Nicknamed “The Land of Enchantment”, New Mexico is home to a vibrant arts scene and stunning architecture, along with a rich culture and historic roots. Today’s Native American communities share their culture with visitors in a variety of ways, from creating visual art and pottery to offering tours of ancestral sites. New Mexico’s culinary scene combines Native American and old-world flavors to create dishes that highlight cultural tradition with a modern touch. Other attractions include world-class spas, ranches, ski towns, and the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Even during the summer season, visitors can spend time in New Mexico’s ski areas. During the winter, they offer world-class skiing and riding, but during the warmer months, places like Red River Ski Area offer zip lining, golf, summer tubing, scenic chairlift rides, music festivals, and more. Another popular thing to do in New Mexico is visit its churches and cathedrals, many of which date back several centuries. A few highlights to check out include San Francisco De Asis Mission Church in Ranchos De Taos, Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, and the famous El Santuario de Chimayo. This national historic landmark receives close to 300,000 visitors per year, who come here to get their hands on some of the special soil located on the grounds of the church, which according to legend has magical healing powers. New Mexico is famous for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October, but visitors can go for a ride in a hot balloon year-round and see New Mexico’s stunning terrain. Other fun ways to experience New Mexico include going on a Red River Jeep Tour or taking a Moriarty Glider Tour. Unique things to try include bonding with horses at Equus Santa Fe, go for a guided White Sands Full Moon Hike, hike La Luz Trail, and explore Kokopelli’s Cave, which is built into the cliffs of Tertiary Ojo Alamo sandstone and overlooks the La Plata river valley.
The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe, which is also one of the best cities to visit in the state. Many landmarks and historic sites are located in Santa Fe, including the Loretto Chapel, Miraculous Steps, and the Palace of the Governors. Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and is home to many historic adobe buildings, museums, and shops that sell Native American handicrafts, along with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. If you’re interested in extraterrestrial activity, Roswell is a city that attracts thousands of visitors every year wo come here to see where the famous 1947 UFO crash occurred, along with various alien bodies that supposedly have been discovered in the area. For additional fun, check out Los Alamos, which is where Pajarito Ski Mountain is located, along with the Bradbury Science Museum and Los Alamos Historical Museum.
Chimayo is one of the more charming small towns in New Mexico that earned its reputation for the famous Roman Catholic church El Santuario de Chimayo, which is the location of a special holy dirt that is said to have special healing powers. Taos is another special historic and spiritual town that has many art galleries and historic homes, along with shops, museums, and the Kit Carson Cemetery and Park. Other small cities in New Mexico include Silver City, which is home to Western New Mexico University, and Truth or Consequences, which is a small resort town that is known for its hot springs and spas.
Despite its arid climate, New Mexico has numerous lakes that are popular spots for camping, fishing, swimming, and more. Abiquiu Lake is 60 miles north of Santa Fe and is famous for its dinosaur fossils that can be found in the area. It also offers walled canyons for water skiers, an many people go kayak fishing along its shores. Brantley Lake has an abundant supply of bass, catfish, and bluegill, which attracts fishermen from all over, and Conchas Lake is one of the largest lakes in New Mexico at 25 miles long. Many come here to go camping, birding, fishing, and birding, while Eagle Nest Lake offers fishing year-round (and ice fishing in the winter). The largest and most famous lake is Elephant Butte, which offers a variety of activities all across the place, from fishing to scuba diving.
New Mexico has numerous state parks that offer a beautiful and undisturbed view of nature, along with an abundance of fun outdoor activities like camping and hiking. City of Rocks State Park is home to incredible volcanic rock formations that were formed millions of years ago as the result of a volcanic eruption. Here, people can go mountain biking, stargazing, wildlife viewing, and more. At Clayton Lake State Park, visitors to northeastern New Mexico can explore dinosaur trackways and stargaze at the Lake Observatory. Bluewater Lake State Park offers views of the Zuni Mountains, and is a popular spot for horseback riding, fishing, camping, and hiking, while Bottomless Lakes State Park is located 14 miles southeast of Roswell and all of its lakes are sinkholes—the green-blue color is created by aquatic plants under its surface.
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