Bent Street is a top shopping spot.
Photo by gettyimages.com/j.michaeljones
This northern city is many things — a traditional and contemporary art colony, an ancient community, a hub for sustainable architecture. Today's travelers can explore the hallowed homes of artists, stay in boutique hotels, and rock out with live music and craft brews.
Taos Mesa Brewing
This Quonset hut-turned-brewery on the sagebrush mesa outside of town is not only a spot for sipping craft beer — though it does have more than a dozen brews on tap — it's also the town's most happening music venue for local and touring bands.
This restaurant in the Historic Taos Inn is a must, both for its historical ambiance and New American fare. The 400-strong wine list has earned Wine Spectator's "Best Of" Award of Excellence for 25 years running.
Pärcht Bottle Shop + Bites and The Gorge Bar and Grill
These sister bars have become après-ski hot spots. Pärcht serves a wide-ranging old-world wine list and elevated snacks in a cozy ground-floor shop; The Gorge has a more boisterous ambiance (perhaps thanks to its tequila menu) and a smorgasbord of dishes, including bison sliders and carne adovada–smothered fries.
Using local, seasonal ingredients, this chalkboard-menu-style restaurant creates three distinct seasonal offerings: Monsoon, First Winter, and Second Winter.
Photo by Gabreilla Marks
Millicent Rogers Museum
A surprising former resident, Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers amassed an expansive collection of Native American jewelry and pottery, including Apache baskets, Plains beadwork, Spanish Colonial art, and other items. The fashionista — images of her in Harper's Bazaar helped popularize Native American jewelry — even became a jewelry designer herself. Many items from her personal collection appear in the Millicent Rogers Museum, while the gift shop houses an impressive inventory.
Wander With a Local
J. Matthew Thomas founded The Paseo (www.paseoproject.org) in 2014. The immersive and participatory festival takes over Taos with outdoor installations of performance art each fall. The 2019 event will be held Sept. 13–14. Here are a few of his favorite art attractions.
"Judy Chicago: The Birth Project, an exhibition at Harwood Museum of Art, runs through Nov. 10, 2019. More than 150 needle workers helped Chicago, a pioneer of feminist art, create powerful images that celebrate the birth process."
"Taos Farmers Market is held on the Taos Plaza on Saturday through October. It's a must-see on your visit to the quirky mountain town. Why not visit the place where all the locals gather every weekend?"
"Taos Plaza Live offers free concerts on the Historic Taos Plaza Thursday evenings May through September. Listen, dance, and visit with locals and travelers."
Tribal members reside in their ancestors' multi-storied homes at Taos Pueblo.
Photo courtesy Taos Tourism.
The foothills of Taos Mountain have been home to the Taos Pueblo people since time immemorial. The multistoried adobe buildings of their village were constructed millennia ago, handed down to today's 150 residents who forgo running water and electricity to keep their traditions alive. Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community with the accolade of being both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark. Most days, they welcome visitors for 30-minute tours through the plaza and into a handful of artisan shops. Take note: The pueblo closes for six weeks in February/March for religious observances.
E.L. Blumenschein Home and Museum
Taos has Ernest L. Blumenschein to thank for its modern art colony. His arrival in Taos is local legend: Blumenschein and Bert G. Phillips were traveling the American Southwest in search of inspiration. When their wagon wheel broke, Blumenschein carried it to be repaired and met his muse in Taos. Today, the Taos Society of Artists co-founder's rambling adobe is open to the public as a museum and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
Harwood Museum of Art
Located downtown, the Harwood chronicles the town's artistic evolution from Spanish Colonial devotional art to the work of the Taos modernists, including Agnes Martin, whose minimalist pieces hang in an eponymous gallery. Look for changing shows and immersive installations by local artists.
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House
This museum occupies the former home of Nicolai Fechin and houses paintings by the masters of the Taos Society of Artists as well as by Fechin himself. The stately home bears the Russian artist's hallmark design sensibilities, as well as Native American and Spanish motifs.
Couse-Sharp Historic Site
Often overlooked, this fascinating site includes the home and studio of Taos Society of Artists founding members E.I. Couse and Joseph H. Sharp. Visitors may request a tour of the compound, which is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, May through October.
Taos Fall Arts Festival Founded in 1974 in homes of patrons who wished to promote local art, this annual festival has grown into a town-wide event, celebrating more than 250 Taos County artists. Some 40 galleries also mount companion exhibitions featuring local talents. The festival marks its 45th year in 2019; it will be held Sept. 20–29.