Taos, New Mexico

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••• NM Dept. of Tourism

Just a few short hours' drive north of Albuquerque, and an even shorter drive from Santa Fe, Taos offers visitors a bit of everything. You'll find year round outdoor activities, galleries galore, museums, and world famous restaurants. Taos is New Mexico's most frequently visited town after Santa Fe, and it's no surprise. Like Santa Fe, there are resident artists who sell their work and live in the area.

Like Santa Fe, there are adobe structures that have been converted into restaurants and shops, maintaining their beauty and historic charm. Taos also features the beauty of the outdoors, with river rafters visiting in summer, and skiers flocking in winter to ski the slopes

A visit to Taos should begin at its heart in the historic plaza. Shops and restaurants surround the plaza, and offer a place to begin browsing. (Taos is all about the browse). The historic plaza was settled by Spanish colonists, and was originally built for defense, as doors and windows and limited entrances could all be barricaded. Today, the plaza is a gathering place for events and arts and crafts fairs. In summer there are live concerts from May through September, free every Thursday night. Another plaza, Guadalupe Plaza, is just west of the main plaza.

Off the plaza, there are streets seem to be made to wander and meander.

It's not unusual to wander down a street, take a turn and end up in an area that has a conglomeration of more shops. You'll find everything, from antique maps to the bookstore on Bent Street, and along the way, can decide to eat from a food cart or cafe. The John Dunn shops are just off Bent Street.

The art galleries and stores in Taos range from high end one of a kind paintings by famous artists to practical art like hand painted plates and bowls. Many items are handmade in Taos, such as chile ristras and jewelry. 

A visit to Taos isn't complete without a look at some of its history. The Harwood Museum is on Ledoux Street and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House is on Morada Road. Luhan was known for hosting famous artists and writers, one of the most famous being D.H. Lawrence. 

The Taos Art Museum on North Pueblo Road features the work of Nicolai Fechin, who designed and built the house that is now the museum. The museum that was once his home is a work of art in and of itself. 

Taos Pueblo is near the town and is one of the most beautiful pueblos in New Mexico. Like Acoma, visitors can buy Native art, jewelry and more, in shops in the ground floor rooms. 

Taos is known for its restaurants, which feature everything from green chile cheeseburgers to locally sourced, fresh foods created by world class chefs. There are also microbreweries and wineries to visit. 

The outdoors are right there in Taos, with the mountain close by year round, offering hiking, biking, skiing and more. The nearby Rio Grande is known for its whitewater rafting during warm weather.

Taos is a year round destination whether you visit for its ample recreational opportunities or for a place to shop and enjoy the beauty of the town. One thing is certain: Taos should be savored over a few days, at the very least a weekend, in order to enjoy it all.