The National Trust for Ancient Preservation’s Main Street America program has accredited Silver City, New Mexico, an off-the-beaten-path jewel filled with preserved historic structures, ensuring the quality and authenticity of its history. So, What to do in silver city, New Mexico.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered traces of the existence of long-forgotten people who inhabited the region thousands of years ago. In the 1500s, the valley, now the town’s historic main thoroughfare, was home to an Apache settlement.
In 1870, the Spanish claimed the land three centuries later, constructed missions and trading forts, and named the municipality St. Vincent of the Marsh. Silver ore deposits were discovered seven years later, transforming the quiet community into a mining boomtown renamed Silver City.
What To Do In Silver City, New Mexico?
Here are many things to do in silver city, New Mexico:
Sleep And Relax At The Bear Mountain Lodge
As an employee of the organization Nature Conservancy, I have been aware of this one-of-a-kind lodge for many years. The first proprietors of Bear Mountain Lodge gave the entire ranch to the Nature Conservancy to preserve endangered plant species and prevent erosion caused by cattle ranching. A private family purchased the buildings and restored the adobe ranch home into a magnificent lodge.
The ranch additionally features trails, a yoga labyrinth, a chicken-filled stable, and an occasionally pettable cranky donkey. Their farm-to-table breakfast on a porch overlooking the forest was always inventive and delectable. The lodge is approximately 5 miles from Silver City.
Relive History At The Silver City Museum
Even though the boom transformed into a bust, the city is proud of its history. More than 50,000 artifacts, papers, and pictures spanning the history of human habitation in the region are on display at the Silver City Museum, housed in a stately masonry Victorian mansion. Special exhibits and programs featuring renowned authors or artists are promoted on their website’s calendar.
Stroll Through A Distinctive Ambience
When the silver mine ran dry, and the Old West town nearlybecame an abandoned city, the citizens of Silver City rescued their home by preserving rather than destroying it, garnering the Main Street designation from the National Trust for Preservation of Historic Places.
Silver City gets unique artists, artisans, and chefs by utilizing historic structures to house businesses that exploit the historic character.
The stores selling mining equipment morphed into those selling hiking and cycling gear, and saloons became craft brew establishments. Traditional farm-to-table eateries and vintage ice cream parlors have remained.
I cannot resist mentioning a few of my fave downtown Silver City locations:
- Makers Market is a marketplace filled with handcrafted items, homegrown botanicals, and organic foods.
- I drank the world’s finest chocolate shake at Birdwell’s Vintage Vibes, an antique ice cream parlor with a side room filled with antiques.
- Cholla Art, housed in an eccentric adobe building, is one of the numerous art galleries in the region.
Take Home A Chunk Of The Wild West
Antiquarian establishments in Silver City are renowned throughout New Mexico. People swarm the streets on weekends for relics that evoke memories of the Old West.
Clay Festival is a popular annual event organized by two local clay artisans, Coralee Mercado, and Rita Sherwood. Typically conducted in July and emphasizing the Native American history of the region, the festival center on this topic. Vendors exhibit hundreds of new and old clay pots, some of which are for sale, while artists offer workshops in pottery.
Watch A Classic Movie at Silco Theater
In the early 1900s, the theater began as a live playhouse that relied on local talent. The theater was demolished and reconstructed in 1923 to reflect the economic prosperity of silver and copper mining, and it was renamed the Silco Theater (from silver and copper).
The theater has been a store for furniture, a mini-mall, and a thrift shop in the past, adapting to both good and poor times. With funding from the National Trust for Cultural Preservation’s Mainstreet Program, the theater’s art-deco design was restored, and it reopened in 2016, showing first-run movies, old movies, and the occasional locally-made documentary.
Don’t Ditch Big Ditch Park
Within a valley, the original main street paralleled the valley floor and became the ideal conduit for water to travel, resulting in frequent flooding in Silver City. After two massive floods within a few years devastated the town, its authorities decided to take action.
They constructed Broadway, a new main artery on higher ground, along with bridges and rock wall stabilizers. The unpredictable river was transformed into a charming creek following the dam’s construction.
Today, an amazing green space together the creek runs opposite to Broadway, complete with benches and trees that provide shelter. The path is a delightful stroll that passes the Silver City Visitor Center and a recreation of Billy the Kid’s childhood cabin.
Enter the Little Toad Creek Tavern and Inn
Given that Silver City is a small college community and home to Western New Mexico University, it is not surprising to find lively establishments serving craft beers.
The Little Toad Creek Inn and Tavern is an example. Their brewery’s flavorful beers are trendy, but the incredible hamburger I was doing, which lasted no longer than my glass of beer, could have been better too.
Explore Ancient Cliff Dwellings
A hair-raising journey up a mountain along a twisting road to a well-preserved cliff dwelling that overlooks the valley requires a day.
After reaching the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument visitor center, there is a brief ascent to the summit. The effort needed to uncover the cliff dwellings is well worth it.
Nomads have used caverns above the Gila River as temporary shelters for thousands of years. In the 1300s, the Mimbres Mogollon and Salado Native Americans were the last to inhabit the cliffs.
They produced walls with nooks and natural closets fire stains, platforms that may have been used as beds, and numerous other intriguing features etched into the rock walls, the purpose of which is debatable.
Attend A Fun Festival
A city teeming with artists is one with creative individuals who enjoy creating distinctive ways to have fun and display their talents. Here are several:
- The Silver City Blues Festival is a Memorial Day weekend music festival featuring well-known American musicians.
- In October, the Tour of the Gila is conducted, an endurance bicycle race up a mountain known as the Gila Monster.
- The Gila River Festival is held in September. It features artwork and guest lecturers who discuss how water binds the inhabitants of the Gila River watershed together.
The weather will alter throughout the day in the Gila National Forest at nearly 6,000 feet. There are four distinct seasons, with winter nights averaging 33 degrees Fahrenheit and summer days averaging 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The average annual snowfall is 6 to 7 inches, insufficient for winter sports but sufficient for a gorgeous holiday setting.
Thank you for visiting. Hope it’s useful for you….