Free, Cheap, & Fun In Taos, NM

We recently spent three days in Taos, NM. As usual, we found lots of ways to experience the city and surrounding area without spending a ton of cash. Here are seven things we found to do that are free or cheap & fun in Taos, NM.

Go For A Drive

Northern New Mexico as a whole is one of the most amazingly beautiful places we’ve been to. Taos offers several oppportunities for scenic drives. One is the 110-mile long Enchanted Circle, which runs in a loop from Taos through Eagle Nest, Red River, and Questa.

The other option is the High Road To Taos, which runs 56 miles from Santa Fe to Taos. Either drive will run you through some incredibly scenic countryside.

Go For A Hike

There’s so much hiking in northern New Mexico that you could quite literally walk a different trail everyday for several months without touching the same trail twice. Breathe some fresh mountain air, see some amazing scenery, and get some exercise all at the same time.

Visit A Hot Spring

We spent our last day in Taos visiting a hot spring. We won’t disclose the location of it because our Taos friend asked us not to tell everyone about it. It’s a spot the locals prefer to keep for themselves and I can’t say I blame them. However, there are tons of hot springs around the area, so just ask around or do some Google research and you’ll find quite a few within 30 minutes of Taos.

Walk Across The Gorge

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is no more than 5 minutes outside of Taos. This bridge is the fifth highest bridge in the United States, sitting 650 feet above the Rio Grande River. It’s a pretty breathtaking and worth a 30 minute trip to drive there, walk out, take some pictures, then head to your next destination.

See The Earthships

We first heard about earthships from our WorkAway hosts as part of our education on green building. When Scott first heard about it, he thought he was having his leg pulled or this was venturing into a discussion of little green men. So what’s an earthship?

According to The Wiki, an earthship is:

a type of passive solar house made of natural and recycled materials. Designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico, the homes are primarily constructed to work as autonomous buildings and are generally made of earth-filled tires, using thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally Off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun.

Just outside of Taos, there’s a large community of earthships and you can tour them for $5 a person. It is 1.5 miles across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge; you’ll see dozens of earthships.

Here’s an example of how energy efficient these homes can be. The flier we found about the earthships lists one for sale. It’s $400,000 with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms…and a $100/year utility bill. Yes, per year, that’s not a typo.

Visit The Plaza

The Taos Plaza is the center of the city, surrounded by small shops and art galleries, plus a few restaurants (El Gamal is supposed to be excellent Mediterranean, we were told Antonio’s has the best guacamole in the world, and World Cup serves up an awesome cuppajoe). Who knows what will be going on in the Plaza when you’re there? We were lucky enough to catch the 512th Anniversary of Dia de Cuauhtemoc, an Aztec celebration. The 20 minutes we watched entailed lots and lots of dancing, drums, and bright colors.

Visit An Art Gallery

Taos is widely known for having a strong art community. There are galleries everywhere. Drop in and visit. Maybe you’ll see something you like and end up going home with a new piece of art.

We’d love to go back to Taos in warmer times to see and so more of what it has to offer. Any suggestions for places to go in Taos?


Here are some pictures from our time in Taos.