It’s that time of the year again, when you can come out of hibernation and enjoy the great things that New Mexico has to offer. Out of the many places that you can go to in the Great State of New Mexico, here are the top ten tourist destinations in 2015.
1. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Situated in downtown Santa Fe, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (okeeffemuseum.org) celebrates the work of the famed New Mexico resident. The museum houses more than 1,100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, sketches and drawings. The museum also features numerous programs and workshops geared toward children and young adults.
2. Palace of the Governors
The Palace of the Governors (palaceofthegovernors.org) sits in downtown Santa Fe. Originally erected as a seat of government for Spain, the building dates to 1610. The adobe palace now serves as the New Mexico History Museum. Visitors to the historic building may embark on guided or self-guided tours.
3. Billy the Kid Museum
The Fort Sumner-based Billy the Kid Museum (billythekidmuseumfortsumner.com) explores the life of the famed Old West outlaw. The museum features 60,000 pieces, including personal articles related to Billy the Kid, such as his chaps, rifle and locks of his hair. Additional museum items include classic cars and more than 150 firearms.
4. Chaco Canyon National Historic Park
Chaco Canyon National Historic Park (nps.gov/chcu) lies near the Four Corners region and explores the lifestyle of the prehistoric Chacoan people who inhabited the area from A.D. 850 to 1250. The park features well-preserved pueblo buildings, some with two stories. Other on-site attractions include a museum, gift shop and nine-mile looped trail with direct access to the park’s major sites.
5. Harwood Museum of Art
Located in the artist haven of Taos, The Harwood Museum of Art (harwoodmuseum.org) dates to 1923. The permanent collection includes more than 1,700 art pieces and 17,000 photographs. The museum celebrates the work of local Taos artists, dating all the way back to the 1700s. Family-friendly activities include hands-on art project workshops with varying themes.
6. Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns (nps.gov/cave) comprises approximately 117 known underground limestone caves. The national park offers guided and self-guided tours, as well as opportunities for backcountry hikes. Specialty tours include the Brazilian free-tail bat tour and the Spider Cave tour, which entails excessive climbing and crawling through tight spaces.
7. White Sands National Monument
Situated in southern New Mexico, White Sands National Monument (nps.gov/whsa) offers 275 square miles of white sand dunes, some towering 60 feet high. During some months, the park offers special events like sunset/full moon strolls, stargazing parties and craft-making programs for kids.
8. Sandia Peak Tramway
Located in Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountain, the Sandia Peak Tramway (sandiapeak.com) travels for 2.7 miles, carrying passengers to the summit’s peak at 10,378 feet. The aerial tramway provides sweeping vistas of the Rio Grande Valley. While the base features a restaurant, the peak also offers a sit-down eatery and 24 miles of hiking trails.
9. International UFO Museum
The International UFO Museum (roswellufomuseum.com) lies in the famed town of Roswell, the site of a supposed 1947 UFO crash. Housed in the old Plains Theater, the kitschy museum features exhibits related to the Roswell incident, its purported cover-up and other reported alien encounters around the world.
10. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Based in Silver City, the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (nps.gov/gicl) preserves the lifestyle of the early Mogollon people. The cliffs tower approximately 180 feet, with the attached caves once serving as the homes for the indigenous people in the 11th century. The park offers daily tours of the caves and its unearthed artifacts.