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Taos is New Mexico True
Taos, NM
Joyous young women in Taos Gorge

Not to overwhelm you as you plan your trip to Taos, but we have a lot to do. From adventures in nature to rich history and culture, from great food to great shopping, there are far more than 100 things to do in Taos. But to help you craft your Taos Bucket List….

100 things to do in Taos, New Mexico (in no particular order)

1. Visit the Old Taos County Courthouse. Located at 121 North Plaza in downtown Taos, the second floor of the old county courthouse boasts fresco murals painted in 1934 by some of the greatest Taos artists of the day. At the back of the courthouse building on the first floor are the old jails―get yourself locked up!

2. See petroglyphs. The easiest place to find petroglyphs is on a hillside above the village of Pilar, just a short drive south of Taos. Walk up the hill from the village toward and around the cemetery. The petroglyphs are just on the hill above the red-roofed church.

3. Take an art class. There are assemblage classes, pottery classes, photo workshops, and so much more. Ask about them at local art galleries; they’ll give you some great tips!

4. Buy art. Enjoy what you see, and purchase a work of art that you can’t live without. Taos has more galleries than you can shake a stick at (not that you should), so you’re bound to find something that lights your fire.

5. Take a stroll through historic downtown Taos and the Plaza and experience wonderful shops, galleries, museums, cafés and eateries.

6. Visit the Couse-Sharp Historic Site. Tour the home and studios of two of  the founding members of the Society of Taos Artists. There’s usually an open house the first Saturday of each month (June-October), or you can book a private tour through the summer. 

7. Visit the D.H. Lawrence Ranch. Although the great writer D.H. Lawrence spent only about 11 months cumulatively at his ranch near Taos, it made a lifelong impression on him. In fact, his ashes rest in a small chapel at the ranch. Hours are weather dependent, so definitely call ahead before making the drive out there.

8. Take in the San Francisco de Asis Church. The most photographed Church west of the Mississippi and one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite muses. Visiting Hours are mostly 9-4 daily, or attend Mass on Sunday at 8:00 AM & 10:00 AM in Ranchos de Taos.

9. Mud the Church. Each year for the first ten days of June or so, San Francisco de Asis gets a new coat of mud and straw (adobe) to keep it safe from the elements. Join in this process, called enjarre, and help alongside parishioners and other visitors. 

10. Attend Midnight Mass at San Francisco de Asis. If you happen to visiting at the holidays, this is a magical way to spend Christmas Eve. Mass starts around 11PM, but get there early to secure a parking place.

11. Visit Taos Pueblo. One of the oldest continually inhabited structures in the country, this National Treasure World Heritage Site is not to be missed. Take a tour and appreciate the incredible Native crafts available for sale.

12. Spend Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo. Before you head to Ranchos for midnight mass, head to Taos Pueblo for some of the largest (and hottest!) bonfires you’ll ever see while you wait for the Christmas Eve procession to exit the Pueblo church. It’s an exquisite meeting of traditional Native culture and Christian tradition, complete with rifle fire, and a great time to visit with neighbors, friends, and strangers. The procession begins around 4PM, but times vary from year to year; make sure to get there early so you don’t miss it!

*Hot Tip: Wear a washable winter coat―it gets smoky!

13. See the Deer Dance at Taos Pueblo.  Return to the Pueblo the next morning, on Christmas Day, for the Deer Dance (or some years the Matachina Dance). Check first for times as they vary. No photography or recording of any kind allowed! 

14. Spend an evening at the annual Taos Pueblo Pow Wow. The Taos Pueblo Pow Wow has been celebrated (almost) every second weekend of July since 1985. Pueblo members and visitors gather to dance, sing, eat, and create and renew familial and community connections.

*Hot Tip: Join in with the dancers in an informal “Round Dance.” Everyone is welcome to participate, and you won’t be able to stop smiling.

15. Brave the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Walk across the fifth highest bridge in the country, and if you’re brave, take a peek over the edge to the river 600 feet below. Or, if you prefer, walk the trail from the western parking area along the rim. Either affords some of the most spectacular views around.

*Hot Tip: Listen for the Taos Hum.

16. See the Penitente Morada. The interior of La Morada de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, dating to 1895, is closed to the public, but visitors are welcome to walk the 14 stations of the cross on the grounds. The Morada is off the beaten path and a little tricky to find. Take Las Cruces Lane off Kit Carson Road to Penitente Lane, which dead-ends in a parking area, then walk over the bridge to the Morada.

*Hot Tip: That large black cross on the back side of the Morada is another Georgia O’Keeffe icon.

17. Tour the Mabel Dodge Luhan home. A true salon of the Southwest, this historic site is now an inn and conference center, offering workshops to artists, writers, and more throughout the year.

18. Attend a Public Meeting. Learn what is going on in Taos! Check the Town of Taos website for what, where, and when. 

19. Take a Walk with Llamas. If you like company on your hikes, why not take a llama with you? Wild Earth Llama Adventures offers accessible, beautiful hikes accompanied by llamas, who are also kind enough to carry your lunch for you.

20. Soak at Black Rock Hot Springs. It’s a short and easy hike to these springs in Arroyo Hondo, and the scenery is out of this world. Be warned, you will almost certainly meet some folks who are in the buff.

21. Go to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, this is a luxurious resort that has retained its down to earth roots. There’s a great restaurant on site, and a historic hotel to retreat to after you’ve relaxed in the many mineral pools.

22. Take a hike to the Mica Mine. A two-mile hike on a dirt path in the hills above Ojo Caliente takes you to an abandoned mica mine. You’ll know you’re getting close when the ground starts to glitter.

23. Find Haunted Places. Ghosts of Taos is a great website to learn about local lore and locate haunted places.

24. Visit the historic Martinez Hacienda. Located on State Road 240, this fortress-like Spanish colonial home with massive adobe walls is now a living museum with frequent exhibitions and demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts.

25. Experience the Taos Art Museum. Located in the former home of artist Nicolai Fechin, the museum features the work of local artists, including the famous Taos Society of Artists.

*Hot Tip: Check out Nicolai Fechin’s beautiful studio behind the museum gift shop.

26. Enjoy the Harwood Museum. While you’re doing the downtown museum circuit, head over to the Harwood, dedicated to preserving Taos’ artistic legacy. The auditorium hosts everything from poetry readings to chamber music; check the calendar ahead of time!

*Hot Tip: Sit and meditate in the Agnes Martin room.

27. Millicent Rogers Museum. Yet another unmissable museum, this is a great place to experience all the cultures of the Southwest, from prehistoric pottery to contemporary jewelry. 

*Hot Tip: The Maria Martinez Room is especially impressive.

28. Visit the Ernest Blumenschein Home and Studio. One of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists, Blumenschein bought this house from fellow artist Buck Dunton (whose studio is here as well). Portions of the house date to the late 1700s. The museum maintains a large collection of Blumenschein’s work.

29. Go on an Herbal walk. Learn about healing herbs growing all over Taos on a tour with Native Roots Healing.

*Hot Tip: Put a couple of Mullen leaves in each of your shoes; it truly is the best thing you can do for your feet.

30. Go Mushroom Hunting. Chanterelles grow in abundance at over 8,000 feet above sea level. The area around Taos Ski Valley is a great place to hunt! Just make sure to consult an expert about which mushrooms are edible and which are not!

31. Hike to Williams Lake. This short (about 4.1 miles round trip) hike has an exceptional payoff at the top. The alpine lake is ringed by soaring peaks, including the tallest mountain in New Mexico (see #32). The hike is heavily trafficked, but worth braving the crowds.

32. Stand at the Top of the World (or at least New Mexico). Once you’ve reached Williams Lake, if you have enough energy and supplies, keep on going another couple of miles (up up up) to the top of Wheeler Peak, the highest spot in the state. The views are unparalleled, and you’ll probably catch a glimpse of some mountain sheep (and a whole lot of marmots). 

33. Explore the Wilderness on Snowshoes. There are plenty of snowshoeing trails to explore over a Taos winter, but a great introduction is La Jara Canyon (a.k.a. Forest Road #5) in Carson National Forest, on the way to Angel Fire. It’s a gentle 2-mile path along a stream to a beautiful meadow. 

34. Ski at Taos Ski Valley. Okay, we probably don’t need to tell you to do this, since it’s one of the top reasons folks come to Taos. But, seriously, for great conditions, challenging terrain, and an epic vibe, Taos Ski Valley can’t be beat.

35. Go River Rafting. If you’re visiting between March and October, there are an abundance of outfitters offering half-day, full-day, and multi-day rafting trips on the Rio Grande and other spectacular rivers in the area. Opt for a serene float, or if you live for the adrenaline rush, try the Taos Box. It’s guaranteed to get your heart racing.

36. Try Your Hand at Trout Fishing. If you’d rather stand in a river than raft down it, there are plenty of local guides ready to find you a great fishing hole.

37. Watch Fireworks over Eagle Nest Lake. What could be better for the Fourth of July? Eagle Nest is about an hour’s drive east of Taos, just past Angel Fire. Make a day of it, and catch the fireworks at sunset. 

38. Be in a parade. Another great Fourth of July option is the annual parade in Arroyo Seco. It welcomes everyone to join in or just watch and have fun. Festivities begin at noon, but get there early to find parking and explore the village.

*Hot Tip: You might even be handed an ice-cold popsicle!

39. Attend an Art Festival in Fall. September is a big month for the Taos art community. The world-famous PASEO outdoor art festival fills downtown Taos with installations, performance art, and projections the second weekend in the month. And Taos Fall Arts Festival, an institution for over 40 years, follows a week later, with both open and juried exhibitions.

40. Try Horseback riding. Take a lesson or embark on a trail ride through Taos’ forests and wildflower-filled meadows. There are plenty of local stables ready to get you in the saddle.

41. Go Staurolite Hunting. Not all rocks are created equally. Staurolites are also known as “fairy crosses” and for good reason―they often appear in a twinned form that resembles a cross. And Taos is one of the few places in the world where they can be found!

42. Explore Fossil Hill. At one time, the Taos area was a deep sea bed. You can find a wealth of sea creature fossils if you know where to look. Head south of town on Highway 518, and after mile marker 68, you’ll find a parking area on the north side of the highway. Hike straight back toward the hillside. It’s a popular geocaching spot, if that’s your thing!

43. Visit Pit Houses. After you’ve searched for sea creatures on Fossil Hill, view the ancient pit houses and pueblos built between 1100 and 1300, accessible from the same parking area. The site was later settled by Spanish colonists in the 1800s.

*Hot Tip: Visit the Carson National Forest Office and ask for a Smokey Bear souvenir and maps.

44. Make a Smudge Stick. This one’s easy. Cut some sage off a bush and wrap it tightly with cotton string or twine.

*Hot Tip: Leave it to dry on your car dashboard. It’ll smell amazing!

45. Take a Class. From Qigong to Ecstatic Dance, there are many classes offered in Taos. Find them here.

46. Have Your Portrait Painted. Find a Taos artist to paint your portrait (or your favorite pet’s portrait?). Ask at a gallery, they can suggest a portrait artist.

47. Meet an Artist. Another easy one; drop into any Taos gallery. Chances are you’ll meet a “real live” artist there!

48. Dance at Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn. There’s free music nightly here in “The Living Room of Taos.” If you’re feeling a bit shy, grab one of the bar’s Cowboy Buddha margaritas to loosen up―they’re famous for them!

49. Write a Blog. You’ve fallen in love with Taos, so why not tell the world?!

*Hot Tip: Blogger/blogspot or WordPress are easy and free to use.

50. Take Lots of Photographs. Just don’t stand too close to the edge….

51. Be Amazed by the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. This happens about two weeks after the big Albuquerque International Balloon festival each fall. The Taos Balloon Fest is more intimate and more fun. 

52. Attend an Outdoor Concert. Free concerts happen every Thursday on Taos Plaza. Kit Carson Park is another venue, often hosting world-famous artists and cutting edge music festivals. 

53. Learn Some Taos History. The Taos County Historical Society sponsors various lectures (and field trips) throughout the year.

54. Act like a Tourist in Taos. Whether you’re just visiting or you’re lucky enough to live here, go shopping! Start in Ranchos to Taos and work your way north to Arroyo Seco, visiting stores you’ve never been to before.

55. Buy a House. You don’t have to leave, you know.

56. Take an Earthship Tour. See sustainable homes built with bales of straw, old tires, bottles, and cans. 

*Hot Tip: Take an Earthship building course, save all your cans and bottles, buy some land west of Taos, and build your own home. 

57. Walk the Pot Creek Loop Trail. This 1-mile interpretive walk, just west of Taos on Highway 518, winds through an abandoned 13th century pueblo. 

58. Go Ice Skating. The Taos Youth and Family Center has great indoor skating facilities, complete with skate rentals. (There’s also an outdoor park if skateboarding is more your speed!)

*Hot Tip: Watch a Taos High School hockey game at the Youth and Family Center.

59. Take a Short Hike to the El Salto Waterfall. The waterfall is located at the end of the road in El Salto, just past the village of Arroyo Seco. It’s on private land, so make sure to be respectful and pay the small fee at the trailhead parking area to access the falls.

60. Act like a local. Which means “you do you.” Just act like you belong here, because you do.

*Hot Tip: If anyone asks, tell them you’re friends with “Louis” (it’s code, trust us).

61. Buy your Produce Fresh at the Farmers Markets. There are multiple farmers markets in the area. The big one is the Taos Farmers Market on the Plaza, Saturday mornings from May to October. There are also wonderful markets at the Taos Pueblo and at Vivác Winery near Dixon on Wednesdays.

*Hot Tip: Ask farmers for recipes and share your own!

62. See the Red River Fish Hatchery. It’s actually not in Red River but south of Questa, about 20 miles north of Taos. The hatchery produces around 1.7 million rainbow trout per year.

63. Explore Red River. A little piece of Texas right here in Taos County. There’s a great brewery, lots of fun shops, frequent live music, and crazy beautiful scenery.

64. Listen. Just stop and listen to your heart. You may also hear the Taos Hum.

65. Play Pool at El Monte Sagrado. Grab a drink at the Anaconda Bar and go up stairs to the game room for the best round of pool in Taos. This is where Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, and friends played.

*Hot Tip: Tell them you’re a guest of the hotel if anyone asks.

66. Swim at the John Dunn Bridge. It’s also a great place for a picnic.

67. Birdwatch. This can be done anywhere and everywhere around Taos. From eagles and hawks to mountain bluebirds, keep your eyes on the skies.

*Hot Tip: The meadow south of the San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos is part of the Taos Birding Flyway.

68. See Wildlife. Around the Taos area (in the mountains, at the gorge, sometimes even in town) you’ll see bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, coyotes, and lots and lots of prairie dogs. Less commonly, you might even see blak bear or mountain lion. Watch your step, we have snakes, too….

*Hot Tip: Go out early: the earlier, closest to sunrise, the better.

69. Strike Up a Conversation. People in Taos, whether they were born here or come from somewhere else, always have a good story to tell. 

70. Become a Docent. Learn everything there is to know about one of the museums or historic properties and share that knowledge with visitors.

71. Volunteer at a Non-Profit. Contact the Taos Community Foundation to ask about non-profits you can help.

72. Eat a sopapilla. These powder puffs of dough are a Taos food staple.

73. Visit a Winery. New Mexico has the oldest winemaking tradition in the United States. Contemporary producers La Chiripada and Vivác are south in Dixon, and Black Mesa is a bit further south, in Alcalde.

74. Visit a brewery. Taos Mesa Brewing and Taos Ale House both have great taprooms in the historic district, and Blue Heron Brewing has a lovely spot in the canyon south of town, on the road to Dixon. 

75. Have a Taos picnic. Pick up supplies at Koko Deli Carry-Out, Parcht, or Manzanita Market, and head out to your new favorite picnic spot. 

76. Walk a Taos labyrinth. Adobe & Pines B&B and Mabel Dodge Luhan House have two of the best.

77. Look for Shed Antlers from Deer and Elk. During a walk in the forest, you never know what you might find. It’s a great free souvenir!

78. Drink a Margarita. Every self-respecting restaurant in Taos makes a killer margarita. Just remember, if you’re not used to the altitude, every beverage you have is like drinking three! Drink plenty of water, and get a designated driver!

79. Turn Up the Heat. Northern New Mexican food doesn’t scrimp on the heat. Try red chile, green chile, or Christmas. You never know which will be the hottest!

80. Eat Chocolate. Taos is lucky enough to have two excellent chocolate makers: Chokola Bean to Bar and Chocolate & Cashmere. You can thank us later.

81. Eat Ice Cream. It’s not vacation until you sample the extraordinary flavors of ice cream at Manzanita Market or Taos Cow.

82. Ride a Bike. Take the back roads or hire a mountain bike. Taos Ski Valley has epic mountain biking terrain in the summer.

83. Smile at a Complete Stranger. Taos is friendly!

84. Get a Caffeine Buzz. Taos is home to an ever-growing number of coffee shops, many of which roast their own beans. You will never go uncaffeinated in Taos. If you’re downtown, try World Cup Coffee or Cici’s Bean. On the north side, Elevation Coffee, The Coffee Spot, and Taos Cow are great options, as are Coffee Apothecary, Taos Java, and KOKO on the south side.

85. Stop and Smell the Lilacs. The Taos Lilac Festival is held annually in May. Enjoy an artisan festival, pet parade, live entertainment and more, all while taking in the beautiful sights and smells of Taos’ abundant lilacs.

86. Go Leaf Peeping. In autumn, the mountains around Taos blaze yellow (and occasionally orange and red) with stands of aspens. Take your 4-wheel-drive vehicle up to Garcia Park, west of Taos near Valle Escondido, to surround yourself in fall beauty.

87. Stand Where O’Keeffe Stood. Ask about this at the Mabel Dodge House, the DH Lawrence Ranch, or the Sagebrush Inn.

88. Buy a Hat. A real one. Not a baseball cap.

*Hot Tip: Drop in at Paul’s Western Wear or Six Hand Hat Co. and try a hat on for size.

89. Buy Vintage Turquoise Jewelry. Whether you purchase a pin, necklace, bracelet, or ring, nothing beats vintage turquoise for a Southwest souvenir.

*Hot Tip: Bryan’s Gallery, the Millicent Rogers Museum Gift Shop, Jackie’s Trading Post, Two Graces, and Kimosabe all have great items.

90. Drink water. The air is dry and thin up here; water fights both dehydration and altitude sickness. Do not get run down―drink more water than you think you need.

91. Instagram Hashtag: #VisitTaos #NewMexicoTrue #ThisIsTaos

92. Attend an Art Opening. Every weekend there’s an opening at a gallery or museum somewhere in Taos.

*Hot Tip: Check the Live Taos Calendar or pick up a copy of Taos News; the Tempo magazine has articles and calendar listings.

93. Take a yoga class. There are almost as many yoga studios in Taos as coffee shops. Shop around until you find one that fits your yogic style.

94. Protest with the Sign Guy. Jeff Northrup, maker of signs, is Taos’ Favorite Protestor. Volunteer to hold a sign with him.

95. Visit the Historic Taos Volunteer Fire Department Art Collection. Just ask a fireman to show you this room full of treasures. It’s open weekdays only at the downtown fire station, located at 323 Camino de la Placitas.

96. Ride in a balloon. Book a balloon ride with any of the balloon tours and soar above Taos. Don’t forget the post-flight Champagne!

97. Check Out Historic and Colorful Cemeteries. They’re all over Taos, just keep your eyes peeled.

98. Bask in a Garden. The Taos Garden Club, Los Jardiñeros, hosts a Home & Garden Tour most summers. Take the tour and get a peek at some of the most stunning gardens in town.

99. Pick Piñons. At the end of summer, you’ll notice cars parked along the side of the road. They know the best Piñon trees to pick!

100. Find Grinding Stones. Taos was known as the breadbasket of the west until the 1920s! Drive up State Road 240 from Ranchos de Taos, and you’ll see the fields where wheat was grown on each side of the road.