Taos leads many lives, as an artistic center, a gateway to Taos Pueblo and starting point for rafting and skiing.
That mix brings 1.2 million people to the area each year, says Cathy Ann Connolly, the director of tourism and public relations for Taos.
Taos’ artistic roots run deep. In 1915, the Taos Society of Artists was formed by a group of international artists who helped market the town. In 1917, Mabel Dodge Luhan arrived, kicking off a salon movement and bringing writers, artists and intellectuals like Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence.
The scenic beauty, cultural diversity and isolation have always been major draws for creative types, Connolly says.
Taos is also known for a counterculture history, including communes like the New Buffalo made famous by the 1969 film “Easy Rider.” Sustainable homes, called Earthships, still draw visitors.
Visitors can also tour Taos Pueblo’s multi-storied adobe buildings. About 150 people live in the traditional pueblo, which has no electricity or running water. Taos Pueblo, continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark.