Portraits of Native Americans & Navajo at 98th Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial, New Mexico. Image credit Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock.

7 Delightful Towns to Visit in New Mexico

New Mexico, also known as the Land of Enchantment, is as colorful as any state—privy to tourism and one-of-a-kind spots. While popular states such as New York and California never has problems attracting people, New Mexico is unfairly left out of the mainstream competition. However, this does not mean that the soul of the Land of Enchantment is any less valuable; in fact, it adds to the state's uniqueness and makes for an underrated and truly authentic destination for any traveler. As proof of its virtue, here are seven delightful towns to visit in New Mexico.


Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.

As a Native American community given the honor of being both a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark, Taos is as rich as the beautiful coral hues of the New Mexican desert.

To do justice to the town and its history, a visit to the Taos Pueblos will put into perspective the architecture and ancient housing of the Puebloan people. The pueblos themselves have been inhabited continuously for a thousand years, and knowing the tribal land's claim to fame, the Puebloan people offer tours and ceremonies to outsiders so that they may never forget the call of the sands and the ways of ancient life.

Returning to modern-day Taos, the small town has strangely become an artistic beacon in the desert. Places like the Taos Art Museum and the Millicent Rogers Museum find a very cozy home here and enjoy many visitors interested in the odd, ancient, and even old-west style of art that has inspired modern Taos.


The 98th Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico. Editorial credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
The 98th Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico. Image credit: Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock.

Situated on the legend of Route 66, which deserves an article of its own, Gallup also teeters on the line of a Navajo reservation. In a lovely synthesis of art and tradition, Gallup is the home to a new and emerging culture expressed best through its attractions and attitudes.

This can be read and learned about at the Gallup Cultural Center, a museum-like hub dedicated to not only the modern history of the area but also the ancient. Exploring the culture of the Navajo, their vital efforts in WWII as code talkers, ceremonial practices, and the oral tradition of storytelling that still exists now, the cultural center is a place to truly appreciate Gallup.

But who could learn all of that without first seeing the rocky, red land that gave the area fame? Red Rock Park looks like a landscape taken straight from Mars, with a reddish tinge in the ground and a gigantic stone named Pyramid Rock at the summit of the trailhead. Majestic at every turn, Red Rock Park is Gallup's cream of the crop.


Windmill collection at sunset, Portales, NM
Windmill collection at sunset, Portales, NM

Portales, a small town with both a ripe history and scenery, may be small, but the lasting impression it gives is larger than life.

Perhaps offering even more charm than its neighbor Clovis, Portales is exactly that kind of place where it's quiet and peaceful. Visitors often enjoy the view from the surrounding area, especially at Oasis State Park. A place of shifting dunes and a gorgeous lake for fishing, the park is aptly named for being a myth-like or mirage-quality beauty. Offering birding, hiking, and camping, the state park is one of Portales' crowning jewels.

The other, however, may just be the Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark and Museum. Exploring the remains and structures left from pre-history, Blackwater Draw offers a look into the modern and distant past. Offering trails and rotating exhibits, this excavated landmark produces an awe not soon forgotten.

Truth or Consequences

Downtown street in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Image credit Cheri Alguire via Shutterstock.com
Downtown street in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Image credit Cheri Alguire via Shutterstock.com

This isn't a vague-sounding threat but a perfectly respectable and unique town. Truth or Consequences' name is not the only notable thing about it, either. Although the town has grown slightly in recent years, it very much still embodies that small-town vibe.

The first and foremost attraction to this town is its resort-style hot springs. New Mexico is known for its bubbly and geothermic surprises, so it is no wonder that the natives here claimed the waters to have healing properties for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. In this small town, the Blackstone Hotsprings offers both lodging and a relaxing dip into what made the town famous.

For the history lover, the Geronimo Springs Museum offers artifacts that predate the timeline. Established in the 1970s, the museum has become a local and tourist favorite, as some events or special exhibits are always taking place on its grounds.

In any case, T or C's value is not to be wholly determined by the two places mentioned above, as there is much to see and do in a place unlike any other.


The world's largest statue of a pistachio, Alamogordo. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock
The world's largest statue of a pistachio, Alamogordo. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock

On ancient land that has been occupied for at least 10,000 years, Alamogordo came to recent fame in the 20th century for being near the site of the detonation of the first nuclear bomb (see the Trinity Test, 1945). While those years are long and gone, the larger town of Alamogordo now has its own identity, both separate and distinct from the shadows of WWII.

Contributing to its identity, the International Space Hall of Fame serves to educate the world about otherworldly exports, missions, and arrivals. Being far too massive of a facility, with many events, galleries, and even a gift shop, what the ISHF offers cannot be done justice in explanation here.

On the more tame and still extravagant side, Pistachio Land holds its title for having the world's largest pistachio at its entrance, and the image has become so iconic that no photo of Alamogordo is complete without it. Offering handcrafted candy for the kids, a tour of the land, and wine for the adults, Pistachio Land is a lot more exciting than expected.

Los Lunas

Los Lunas (New Mexico) Public Library, located at 460 Main Street NE.
Los Lunas (New Mexico) Public Library, located at 460 Main Street NE.

Los Lunas, a place to stargaze under the nighttime shroud of the desert with airy and sometimes cool breezes, exists in a time and place of its own. Out in the country, this lovely slice of tranquility is not without entertainment.

For a thorough and enjoyable town history, the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage & Arts details the county's and town's acts of art, literature, culture, and history. A must-see to fully appreciate Los Lunas, once that is taken care of, one can head to Sundancer Alpacas (yes, alpacas). This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to touch the hairs and coats of these sprightly creatures. Their owner cares for the herd and is willing to share their delights with all who visit.

Silver City

Bullard Street in downtown Silver City, New Mexico. Image credit: Underawesternsky via Shutterstock.
Bullard Street in downtown Silver City, New Mexico. Image credit: Underawesternsky via Shutterstock.

With a vibrant atmosphere, culture, and plenty of unexplored yet lovely nature in the surrounding valley, Silver City is a well-rounded destination that ticks all the boxes.

While there are truly too many natural landmarks and historic points of interest, the two major parks, which are rather unique, deserve a mention. The first is Big Ditch Park, a gorge that at one time was the center of Silver City until a disastrous flood erased all things on both sides of the ditch and center. But through destruction comes creation, and the rift widened by the water is now a beautiful reclamation of nature and one that offers an exciting look into the environment.

The second is the Gila National Forest. A forest of meadows, clearings, and trees is home to a Dark Sky Sanctuary (a place with exceptionally low light pollution, enabling one to see the stars and other celestial bodies above in all their glory). The park even allows for horseback riding in some areas and draws appeal from its vast remoteness.

There is a reason why places like Roswell did not make the list, and it isn't because they aren't wonderful; the small-town allure of these gems differs from that of the Titans. These towns all have a single thing in common: they are wholly themselves, and nothing else is quite like them. It may just be that the lesser-known treasures have more sentimental value, and all these towns are proof. No matter which delightful town you plan to visit, you will not be disappointed.

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