With its mild weather and unique cuisine, a Thanksgiving trip to New Mexico can be a great way to put a spicy spin on traditional holiday activities. This state has it all, from outdoor adventures to unique cultural experiences and world-class art and shopping. If you’re looking for Thanksgiving vacation rentals in New Mexico, here are some popular spots to consider.

1. Ruidoso

Nestled among the peaks of the Sierra Blanca mountains lies the picturesque town of Ruidoso. This cute village is full of wood cabins and lodge-style vacation rentals that are perfect for a quiet family getaway any time of year. Ski Apache, which is located in nearby Mescalero, typically opens on Thanksgiving weekend, so skiers and snowboarders flock to the area. If you don’t feel like cooking, head over to the Thanksgiving buffet at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, which lets you choose from a wide array of favorites ranging from turkey to enchiladas.

2. Silver City

This quirky historic town is a great place to visit if you can’t wait for Christmas, because Silver City begins its holiday festivities Thanksgiving weekend with a parade, tree-lighting ceremony, and holiday markets. There are several restaurants that serve up delicious dinners if you don’t feel like cooking, though the most popular is Shevek and Co., which offers a traditional turkey meal. When you’re ready to burn off those calories, the weather is still usually nice enough in late November to explore the nearby Gila National Forest.

3. Albuquerque

If you like to stay busy, Albuquerque offers plenty of things to do during the Thanksgiving season. For a unique New Mexican-style Thanksgiving dinner, try the Pueblo Harvest Cafe at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which also features a museum and Native American dancers. You can also enjoy more traditional buffets at the Saint Clair Winery and Bistro or Santa Ana Star. The Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival is also held over the holiday weekend, so be sure to stop in and check out some great local art. In the evening, consider a visit to the ABQ BioPark, which begins its nature-themed River of Lights festival on Thanksgiving.

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4. Las Cruces

One of this vibrant, active town’s most popular holiday events is the Official Las Cruces Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. In addition to the more competitive 5K and 10K races, there’s also a one-mile all-ages fun run, as well as a costume contest, refreshments, and more. Afterwards, there are plenty of buffet and dinner options, with some local favorites including the Pecan Grill and Double Eagle Restaurant. Geology and dinosaur buffs may want to check out the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History and the Zuhl Museum, then head over to the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument to spot fossils in their natural environment.

5. Carlsbad

This small town is most famous for its proximity to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which offers year-round tours of the famous caves, but there’s plenty to do in town as well. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, downtown Carlsbad hosts a Small Business Saturday even with live music, face painting, refreshments, and plenty of local shopping. Thanksgiving is also the opening day of Christmas On the Pecos, during which you can take an inexpensive boat tour along the Pecos River and see more than 100 elaborate light displays.

6. Taos

With its breathtaking scenery, quirky artistic sensibilities, and old-fashioned charm, Taos is consistently one of New Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. Yuletide in Taos kicks off on Thanksgiving weekend with the CAV Annual Arts and Crafts Fair, which attracts artists from all across northern New Mexico. Taos Ski Valley also typically opens on Thanksgiving if you want to hit the slopes while you’re in town. Many of the towns popular restaurants stay open on Thanksgiving, including Doc Martin’s and Lambert’s.

7. Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences, referred to as T or C by locals, is famous for its hot springs, and there are plenty of resorts where you can rent a pool for the day and enjoy a soak. Many of the local business participate in Small Business Saturday, and the Truth or Consequences MainStreet program sponsors raffles and other events for people who choose to shop local. Afterwards, swing by the New Mexico Old Time Fiddlers Playhouse for a toe-tapping barn dance.

8. Cloudcroft

If you want to play in the snow during your Thanksgiving getaway, Cloudcroft is a pretty safe bet. It’s about 9,000 feet above sea level, so by the end of November, there’s usually enough powder for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ski Apache is also just about an hour and a half away. Cloudcroft is also only about 40 minutes away from White Sands National Monument, and Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to visit due to the cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.

9. Santa Fe

For amazing arts, culture, and shopping, Santa Fe is the place to be. Many of its famous New Mexican restaurants are open and serving their own take on Thanksgiving favorites, including The Old House at Eldorado Hotel, La Casa Sena, and Geronimo. Wise Fool New Mexico, a troupe consisting of aerial artists and other acrobats, puts on an annual family-friendly circus show over Thanksgiving weekend. Skip the Black Friday shopping crowds and head down to the Plaza the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy live music and other entertainment at the annual Christmas lighting ceremony. On the weekend, you can burn off some calories at Ski Santa Fe, which celebrates its opening weekend.

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