For a taste of the American Southwest, New Mexico offers it all: natural wonders, archaeological sites, flavor-packed cuisine, and a bounty of cultural attractions. Below, read HAP’s guide to the Land of Enchantment.
Dubbed “the City Different” for its rich artistic heritage, Santa Fe boasts more than 250 galleries, the Museum of International Folk Art, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum found within its limits. New Mexico’s colorful state capital is a thriving melting pot of several cultures, including Hispanic and Native American, which is reflected in the distinctive mix of Spanish and Indigenous architecture and chile-spiked cuisine.
Where to Stay: Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
Less than one block from Plaza and Palace of the Governors, the adobe Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi sits in a stellar location for exploring the colorful streets of downtown Santa Fe—that is, if you can peel yourself away from the cocoon-like guestrooms, made supremely cozy with earthy details like hand-carved four-poster beds, kiva fireplaces, ceilings with pine vigas, and contemporary Native American artwork.
From Santa Fe, the drive to Taos takes about three hours, though it can be a bit longer if you take the breathtaking High Road to Taos scenic byway (which you should). Taos’ bohemian art scene is equally as impressive as Santa Fe’s given its past as a 19th-century art colony. Thrilling day trips run aplenty when you’re visiting the “Soul of the Southwest,” such as the epic wintertime slopes of Taos Ski Valley and the ancient adobe Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO-designated site with the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S.
Where to Stay: Adobe & Pines Inn
Housed inside a 19th-century hacienda, this romantic hideaway is located right outside Taos’ most trafficked corners. Adobe & Pines Inn is a cherished retreat for couples that offers a mix of seclusion and downhome hospitality. Breakfasts made with organic eggs from the inn’s resident chickens are a highlight.
Carlsbad, Roswell, and White Sands National Park
Historic Carlsbad is where to stay if exploring the Carlsbad Caverns is on your list. The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises a vast network of more than 120 caves underneath the Guadalupe Mountains. Opt for a tour led by a local ranger, or embark on a self-guided excursion along two well-marked trails that wind between towering limestone rock formations. From May to October, the National Park hosts free Bat Flight Programs for watching millions of bats emerge from the caverns at sunset. From Carlsbad, the scenic White Sands National Park and Roswell’s Area 51 are day trips.
Where to Stay: The Trinity Hotel
Constructed in 1892 as the First National Bank, over the years the Trinity Building would serve as the headquarters of Carlsbad’s first newspaper and the Carlsbad Irrigation District. The landmark was restored in 2007 and has been operating as the Trinity Hotel ever since. With nine rooms and one of the best restaurants in town, the Trinity is a winning choice.
Sandwiched between the Rio Grande and the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque—the state’s most populous city—is a hot destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re one of them, be sure to plan a morning hike up the La Luz trail to the top of Sandia Peak at 10,378 feet above sea level, then take the 15-minute tramway back down. Albuquerque is a cultural destination year-round with institutions like Old Town Albuquerque, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the Albuquerque Museum, but it really blossoms during the autumn hot air balloon festival, which draws more than 80,000 attendees annually. The celebration is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than 500 balloons taking part in the event over nine days.
Where to Stay: Hotel Chaco
This Gensler-designed urban boutique hotel is among the Southwest’s most famous, its pale masonry and wooden exterior inspired by the ancient pueblo culture of Chaco Canyon. The property’s Gallery Hózhó is also home to one of the best collections of contemporary Native American New Mexican art in the region.
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