico environment.
Southeast New Mexico Visitors Guide
Museums, recreational opportunities, and annual events are just a few of the types of attractions found in southeast New Mexico. For those interested in the unexplained, a trip to Roswell is appealing. This city is home to the International UFO Museum and Research Center and is also known as the site of a supposed UFO crash in 1947. Southeast New Mexico is also home to the cities of Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, and Ruidoso, each offering an array of attractions that entice visitors. Carlsbad is considered the tourism capital of this area and is home to Carlsbad Caverns National Park—a natural area that hosts some of the most amazing caves in the world. Every February people flock to the town of Alamogordo for the White Sands Film Festival. The renowned Ruidoso Downs Race Track proves to be a popular attraction in this region, as it features live racing and exciting casino action.
The area surrounding Santa Fe is rife with attractions that draw visitors from far and wide. Located north of Albuquerque and south of Taos, Santa Fe features a number of historical attractions that were instrumental in the settlement of the area. One historical attraction not to be missed is the Loretto Chapel and the Mysterious Staircase, a double helix set of 33 stairs that local legend says were built by Saint Joseph himself and have confounded engineers for decades. Artistic events are well represented in Santa Fe as well, giving the city a cultural atmosphere that welcomes internationally-known acts and performers. The region’s restaurants are another popular attraction, with signature Tex-Mex meals available in abundance. Visitors to the city are reminded to get a map, a suggestion best summed up by cowboy entertainer Will Rogers: “Whoever designed the streets in Santa Fe must have been drunk and riding backward on a mule.”
Santa Fe is the capital city of New Mexico and is praised by travelers for its exceptional scenery, especially around the second week of September when the landscape of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is adorned with yellow-colored aspens. Although sparsely populated, the city is known for its art galleries, festivals, and restaurants. There are over 250 art galleries located in the city, showcasing art from around the world in a range of mediums. Buildings in the area are known for their simple design and Spanish Territorial or pueblo-style architecture, and the city has implemented an ordinance to preserve traditional styles of adobe construction. Enjoy major events, such as the Spanish Market in the summer, where craftspeople from all over the globe come to purchase and sell their Spanish colonial art. The Indian Market in August showcases authentic artwork from over 1,000 artists, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world.
Albuquerque, the most populous city in New Mexico, was founded in 1706 and named for the Spanish king’s viceroy in Mexico City, the Duke of Albuquerque. The city is built around Old Town, which features a Spanish-style central plaza and the gorgeous San Felipe Neri Parish. A visit to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History reveals New Mexico’s art and history. At the western edge of the city, do not miss the Petroglyph National Monument, an impressive collection of Indian and Hispanic petroglyphs. Thanks to its year-round moderate climate, the city is a premier air-ballooning spot. Each year in October, the city hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest balloon festival with over 1,000 registered balloons representing more than 50 countries. Excellent skiing, hiking, mountain biking and camping opportunities are available in the Sandia Mountains, just 30 minutes away by car or 20 minutes away via the Sandia Peak Tram, the world’s longest aerial tramway.
Native American, Spanish and Anglo cultures are preserved throughout Taos in art galleries and restaurants serving traditional northern New Mexico cuisine. To experience the further culture, Taos Pueblo, an ancient Native American community, is a must-see. Taos provides a unique shopping experience, boasting everything from Southwestern art and traditional native crafts to ceramics, leather goods, and jewelry. The Historic Taos Plaza offers a medley of shops and galleries housed in old adobe buildings. Visitors enjoy visiting one of the city’s museums, including La Hacienda de Los Martinez one of the last Spanish Colonial haciendas. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Alpine Mountains provide trails perfect for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. In winter, there are three ski hills within18 mi (29 km) of Taos, including The Red River Ski & Snowboard Area. The famed Rio Grande River flows near Taos and provides ample opportunities for fly fishing, rafting, and kayaking.
Las Cruces Visitors Guide
Located in Southwest New Mexico, Las Cruces is surrounded by the Mesilla Valley and runs along the Rio Grande River. Today, Las Cruces stands as the largest business center in southern New Mexico. A popular local activity is golfing, where views of the Organ Mountains can be seen from many of the greens. One popular course is Sonoma Ranch, which features 18 holes of challenging golf for all levels of players. Many visitors like to witness experimental rocket launches at The White Sands Missile Museum, which also features displays on the history of America’s most powerful weapons, including the atomic bomb. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy visiting the nearby Dripping Springs Natural Area, a park that is known for its hiking trails, picnicking spots and wildlife viewing opportunities. Besides offering all these activities, Las Cruces is also home to New Mexico State University, an institution filled with students that contribute to the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Alamogordo Visitors Guide
Located in Southeast New Mexico near the Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Testing Center, Alamogordo has much to offer visitors. Like many Western-style cities, Alamogordo sports a well-preserved downtown consisting of many shops and restaurants inside buildings constructed circa 1900. North of Alamogordo is the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, which boasts more than 20,000 rock carvings, as well as picnic shelters and a trail system. Explore the three contrasting museums that the city has to offer: the New Mexico Museum of Space History, the Toy Train Museum, and the Tularosa Basin Historical Society Museum, all of which welcome families. Another kid-oriented destination is the Alameda Park Zoo, which contains roughly 300 different animals and is one of the oldest zoos in New Mexico. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit the nearby Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and the Lincoln National Forest, which support camping, hiking and picnicking.
Espanola Visitors Guide
Tucked in the northern Rio Grande valley between Truchas Peaks and the Jemez Mountains, Espanola was established by Spain as the first capital of New Mexico in 1958. Today, the city serves as a convenient gateway for discovering northern New Mexico and its many attractions. Visitors staying in Espanola are within a 45-minute drive of three of New Mexico’s largest cultural and commercial centers—Taos, Los Alamos, and Santa Fe—each rife with arts and entertainment activity. Just west of Espanola is Santa Fe National Forest, where camping, fishing, and hiking are popular activities. An interesting attraction 8 mi (13 km) southwest of the city is the Poeh Museum and Cultural Center at the ancient pueblo of Pojoaque, a settlement that was devastated by a small-pox epidemic in 1890. Visitors need not leave Espanola to enjoy eclectic dining options that range from Chinese to American to Mexican cuisine.
Los Alamos Visitors Guide
The Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb brought some of the brightest minds in the world to Los Alamos, a sleepy little town in New Mexico’s northwest. Today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is still the city’s largest employer and continues to attract the world’s leading scientific thinkers to the area. The same isolated, canyon-enclosed setting that originally attracted the Manhattan Project research team to this site now makes for excellent sporting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From horseback riding in the Valle Grande to mountain biking in the nearby Jemez Mountains, the Los Alamos area offers sports and relaxation in mountainous natural surroundings. At the end of a day of outdoor pursuits, visitors can take in some live theater at the Los Alamos Performing Arts Center or explore the city’s scientific history at the Bradbury Science Museum.