New Mexico is a stunning state with many beautiful cities. From the Native American culture to world-class art, to amazing cuisine, there are loads to experience. If you’re visiting the state and need a little inspiration, then keep reading and I’ll tell you my suggestions for things to do in New Mexico.
The beautiful city of Santa Fe is not to be missed if you’re heading to New Mexico. Just an hour north of Albuquerque lies the smaller city with lots of Southwestern charm. If you’re a fan of art and the outdoors you’ll truly enjoy a trip to Santa Fe. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Santa Fe.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street
There’s many museums and galleries in Santa Fe but one not to be missed if you’re an art lover and a fan of modernism is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. See the works of the legendary Georgia O’Keeffe and gain insight into her creative process.
O’Keeffe lived in Santa Fe up until her death in 1986 and painted many New Mexico landscapes, some of which are on display. Tours of her home and studio in Abiquiu are also available.
Haven’t gotten enough art yet? Head to Canyon Road for the most charming art galleries you’ve ever seen. Whether you’re looking for a painting, a sculpture or just want to browse, this neighborhood is worth the stop.
1352 Rufina Cir
Part art, part interactive museum and all over an amazing experience. The Meow Wolf crew is the composed of almost 200 artists that specialize in architecture, sculpture, painting, photography and video production, virtual and augmented reality, software and hardware development, music and audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance, and more. They came together to create this interactive and immersive experience. It’s pretty much a kid’s playground for adults but so much more.
Santa Fe Railyard
The Plaza 63 Lincoln Ave
The Arts District of Santa Fe Railyard is compiled of restaurants, art galleries, shopping, a weekly farmer’s market, and other events. Check out their calendar for the latest happenings.
Also, check out the train station! And if you’re wondering where the trains connect to, there are daily stops to Albuquerque, Belen, and more.
Santa Fe Plaza has been the heart of downtown for nearly 400 years. It hosts special events such as Indian and Spanish markets, annual events, community gatherings, concerts, and more. It’s home to boutiques, restaurants, and some of the most beautiful churches (see below).
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
131 Cathedral Pl
Religious or not, this church is worth checking out based on the architecture alone. And if you are interested in attending a mass, there are masses in English and Spanish. Check the schedule here.
207 Old Santa Fe Trail
And in case one church wasn’t enough, there’s the Loretto Chapel and it’s famous spiral staircase. Legend has it that a carpenter came to the church looking for work after months the stairway was complete and he disappeared without pay or thanks. The staircase was in some ways viewed as a miracle since it also was built without any support beams and there are no nails or screws, only wooden pegs that hold it together.
It’s definitely a beautiful and unique structure to photograph. And if you’re wondering, no you can not walk up the staircase.
Santa Fe National Forest
This is about an hour drive from the downtown area but definitely worth heading out of the city. In the fall the foliage is amazing! The Aspen Trees turn a beautiful yellow color and the entire forest is a sea of gold and green.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks
Another spot that’s a bit of a drive, about 50 minutes from downtown but a fun adventure if you’re looking for an off the beaten path location. With hiking trails that lead to the mesa top and stunning views, you’ll feel far from the city. The hoodoo rock formations are incredible and will have you thinking you were in Cappadocia, Turkey.
The center of New Mexico is full of charm and rich in culture. Although a metropolis, Albuquerque holds on to its traditions. Some of the best New Mexican cuisine can be found in the city. And although full of buildings, the Sandia Mountains are still nearby so you’re never too far from the great outdoors. Albuquerque offers a sample of everything. Here are some of my favorites things to do in Albuquerque.
Head to the historic Old Town to explore the original city center of Albuquerque. There’s dissing, shopping, bed and breakfasts, and a whole lot more! It’s easy to walk around the old town and feel like you’re back in time. The storefronts are charming and you’re sure to find unique goods in the boutiques.
Breaking Bad Tour
Are you a fan of the show Breaking Bad? Feel like you’re Walter White or Jesse Pinkman and take a tour of the filming locations. Tours are offered daily or you can head out on a self-drive tour.
May I suggest heading to Twisters AKA Los Pollos Hermanos. This fast food chain is where all the Los Pollos Hermanos filming took place. The restaurant even has the logo from the show. Then head to the car and finally Walter White residence. Just be courteous because this is a residential neighborhood and a family does live in the home.
Los Pollos Hermanos – 4257 Isleta Blvd SW
Walter and Skyler’s Car Wash – 9516 Snow Heights Cir NE
The White Residence – 3828 Piermont Dr NE
Every October hot air balloons fill up the sky for the annual International Balloon Fiesta. This is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and an experience you will not forget. This nine-day celebration is full of fun for the entire family. Most events happen early in the morning so wear a warm jacket because you’ll be up before the sun. There are evening events on the weekend days bit most the fun happens between 6-10am.
This is my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque! If you’re looking for delicious fresh foods then head to Farm & Table. Many of their ingredients are picked straight from their own farm. Love beer and wine? They have a fine selection.
Eat All the Green Chile
Go to New Mexico and try the green chiles. It’s mild but rich in flavor. And there is no such thing as TOO MUCH chile in New Mexico. Many restaurants offer a selection of items with green chile, so go crazy and try some!
White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument is a place like no other. As you begin your drive, you’ll be surrounded by white sandy dunes. The drive alone will leave you with an out-of-this-world feeling. And there are plenty of things to do at White Sands National Monument. Park your car and walk up and down the hills. Make sure to grab something to sled on for a fun ride down the dunes! For the adventurers, there backcountry camping. And for the photographers, this place is perfect pretty much any time of day. The photos below are just before sunset.
These white sand dunes are a bit out of the way from any major airport but worth the drive. It’s about three and a half hours away from Albuquerque and just over an hour away from El Paso, Texas. It’s important to check operation times and note that it is near a missile site which does missile testing. When there is a test, roads can be closed for up to three hours at a time.
The city of Taos is just two and a half hour drive north of Albuquerque and an hour and a half away from Santa Fe. The city is most famously known for Taos Pueblo, a small Native American town with multi-story adobe buildings that have been continuously inhabited for over a 1,000 years.
There are many other things to do in Taos including attending cultural events that are scheduled all throughout the year, enjoying spectacular views of the Rio Grande Gorge, and riding the slopes during the winter at Taos Ski Valley. The city has a little for everyone and lots of history!
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