Best Small Towns in New Mexico

New Mexico - Albuquerque - Blue Castle Automotive
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Cloudcroft

Cloudcroft is a small community with a population of about 674. This town boasts charming greenery, which has to do with its location within the Lincoln National Forest. 

Cloudcroft was founded as a resort town in 1899. Now, 121 years later, many visitors still come to explore the beautiful nature, impressive architecture, stunning mountains, and hiking ranges. 

Also, the town is known for its many celebrations and event shows like the famous Mountain Music Festival.

Chimayo

Located near Santa Fe, Chimayo is a beautiful town where you can grab a deliciously spiced meal prepared from the famous Chimayo Chili peppers.

Chimayo was founded at the end of the 17th century by Spanish settlers whose influence is still visible through the town’s preserved architecture and unique traditional weavings. 

A trip to El Santuario de Chimayó is highly recommended during your stay. This national historical landmark is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the US, with over 300,000 visitors each year. The holy site also features the Chimayo Holy Dirt, a soil believed to have healing abilities.

Aztec

Aztec is one of the major historic cities in New Mexico. It’s home to Aztec Ruins National Monuments, a site where history buffs always have an enriching experience. 

There are many cultural sites and original infrastructure to explore in Aztec. You will find 900-year old structures and other authentic artifacts that make the town feel like time is spinning backward.

Aztec is located near Puebloans, and asides from its historical heritage, visitors enjoy the scenic areas for outdoor relaxation.

Taos

Taos is a charming little town founded thousands of years ago by nomadic tribes. It’s set to the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Southwestern New Mexico.

The town’s diverse culture, thriving art scene, and abundance of natural beauty make it a top location to visit. 

Taos is home to many museums, galleries, historical centers, and the iconic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, a base for art lovers. Outdoor lovers will also enjoy activities like hiking, swimming, and skiing in Taos.

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Silver City

Silver city was first an Apache campsite and Spanish stomping grounds in the 1600s. Today, this Southwestern location is a bustling city with flourishing residents of over 10,000 and many things to offer visitors.

History lovers can stop by at the historical sites where they can find interesting artifacts unique to America SouthWest. 

You can also visit the town’s forests, rivers, and parks or stop to grab a bite at any of the hotspots restaurants.

Tucumcari

Tucumcari is a city in Quay County founded in 1901.  Some of its most popular destination spots are the Island-Southern Pacific Train Station built in 1926 and the Odeon Theatre, which has been operating since 1937.

Outdoor lovers will have a lot of fun hiking, biking, and relaxing here. There is also the people’s favorite site, the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory, where you can dig dinosaurs and see the large collection of fossils and skeletons. 

Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences (formerly Hot Springs) got its name after an NBC host, Ralph Edwards, dared any town to change its name to his show’s in 1950. 

The town, now popularly known as T & C, has a population of over 6,000. T&C is home to many ancient hot springs and the famous Las Palomas Plaza, a park created by a local artist, Shel Neymark, in 2003.

The town also boasts of Passion Pie Cafe, considered one of the best local eateries.

Red River

Nestled in Sangre de Cristo, there is no shortage of things to do at Red River. This town that was once a mining site back in the 19th century is now an incredible resort town. 

Red River is a base for outdoor activities, including hiking, ziplining, snowboarding, and mountain biking. You can also visit the sophisticated spas for a massage, the exquisite restaurants for classic meals, or the Red River Gallery for a deeper experience of the town’s creative history.

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Madrid

With about 300 residents, Madrid is a remote tourist destination that has come a long way from the ghost town it used to be.  Located in the Sante Fe region, Madrid is noteworthy for its art scenes. The town has a lot of galleries along its Turquoise trail, which sees a flock of visitors. 

Meanwhile, Madrid itself is a stunning location with long expanses of greens, hiking trails, bike paths, parks, and mountains, especially the Ortiz Mountain, which is a top attraction.

Belen

Belen’s history started in 1740 when some group of colonists received permission to settle on the land. Now, this southwestern site is a thriving town with a lot of historical sites, including museums and old structures worthy of exploring.

Some of the prominent attractions in Belen are the Rio Grande Nature Center and Mazazo Museum Park, which offer numerous recreational activities. Belen also has excellent weather and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore nature, go horse riding, or biking. 

Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs is a historic Northern New Mexico site with a history dating back to 2500 BC.

This town is rooted in Sante Fe National Forest, and it’s known for its mineral hot springs. There are a couple of spring options to explore, but the 3 most popular are the Jemez Giggling Springs, Jemez Springs Bath House, and Jemez Hot Springs Original Springs. 

There are also some geological and cultural sites to visit, including the 500-year-old ruins of the San Jose de Jemez Mission.

Rodeo

Rodeo is a small town with a population of a 100 in Hidalgo county. It was founded in 1902 as a railway stop running between Arizona and El-Paso, Texas. This small town has now evolved into an art center that showcases Western culture and heritage.

There are also activities like hiking and birdwatching for outdoor enthusiasts and a lot of events that bring in many visitors.

Some of the noteworthy attractions are the Chiricahua Desert Museum, Chiricahua Galleries, and an art exhibit called Sky Gypsies.  

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Ruidoso

As the fourth fastest-growing city in New Mexico, Ruidoso is a booming little town in the Rocky Mountains that won’t stay little forever.

This town with a population of about 8000 is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Go to Lincoln National Forest, set among acres of scenic greenery, waterfalls, biking trails, and mountains. Visit the Noisy Water Winery for tastings. Or stop by at the antique stores and boutiques to take home a souvenir. 

Ruidoso also has a thriving art scene and some fascinating historical sites. 

Clayton

Clayton is in the extreme Northeastern New Mexico and has a population of 2,987.

With its ranches, parks, and rich culture, Clayton is known as the ‘land of enchantment,’ and it offers an exciting experience for everyone who visits.

Its history started when some Americans moved there in the 1800s. Now, you can experience the rich culture of the town by visiting its historical sites or stop at Clayton Lake State Park for some recreational activities.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas, New Mexico, shouldn’t be confused with its namesake in Nevada. The small city is nestled in San Miguel County and began life in 1835. 

Las Vegas is currently home to over 14,000 and combines modern living with a rich history. It features antique shops, over 900 historical sites, live music venues, and a drive-in theatre. 

This town has also been a filming location for many movies and TV series, including some House of Cards episodes.

Asides from being an interesting location, Las Vegas is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mesilla

Mesilla is located near Las Cruces, New Mexico’s largest city. It has a total population of 2,280 and has been in its existence for over 100 years.

Despite being located near a big city, Mesilla continues to maintain its small-town charm. The town features rich Mexican culture and a downtown with adobe bookstores, restaurants, and stores. Mesilla also hosts many cultural events all through the year. Some visitors’ favorites include the Jazz Concerts, Mariachi Festivals and Christma


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