Whether you’ve lived in New Mexico your entire life or just had the good sense to relocate here, you know that the Land of Enchantment is full of amazing places. Here are 30 experiences (numbered, but not ranked in order) that you should definitely add to your bucket list:
1. Hang out on a plaza.
In New Mexico, life happens on the plaza. Stroll, attend an event, listen to music, or just people watch. Many cities and towns have
so you have plenty of options.
2. Eat authentic New Mexican food.
As you’d expect, New Mexican cuisine is available throughout the Land of Enchantment. Rancho de Chimayo, which just won a James Beard Award, serves authentic New Mexican food.
are some more restaurant suggestions.
3. Attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Be one of the thousands of people who flock to the world’s largest ballooning event and you’ll understand why it’s a must-see.
4. Eat pie in Pietown.
Because how can you not? Try the apple and red chile pie.
5. Take a cave tour of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
6. Visit the state capitol building.
It’s the only round one in the country.
7. Cruise along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.
The best time of year to explore this route, which passes through Taos, is in fall.
8. Soak in one of New Mexico’s many hot springs.
There are clusters of primitive and developed hot springs near Jemez Springs and also in Truth or Consequences. Let the stress melt away at one of these
great soaking spots.
(Pictured: San Antonio hot springs.)
9. Go to the Hatch Chile Festival.
Hatch is the Chile Capital of the World for a reason.
10. Cross the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
The river snakes along the valley floor 800 feet below.
11. Experience Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Bonus points if you can go during the annual Festival of the Cranes, held each November. You won’t forget a sight like this.
12. Tuck in to a green chile cheeseburger.
Flickr/Jimmy Emerson, DVM
While you’re on the way to or from Bosque del Apache, stop at San Antonio for a juicy
green chile cheeseburger
at either Buckhorn Tavern or Owl Bar and Café.
13. Hike the Catwalk Trail.
in the Gila National Forest steers you through Whitewater Canyon, along the route of an old water pipeline that once supplied mines in the area.
14. Visit New Mexico’s pueblos.
Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while Acoma Sky City is situated on top of a mesa, affording astounding views.
15. Let your feet sink into the dunes at White Sands National Monument.
16. Drive along an original stretch of Route 66.
The section that runs through Albuquerque is pretty neat. Alternatively, head to Tijeras to make some music on the
17. Travel back in time at Chaco Canyon.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is massive. In fact, right up until the 19th century, the structures here - which in their heyday amounted to 600 rooms piled four stories high - were the largest in North America.
18. Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway.
The views are well worth any vertigo!
19. Stand (or lie down) in four states at once at Four Corners Monument.
How else can you be in more than one place at the same time?
20. Go hiking at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
Get close to the hoodoos, hike a slot canyon, then ascend to a mesa that offers panoramic views.
21. Ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
22. Marvel at the Loretto Chapel’s miraculous staircase.
No one has ever been able to explain how it functions without any discernible means of support.
23. Clamber up to some cliff dwellings.
in the south, and Bandelier and Puye to the north are all sites with well-preserved cliff dwellings.
24. Learn about New Mexico’s atomic history.
The Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History are both very informative.
25. Walk across a lava flow.
Lava flows can be found at El Malpais National Monument and in Valley of Fires Recreation Area.
26. Smell the roses in the Rio Grande Botanic Garden.
This is part of the Albuquerque Biopark. The Japanese Garden here is lovely.
27. Plunge into the Blue Hole.
This spring fed pool has the clearest water in the state. For more swimming holes,
28. Find inspiration at the Museum of International Folk Art.
Wonder at the creativity of crafters around the world.
29. Appreciate New Mexico’s earliest art: petroglyphs.
Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque and Three Rivers Petroglyph Site near Tularosa are packed with rock art.
30. Visit the town of Lincoln.
This is where then Lincoln County Wars took place. Walk in the footsteps of some of the most infamous folk in the Wild West in this perfectly preserved town.
Have you already made a bucket list? What spots in New Mexico do you want to see in your lifetime? Feel free to add your suggestions on the
Only In New Mexico Facebook Page.