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Best things to do in New Mexico

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Where in the world: USA  /  New Mexico

Top 15 things to do in New Mexico

1. Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe

Loretto Chapel, a former Roman Catholic church, is known for its unusual spiral staircase. Called the Miraculous Staircase, it makes two 360-degree turns and is 6 m (20 ft) tall--but has no visible means of support. It's not only an engineering mystery; no one knows for certain who built it. The Sisters of Loretto credit St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, with its construction. After examining the staircase, give yourself enough time to appreciate the Gothic Revival architecture of this late 19th-century building. It features imposing spires, buttresses, and stained-glass windows imported from France.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $12 › Learn more about Loretto Chapel

2. Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Philmont Scout Ranch

3. Balloon Rides, Albuquerque

Soar above the magnificent landscapes of the Rio Grande Valley on a balloon ride from Albuquerque. Kept safe by trained professionals, you will be able to learn about the natural history of the New Mexico region and basic principles of hot air ballooning. Sunrise and sunset flights allow you to experience the captivating gorge with its rugged mountainous surroundings at its most enchanting--and most photogenic--hour. You'll be able to admire unsurpassed aerial views of Albuquerque with its landmarks and even dip low enough to skim the very surface of the Rio Grande. On completion of your hour-long flight, a glass of sparkling wine and some light refreshments will await you to celebrate the successful landing.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
Tours from $149 › Learn more about Balloon Rides

4. Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise

FROM $209
Float over the Rio Grande Valley during a sunrise hot-air balloon flight from Albuquerque, home of the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world. As the sun comes up over the Sandia Mountains, admire the dramatic reds and oranges that fill the sky, and learn about the features of the New Mexico landscape from your expert pilot. Back on the ground, celebrate a memorable flight with sparkling wine and a commemorative flight certificate.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $209 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Canyon Road, Santa Fe

Nestled in the heart of the city's historical quarter, Canyon Road hosts more than 100 art galleries, shops, studios, and restaurants in addition to traditional Pueblo-style adobe homes. The district's origins date to the Spanish colonization of the Southwest and the surrounding area more than 1,000 years ago. Despite its archaic architecture, the neighborhood is a popular hot spot. You'll discover traditional Hispanic crafts, modern art, and sculptures intermingled with storefronts, courtyards, and cafes. Pick up a piece of regional Native American handiwork, such as pottery or a handmade rug.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $70 › Learn more about Canyon Road

7. Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos

The steel bridge stretching across the Rio Grande Gorge, known as Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, is the seventh-highest bridge in the United States. This bridge has been featured in several motion pictures, including "Natural Born Killers" and "Terminator Salvation." Capture sweeping images on your camera, and get a close-up look at the gorge from the ideal vantage point of this bridge. If you have any last-minute shopping to do, several nearby vendors cater to visitors.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $145 › Learn more about Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

8. The Ghost Tour of Old Town - New Mexico's oldest Ghost Walk - Since 2001

FROM $35
New Mexico's oldest & most famous Ghost Walk since 2001! Featured on your favorite shows: Weird Travels, Dead Files, Coast to Coast Radio, The Travel Channel & more. Learn the spooky 300+ year history of Old Town, hear the reported Ghost Stories, review the evidence collected & decide for yourself the possibility of the existence of Ghosts! Bring your digital camera; many unusual photographs are captured during the Tour. Everyone loves a good old-fashioned Ghost Story! Family friendly. Pet friendly. Legends, folklore, ghost stories and history come to life as you depart on an intriguing excursion through 313 years of haunted history. Historic buildings & dark alleys conceal long-forgotten secrets of battles, murders, hangings, & hidden cemeteries. Tour Guides escort you on a 105-minute, lantern-lit adventure. Search for souls of early residents, phantoms, spooks, specters, wandering apparitions & the 13 ghosts who have made Old Town their eternal home. Guide Gratuities appreciated
Suggested duration: 1h 50min
Tours from $35 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. White Sands National Monument

Glistening white dunes at White Sands National Monument have mesmerized visitors for centuries. Marvel at 712 km (275 mi) of sparkling sand, the world’s largest dune field of rare gypsum. Begin your trip at the visitor center--an excellent example of Spanish pueblo-adobe architecture. From here you can set off on a 13 km (8 mi) scenic drive to the heart of the dunes. Stop along the way for short walks, wayside exhibits, and photos of the otherworldly views. You can also hike a variety of trails. Only the top few inches of the dunes are loose, making them easy to walk. Sledding is also a popular here. Bring a snow saucer or buy one from the gift shop to race down the sand slopes. No water is available in the dune field, so fill bottles at the visitor center.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about White Sands National Monument

10. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Recognized as a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was founded as a parish the same year as the city was founded, in 1610. The current building featuring Romanesque revival architecture was dedicated in 1887. Note the round arches and Corinthian columns. The rose windows in the front of the church depict the twelve apostles. The best view of the windows is from the chapel where services take place. In the exterior porticos, several statues commemorate saints. The statue of Kateri Tekakwitha pays homage to the first Native American to be beatified. Notice the bronze doors leading back inside the church. The panels on the outside tell the story of the church in Santa Fe history.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $7 › Learn more about The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

11. Albuquerque Old Town, Albuquerque

Take a stroll through Albuquerque Old Town, the city's historical district, which dates back to the Spanish founding of Albuquerque in 1706. The plaza is the focal point and the location of the San Felipe de Neri Church, built in 1793. Pop into one of the shops selling traditional Southwest crafts, art, and other items. You can treat yourself to ice cream on a shaded, wrought-iron bench or dive into the area's famed Mexican cuisine for something more substantial. To learn more about the rich history of the area, take a guided walking tour.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Albuquerque Old Town

12. New Mexican Flavors Food Tour of the Santa Fe Plaza

FROM $142
Join this fun food tour, with locally raised guides who have generations of knowledge! This tour is unique because you will enjoy a hand-picked New Mexican food experience. Experience New Mexican food and discover some of the best foodie spots near the Santa Fe Plaza. On the tour, you will also learn about the history of Santa Fe, the food, culture, and historical points of interest such as the Palace of the Governors, The San Miguel Mission (The oldest church structure in the USA), and The Loretto Chapel (Home to the Miraculous Staircase). This casual tour includes a full lunch, non-alcoholic drinks, alcohol pairings (Such as wine, margaritas, or local beers), as well as dessert. **NOTE** This tour features New Mexican-inspired foods and can be spicy for some guests. We don't recommend this tour for anyone with serious food restrictions and minimal walking ability.
Suggested duration: 2h 30min - 3h
Tours from $142 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe

With more than 1,000 different pieces of art, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum represents the largest collection of her artwork in the world. Originally opened in 1997, the museum today collects her works and also displays information about her life, artistic development, and the rise of American Modernism. Its temporary special exhibitions often display works of other contemporary Modernist artists. A guided museum tour given by a docent is included in the price of admission.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Tours from $7 › Learn more about Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

14. Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Explore Big Room, the largest cave in Carlsbad cavern, in a self-guided tour of the natural limestone formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. You'll see Bottomless Pit, Giant Dome, Rock of Ages, and Painted Grotto. For quick access to the cave, enter the visitor center, which has elevators to the cave. Rent an audio guide here to learn about the geology, formation, and history of the cave, as well as the specific sites. For a longer and more challenging walk to the cave, take the natural entrance route, which covers a 228.6 m (750 ft) descent via switchbacks.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Big Room

15. Ultimate Santa Fe History Walking Tour

FROM $99
“Mind Blowing” “The Best Tour in the World” “Great way to start the day and visit to Santa Fe” "NOT TO BE MISSED" “Be prepared to be amazed with well told stories that bring the history to life” are just some of the amazing things everyone who experiences a tour with Victor says. This is an Experience NOT to be missed. An absolute must do tour to not only get your in-depth understanding of Santa Fe, the surrounding area, and the state of New Mexico at large. Victor Romero has deep family roots to northern New Mexico dating back before the arrival the of Spanish over 400 years ago. A true New Mexican storyteller of his people, their culture and experience of New Mexico that will leave you in awe and laughing as you make your way through this historic and culturally packed city. Victor is a true gem and ambassador of the city of Santa Fe and no better person to walk around with to explore Victors beloved homeland.
Suggested duration: 2h 30min
Tours from $99 › More about this tour at viator.com ›