New Mexico is a southwestern state known for its rich Native American and Spanish heritage. Although ranked fifth in area, its desert and mountainous landscape means the state is sparsely inhabited outside of big cities such as Albuquerque and Las Cruces. New Mexico, with a favorable location between the West Coast, Midwest, and Mexico, is a major center for trade and transportation as well as tourism. Its wide range of cultural attractions includes the largest arts community outside of New York, unique Pueblo architecture in historically-preserved towns, and world-class history and art museums. With Interstate 25 running north to south through the state, and Interstate 40 running east to west, New Mexico is easy to travel from the neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.
Albuquerque , located upon the Rio Grande, is the largest city in New Mexico. Albuquerque is centrally located in the state at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 25. The Sandia Mountains are visible on the eastern border of the city. Albuquerque was founded in the early 1700s and a Spanish colonial outpost and farming community, and preserves this cultural and historical heritage to this day in many areas throughout the city. Some museums of interest are the Albuquerque Biological Park and Old Town Albuquerque, with shops, restaurants, and tours. Albuquerque features literally hundreds of parks which include bike trails, golf courses, and more.
Rio Rancho is a large suburb just north of Albuquerque, with over fifty thousand residents. Rio Rancho is a rapidly-expanding city that is defining itself by its high technology, retail, entertainment, and government-based companies.
Santa Fe , north of Albuquerque on Interstate 25, is the capital of New Mexico. New Mexico was established in the early 1500s by Spain as the capital of the Nuevo Mexico province, making it one of the oldest American cities. Santa Fe is known for its unique Pueblo architectural style and for its thriving arts scene. A few points of interest include the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Site Santa Fe Contemporary Art Center, and the Wheelright Museum of the American Indian, among others. Historic Downtown Santa Fe with its central plaza is another major attraction. Skiing and hiking in the surrounding mountains is a popular draw for many tourists.
Carlsbad is located in the southeastern corner of New Mexico at the crossroads of Route 62 and Route 285. Carlsbad lies on the banks of the Pecos River, surrounded by the Chihuahua Desert and the nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There are many recreational areas within fifty miles of Carlsbad including the Lincoln National Forest, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and Carlsbad Lake.
Roswell is most famous as the site of the Roswell UFO Incident, which occurred in 1947. Other than that, Roswell is a rural city known for farming and ranching, mining, and manufacturing.
Ruidoso is a small resort town, located west of Roswell along Route 70. The town is named for the Rio Ruidoso, a small river that runs through it. Ruidoso is located in the picturesque Sierra Blanca Mountains, and features resorts such as Ski Apache, the Mountain Gods resort and casino, and the Ruidoso Downs racetrack.
Hobbs is located east of Carlsbad on Route 62. Hobbs is an area destination for gambling and more, as it is the home of the Black Gold Casino and the Zia Park horse racetrack.
Las Cruces is the second-largest city in New Mexico, located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 25 in the southwestern part of the state. Las Cruces is bordered by the Organ Mountains in the east and the Rio Grande River in the west, and Chihuahua, Mexico slightly to the south. Las Cruces is an agricultural city as well as a college town, as the home of New Mexico State University. The city features many arts and culture attractions, including the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, the Branigan Cultural Center, Las Cruces Museum of Art, and Las Cruces Museum of Natural History. Also visit the Aguirre Campground and Dripping Springs Natural Area in the nearby Organ Mountains.
Raton lies on the New Mexico and Colorado border along Interstate 25. The Raton Pass cuts through the nearby Raton Mountains and is a designated National Historic Landmark. The surroundings are scenic, with spots like the nearby Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge and Sugarite Canyon State Park.
Taos is a small town associated with the Taos Pueblo Native American village. Taos is home to a vibrant artist community at the Taos art colony. Taos is also a popular skiing destination for tourists at the Rancho de Taos and nearby Taos Ski Valley. Taos is located along Route 64.
The small town of Clayton is a hub for tourists passing from Texas to Colorado. Clayton lies at the meeting point of Interstates 87, 64, and 56. The Herzstein Memorial Museum tells about the history of the area, as an official interpretative center of the Santa Fe Trail. The nearby Clayton Lake State Park is a popular spot for camping and fishing and is located on the western edge of the Great Plains.
Santa Rosa lies on Interstate 40 between Albuquerque and Tucumcari. Santa Rosa, with a population of less than three thousand, is located on the Pecos River and surrounded by beautiful natural scenery with many lakes and deserts.
The city of Tucumcari lies along Interstate 40 in northwestern New Mexico, and is named for the nearby Tucumcari Mountain. Visit the buildings of historic downtown, dating back over a hundred years, which include the Odeon Theatre and Rock Island.
Grants is a small city located slightly west of Albuquerque on Interstate 40. Grants is a historic mining and railroad town with a population of under ten thousand. Grants is popular with tourists because of the outdoor attractions and beautiful scenery that surround its location in the Zuni Mountains.
Gallup is located west of Albuquerque on Interstate 40, with Farmington to the north just off of Route 491. Gallup is known for its strong Native American roots, sometimes being called the Indian Capital of the World. Check out the Pyramid Rock Trail for fabulous views of the surrounding landscapes. More incredible views can be enjoyed at the Church Rock Trail. For the more daring, Mentmore Rock Climbing can provide hours of fun and entertainment, or you may enjoy the challenging High Desert Trail System.
Silver City is a small mining town in northwestern New Mexico with ten thousand residents. Despite its small size, Silver City draws many visitors, with attractions like the Catwalk Trail above Whitewater Canyon, City of Rocks State Park, and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Farmington is located at the junction of three rivers in northwestern New Mexico. Farmington is a major hub of the Four Corners region, which is the joining point of four states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. Farmington, rich in Native American and Pueblo history, is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Indian Reservation, and Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Nearby recreational and historical sites include the Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and Aztec Ruins National Monument.
Las Vegas , New Mexico, not to be confused with the Las Vegas in Nevada, is slightly east of Santa Fe on Interstate 25. Las Vegas is divided by the Gallinas River into and Old Town and New Town. Visit numerous historic places such as the Carnegie Library, the Plaza Hotel, and Old City Hall.
New Mexico is a great place to soak up some true Southwestern culture. With its strong Native American and Hispanic influences, you will experience a vacation like no other. This is true American history, and New Mexico offers everything you could ask for.