An Insider's Guide to All Things Taos
THE STORIED HISTORY OF TAOS
The Athabascan people began settling in the Taos area in 1200 AD, evident by the 1300 AD Puebloan structures and other artifacts. Cultivating a prosperous culture based on agriculture and trade.
In the late 18th century, Spanish settlers began arriving in the area and quickly began exerting influence.
These settlers built several missions and forts and began to develop their own communities by building homes like the Melson-Oldham Cabin. It’s one of the few remaining square-hewn beams homes from the early 1800s—and is now a Registered National Historic Landmark.
San Francisco de Asis, also known as the Taos Pueblo Church, is famous in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Built by Spanish settlers in the 17th century, it’s one of the oldest churches in the United States—known for its unique blend of Spanish colonial architecture. Visitors will enjoy the adobe construction, intricately carved wooden doorways, and beautiful Talavera tile work. The church is also famous for its beautiful frescoes, which Indigenous American artists painted in the 18th century. Today, the Taos Pueblo Church is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Mexico, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world.
In 1915, the Taos Society of Artists was officially formed, and the area flourished as an enclave for creatives. Taos has a thriving art colony and has been a source of inspiration to artists like Georgia O’Keefe, and Ernest Blumenschein.
Taos is now a destination for travelers who are seeking something a bit different. Outdoor enthusiasts will love Taos Ski Valley’s high-altitude slopes, tree-lined pistes, and award-winning ski school. While travelers looking for a bit of culture with Southwestern hospitality will love exploring the beauty of the Rio Grande Gorge, visiting Taos Pueblo, and attending annual cultural events.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN TAOS
No visit to Taos is complete without seeing the Taos Pueblo in person. Taos Pueblo is an adobe village that has been home to the Taos Native American tribe for a millennium. It is the only living Native American pueblo with a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark designation.
It is a living, breathing World Heritage Site that’s currently populated by approximately 150 full-time residents. There’s nothing else like it in the world! Tours are offered through the visitor center.
Taos Drums features the world's largest selection of Indian drums created by artisans from Taos Pueblo. Over a year-long process, these drums are shaped from natural materials in the age-old tradition of the indigenous people. The Taos Drums showroom also has a wide range of rawhide furnishings, primitive folk art, ethnic crafts, lampshades, and jewelry. Kids will love seeing the giant teepees!
One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Taos Pueblo Pow Wow. Every year, residents and tourists alike come together to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Taos people. This Pow Wow is a vibrant and colorful event that features traditional dances and music. Visitors can also learn about the history and culture of Taos at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which houses a museum, art gallery, library, and cultural programming. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the people of Taos.
A visit to Taos is incomplete without a drive across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. It’s one of the highest bridges in the country! Towering 650 feet above the waters of the Rio Grande, this gorgeous steel bridge has appeared in film and TV. Visitors can peer over the side or enjoy a beautiful hike along a walking trail to the gorge's rim.
EXPLORE MORE IN TAOS
Every year in July, Taos comes alive with Fiestas de Taos. The event is a celebration of the history and culture of Taos, and it features a variety of local and regional musicians. This time-honored tradition dates to the 16th century when conquistadores ("conquerors" or "explorers" in Spanish) from Spain came to the area, bringing their traditions and faith. This Catholic tradition began as a way to honor the saints, and has become a community-wide event. Today, Fiestas de Taos attracts people from all over New Mexico and beyond.
The Taos Mountain Balloon Rally takes place the last weekend of October and is soaring in popularity each year. The contrast of bright, hot air balloons floating against the rugged splendor of the Sangre de Cristo mountains is truly a sight to behold.
The Harwood Museum of Art presents more than 100 years of Taos art history. Learn about the artists who made Taos famous, and view works by modern-day artists who continue in this tradition.
Hike the Rio Grande Gorge West Rim trail for spectacular views. This 4-mile trail skirts the gorge’s rim and is easy enough for families traveling with kids.
Just past the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a place that definitely feels other-worldly! Welcome to the Earthship, a biosphere community that visitors can tour. You’ll learn about sustainable development and eco-construction while touring remarkable buildings.
If you’re not an expert skier—don’t let the steep slopes of Taos Ski Valley intimidate you. With a summit elevation of 12,481 feet, the slopes in Taos Ski Valley are ranked as some of the most difficult in the country, but that doesn’t mean beginners won’t have a great time, too.
Taos Ski Valley is smaller than other ski resorts, with 110 runs, but has everything you’ll need for an excellent ski vacation.
The Ernie Blake Snowsports School
Taos Ski Valley has an award-winning ski school that’s perfect for all levels, but seems to excel at children’s lessons. The school offers a “Perfect Progression” program that’s broken into six steps so beginner skiers and snowboarders feel a sense of accomplishment as they improve. Open to ages 3-13, with full and half-day programs.
Teens and adults can also hone their skills at the Snowsports School. Sign up for private or group lessons, classes devoted to beginners—or really level up your skills by joining instructors for a multi-week camp.
WHERE TO EAT IN TAOS
The beloved restaurant Antonio’s The Taste of Mexico prepares unforgettable Southwestern dishes with flair. Diners rave about the unexpected flavor combinations. Look for it in downtown Taos.
Lambert’s of Taos is a fine dining experience that proudly sources local ingredients. Treat yourself to a special night out after a day of sightseeing.
Ready for something different? In the Winter, take a sleigh ride dinner to The Bavarian restaurant! That’s right! Guests hop aboard a snowcat-powered sleigh and watch the snow-covered trees go by as they’re whisked along to an authentic alpine lodge in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Once there, enjoy a Bavarian feast specially prepared for your party.
PLACES TO STAY IN TAOS
You’ll feel right at home in modern haciendas, cozy stucco homes, and homes that offer breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Our Taos vacation rentals embrace the destination’s eclectic flavor with contemporary log cabins nestled on the slopes, cozy condos and cottages a short walk from the base, and classic adobe homes with desert views.
Enjoy Taos year-round. Book now>>>