Bounded by national forest with mountains on practically every horizon, Taos has been a destination for all walks of life for some time—outdoor enthusiasts, art buffs, history nerds and many travelers just seeking out chill vibes in the northern New Mexico enclave. It's more than just a destination, but home to Taos Pueblo, which the city itself grew up around now officially boasting the title of World Heritage Site. Taos has always felt like its own world with strong believers in vortexes flocking to its fringes right alongside skiers and geologists. The plaza offers up a hub from which to watch the whole wild mix mingle. Bordering the plaza too, are kitschy New Mexican shops to seek out your new favorite bit or bob, outfitters to prepare you for the elements if you're outward bound, artisanal chocolate shops, jewelry stores, and both fine and cheap dining. There's a whole lot of variety packed into Taos proper—all dropped into a stretch of singular natural beauty.
In addition to the World Heritage Site of Taos Pueblo—whose north facing facade of multi-storied adobe structures is said to be one of the most photographed places in the world—Taos is home to the nearby Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This vast preserved land encompasses mesas, volcanic cones, Ute Mountain and gorges cut 800 feet deep into the surrounding stone by the Rio Grande. Peppered throughout the area are petroglyphs and abandoned homesteading properties, speaking to the pull that the area has had for hundreds and thousands of years.
Outdoors aren't your thing? No worries, Taos is home to the Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Art Museum, along with numerous galleries. And the area's history as home to the Taos Society of Artist, and central to the lives Mabel Dodge Luhan, D.H. Lawrence and Ansel Adams, to name a few, mean these institutions and the creative spirit of the place have long been world class. That's not even mentioning the long history of fine woodworking spearheaded by artists in the 18th and early 19th centuries, tinwork brought from Mexico and worked finely by local artisans, and beautiful retablos, bultos, basketry and so much more that has long been adding beauty to life in Taos and throughout New Mexico.
Perhaps best of all, after long days of hiking, rafting, learning, museum hopping, shopping, skiing—whatever it is you're into—there is the ever-bustling Taos Mesa Brewing to stop into for a beer, snack, live music and often dancing, as well as several nearby natural hot springs to rest your bones in. There is truly nowhere on Earth like Taos, and that is why it attracts interesting people who continually add to the appeal of this high desert town that despite its small size (nearing 6,000 in population) feels endlessly rich. ()