New Mexico’s Arts & Cultural Districts

Visit our districts and immerse yourself in New Mexico’s unique cultural heritage and see our diverse communities from urban downtowns to the valleys in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. To visit one of our districts, please click on their name below.

Downtown Albuquerque

Albuquerque is unique among Historic Route 66 cities in that it is the only location in the US where old and new alignments of the classic road intersect. The historic flavor of those days remains, and there has been a concerted effort to preserve and restore the artistic neon signs that once lit the way through town, including new LED Neon Lighting installed along the Central Avenue (Route 66) light poles in the heart of downtown from 1st through 8th Street.


From early pioneers and ranchers to oil entrepreneurs, Artesia has been at the center of culture and commerce in southern New Mexico. The area was an agricultural oasis until the early 1920s when many of their eponymous artesian wells began to dwindle. In 1924, another kind of well was discovered when the Illinois #3 oil well came in, opening up the Artesia oil fields locally and the Permian Basin regionally. Artesia has long enjoyed exceptional private support of the arts, investing in the city’s quality of life through public art projects, the performing arts, and arts education.


Gallup has embraced a combination of adventure tourism and authentic cultural experiences along Historic Route 66. Gallup has served as an important community for trade and commerce with the surrounding Native American communities since the late 1800s, today you will find streets lined with pawn, trade and curio shops and historic buildings. Gallup is a culturally diverse community, and a significant portion of the population is Native American, predominantly Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni.

Las Vegas

With more than 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, the streets of Las Vegas are a living history museum. The town’s nearly 15,000 residents live and work among adobe buildings created during territorial times, Victorian structures that arrived with the railroad, and California Mission Style architecture. The unusual architectural profile of the community is a product of its varied roots.

Los Alamos

Los Alamos is renowned for being home to the world’s most creative scientific minds. In 1942, during the Second World War, the US Government was searching for the perfect location for its top-secret weapons development program, the Manhattan Project. In 1943, thousands of scientists and workers arrived to develop the world’s first atomic weapon. Los Alamos remained at the forefront of weapons’ technology during the Cold War era, but has since diversified into all branches of scientific research.


The Village of Mora, with a population of less than 2,000, is a pastoral community nestled in the Mora Valley of Northern New Mexico. By order of the Governor of New Mexico, a land grant and plaza were established in the 1830s, giving Santa Gertrudis (Mora) settlers agricultural land and a community center.


The growth of Raton as a railroad and mining town is reflected in its unique architectural heritage. A walking tour, covering five blocks of downtown Raton, is the perfect way to take in the structures that were built between the mid-1880s and early 1900s and comprise the historic district.

Silver City

A town of only 10,000 residents, with more than 50 galleries and art spaces speak to the richness of Silver City. Nestled in the foothills of the Gila National Forest, the early history of the area is characterized by the cultures of the Mimbres and Apache. In the nineteenth century, miners began to settle the area, quickly establishing the town of Silver City. The town's rough and tumble history includes the boyhood days of Billy the Kid.

Learn about the New Mexico Arts & Cultural Districts Program