Taos, a city representing the definition of diverse culture, in the heart of New Mexico’s north. A city steeped in history and a millennium of settlers. Taos, New Mexico is a tourist mecca with more to see and do than could be experienced in one trip.
The small city has the scenery, the arts and the background to impress anyone who passes through. Let’s take a look at the finer details that Taos has to offer.
History of Taos, New Mexico
Taos started as Taos Pueblo, a little spot that now sits on the northern border of Taos, New Mexico. The original pueblo was built at some point between the years 1000 and 1500, some thousand years ago. It is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited area of the United States.
Established as Don Fernando de Taos in 1615, the area has seen its share of hard times. From Spanish settlers to the Pueblo Revolt, the first 200 years were fraught with battle and defense. When Mexico gave the area to the United States in an accord in 1848, the Spanish and Taos settlers staged the Taos Revolt which ended with the death of the Governor Charles Bent.
At the end of the 1800s artists began to settle in the area and by 1915 the Taos Society of Artists was established. Taos became a state in 1912. Artists and natives lived in Taos in harmony for decades. Many of the artists houses are still preserved and can be visited today.
Places to Stay in Taos
Upon arriving in Taos, aside from the majestic natural landscapes, you will need to find a place to stay. Finding where to stay in Taos, New Mexico is not difficult. The town boasts modern hotels, haciendas, bed and breakfasts and even Earthships for you to sleep in.
If you like to stay modern you will find a plethora of chain hotels dotting the roadways. While there is nothing wrong with this option, there are other, more adventurous ways to stay in Taos.
Bed and Breakfast
Bed and Breakfast inns offer a more personal and cozy setting than a modern hotel. They will still have all the amenities you will need: cable television, WiFI, etc. However, they will generally have a more rustic setting, more peaceful setting or be less crowded (as they tend to have fewer rooms.
Stying at a bed and breakfast gives you the sensation of waking up in your own home away from home. A few of the most popular bed and breakfasts you will find in Taos are:
- Old Taos Guesthouse
- Palacio de Marquesa
- Inn on La Loma Plaza
- Adobe and Pines Inn B&B
There are dozens of choices and locations in and around Taos for the perfect B&B for you.
Earthships are just another thing altogether. Started in 1970 by Mike Reynolds, Earthships are small self-sustaining homes. These homes are built using recycled or upcycled materials; generally old tires packed with dirt and concrete.
The walls are made from aluminum and tin cans and covered with adobe. The roof is made of trusses. When complete, the little homes create their own water, sustain small edible gardens, self-heat and cool and do not require being on the “grid”.
Finding Food in Taos
Whether you decide to stay in an Earthship, a bed and breakfast or other, more modern accommodations, you will eventually need to know where to eat in Taos, New Mexico.
Local cuisine is a must try, and no matter what your tastes, you will find something to suit your palette. Everything from the fast food chains down to the mom and pop eateries can be found in Taos. What are you looking for?
When visiting somewhere new, it is important to understand the culture. Food is one of the best ways to dive in and try the culture for yourself. Taos has plenty of authentic food places to try.
El Meze uses only local sourced ingredients such as fish, meat and vegetables, this rustic American diner will give you an original taste of Taos.
Gutiz offers the authentic local cuisine with a French twist. You will find tapas, sandwiches and lunch plates made from scratch. They also offer baked goods made in house for a great tasting dessert.
Dinner and a Show
If you like entertainment while you dine, Taos has you covered there, too. You can find live music and dance lessons every Friday night at Old Matrina’s Hall. You will need to book in advance and see what attraction is happening that particular Friday.
You can also visit the Trading Post where the open kitchen allows you to watch as the chefs prepare your food. Surrounded by history and art, the Trading Post offers a little something for everyone while you eat.
Things to do in Taos, New Mexico
Sleeping and eating can be done anywhere. If you are visiting Taos, you will want to experience as much as possible. The city is steeped in history dating back over 1000 years. For this history buffs there are museums, landmarks and activity centers galore.
Taos has over 20 historic buildings and landmarks registered with the historical society. The Taos Pueblo is just three miles north of the city. This pueblo has been occupied for over 1000 years with a regular attendance of 160. In the cooler months that population grows to over 1600 when the locals that own parts of the pueblo return to stay for a while.
Bent street is another historical walk through the past. Charles Bent’s home was on this street, and the historical society named the street for him as a reminder. Bent was the governor during the Taos Revolt and was killed and scalped as a result.
Artists have flocked to Taos since the early 1900s and still call Taos home today. The Society of Artists formed in 1915 gave a foothold in the area for artists to gather, work and live. You can visit many of the artists homes throughout the town and immerse yourself in the history of the land.
Some (of the many) notable artists that lived, were born, or otherwise worked in Taos are:
- Oscar E. Berninghaus
- Larry Bell
- Ernest L. Blumenschein
- James Doss
- E. Irving Couse
- Natalie Goldberg
If sightseeing is more your style, then you will love the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. This picturesque bridge has been called the most beautiful steel bridge in the world, and at the time of construction was the second longest bridge in the country. The bridge has also been featured in song, book and Hollywood films.
The scenery is embellished through travel, as well. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway and the High Road to Taos will take you on a winding journey in through and around Taos, covering some of the most beautiful landscape and views you have ever seen.
Because of Taos’ northern location, there are plenty of slopes that get covered in snow. Taos, New Mexico skiing is some of the best in the country. Not only do you have perfect climate for skiing, you also get some of the best views on your way downhill.
There are more than 50 trails, slopes, lifts and courses to get you to the top and bring you back down again. Skiing, snowboarding or snow-hiking has never been more enjoyable or easily attained as it is in Taos. The weather in Taos, New Mexico is an arid and cool climate. Perfectly suited for warm, mild summers and snow-covered winters.
There is a certain percentage of the population that can hear the Taos Hum. While others can’t hear anything at all, some people on the west end of town can hear a low rumbling hum that has never been explained.
No one knows where the hum comes from or why only certain people can hear it. The low-frequency hum has been featured in an episode of The X-Files as well as on Unsolved Mysteries. Can you hear it?
One of the oldest, constantly populated areas in the United States, Taos is home to artists, travelers and native people who love nature. The town is full of history dating back over 1000 years. While not all of that history is good, it is important to know where the city and its populace come from.
You can find some of the most awe-inspiring views the country has to offer, ride down a few snow-covered slopes and take in some live music with your award-winning dinner before laying down in a self-sustained Earthship. That’s just the first day!
Imagine spending a few days or a week learning about the rich history, visiting museums and watching artists work in a city that was born rebellious, and has stayed true to its roots for over a thousand years. Stay long enough and you may even be one of the select few to hear the Taos hum.