New Mexico Things to Do 2018

In New Mexico, stunning vistas, diverse landscapes, exciting activities, distinctive cuisine, and abundant culture awaits both the locals and travelers who are seeking new adventures around the country.  As with any trip, it is always a good idea to make a list of things to do in New Mexico 8,100 before you embark on a road trip so you will get the most out of your time here.

Ancient Ruins

Pueblo Bonito, Nageezi

Pueblo Bonito, Nageezi

The word Pueblo Bonito in Spanish means “pretty village” which is not surprising given that this ruin was the largest and the most popular in Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. In these ruins, you will find a central courtyard that features two ceremonial kivas with about 37 smaller ones around it that boast up to 800 rooms. These ruins were given National Monument status in 1907.  In 1920, the National Geographic Society began its reconstruction of the site. You will find these stunning ruins within the Chaco Culture National Historical Park which you can reach by following a graveled trail. [1]

Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos

Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos

Another place that you should add to your list of things to do in New Mexico 8,100 is Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos. It encompasses 33,677 acres of the preserve that encompasses archaeological ruins as well as volcanic landscapes that are stunning to look at. There is a beautiful museum that you can go to if you want to get to know the land more. If you are into hiking, there is an interpretative trail as well as backcountry hiking activities that you can do here. Camping is allowed too so you can enjoy the beauty of your surroundings better. [2]

El Morro National Monument, Ramah

El Morro National Monument

El Morro National Monument in Ramah, New Mexico is a pit stop so to speak for the weary travelers during the ancient times. It has a waterhole found at the base of a bluff that was made in El Morro which made it a regular campsite for over a hundred years. It is here in El Morro National Monument where Ancestral Puebloans, Americans, and Spanish travelers carved messages, signatures, dates, and even petroglyphs that are still seen today. This is a great stopping point when you are in New Mexico as there are beautiful trails to follow and even ranger programs who can give you a tour of the land so you'll know it better. [3]

Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec

Aztec Ruins National Monument New Mexico

If you are within Aztec, this national monument should be added to your list of things to do in New Mexico 8,100 because it is easily accessible from the city limits. This national monument was given the designation as World Heritage Site in 1987 because it still housed engineering and architectural achievements of the Ancestral Puebloans. These ruins were built as a public political, ceremonial, and economic center in 1100 AD and was occupied by the Puebloans until 1300 AD. Here you can take advantage of the Aztec West trail, have picnics, and while away the hours in the museum. [4]

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Tularosa

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

For those who want to see more petroglyphs, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is one of the best places to go to as you can have easy access to these petroglyphs compared to others. There are about 21,000 glyphs to be seen here of birds animals, plants, humans, insects, and fish just to name a few.  [5] A number of petroglyphs are found decorating the basalt ridge starting from the upper portion of the Tularosa Basin all the way to the base of the Sacramento Mountains.

Puye Cliff Dwellings, Espanola

Puye Cliff Dwellings

Another item that you should add to your list of things to do in New Mexico 8,100 is a visit to the Puye Cliff Dwellings that are located in Española. You will find that the Puye Cliff is made of two parts as there are dwellings carved into the cliff itself while others are found at the top of the mesa. There are stairways as well as pathways that connect the two areas so that people can go up and down. You can follow their footsteps as you explore these ancient dwellings. [6]

Coronado Historic Site, Bernalillo

Coronado Historic Site

Just a few minutes north of Albuquerque is the Coronado Historic Site. It was in 1540 when this area was located by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, along with 500 soldiers and about 2,000 Indians who were their allies from New Spain, where, instead of finding gold, he found several villages that were filled by prosperous farmers. You will find kivas still intact with guided tours available so you will get to know more about this historic site in Bernalillo. [7]

Taos Pueblo, Taos

Taos Pueblo

Head to Taos Pueblo if you want to see more architectural ruins and to immerse yourself in a culture that has shaped the area. Archaeologists believed that the ancestors of the Taos Indians were already living in the valley even before America was discovered by Christopher Columbus. It is believed that the Taos Pueblo was one of the golden cities of Cibola. [8]

Salmon Ruins, Farmington

Salmon Ruins, Farmington

Another site that is filled with ruins that you can explore in New Mexico is Salmon Ruins where the artifacts dug up are still on-site where you can see. This reduces the fees of maintaining the area and gives tourists and locals alike a chance to get the feel of history when they visit. [9]

Food, Wine & Nightlife

Half-Day Santa Fe Food and History Walking Tour

Combining food and walking tour is possible in Santa Fe where you get to sample local cuisine while being immersed in rich history. Not only will you get to meet new people along the way, but you'll get a chance to know more about the development of the local cuisine as the years went by. [10]

Santa Fe Railyard Arts District Food Tour

Santa Fe Rail yard

A 3.5 hour food and walking tour, the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District Food Tour will give you a taste of local cuisine and more. Get to know the history behind the Railyard Arts District while enjoying delicious cuisine and beverages. [11]

Brewery Tour - Enchanted Circle

Don't forget to add the Brewery Tour in your list of things to do in New Mexico 8,100 as this tour takes you to four major breweries in the area. You'll get to sample the beers too but don't you worry, you'll be shuttled to and from your hotel to these breweries. [12]

Taos Winery Tour

Join a winery tour in Taos and get to taste the first as well as the oldest grape that grows in the region. You'll be taken to three wineries where you get to sample the finest wines available. [13]

Taste of Canyon Road Food Tour

This food tour is not one to be missed because it's not just food that you'll get to taste but you'll be immersed in art, history, and architecture too which Santa Fe is well known for. It is the stories that you'll hear along the way that will make this tour that more enjoyable. [14]

Taos Artisan Walking Tour & Chocolate

In this artisan walking tour, you will see the old and the new art in Taos with a trip to a local chocolatier where you will get to taste organic chocolates that are to die for. The trip will end with some wine tasting. [15]

Scenic Drives

Enchanted Circle Drive, Taos

Take a scenic drive around Enchanted Circle Drive in Taos that runs through the Carson National Forest and north and east of Taos. It is breathtaking. [16]

The Plaza, Santa Fe

The Plaza is the center of the city and driving around it will give you a better of view of local architecture, history, and some interesting landscapes too. [17]

High Road to Taos, Taos

A scenic road like the High Road to Taos must not be missed when you are in New Mexico so make sure that you include it in your things to do in New Mexico 8,100. You'll be glad to take the scenic route. [18]


Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos

Bandelier National Monument gives you an up and close and personal look of the canyon and the shelters that ancestral Puebloans built. There are ancient artworks and pictographs still present here. [19]

Soledad Canyon Day Use Area, Las Cruces

If you are traveling with your pet or you want an easy hike that has plenty of scenic views to enjoy, Soledad Canyon Day Use Area in Las Cruces is highly recommended. You'll be amazed with how easy the trail is plus the view will leave you breathless. [20]

Frijoles Canyon,  Los Alamos

Frijoles Canyon is another area to include in your things to do in New Mexico 8,100. It's an 8 mile hike with vast landscapes to take in. This is a true nature hike that you'll love. [21]

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Prairie Dog Glass, Santa Fe

Prairie Dog GlassLearn the art of glass blowing in Prairie Dog Glass where you get to come up with your own product under the tutelage of a professional. It is a great addition to your itinerary as you will come home with your handmade souvenir. [22]

Liquid Light Glass, Santa Fe

Established in 1986, this site is home to glass-blown art, vases, sculptures, and more.You can sign up for a class to learn how these artistic glass blown products are made and bring home your very own. [23]

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Tularosa

You'll find detailed petroglyph on site which you can hike, trek, or go backpacking to if you want to see these artistic drawings closer. There are trails that you can follow so you'll get a better view of the 20,000 plus glyphs. [24]

New Mexico Historic Sites‎

Old Mesilla Village, Las Cruces

old mesilla las cruces

The Old Mesilla Village should be included in your things to do in New Mexico 8,100 as old architectural structures wait to be explored. There are small shops and restaurants available that you can drop by as well. [25]

Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos

Bandelier National Monument is home to beautiful canyons and as well as mesas where petroglyphs, ancient dwellings, and artifacts can be seen. There is rich history waiting to be discovered in this national monument.

El Morro National Monument, Ramah

The sandstone bluff that rises 200 feet above the ground is an imposing landmark in this area. This is where travelers often stop to drink. There are petroglyphs, artwork, and signatures still present in the sandstone.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Gila

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings give a glimpse of how the Mogollon culture lived in the area from 1280s to the early 1300s. These homes were built inside natural caves where about 8 to 10 families lived in them. [26]

Fort Union National Monument, Watrous

fort union

Fort Union National Monument contains the remnants of what was once the largest military fort in the 19th century. It served as an agent of cultural and political change not only in New Mexico but throughout the entire Southwest. [27]

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe

Loretto Chapel is a must-visit site so you can get to see the Loretto Chapel Staircase to know why the faithful flock to it all year round. The impressive staircase has a mysterious history that is worth knowing. [28]

Nature & Wildlife

Wild Rivers Recreation Area, Taos

There are two rivers running through the park and these are Red River and Rio Grande which are known as National Wild and Scenic Rivers. There are plenty of recreational activities that you can do here such as whitewater rafting, biking, camping, fishing, as well as hiking. [29]

Cibola National Forest, Albuquerque

Cibola National Forest is a popular destination in Albuquerque where there are plenty of trails for you to enjoy when hiking. Surrounded by lush foliage and scenic landscapes, this is a great addition to your things to do in New Mexico 8,100. [30]

Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Springs

This is a new and unusual unit that belongs in the United States national park system as it is designed to preserve a massive volcanic structure that has more than just scenic value but scientific value too as well. It also acts as a working ranch where visitors can drop by. [31]

Los Alamos Nature Center, Los Alamos

The Los Alamos Nature Center sits atop a canyon overlooking the Jemez Mountains. This is the best place to start your exploration of the Pajarito Plateau with interactive exhibits that make learning and discovery more interesting and enjoyable. [32]

Outdoor Activities

New Mexico River Adventures - Day Tours Embudo

Go on a rafting adventure with New Mexico River Adventures where you'll get to explore Rio Grande Gorge or the Rio Chama canyon, or even both if you are willing to spend more time in the area. There are guides that will make this river adventure a memorable one. [33]