Sightseeing in New Mexico

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Inspired by the seafood of the American Northwest, the culinary team at Desert Fish prepare exclusively wild-caught catches using fresh, contemporary seasonings. The cucumber-melon finish of their Shigoku oysters from Washington State’s Willapa Bay prime palates for kona coffee-crusted Hawaiian snapper or house-made gnocchi with littleneck clams and pan-roasted brussel sprouts in brown butter sauce. Behind the bar, bartenders compliment the dishes with wines and specialty cocktails mixed with fresh fruit juices and herbs, such as the Mint Mirage martini, whose basil Hayden Bourbon and fresh mint magically disappear before diners’ eyes over the course of about 20 minutes. The restaurant also serves weekend brunches, offering a diverse selection that spans from fried oysters with biscuits and gravy to crab cake Benedict.

4214 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque,
NM
US

Throughout October, Rio Rancho's old City Hall building transforms into Dragon's House of Horror, a creepy two-story building that raises hairs with an arsenal of scare tactics and spine-chilling sound effects. Entirely safe and family friendly, the haunted-house visit is accompanied by an on-location harvest carnival and a low-scare time for small children from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Beginning at 7 p.m., the building opens its flood door of frights as a family of masked ghouls, werewolves, and Richard Nixons climb through the woodwork to confront unsuspecting guests. Starting on October 27 and lasting through October 31, guests can experience the haunted happenings of Dragon's House of Horror until midnight. Spooking visitors for a charitable cause, a portion of the house's proceeds go to the Big Joe's Dare to Be Great Foundation.

3900 Southern Boulevard Southeast
Rio Rancho,
NM
US

With four museums and six monuments, the nonprofit Museum of New Mexico Foundation keeps the state's artistic and cultural heritage alive with enthralling permanent collections, exhibits, and events. Art aficionados can marvel at more than 20,000 works by artists with strong ties to the state in the New Mexico Museum of Art, check out more than 1,300 artifacts in the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and attempt to tape their “lost cat” flyers to more than 100,000 items culled from 100 countries at the Museum of International Folk Art. Meanwhile, the New Mexico History Museum’s 30,000-square-foot exhibition space covers topics ranging from the Santa Fe Trail to World War II through art, maps, and photographs.

After each museum visit, guests can stop by the Coronado State Monument, which marks the spot where Coronado and his crew entered the Rio Grande Valley in search of the Seven Cities of Gold and their lost car keys. The foundation's sextet of monuments also includes the stone ruins of a 500-year-old Indian village at Jemez and exhibits on frontier and military life at Fort Selden.

107 West Palace Avenue
Santa Fe,
NM
US

Helmed by cookbook author and television personality Jane Butel, Jane Butel’s Southwest Cooking School arms aspiring chefs with savory culinary artillery. For more than 50 years, Butel has sharpened her culinary prowess—authoring 20 cookbooks and hosting four television and national radio shows—developing an insatiable catalogue of accessible, demonstration classes that delve deep into American Southwest and regional Mexican cooking. Master the spices, sauces, and complicated handshakes of southwestern fare with one of Butel’s introductory classes, which teach greenhorn gourmands how to prepare quintessential New Mexican eats, including guacamole, quesadillas, green-chili chicken, enchiladas, and more. Each class focuses on a specific menu and theme, with items that speak to a wide range of culinary topics, including healthy cuisine, grilling, quick-and-easy cooking, and party favorites.

308 Enchanted Valley Rd NW
Los Ranchos,
NM
US

Rail riders chug through the scenic Rocky Mountains along the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad⎯the highest altitude and longest route traveled by an American coal-fired steam-operated train. Across 64 miles of track built in 1880, the iron horse chugs along at 15 miles per hour, winding through the Rocky Mountain air and presenting travelers with panoramic vistas. When voyaging from Chama, passengers pass through aspen trees and grassy hills on the way to the 10,015-foot high Cumbres Pass, where they drink in views of the entire Chama Valley and marvel at ant-sized humans transporting food to their queen. If leaving from Antonito, commuters cross over Ferguson's Trestle and a lava mesa before traversing the rim of the 800-foot-deep Toltec Gorge, passing through the mud tunnel, and bending around Phantom Curve.

5234 U.S. 285
Antonito,
CO
US

Albuquerque's only guided city tour follows an 18-mile course, and the 66 minutes of fun begin at the Plaza Don Luis in Old Town. The journey, which allows sightseers to sit back and take in the view (as opposed to "hop on, hop off" tours) blazes a path past Museum Row and through Downtown, before cruising on course to the city's competitive baseball, basketball, and jousting stadiums. With witty and historical commentary, the burqueños entertain and inform locals and visitor alike as they ferry past the Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque Aquarium, and Botanic Gardens, among other essential Albuquerque hot spots. The tour concludes where it began in Old Town, where the knowledgeable guides bid farewell to guests and point them toward a good place to lunch, shop, or patent their most recent invention.

208 San Felipe Street Northwest
Albuquerque,
NM
US