Geography and Culture

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petroglyphsNew Mexico petroglyphs.

Tucked between Texas and Arizona, the "Land of Enchantment" lies at the heart of the Southwestern United States and also shares a border with Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma and Mexico. The Rocky Mountains run the length of New Mexico, with foothills spilling into Mexico on our southern border. The landscape ranges from piñon-dotted high deserts to spectacular snow-capped mountains, along with impressive lakes and a vast network of rivers and streams adorned with ancient cottonwoods and sweeping willows.

Amid the natural beauty you'll find a vibrant cultural landscape that includes Native American villages, Spanish missions and remnants of age-old civilizations including cliff-dwellings and riverside ruins. This fusion of valued places, celebrated architecture, treasured history and strong cultural vitality contributes to the spectacular natural beauty, making it a place for a myriad of people to enjoy. New Mexico, the nature lover's dream, proudly features:

  • 13 national monuments and parks
  • 20 million acres of state and national forests
  • Wildlife refuges
  • Wilderness areas
  • Over 30 state parks, lakes and other recreation areas

All of these natural amenities are just a short drive away from the Metro area, and many are within city limits, making it easy and fun to experience New Mexico’s stunning geography.


New Mexico offers an exciting and distinctive blend of cultural activities and traditions. There are numerous sites around New Mexico that support, preserve and promote a vast array of cultural activities and histories. Additionally, many popular events held each year showcase the talents of the diverse groups that comprise New Mexico's rich cultural heritage, including traditional and fine arts, music, food, and historic re-enactments.

Cultural Site Resources

  • Acoma Pueblo - The oldest inhabited city in the US – perched atop a stunning mesa.
  • El Rancho de Las Golondrinas - An open air museum that recreates life in Spanish Colonial New Mexico.
  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center - An excellent starting point for exploring the art, life, dance, and culture of the state's 19 Native American Pueblos, two Apache tribes, and the Navajo Nation.
  • Isleta Pueblo - Local Native American Pueblo open to the public for shopping and cultural events.
  • Institute for Spanish Arts – Providing workshops, events and outreach to preserve and strengthen New Mexico’s Spanish heritage.
  • Los Ojos - An ancient Hispanic town that is the home of Ganados del Valle, a sheep raising and knitting cooperative. Other activities include visiting the historic village, the San Jose church or the Los Brazos cliffs. Northern New Mexico.
  • National Institute of Flamenco - Created to preserve and promote flamenco’s artistry, history, and culture through dance classes for all ages and live performances.
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico - A world-class facility in Albuquerque's South Valley dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and showcasing Hispanic arts and lifeways. It hosts local, national and international exhibits and performing artists.
  • New Mexico Culture Net – Website designed to promote the diverse cultures of New Mexico.
  • New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs - Preserving and promoting New Mexico’s cultural treasures.
  • New Mexico Department of Tourism – Website providing visitor information, history, culture, facts and trivia, audio/video tour of New Mexico, travel information, weather and an interactive map.
  • New Mexico Farmers Markets - Link to New Mexico farmers' markets, many of which host locally-created and culturally-relevant arts and crafts.
  • Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument - Located south of Estancia Valley in Mountainair, the monument presents austere reminders of the Pueblo Indians' earliest contact with Spanish colonials through the ruins of four mission churches and a partially excavated pueblo.  Visit all the sites dating from the 1600, including Gran Quivira, a mission whose main church remains incomplete; Quarai, a beautiful Spanish church and mission; Abo; and Salinas Pueblo.
  • Sky City Cultural Center and Haak'u Museum: Offers a variety of activities including guided tours, handmade pottery, gift shop, café, feast day celebrations, dances and other public events held throughout the year.  Located in Acoma.
  • Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau - Lodging, restaurants, maps, history, favorite places.

Cultural Event Resources

sandhill-craneThe Festival of Cranes celebrates the annual
arrival of sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache, near Socorro.
  • Albuquerque BioPark Event Calendar - The Albuquerque BioPark consists of the Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque Aquarium, Rio Grande Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach.
  • Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau - Website with information on annual events, monthly conventions, trade show calendar, and a monthly events calendar.
  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Over 800 balloons take flight over the first two weekends of October.
  • Albuquerque Urban Farm and Harvest Festival - An annual, all ages event that celebrates local agriculture and how to preserve traditional farming in our region.
  • Corrales Harvest Festival - Am annual festival since 1986 aimed at promoting and preserving local agriculture, art, performing arts and culture in the Village of Corrales.
  • New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo - Premier wine festival of the southwest. Wine tasting, food, music, arts and crafts.
  • El Rancho de las Golondrinas Harvest Festival - Traditional cultural and food making activities such as grape crushing, molasses making, and stringing chile ristras (bundled chiles).
  • Festival of the Cranes - Celebrates the annual arrival of sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache, events, tickets, exhibits, demonstrations
  • Flamenco Festival - Internationally-renowned festival including classes, lectures and performances.
  • Gathering of Nations - Experience the largest Native American celebration in North America at this annual event held in Albuquerque. Activities include dance, arts and crafts and a Miss Indian World contest.
  • International Folk Art Market - Held annually on the grounds of the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe.
  • Local Food Festival and Field Day - Celebrating local food and agricultural at the historic Gutierrez-Hubbell House. 
  • New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair - A summer juried art event open to all ages and skill levels.
  • New Mexico State Fair - Held each September in Albuquerque.
  • Santa Fe Indian Market - The largest annual exhibition of Indian art in the world. An estimated 100,000 visitors flock to see more than 1,200 Native American artists sell their work at outdoor booths on and around the Plaza in Santa Fe.
  • Spanish Market - Held annually in Santa Fe. Honors fine, unique Hispanic folk arts and crafts dating from the Spanish colonial period.
  • Summerfest: Saturday evening crowds jam free events in Albuquerque to enjoy the foods, crafts, music and dance of more than a dozen different ethnic groups.
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