The artistic scene of New Mexico is well-known. But, beyond the arts, every district in the state has something unique to offer visitors. Throughout New Mexico, parks, museums, fairs, festivals, and tours are held all year.
It offers a little bit of everything, so whether you’re looking for wide desert scenery or busy marketplaces in bustling tourist cities, you’ll find it here.
Here are ten of the most exciting things to do in New Mexico!
10 Best Fun Places to Visit in New Mexico
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival every autumn, attracting over 80,000 visitors. The tradition, which began in a parking lot with only 13 balloons in 1973, has grown to encompass a 365-acre park with over 500 balloons.
Also, the stunning “Mass Ascension” kicks off the nine-day event, which continues with extraordinary displays of coordinated ballooning and evening exhibitions.
Aside from the vibrant skies, the festival offers a wide range of activities, from children’s activities and live music to a juried craft display and dozens of street performers among the many merchants.
The 33,677-acre Bandelier National Monument contains some of the state’s most stunning volcanic vistas and archaeological sites. Also, the area was most likely populated from AD 1150 to 1600 by ancestral Pueblo people.
Structures carved from volcanic rock, including masonry walls and homes, as well as petroglyphs depicting Pueblo culture and daily life, can be found among the ruins of indigenous ecosystems.
There is an educational museum, hiking paths, and campsites in this national park.
Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the free shuttle will take you to the most popular part of the Bandelier National Monument.
During the week, the bus operates every 30 minutes, while on weekends, it runs every 20 minutes. If you have a pet with you, you are permitted to drive to the site at any time.
Location: 15 Entrance Road, Los Alamos, New Mexico
The ski resort has been under new ownership for a few years and has undergone nearly $300 million in enhancements, including new lifts and a remodeled base area.
Fortunately, even with the modifications and enhancements, the new owners took care to maintain the beauty and atmosphere of Taos Ski Valley.
Taos has long been regarded as a skier’s paradise, with excellent intermediate and advanced terrain. Half of the trails are just for experts, but don’t let that deter you from coming; the ski school here is excellent, and they’ll have you tackling runs you never imagined possible in no time.
With the resort’s yearly snowfall of 25 feet, finding good conditions is rarely a problem.
The Taos Pueblo, located just outside of Taos, is home to the United States’ oldest continuously inhabited dwellings.
Built of straw-reinforced mud bricks with timber-supported roofs, these adobe houses have stood for almost 1,000 years.
Up to 150 people live full-time in the old town, which is made up of apartment-style homes that are up to five floors high. A total of 2,000 people live on the 95,000-acre property, in a mix of traditional and modern structures.
Visitors are welcome to see the village, which has been classified as a National Historic Landmark as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Several of Pueblo’s annual traditional events are closed to the public.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center, a prominent tourist attraction near Roswell, opened in 1992 as an information center inspired by the 1947 “Roswell event.”
This widely rumored event cemented Roswell’s reputation as a hotbed of UFO activity and intrigue.
Regardless, the museum’s goal isn’t to persuade visitors to believe in extraterrestrial life or government conspiracies.
Exhibits present an objective view of local events, as well as many others from across the world, and invite visitors to draw their own conclusions.
Documents, eyewitness reports, and relics relating to the UFO study are among the items on display at the museum.
Tourists interested in the alien enigma in Roswell can take one of the many local “UFO excursions,” which include stops at places like Building 84, a former army post where the wrecked craft and its occupants were purportedly brought by military officials.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, on a narrow-gauge heritage railroad.
This charming train journey, built-in 1880-81, crosses the 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass and passes through the spectacular Toltec Gorge.
From verdant, deer-filled hillside meadows to stream-laced mountains, the trip provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
The ride traverses the Cascade Creek trestle 137 feet in the air, climbs the edge of a cliff, then doubles back spectacularly on the Tanglefoot Curve, making it the highest steam-powered train in the country.
Passengers will see several of the Railroad’s original structures along the way and will have the opportunity to stop at the picturesque town of Osier, Colorado for a lunch break and some exploring halfway through the ride.
White Sands National Monument, located a half-hour drive southwest of Alamogordo in the state’s south, is one of the state’s most beautiful landscapes.
It is bordered by rocky mountains and is located in the Tularosa Basin, a northern branch of the Chihuahua Desert.
Glistening white gypsum sand has grown up into a spectacular panorama of 60-foot-high dunes that are constantly moved by the wind.
Sand dunes might be mistaken for gigantic snowdrifts if you don’t know what you’re looking at. You may park your car almost anywhere and begin your journey by strolling out into the dune scenery and exploring a large sand dune.
At White Sands, sledding is a time-honored tradition. Any type of plastic snow sled will do, but round plastic saucers work best. The round saucers can be purchased from the Park Store.
Take the 16-mile (round trip) Dunes Drive to get a sense of the park’s size. This gorgeous drive takes approximately 45 minutes but allows plenty of time because you’ll want to stop at the hiking trails, picnic tables, and displays along the way.
The summit of Wheeler Peak, at 13,161 feet, is New Mexico’s highest point. Also, the mountain is located near Moreno Valley in the Carson National Forest, in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, near Angel Fire.
Visitors may view marmots, pikas, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and golden eagles in the area, which is home to a diversity of species.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities, with various trails ranging in length from four to eight kilometers.
Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area has mild summer temperatures and frigid winters due to its elevation, with temperatures routinely falling below freezing.
The summer months, which are pleasant but also damp, attract the majority of visitors. Because July and August are wet months, bring a rain jacket to deal with unexpected showers.