The small town of Taos claims a thousand-year-old Native American Pueblo, abundant galleries and museums, hiking in the southern Rocky Mountains, and an outsized cuisine scene among its highlights. You could easily spend two days here following just one of these interests along narrow streets between the comforting, curved lines of adobe buildings, but a perfect weekend here incorporates tastes of each. Consider this itinerary your Taos amuse bouche.
To trace the town’s history, start on the outskirts of town, taking in ancient Taos Pueblo. Puebloan ancestors have lived in the area for a millennium, and the multi-story adobe homes that stand today were constructed nearly as long ago. Tribal members lead frequent tours through the village, during which you’ll explore the living village and meet resident artisans.
The Taos Society of Artists, founded in 1915, established this town as a bastion of creativity—an ethos that continues today with dozens of galleries and studios, and a multi-faceted museum system. If you can visit only a couple, visit the Harwood Museum of Art, which tracks the town from its days as an artist colony to today, and the Millicent Rogers Museum with its fine collection of Spanish Colonial and Native American art.
In the evening, turn in at the Taos Inn, one of the town’s landmark hotels. Even if you don’t stay in one of its Southwest-chic guest rooms, dine on New American fare at Doc Martin’s restaurant and sip a margarita at the Adobe Bar, which often has live music or poetry. It’s known as the town’s living room, so the people watching of the town’s colorful residents can be just as entertaining as the on-stage act.
Get an early start this morning for an excursion to Taos Ski Valley, a 30-minute drive north of town. During ski season, this acreage overflows with powder hounds seeking the true-black-diamond and hike-to runs that make up New Mexico’s most challenging ski terrain. During summer, it’s also a hiking departure point with trails to alpine lakes and the state’s highest peak. After taking in the valley from these summits, walk the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, for views into a 650-foot deep crevasse through which the Rio Grande still flows wildly.
Back in town, refresh for your reservation at The Love Apple. The intimate fine-dining restaurant devoted to farm-to-table fare reveals another side to Taos’ character: deep agricultural roots and a connection to the land and community, which is perhaps why the town has also been a draw for counter (and commune) culture. Top off the weekend sipping a craft beer and chatting up a local about his/her Earthship at Taos Mesa Brewing, one of the town’s few nightspots in an otherwise turn-in-early town.