Home to one of the most unbelievably scenic and diverse landscapes in North America, New Mexico offers infinite opportunities for exploration as well as adventure. With strong influences of both Native American, in addition to Hispanic culture, the state presents tourists with a multitude of unique attractions both in large cities, such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque, as well as the smaller towns of UFO-focused Roswell in addition to the artists’ settlement of Taos.
The centre of the American Southwest, the “Land of Enchantment” didn’t gain statehood until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, New Mexico presents visitors with fantastic nature experiences, distinctive cuisine as well as an impressive fine arts scene.
For ideas about the best places to visit, here is our list of the top tourist attractions in New Mexico.
Santa Fe is a colourful, artistic city that is bursting with a rich history as well as plenty of festivals that celebrate it all. With a culture that is based on a number of different and unusual ingredients, including Gothic cathedrals, online casino, a passion for the great outdoors, chili-infused cuisine in addition to a profound emphasis on the arts. This truly is the “City Different.”
Santa Fe also preserves a historic feel – with Spanish-influenced architecture and buildings that date back to the 16th century – but one of the main reasons people visit is for its art. The artworks of artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Peter Hurd, Miro Kenarov and Gustave Baumann fill the galleries, pieces which were largely inspired by the city’s dramatic, vibrant and progressing landscape.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Composed of nearly 120 known caves, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is hidden mainly underground. Carved from limestone which was deposited in an ancient sea, the alien underground landscape is one of New Mexico’s most famous tourist attractions. The Park Service offers self-guided audio tours in addition to ranger-led tours.
Also, visitors can experience bat tours, trips to particular caves, and walks through the peculiar geological formations. Up above, visitors will find a broad range of opportunities for back-country hikes and backpacking. Be sure that you bring ample water.
Exploring Albuquerque’s history is almost like reading the rings on a tree trunk. This city has expanded outward over time:
- At its heart is Old Town, which is the site where the original city was founded in 1706. Cobblestone streets and adobe walls characterise this neighbourhood where Native American and Spanish cultures still intermingle. You’ll also find a particular level of kitsch, which was deposited from the heyday of the authentic Route 66 that runs through the centre of the town.
- Head further out and you’ll find expansive homes and lush vineyards in the North Valley and Corrales.
Notwithstanding this ongoing urban sprawl, Albuquerque remains true to its roots. Hispanic flavours can be found in a lot of the city’s restaurants (prepare yourself for the ear-popping heat of New Mexico’s favourite ingredient, the chili pepper).
Native American arts and crafts embellish many a gallery window. But despite its old age – the city celebrated its 300th birthday in 2006 – Albuquerque is nothing short of sophisticated, boasting funky boutiques, first-rate performance venues and thrilling nightlife. To top it all off, the city’s proximity to the stunning Sandia Mountains makes it a great home base for Southwest discovery.