10 Amazing Historic and Cultural Attractions to See in New Mexico

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3. Bandelier National Monument

Walking underneath the towering cliffs framing Frijoles Canyon can be a spiritual experience for visitors to Bandelier National Monument. Stretching for several miles along the canyon are dozens of ancient cave dwellings that were carved into the cliffs by ancestral Puebloan people. While 70 miles of hiking trails wind through the rugged 50-square-mile national monument about 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe, Bandlier’s Main Loop Trail’s 1.2-mile, mostly level loop offers a great overview of the area where evidence of human activity dating back more than 10,000 years has been found. Short ladders provide entrance to some cave dwellings, and petroglyphs and remnants of a two-story, multi-room pueblo that housed 100 people can be seen. A half-mile trail extension leads to Alcove House, a large cave perched 140 feet above the canyon floor where approximately 25 people lived. It can be accessed via a series of stone steps and ladders.

Bandelier National Monument

4. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Located on picturesque Museum Hill just outside downtown Santa Fe, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture contains an amazing 10 million artifacts from some 12,000 excavated archaeological sites across New Mexico. The Museum’s permanent “Here, Now and Always” exhibit tells the history and present life of the Pueblo, Navajo, Apache and other indigenous cultures in the American Southwest through Native American voices, artifacts and multimedia. The Buchsbaum Gallery showcases modern and historic pottery from the region’s pueblos, and changing galleries explore other aspects of Native American life in the Southwest such as the history and significance of turquoise in their cultures. A majestic outdoor sculpture garden features rotating exhibits of works by Native American sculptors. Also located on Museum Hill is the Museum of International Folk Art which houses the world’s largest collection of folk art with some 150,000 artifacts from more than 150 nations.

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