This Charming New Mexico Town is a Hidden Gem on the Turquoise Trail

Nestled along the scenic Turquoise Trail is the charming town of Madrid, New Mexico. Located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the small town is made up of only 300 residents. Madrid is a vibrant community of artisans that attracts many visitors each year.

Mailboxes line a street downtown.
Antique Wooden Bench Outside of a Shop in Madrid NM
Vibrant colors cover benches and buildings around town.

Along the main strip, you’ll find more than 40 shops and galleries, featuring works by local and regional artists. Several restaurants, a spa and the “Old Coal Town” museum are also among the town’s attractions. The museum preserves a fascinating history of the rise, fall and rebirth of the southwestern town.

The old coal mine museum. Wikimedia Commons

Madrid came to life as a thriving coal mining town in the late 1800’s. 30 miles of rich coal mines brought both miners and residents to the area in droves. In the early 1900’s, the population grew to 3,000. Madrid became known for more than just coal in its prosperous years. Old Coal Town Museum & Engine House Theatre Old Coal Town Museum & Engine House Theatre

People would come from all over to watch the Madrid Miners baseball games at what was first lighted stadium in the U.S. The town also became well-known for its remarkable Christmas light display. Airlines used to reroute during the holidays so passengers could see the lights overhead.

The boom of the coal miner era soon came to a halt. By the late 1950’s the last load of coal left the town and took along with it the vibrancy and life once held there. In 1959 Madrid officially became a “Ghost Town” and stayed that way for almost 20 years.

Flickr/Robin Riot

That’s when artisans began to inhabit the town again. They began converting old businesses and houses into the quaint looking village you’ll see today.

Flickr/Robin Riot


Many events occur year around including the revival of the town’s famous Christmas light display. The passionate people of Madrid have spent much time breathing life back into a once desolate community making it a must for tourists who trek along the Turquoise Trail route.

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This Charming New Mexico Town is a Hidden Gem on the Turquoise Trail