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Five Cultural Attractions To Experience This Fall - Farmington Convention & Visitor Center

Posted Sep 14, 2018

Farmington, New Mexico is known as the destination where active families and outdoor lovers thrive, as well as the hub for southwest cultural adventures. With National Parks and cultural attractions abounding in the area, this fall is the perfect time for history buffs, archaeologists, and those with a sense of adventure to visit Farmington for an immersive cultural experience.

“Fall is a great time to explore our cultural sites and learn about the history that shaped our region,” says Tonya Stinson, Executive Director of Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Farmington serves as an ideal hub for visitors to the area because we’re centrally located between incredible cultural sites and attractions, and we offer a wide variety of other attractions and events to enjoy in the evenings.”

Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau has prepared the following list of their Top Five Cultural Attractions, along with tips from locals to get the most out of the experience:

Chaco Cultural National Historical Park, also known as Chaco Canyon  This site preserves the history of ancestral Puebloan people from 850 to 1200AD. Visitors can explore the Chacoan great houses, rock art, kivas, and more. (Shown above.) In addition to a walk through time, visitors can plan to include a solstice observation or a night sky program, as Chaco is an International Dark Sky Park. It’s recommended to time a visit in coordination with a ranger-led tour, or to purchase a self-guided tour book at the Visitor Center. To make your visit easier, enter the park from Highway 550. The old entrance from highway 371 is closed.

Salmon Ruins (pronounced sol-mon) is an important piece in southwest history and has preserved one of the largest outlying Chaco colonies. Once home to an estimated 200 to 300 people, the living complex was built during the 11th Century by ancestral Puebloans. In addition to exploring ancient homes, visitors can explore homesteads of early pioneers and visit the museum to see collections of jewelry, pottery, and tools.

Aztec Ruins Shown at right Take a half-mile self-guided tour and explore ancient ruins built by ancestral Puebloans in the 1100s, including the “Great Kiva”—the largest reconstructed kiva in North America.

Dinetah Rock Art & Pueblitos   Home to more than 200 pueblitos (“little pueblos”) built between 1680 and 1775—defense sites of Navajo people—visitors can walk through the rooms and view rock art depicting animals, humans, weapons, supernatural beings and more, all of which provide an insight into the daily lives of the inhabitants, as well as a look at their religion and culture. Be sure to visit these soon, as petroglyphs are fading more and more each year.

Museum of Navajo Arts & Culture  Located in historic downtown Farmington, the Museum of Navajo Arts & Culture has on exhibit blankets, jewelry, and folk art, and is home to an impressive collection of Navajo rugs and textiles from the early 1900s to today.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau does not recommend relying on Google Maps, MapQuest, or other online maps when visiting these cultural sites. To save time and avoid getting turned around, visit the Farmington Museum & Visitor Center for directions to the sites you will be visiting. The personalized assistance from visitor center staff, as well as free maps and guides, will make navigating your trip much more enjoyable.

For visitors entering Farmington from the south or west, be sure to plan time for a photo stop to capture epic shots of Shiprock Pinnacle. The peak is visible along Highway 491 and Highway 64. Keep in mind that the pinnacle is sacred to the Navajo, and climbing is not permitted.

“On your journey of walking the path of ancient cultures, we also recommend making time to experience the living cultures of the Farmington area,” added Stinson. “Trading Posts are an incredible way to see and experience native craftsmanship—both traditional and contemporary. Trading Posts in the area include Toadlena Trading Post and Weaving Museum, Hogback Trading Post, Fifth Generation Trading, and Shiprock Trading Post.”

In addition to site-specific tips, Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau recommends mixing it up a bit. “To immerse oneself deeply into the art, culture and history of a region can be truly transformative,” said Stinson. “Be sure to make time for a little outdoor adventure or you will miss out on so much of what our area has to offer. With five golf courses, three rivers, five lakes and thousands of acres of public land perfect for hiking, off roading and mountain biking, adding outdoor experiences is a must.”

For more information on Farmington, New Mexico or to plan your visit, visit FarmingtonNM.org.

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