Road trip to the american southwest
Collected by Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
There are few areas of the world as awe-inspiring as the American Southwest. Vast deserts, impossibly steep cliffs, beautiful oases, and artsy communities make for an eclectic and unforgettable trip—right here on your doorstep.
108 E San Antonio St, Marfa, TX 79843, USA
A new addition to the art hub in the middle of nowhere, Marfa Contemporary occupies a former gas station. Expect to see cutting-edge works by regional and international artists. This appeared in the March/April 2013 issue.
Buena Vista, CO 81211, USA
St. Elmo was once a gold and silver mining town founded in 1880. It’s now one of Colorado's most preserved ghost towns. Chipmunks out number the residents and there are also a lot of hummingbirds. St. Elmo is about two and a half hours from Vail,...
Taos, NM 87571, USA
I remember an old tv show called, The High Chaparral. Until I visited New Mexico, I had no idea what a ‘chaparral’ was. Or what I thought it should be. It so happens that chaparral proper only exists in parts of California and northern Baja. But...
Mesa Verde, CO, USA
For anyone who believes that truly historic architecture doesn’t exist in the states, Mesa Verde National Park will make you think again. Still standing in the park are cliff dwellings built in AD 600 by the ancestral Pueblo people who once...
A rainbow of colors inspired by Arizona wildflowers brightens the new Saguaro hotel. Here, 194 rooms wrap around two pools: one for fun, the other for quiet (and outdoor yoga classes on the deck). At Distrito restaurant, Iron Chef Jose Garces...
Hard to definitely pinpoint on a map, the Wave is a gorgeous rock formation near the Arizona and Utah part of the Coyote Buttes, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Don't rush off there expecting to just show up and visit, as this...
1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
There is nothing like chilling on a great patio with friends on a nice afternoon. When the weather is perfect I usually rally the troupes and head to Perla's to lounge under the huge oak trees, play shuffle board, snack on great appetizers, and...
Taos Pueblo, NM, USA
One of the iconic sights of the American Southwest, Taos Pueblo has been inhabited for at least a thousand years. The adobe architecture seems to spring, organic, from the earth at the foot of Taos Mountain. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, but...
11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737, USA
There's more than sand in the southern Arizona desert. Come mid-winter through spring, or after the mid-summer monsoon rains, and you'll find flowing water and reflecting pools among the cacti-studded hills. On the northwest flank of the Santa...
1950 San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746, USA
Just to the southwest of Tucson, on the San Xavier Reservation, sits the late XVIII-century Mission San Xavier del Bac, one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S. The combination of late Baroque and Moorish-inspired...
Barrio Viejo, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
Adobe streetfront: door...window...sky. Color. Much of Tucson, like most western U.S. cities, is devoted to strip malls and parking lots, but the historic core still has blocks of 19th-century Sonoran-style row houses. In the 1960s, acres and...
White Sands, NM 88002, USA
Once a month there is an opportunity to camp under the stars and witness a full moon in White Sands, NM. But rarely do rain clouds fill the sky making for a spectacular display of a gray sky against the stunning white sand. I was lucky enough to...
Ranchos De Taos, NM, USA
Driving north from Santa Fe, just as you approach Taos, turn your head to the right, and there it is--the San Francisco de Asis Church. This 18th-century adobe mission architecture just south of Taos, NM, has become an icon due to the paintings of...
Oljato-Monument Valley, UT 84536, USA
Nuzzled up against the Arizona border about 100 miles west of Four Corners are some 30 square miles of the most iconic scenery in the American West. Monument Valley is one of those places that you’ll recognize as soon as you see...
100 Main Ave, US-163, Mexican Hat, UT 84531, USA
For those weary adventurists traveling Southeast Utah’s backcountry, craving something more than Boiled ramen and Clif Bars... Cold beer and juicy steak awaits them at the Swingin' Steak. This outdoor steakhouse is located in Mexican Hat, a tiny...
As someone born and raised in Austin, Texas I was shocked that West Texas had so much to offer and that I had not visited sooner. The small, but cowboy chic, Terlingua Ghost Town just outside the National Park made a great place for brunch before...
White Pocket, Arizona 86036, USA
Didn't get your permit to see The Wave? Have no fear. You can have the same experience (some say better) at White Pocket, part of South Coyote Buttes. Although you do need a permit, you don't need to win the lottery to do it and the experience is...
6260 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA
For a decade and a half now, Tucsonans have been coming here for fresh-baked bread...and much much more. Get some challah French toast in the morning...or a chicken-green-chile omelette...and no shortage of croissants and scones... Mid-day, if you...
1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Since everything seems bigger in Texas, it's no surprise that the Texas State Capitol holds the title for largest state capitol building in the union (360,000 square feet of floor space in the main building!). The building is also quite...
1410 Guadalupe St # 113, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
San Antonio's west side is one of the city's cultural hubs. Latin and Mexican-American influences are vibrantly displayed through public art and murals. The area around Guadalupe Street is an especially rich place to explore. You'll find art...
Mission San Jose, San Antonio, TX, USA
San José—the largest and most impressive of the San Antonio Missions—has evolved not only into a historic monument, but also a well-preserved part of modern local life. Part visitor center, part parish, part museum, and part...
San Ildefonso Pueblo, NM 87506, USA
La Capilla de la Familia Sagrada sits at the base of Black Mesa, a sacred mountain on the San Ildefonso Pueblo reservation. It is one of the most photographed buildings in New Mexico. The little adobe chapel, against the backdrop of the Sangre de...
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
You haven’t truly experienced Texas until you’ve visited the hallowed grounds of the Alamo. Established in 1718 as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the building is best known as the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day...
6166 N Scottsdale Rd #601, Scottsdale, AZ 85253, USA
Tacos. Traditionally Mexican. These days, however, tacos are taking on some new personalities. Though some of the most memorable flavors I've ever had on a corn tortilla are still traditional, (pickled onions, please) there are a few new taco...
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