New Mexico — Overview
They hit the nail on the head when they named New Mexico the Land of Enchantment. This amazing state of gorgeously raw landscapes and deep cultural heritage offers the best blend of outdoor adventure and ethnic diversity in America. Its star town, Santa Fe, was booming before the pilgrims even arrived at Plymouth Rock. That’s just a taste of how old and intriguing New Mexico is.
There are a lot of attractions here, centered mainly around the state’s amazing Native American culture. Eleven different tribes have their own lands, called pueblos, which are largely open to curious visitors. The most impressive is Taos Pueblo. But Santa Fe is the real gem, an ancient town with a unique adobe look and loads of dining, shopping, and historic sites. New Mexico’s big city, Albuquerque, also has its share of noteworthy attractions like its Old Town and the Sandia Peak Tramway.
What makes New Mexico so enchanting is it has the scenery to match the culture. With a car you can see the red rock landscapes that inspired artist Georgia O’Keefe at Abiquiu or hike among the aspens in the Sangre de Cristos mountains. There is superb skiing at Taos and Santa Fe, and world-class mountain biking and rafting all over the state. Best of all, you can combine the two by hiking into ancient Native American sites like the Gila Cliff Dwellings or Bandolier for a memorable mix of nature and culture.
Folks here may not come across as outwardly friendly, but towns like Santa Fe and Taos thrive on tourism. Santa Fe has an incredible selection of five-star inns, award-winning restaurants, and spas that attract just as many celebrities as regular visitors. The famous eateries and hotels are not cheap, but you can always find top-notch, authentic New Mexican food in modest cafés on the cheap.
Without a car, you simply won’t get the full experience of New Mexico. You could get by in Santa Fe for a few days without one. But the best landscapes, cultural attractions, and outdoor recreation are well outside the capabilities of New Mexico’s public transportation. Even if you just drive the backcountry between Santa Fe and Taos it will be a revelation, and rental cars are well-stocked at Albuquerque’s airport.
- Browse the handmade jewelry sold by Native Americans sitting along the sunny side of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza
- Experience a 700-year old Native American cliff dwelling at Gila Cliffs
- Ski the awesome slopes of Taos Ski Valley, one of America’s best kept secrets
- Feast on New Mexican chili dishes in the myriad eateries of Santa Fe
- Drive the High Road to Taos and step back in time, passing through villages, apple orchards, and alpine forests
- See what made legendary artist Georgia O’Keefe decide to move to New Mexico by spending a day in Abiquiu
- Wander the maze of Albuquerque’s historic Old Town to hunt for a piece of Native American artistry to take home