If you’re looking for a quaint little southwest town that is perfect for outdoor adventures, a dream for art lovers, and away from the hustle and bustle that tourists tend to bring, well, look no further than Taos, New Mexico. From hiking to shopping to art galleries and museums, there is an abundance of amazing things to do in Taos. So what are you waiting for?!
Things To Do In Taos
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Where Is Taos New Mexico?
First, let’s get you familiar with where Taos is on the map. Taos is located about 45 miles south of the Colorado border in northern New Mexico’s high desert. The town sits at around 7,000 ft in elevation and offers spectacular views of the Southern Rocky Mountain subrange, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
What Is Taos New Mexico Known For?
Regardless of the time of year, Taos really is a perfect place to visit. There is so much to see and do, especially if you love art and the outdoors. Home to a world-class ski resort, amazing hiking, and biking trails, and breathtaking landscapes that will make you fall in love, Taos is a perfect southwest getaway.
Let’s get to the specifics though, shall we?
What To Do in Taos
1. Shop at The Historic Taos Plaza
Located in the heart of the Historic District, you’ll find Taos Plaza. The Plaza is a perfect place to spend the afternoon shopping for handmade tribal pottery, jewelry, and candles. You’ll also find an assortment of clothing shops. From leather goods to souvenir shirts and hoodies, the Plaza is a great place to get your shopping fix.
Plan to grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes that surround the plaza and enjoy the afternoon.
2. Listen to Live Music at K-Tao
Known as THE live music venue in Taos, K-Tao houses two of the region’s most popular radio stations as well as a full bar and dance floor. Enjoy outdoor seating and sweeping views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains as you enjoy some tunes.
3. Watch The Sunset on The Sangre de Cristo Range
There is nothing quite as spectacular as a Taos sunset. The way the light hits the mountains and to see the purples, pinks, and oranges illuminate the sky, it’s truly a sight to see. If possible, catch the sunset every night. You won’t regret it.
4. Hike To The Tallest Point in New Mexico
Taos is home to the tallest peak in New Mexico, Mount Wheeler. Standing tall at 13,161 feet, Mount Wheeler is one epic hike to check off your list. Plan to start the hike at dawn to avoid any afternoon weather shifts and changes. You don’t want to be caught in a storm that high up.
You can access the trailhead from the Ski Valley and be prepared for it to take you anywhere from 6-8 hours round trip. It’s a moderate to difficult hike so just make sure you have appropriate shoes and plenty of snacks and water.
For more amazing Taos Hikes, check out “5 Can’t Miss Taos Day Hikes“
5. Visit The Taos Pueblo
The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. It’s home to the Taos Pueblo Native Americans who speak the Tiwa language. It’s estimated that around 150 people reside in the Pueblo. Graciously, the Pueblo Native Americans open their homes and land for visitors to enjoy.
The cost of admission and hours of operation are below.
- Pueblo Hours:
- Monday – Saturday: 8:00am – 4:00pm
- Sunday: 8:30am – 4:00pm
- Pueblo Entrance Fee:
- Adults: $16 / person
- Seniors: $14 / person
- Students: $14 / person
- Kids (10 and under): Free
6. Enjoy A Dip In the Taos Hot Springs
Located in the neighboring town of Arroyo Hondo, you’ll find the Manby Hot Springs (also known as Stagecoach Hot Springs). The Manby Hot Springs are three, rustic, naturally occurring rock pools that are situated along the Rio Grande River.
These hot springs are nothing fancy, but if you’re looking for a relaxing and unique experience in Taos, these are for you.
7. Drive Over The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Suspended 600 ft above the Rio Grande River, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. Located a few miles out of town, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is an easy and enjoyable pitstop to make, and check out the views below.
Park your car and walk the bridge to get a few photos of the amazing views from the mesa and below.
8. Get Inspired by The Taos Earthship’s
You’re probably wondering what an Earthship is, right? Earthships are self-sufficient, off-the-grid homes that are made out of recycled materials like glass and tires.
Located outside of town, you’ll find the Earthship Visitor Center where you can learn all about the build of these homes, how they grow their own food, reuse their own water, etc.
It’s really a cool place for those who love eco-friendly or sustainable lifestyles or are just interested in unique architectures.
9. Go For a Birdie at The Country Club
The Taos Country club is an 18 hole golf course offering public tee times to locals and visitors. Hit a few balls in a picturesque course setting and then grab a beer at the Terrace Bar & Grill before heading out.
10. Visit Some Museums In Taos
If there is one thing that Taos has besides amazing scenery, it’s museums. From Hispanic works of art to local artists to learn about an American frontiersman, there is a museum for you in Taos.
- Kit Carson’s Home & Museum – Built in 1825, walk through and learn about the life of the American frontier expedition leader, Kit Carson.
- The Millicent Rogers Museum – Millicent Rogers spent her life collecting Southwestern artwork. After her breakup with Hollywood star, Clark Gable, Millicent came to Taos where she continued her collection. After her death, her son turned her art collection into a 14 gallery art exhibit for the public to enjoy.
- Taos Art Museum at Fechin House – If you want to experience the works of local artists, make a visit to the Taos Art Museum.
- Harwood Museum of Art – The Harwood Museum is the second oldest art museum in New Mexico offering over 1,700 works of art and 17,000 photographic images for you to enjoy.
11. Feed Your Adrenaline With Taos White Water Rafting
Book a tour with Los Rios River Runners to take your outdoor adventure up a notch. From half-day, to full-day and overnight white water rafting excursions, there is no other company that has more experience on the river than Los Rios River Runners.
12. Head To The River & Give Fishing A Try
The area is known for its good trout fishing so if you’re in the area, head to the river, who knows what you’ll catch!
13. Go Up and Down on Mountain Biking Trails
Nestled amongst the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it would only make sense that Taos would have some great mountain biking trails. There are a handful of trails located within the town and outside of town.
A few popular trails by locals and visitors are listed just below.
- Amole Canyon | 7.2 miles | Rated as easy
- Cebolla Mesa | 7 miles | Rated as easy
- Ojitos Canyon Loop | 10 miles | Rated as difficult
- Ski Valley (Northside) | Numerous Trails | Varying difficulties
14. Hit The Slopes at Taos Ski Valley
From greens to black diamonds and backcountry skiing, Taos Ski Valley is a gem! The Taos Ski Valley is nowhere near as busy as the ski resorts a few hours away in Colorado, giving you more time on the mountains.
You’ll enjoy every minute here, from its beautiful views to its European vibes. For all the die-hard skiers and snowboarders, Kachina Peak (12,481 ft) is a must! Oh and no worries if you don’t know how to ski, the Taos Ski School is one of the highest-rated ski schools in North America.
15. Stop By San Francisco De Asis Church
Built in the early 1800s, San Francisco de Asis Church is the only original church remaining intact in the town of Taos. The church itself has been a subject of several paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe as well as famous photographers like Ansel Adams.
A quick but well worth visit if you ask us.
16. Explore The Skies in A Hot Air Balloon
If you’re wanting to see Taos from the sky, might we suggest booking a hot air balloon tour with Eske’s Paradise Balloon. Let Eske’s fly you over the Rio Grande Gorge as you take in the desert views below.
17. Camp At Williams Lake
Setup camp at the alpine lake of Williams Lake. Sitting pretty at 11,000 ft, William Lake is a perfect place to camp for the evening. It’s an especially popular spot for those hiking up to Wheeler Peak as you pass Williams Lake on your way up to the summit.
TIP: Your campsite must be 300 ft away from the water’s edge. There is also no facilities up there so you must bring everything you need with you. Check out camping gear and pack list
When visiting Taos, understand you have two ways to get here 1) fly or 2) drive.
If you’re looking to fly directly into Taos, there is good news for you! The nearest airport is located right in town. Taos Regional Airport offers direct flights via Taos Air from select cities like Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Outside of flying directly into Taos, your closest airports are Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF) and Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ). Once you arrive at either of these airports, you’ll need to rent a car and drive the remainder of the way.
The area around Taos is stunning. Doesn’t matter if you’re coming North from Colorado, South from Albuquerque or East from Texas, the closer you get to Taos, the prettier it gets.
Get miles and drive times below to start planning your visit.
- Denver to Taos | 288 miles, 4h 45mins
- Colorado Springs to Taos | 219 miles, 3h 36mins
- Santa Fe to Taos | 70 miles, 1.5h
- Albuquerque To Taos | 133 miles, 2h 25mins
- El Paso to Taos | 376 miles, 6h 21mins
- Dallas to Taos | 677 miles, 10.5h
- Austin to Taos | 724 miles, 12h
- Oklahoma City to Taos | 523 miles, 8h 45mins
It’s best to call ahead or book online if you are wanting to reserve transportation services.
TIP: Once in Taos, you’ll need to use Uber or book a rental car to get around town and the surrounding areas.
Where To Eat In Taos
- Have breakfast or bunch at Farmhouse
- Get ice cream at Taos Cow
- Have a romantic dinner at The Love Apple
- Eat clean and wholesome at Sol Food Market
- Grab a local craft beer at Mesa Brewery
- Smash some enchiladas at Orlando’s
- Have some beers & pretzels at The Bavarian
- Pick up some homemade tamale’s from Abe’s
- Grab a night cap at The Adobe Bar
- Devour a burger from The Burger Stand
- The Luxury Inclined | Hotel La Fonda
- The Budget Conscious | Sagebrush Inn & Suites
- Something in Between |Dreamcatcher B&B
- Something Unique | Hotel Luna Mystica
For more accommodation options, check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)