From exploring Spanish architecture to riding the Grand Canyon railway, there's no shortage of adventure in the Southwest.
- Ski Utah powder.
- They don't call it "the greatest snow on earth" for nothing. And with 11 ski resorts within a one-hour drive from Salt Lake City, you have plenty of options. Rent gear and take a lesson!
- Check Out Spanish Architecture in New Mexico.
- From the clay bricks, grass, and mud of Pueblo-style adobe structures to the arches and clay roof tiles of Spanish Mission-style buildings, New Mexico's architecture is distinctive and beautiful. You'll see some of the best examples in Santa Fe and Taos.
- Enjoy Mexican food.
- Whether you're in Tucson, Arizona or Albuquerque, New Mexico, spice things up with authentic Mexican meal. What's your favorite - tacos, tostadas, or tamales?
- Visit Hoover Dam.
- Built during the Great Depression in less than five years, Hoover Dam is an amazing engineering feat. One of the largest dams on Earth is just 30 miles from Las Vegas. Get ready to be awed.
- Have an outdoor adventure.
- Gather some friends and explore some of the country's most unforgettable terrain. Near Denver, head for Estes Park for close ups of the Rocky Mountains and winter fun galore. Or check out the other state parks in Colorado. Keep in mind: In the winter months, it's important to dress properly for cold and snow before you head out!
- See the iconic American paintings in Denver, Colorado.
- Colorado's Denver Art Museum showcases some of the greatest artwork in the United States. Don't miss the exhibit “Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place” in February. While you're there, explore 70,000 more treasures from America and around the world.
- Ride the Grand Canyon Railway
- If you’re not much of a hiker, hop on board the Grand Canyon Railway train in Williams, Arizona to cruise through the beautiful sites of the national park. The tracks will take you all the way to the South Rim of the mighty Grand Canyon.
- Watch the sunset in Utah.
- If you’re looking for some fantastic scenery for a sunset view, travel to the beautiful turquoise waters of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. A remnant of the massive ancient Lake Bonneville, the lake is now landlocked and its waters are salty. It is the largest lake between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.
- Shop fresh and local.
- If you’re looking to buy some fresh and local food in Colorado, check out a farmers market close to you. The farmers and vendors work hard to make sure they are providing the best to their customers all year round.
- Sandia Peak Tramway.
- If you’re in New Mexico and interested in the beautiful views of the Cibola National Forest, take a ride 2.7 miles up the Sandia Peak Tramway. Pack your hiking gear because once you arrive you’ll be able to explore the 11,000 square-mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley and Land of Enchantment.
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- Be awed by the Grand Canyon
A mile deep and up to 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The most accessible part, the South Rim, can be viewed from the national park’s free shuttle buses. There also are opportunities to hike, camp, ride a mule to the bottom, and take a raft trip through the canyon on the Colorado River.
- See desert cacti in Tucson
The Arizona desert is home to the nation's largest cacti and a symbol of the American West – the giant saguaro. Two wonderful places to learn about them and walk among them are the west side of Saguaro National Park and the adjacent Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which encompasses a desert zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, and art gallery.
- Visit a Native American pueblo in New Mexico
The state is home to 19 pueblos, both modern and older communities of southwest Native Americans. You can learn about all of them at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Many can be visited, including the Cochiti Pueblo, where you can see traditional dances and ceremonies, and the Santa Clara Pueblo, where you can find special pottery and visit the fascinating Puye Cliff Dwellings.
- Appreciate art and architecture in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Not only is Santa Fe one of the world's major art centers, it contains the country’s highest concentration of adobes – low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw. Wander the walkable city and make sure to include Canyon Road, a half-mile stretch of top galleries and boutiques with art by local, national, and international artists.
- Explore the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
This amazing collection includes more than 6,500 instruments from around the world. See the instruments, hear how they sound, and see how they’re played in their original contexts. You’ll also get a look at instruments from music icons such as John Lennon, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Carlos Santana, and many more in the Artist Gallery.
- Take off for Pima Air & Space Museum
The Pima Air & Space Museum, one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, features over 300 historical aircraft – from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. Docent-led walking tours and Tram Tours are offered daily; the museum also offers bus tours of the 2,600-acre “Aircraft Boneyard,” a U.S. military and government aircraft storage facility.
- Watch the sun rise over Chaco Canyon, the center of an ancient world
Not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest, Chaco Canyon’s massive buildings still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities of ancestral Pueblo peoples. For a deeper experience of this very special place that was sacred to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking and biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.
- Marvel at the natural beauty of Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns offer wonders above and below the ground. Above, in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, you’ll find high ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus and desert wildlife of all kinds. Beneath the surface are more than 119 known caves – all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone to create wondrous caverns of all sizes.
- Learn about the richness of Native American art and culture
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, one of four museums in the Museum of New Mexico system, is a premier repository of Native art and material culture and tells the stories of the people of the Southwest from pre-history through contemporary art. The museum serves a diverse, multicultural audience through changing exhibitions, public lectures, field trips, artist residencies, and other educational programs.
- Volunteer in your local community
- Whether you prefer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter, serve food at a soup kitchen, or plant a tree with a conservation group, there are many ways to volunteer in your local community. You’ll find plenty of other opportunities at networkforgood.org/volunteer/ or volunteermatch.org/. Be sure to tag #cieegivingback when you post your photos!
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