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Things to do in New Mexico when you're working?
August 16, 2011 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Things to do in New Mexico?

A friend is working far, far away in Carlsbad, NM for the next 3-4 months. He has a week off each month. Any mefi's from the area/state who could throw a couple recommendations my way for things to do/see/eat/etc?
posted by Cosine to Travel & Transportation around New Mexico (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, Carlsbad Caverns is pretty boss. Did you see this recent question? It's Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Roswell focused, but there's some good stuff in there.
posted by phunniemee at 3:56 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be totally honest, New Mexico is pretty sparse. As phunniemee noted, Carlsbad Caverns is pretty neato, but it's not like you can do that for a month. There's a so-called beach, a museum with lots of native American art, a golf course, if your friend is in to any of that. I just checked the city web site, and they report that the weather is "fair: 100 degrees." So keep that in mind, too.
posted by Gilbert at 4:11 PM on August 16, 2011


In Southern NM:
Lincoln County (as in Billy the Kid)
The Trinity Site
The Very Large Array
Pie Town (especially if you're interested in photography)
posted by Sara Anne at 4:12 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lincoln County is not just fun for the history, it's also at a higher elevation, which makes for cooler weather.
Ruidoso is also a nice place to visit
posted by Sara Anne at 4:15 PM on August 16, 2011


Whoops! The link for Pie Town
posted by Sara Anne at 4:17 PM on August 16, 2011


how could I forget White Sands?
posted by Sara Anne at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


White Sands is pretty cool. Also, Taos and Santa Fe are worth checking out...
posted by lovableiago at 4:20 PM on August 16, 2011


Albuquerque Balloon Festival in October. I haven't heard about it in recent years, but it had been wildly popular such that one would have to make hotel reservations months in advance. But certainly worth looking into.

Hatch Chili Festival. NPR did a story on this about 2 weeks ago.

As for eating, he will be asked in every restaurant (including Burger King, Pizza Hut) if he wants chili peppers ("chilies") on his food. These are mild green chilies and the correct answer is 'yes'.

When I was there about 10 years ago, the Trinity Site was open just two days a year: the first Saturdays of April and October.

Near Carlsbad in Texas are the Guadalupe Mountains. There's some spectacular hiking there. A bit farther south is Big Bend Natural Park.

White Sands.
posted by neuron at 4:23 PM on August 16, 2011


You might also consider heading in to W. Texas, rather than making the 6-7 hour drive to the nearest town in New Mexico. I believe that Balmorhea state park may be a shorter drive. Heck, you could probably even get to Marfa in less time. Either way, it's going to mean at least a couple of hours in the car.
posted by Gilbert at 4:43 PM on August 16, 2011


+1 for Balmorhea
posted by notned at 4:47 PM on August 16, 2011


Chama
posted by hortense at 5:08 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not 6-7 hours to other towns in NM. 4 to Las Cruces/El Paso, though I wouldn't recommend a day trip to Juarez anymore. 5 to Albuquerque. Maybe 3 to Lubbock. 90 minutes to Hobbs, which is where I grew up and has a bit more shopping, as far as I can tell, than Carlsbad. If he likes watching Roller Derby they've got a couple of SE NM leagues going.

But if he's got a week off at a time, he can consider lots of the region. Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam/Vegas. Austin or Dallas or Houston or New Orleans. Hell, my family drove all the way to Memphis in one day with time to explore Beale Street that night. If he can handle driving long distances, he really has a lot of options.
posted by sugarfish at 5:23 PM on August 16, 2011


No love for Northern New Mexico?

There's lots of cool stuff around Los Alamos:

Bandelier National Monument

Valles Caldera, which is not only amazing, but apparently you can go in now, which shows how long it's been since I've lived in New Mexico.

Nambe Falls
posted by colin_l at 6:55 PM on August 16, 2011


Lightning field is extraordinary. Bring your own food.
posted by answergrape at 7:25 PM on August 16, 2011


Chile Pepper Institute events.

If you like rocks, Valley of Fires (looks like Hawaii).

Eat at the Curious Kumquat in Silver City. Stay in Silver City and work your way up the mining towns.

Lots of stuff along the Jornata del muerte.

Cliff Dwellings at Gila.

White Sands
(bring LOTS of suncreen).

Trinity Site (open again in Fall) and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos (and the Black Hole).

Spaceport?

Ghost town visit to Chloride?

Roswell.

Tent Rocks (often filmed - recently for Cowboys and Aliens, I think).

Sky City (Really, there are 19 separate countries within NM. Acoma is just one of them.

And of course...Chaco Canyon (it's really a 3-day tour).

Seriously... plenty to see if you're game and willing to look.
posted by answergrape at 7:55 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Alamogordo, there's the Space Hall of Fame. Alamogordo is the best place to stay if you are visiting White Sands. It looks like the full moon nights are through October.

The Sacramento Mountains are East of Alamogordo. Ruidoso has horse racing. Sunspot, the solar observatory, is worth a trip. There's a lot of great camping, but it's bear country. (ask me how I know)

I think most of the rest has already been suggested, but another site in Texas I have heard great things about is Big Bend.
posted by annsunny at 8:58 PM on August 16, 2011


Cloudcroft is not a bad place to stop and look around for a while on the way to the Alamagordo area. And Highway 82 is very pretty.
posted by Quonab at 12:46 PM on August 17, 2011


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