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Cool Towns for Your Lifestyle - where does your road lead?

The Wet Mountains, found along Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic
Byway  Photo By Anna Zoromski/Weaver Mulitmedia Group, courtesy Colorado Tourism Office

A street musician in Crested Butte serenades cyclists
Photo By Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group, courtesy Colorado Tourism Office

If you could live anywhere in the southwest, where would it be, and why?

Cities and town in the southwest are as diverse as its people and landscape, offering a variety of cultural climates, activities and alternative environments to suit your passions.

What’s your preference, your personality, your style? Artistic, outdoorsey, bohemian, ex-hippie, health conscious or naturalist, new age mentality, sophistication and urban flair, retiree? Do you love mountains, deserts, high plains?

For the artistic, Santa Fe, Taos, and Sedona rank in the top. Galleries, workshops, classes, heavenly illumination, world-class artists and instructors, and beautiful, colorful landscapes are just a few of the reasons these cities tip the artistic scale. Artists began coming to these areas in the late 1800s for the same reasons.

The outdoors lover will find sanctuary in places like Flagstaff, Durango, and Silver City. The Grand Canyon, ancient ruins, and some of the country’s most remote national forests border these cities along with clear running rivers and an abundance of wildlife. Flagstaff, well known for its proximity to the Grand Canyon, as well as Northern Arizona University, is a highway town on the once-famous and now classic Route 66, all of which contribute to a diverse and sometimes transient population. Durango is more secluded; a charming little town nestled at the foot of the San Juan National Forest and hosts a variety of lifestyles from the artistic and alternative to the outdoors lover, the rancher and the indigenous peoples of the area. Shopping is limited but naturalistic and holistic services and products abound. All have a touch of the old west remaining in their character and it is easy to imagine them as they were in their hay-day. Silver City is also secluded and home to the Gila Bike Race, Gila River, Gila National Forest and Gila Cliff Dwellings.

Silver City, NM - Staff

Bohemian and old hippies will also love Silver City, Taos and possibly Bisbee. Counter-cultures have flourished in these areas for decades contributing a vibrant, colorful and laid-back but rhythmic pulse to the populations. Art thrives in these communities a long with holistic healing, fresh, clean air, and alternative, naturalistic lifestyles. Melting pots of multi-cultural pockets serve to create unique atmosphere through resident expression. But as one Silver City resident said recently, "If you get to Silver City and you’re looking for great restaurants, then you’re in the wrong town." Those with a yearn for the mysteries of life will find Sedona, Santa Fe, Taos, and Silver City to filled with magical breezes, sacred soil, and all that a new-age-er could dream of.

Cities in the southwest are some of the most beautiful and cleanest cities in the United States. Albuquerque tops our list with brilliant blue skies, traditional and modern architecture, a fantastic scenic backdrop of the Sandia mountains (thusly named by the Spaniards for their watermelon color at sunset), southwestern landscaping, sustainable tourism and near year-round beautiful weather. If you love to get out and walk, play tennis, work in your yard, bicycle, or hike, Albuquerque offers one of the best climates for these activities in the southwest. Dining is above average with multi-national cuisine available all over town, while shopping is also exceptional with Coronado Center, Old Town, Nob Hill and the University area to name a few.

Day trips from Albuquerque also make it a great central location to base from within an easy drive to Jemez Hot Spings, Sandia Ski Area, Acoma Sky City and Pueblos, and Bandelara National Monument.

And if you’re into green living, Albuquerque was selected as the winner of the Siemens Sustainable Community Award & Host to the 2008 ICLEI "Local Action Summit" which was May 14 – 16, 2008. A green job corp and commitment to solar installation and manufacturing has Albuquerque running close in tow to Oakland, California.

For sophisticated urban-lovers, both Phoenix and Scottsdale offer more than perhaps any cities anywhere. Not only do they have beautiful year-round weather, upscale facilities, world-class shopping, dining, spas and accommodations, but a true desert beauty like none other. Palm trees and crystal clear pools tempt and await. Imaginative, creative and successful people have brought these cities to heights beyond the typical through architecture, art and design.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale - Photo courtesy of Scottsdale
Convention & Visitors Bureau

Retirees have long flocked to Arizona, but Los Cruces, New Mexico is experiencing its own boom. Already popular for the campus of New Mexico State University, this lovely little city is coming into its own with new construction, beautiful affordable homes, and a healthy climate. Heavily seeped in cultural flair, Los Cruces hosts many annual events with Mexican cuisine, music and crafts.

Wherever your desire to live in the southwest, if you desire it, there is a place that’s just right for you!




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