15 Best Places to Visit in New Mexico
If you’re looking for an amazing and diverse travel destination, look no further than New Mexico.
With its stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, New Mexico has something for everyone.
To help you plan your own trip, here are 15 of the best places to visit in New Mexico!
15 Beautiful Places to Visit in New Mexico
1. Santa Fe
Santa Fe is one of my favorite places to visit in New Mexico. The central plaza is just beautiful, and it’s always so crowded with people! I saw some incredible street performers and artists in the downtown area, and the architecture of the buildings around the plaza is just stunning.
Saint Francis Cathedral is a must-see destination in Santa Fe. It’s beautiful inside, and the stained glass windows are incredible. Walking in, I instantly felt so peaceful.
The Loretto Chapel is another cool place to visit. It’s tiny, but the staircase is miraculous! It is said that if you climb the stairs on your knees, you’ll be granted a wish.
And finally, don’t forget to check out the railyard park. There are some old railway details there that are worth seeing.
Where to Stay in Santa Fe
For an artsy stay in Santa Fe’s historic plaza, I highly recommend Las Palomas. Check out the Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe for something more budget-friendly.
Read more: Sedona Travel Guide & The BEST Hiking Trails
Taos is a great place to explore if you’re looking for adventure. The town is quaint, and the surrounding mountain views are stunning. And with its many outdoor activities, there’s something fun to do here no matter what time of year you visit.
If you love hiking or skiing, the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area should be at the top of your list. The views from the top of the mountain are just breathtaking.
Rafting down the Rio Grande is another great option for outdoor enthusiasts. You can get out into some really rugged, wild terrain and take in some spectacular views along the way.
Where to Stay in Taos
For a luxury stay with kiva fireplaces in the rooms, I highly recommend the Hacienda Del Sol B&B. A lovely mid-range option is Adobe and Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast.
When I visited Albuquerque , I was enchanted by its colorful buildings and unique culture. This is a great place to explore, especially if you’re looking for an urban adventure.
The old town area of Albuquerque is one of my favorite places to visit. There are so many interesting shops, restaurants, and galleries.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a must-see if you’re interested in learning more about the history of nuclear technology.
Or, if you’re looking for something more outdoorsy, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an event not to be missed. With hundreds of brightly-colored hot air balloons filling the sky, it’s an incredible sight to behold.
Where to Stay in Albuquerque
For a stay with many amenities, consider Hotel Chaco. For a little less investment, the Hotel Albuquerque At Old Town is just as charming.
4. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
If you’re looking for a place to explore underground, Carlsbad Caverns is definitely worth checking out as there are all sorts of caves and tunnels to check out inside the park.
In total, there are more than 300 caves beneath the surface of the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains. The park contains 113 of these caverns, formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. A highlight is the Lechuguilla Cave — the nation’s deepest and fourth longest limestone cave at 1,567 feet.
One of the coolest things to do when you’re at Carlsbad Caverns is to go on a guided tour. The rangers are really knowledgeable and they can show you the best sights!
Where to Stay in Carlsbad Caverns
For a desert, comfort feel Hyatt House Carlsbad is a good option, while Comfort Suites Carlsbad is located closer to the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, another site to visit in Carlsbad.
Read more: Zion National Park Travel & Hiking Guide
5. Chaco Culture National Historical Park
The Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a beautiful place that is home to some of the most unique and interesting Native American history in the United States.
The park is known for its ancient ruins that were once home to the Pueblo Indians. The Hopi Indians and Navajo Indians also have ties to this area, making it a rich and culturally significant destination for visitors from all over.
The Chaco Canyon is a great place for hikers, offering stunning landscapes and breathtaking views. You can also find petroglyphs, pictographs, and other Native American artifacts throughout the park.
6. White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is located in south-central New Mexico and it’s made up of a huge expanse of blinding white gypsum sand. It is definitely a must-see in New Mexico!
The sand constantly drifts into dunes 10 to 60 feet high, and in the southwest corner of the park is Lake Lucero, which is usually a dry marsh encrusted with selenite crystals. It’s pretty neat!
Read more: White Sands National Park (Where to Stay & Must-Know Tips)
7. Four Corners Monument
The Four Corners Monument marks the spot where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah all meet up. It’s extremely unique to be able to say that you’ve been to four states at once! You can get creative with your photos and play a game of state twister of sorts.
This monument is located on the Navajo Tribal Park, and you’ll need to purchase an $8 admission ticket.
8. Bandelier National Monument
The Bandelier National Monument is a beautiful area of rugged canyons and mesas in New Mexico.
There is evidence of human habitation dating back over 11,000 years, with petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs as well as standing masonry walls!
You can explore this area on your own or go on a guided tour to learn more about the area’s history and culture.
9. Las Cruces
Las Cruces is located in southern New Mexico and is the second largest city in the state. The city is home to many museums, art galleries, and farmers markets.
If you’re visiting, I recommend checking out the Las Cruces museums, which include the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and the Branigan Cultural Center. Both are great stops to learn more about local history.
There are also many outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking and biking the trails of the Organ Mountains.
Where to Stay in Las Cruces
Lundeen Inn of the Arts guest house features art created by famous New Mexican and Native American artists, while Days Inn by Wyndham Las Cruces is going to be your best budget option.
If you’re interested in UFOs, Roswell is the city for you!
Roswell is a city in southeastern New Mexico that is most famous for its alleged UFO crash in 1947. The city now has numerous museums and attractions related to the event, which are fascinating to explore. The International UFO Museum and Research Center is a must stop.
Roswell is also home to several art galleries and museums, such as the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art.
I also recommend checking out the Bottomless Lakes State Park, which has great recreational activities and some incredible views!
Where to Stay in Roswell
I highly recommend the Home2 Suites by Hilton Roswell, for a comfort stay that offers a barbecue and kitchenettes, while Roswell Inn is closer to the UFO Museum & Research Center and a little more affordable.
Mesilla, New Mexico is a small but vibrant town that offers a little bit of everything for visitors. Located in the Mesilla Valley, the town is surrounded by rich history and cultural experiences.
The Plaza in the heart of Las Cruces is home to unique shops, Mexican restaurants, and beautiful churches. Just north of the Plaza, the Mercado area offers additional shopping and dining options.
Las Cruces is also home to several museums, including the Gadsden Museum, which is great for learning more about the town’s history. You can also check out the La Morena Walking Tours for another immersive history experience.
Each year, the town celebrates Cinco de Mayo and Diez y Seis de Septiembre with festive parades and celebrations.
12. Petroglyph National Monument
The Petroglyph National Monument is a large protected site featuring carvings and symbols on volcanic rocks by both Native Americans and Spanish settlers around 400 to 700 years ago.
These images are an important cultural record and hold spiritual significance for Native Americans today. The Monument is a valuable resource for studying the history and culture of the region.
If you’re visiting, I recommend checking out the Petroglyph Interpretive Trail or taking a guided tour of the carvings. There are also many other trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding in the area.
13. The Jemez Mountains
The Jemez Mountains are a beautiful range of mountains in north-central New Mexico. The most fascinating section is near Jemez Springs as that is where the majority of hot springs and pools are located. Some are hidden deep within the forest while others are quite close to the main road. A few are even large (and safe) enough for bathing!
San Antonio Hot Springs is one of the most popular spots in the Jemez Mountains, located in the San Antonio Canyon. The springs are a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. There are also several hiking trails in the area, if that’s something you enjoy.
Two other hot springs I recommend checking out are the Soda Dam Hot Springs, located in the Soda Dam Canyon, and Spence Hot Springs.
14. Los Alamos
Los Alamos is a small town in northern New Mexico that is known for its friendliness and its high-altitude recreational opportunities.
With so many sunny days a year, hiking and mountain biking are two great activities you can enjoy all year-round in Los Alamos. In fact, there are over 150 miles of trails throughout the townsites and mountains. You can also check out the golf course and the community skating rink.
The scenery here is spectacular, and the town is home to a number of interesting cultural attractions, including the Los Alamos Historical Museum and the Bandelier National Monument.
Where to Stay in Los Alamos
Holiday Inn Express and Suites is a short drive from Bandelier National Monument while the Hampton Inn & Suites Los Alamos will be closer to White Rock.
15. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a fascinating site located in southwestern New Mexico. The area is home to a group of ancient structures built by the Mogollon people who lived there from the 1200s-1400s.
As you explore, you’ll see the remains of these dwellings, which were made out of rock, adobe, and wood. You’ll also find several petroglyphs and pictographs. The Visitor Center offers a variety of programs to learn more about the history of the site.
The area is open year-round, but I highly recommend visiting during the spring months when there are fewer crowds and the weather is generally pleasant for outdoor activities.
Have you been to New Mexico? Let me know what your favorite spots to visit are!
FAQ: New Mexico Travel Tips
If you’re looking for ideal weather and less crowds, the best time to visit New Mexico is from September to November. If you’re visiting Albuquerque, this is also when you’ll be able to experience the Balloon Fiesta, which usually takes place in October.
New Mexico offers a fairly pleasant climate, with the chance of extreme weather in both summer and winter. The average annual temperature is in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit). During the summer, temperatures can reach 120 °F and in the winter, temperatures can plummet to negative 50 °F. Temperatures vary depending on elevation. For instance, I visited Santa Fe in March and it was warm and sunny, but it felt like winter, with snow on the ground, just an hour away in the Jemez Mountains.
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