Visiting New Mexico: 5 Cities to See

Nestled in the southwestern United States, New Mexico is a destination often associated with pueblos, Mexican and Native American culture, and vast deserts. While all of these can be found here, the state also offers a richly diverse selection of vacation experiences including ski escapes, cave explorations, and quirky metropolitan escapades. Consider these cities for your next vacation here.

Carlsbad

Image via Flickr by Mathieu Lebreton

If you’re interested in outdoor activities and natural highlights, Carlsbad is an outstanding choice in New Mexico. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a stunning cave system that’s open year-round. From mid-April to late October, you can see the nightly bat flight as these creatures exit the caves for the evening. Above ground, you’ll find hiking trails that wind through caverns, over mountains, and across a breathtaking landscape.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is best-known for its rich cultural landscape. Museums abound including the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Poeh Cultural Center, and Santa Fe Children’s Museum. You can browse dozens of art galleries or explore Native American art on display at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. While there are hotels in Santa Fe that are appropriate for any budget, you can enhance the cultural theme of your visit with a stay at La Fonda on the Plaza, a luxury hotel housed in a historic 1922 building.

Albuquerque

Albuquerque’s diverse landscape makes it an ideal pick for families. The ABQ BioPark is a must-visit, encompassing the Albuquerque Aquarium, Rio Grande Zoo, Rio Grande Botanic Garden, and Tingley Beach. Hollywick Farms lets you get close and personal with alpaca, while the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park offers a taste of nature left to its own devices. Chain hotels abound in the city for a predictable experience. For something more distinctive, try Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. The grounds here include a formal Spanish garden, grand pool, and 19th-century Mexican chapel.

Taos

You may not associate the southwestern personality of New Mexico with winter sports, but Taos is a popular haven for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and tubing. The Taos Ski Valley sees over 300 inches of annual snowfall. It offers up nearly 1,300 acres with 110 trails. About a quarter of these are rated for beginners with another quarter appropriate for intermediate skiers, so there’s something for everyone. The season lasts from late November to the beginning of April.

Roswell

Roswell, home to all manner of alien lore, is an entertaining destination for fans of quirkiness and kitsch. You can explore the history of Roswell’s unearthly past at the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Pose with dummy aliens at the Area 51 Museum and Alien Zone, and stroll through the trippy blacklight Spacewalk at the Roswell Space Center. Keep your camera ready because nearly everything in Roswell enjoys an alien theme, from the streetlights to the signage on the Walmart. Abduct your friends to Roswell for an escape that’s sure to make you smile.

Whether you pick just one of these cities or add them all to your bucket list, you’ll find New Mexico is an engaging vacation destination that can fulfill any traveler’s needs.

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