Areas & Neighborhoods in Taos
Restaurants, museums, and historic homes are clustered in adobe-style buildings around the public square at the heart of the downtown historic district, which has been the center of public life in Taos since the days of the first Franciscan mission. All of the city’s main thoroughfares converge on the area, and you can find plenty of hotels within a quick walk of the souvenir shops that lie just off the plaza.
Starting a few blocks away from the commercial and tourist hub of downtown, a sprawling landscape of townhouses on tree-shaded streets stretches out across the countryside. Inns and pubs, and desert scrub share the wide-open lands along U.S. Highway 64, stretching past Taos Regional Airport and out to the sheer walls of the Rio Grande Gorge.
A hip community on the mesa just below Lucero Peak, Arroyo Seco has a great concentration of galleries, eateries, and incredible views of the mountains that loom just at the edge of town. A few B&Bs in the community give you a great starting point for expeditions into the slopes of the Taos Ski Valley.
What to See in Taos
Thanks to the natural splendor around town and its role in Southwestern history, Taos has a cornucopia of places to see for outdoor adventurers and history buffs alike. Kit Carson’s house stands just off Taos Plaza, complete with a museum to the famous frontiersman’s life, and the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church has been a photogenic icon of Ranchos de Taos for almost 350 years. Outside of town, the high desert and the Taos Mountains fill the scenery with a terrific array of sights. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge offers sweeping views across the chasm cut by the river, and you’re just a few miles away from the highest peaks in New Mexico if you’re feeling inclined for an active day on a network of summit-scaling trails.
Sightseeing in Taos
From bike rides to hikes, the most striking sights around Taos are found with a sense of adventure and a little physical effort. You can take a mountain bike out to Cruz Canyon along the South Boundary Trail, explore the Carson National Forest, or head up to the peaks of Taos Ski Valley. If that’s not enough altitude for you, climb aboard a hot-air balloon for a breezy voyage over the Rio Grande Gorge.
Amid all the scenery, there’s a wealth of arts and living history held around the town. Visit the Taos Pueblo to get to know a community that dates back to the 11th century, or check out the living museum focused on Spanish colonial life at Martinez Hacienda. The Millicent Rogers Museum holds a showcase of Pueblo and Hispanic art, while the Taos Art Museum and Harwood Museum of Art show off some of the best works from the artistic scene that still animates the city today.