Silver City Travel Guide

The old mining town of Silver City sits among the foothills of the Pinos Altos Mountains and serves as a gateway to the Gila Wilderness and Gila Cliff Dwellings. This popular southern New Mexican destination has an impressive historic downtown district which is always a hit with tourists in search of that American Wild West spirit.

Silver City has always had its roots in the mining industry, but fortunately it didn’t go belly up when silver crashed in 1893. Instead, it used its high, dry climate to attract visitors and continued on as a copper mining town. The lovely downtown district was one of the first in the country to extensively use brick in its construction and remains the heart and soul of Silver City.

Victorian and Queen Anne houses add a charming architectural touch to the downtown, which is best explored on foot. The original Main street was later turned into a greenbelt which still exists as a public park in the center of town. There are plenty of funky shops, Western-flavored restaurants and rustic bars in Silver City to keep you busy for a day or two. Once that wears thin, check out some of the attractions in the immediate vicinity which range from the historic to the natural.


Silver City Museum: this excellent museum presents the colorful history of both the city and the region with artifacts, photographs and a decent collection of Native American pottery and old mining relics.

Western New Mexico University Museum: this comprehensive collection includes everything from ancient Native American artifacts to historic photographs, mining tools and military weapons.

Pinos Altos: explore a real Western ghost town which boomed during the gold and silver rushes, but eventually succumbed to Apache Indian attacks.

Chino Mines Open Pit Copper Mine: if you’re interested in mining, you can drive to the observation point and marvel at the sheer scale of this mile wide, 1,000 foot deep copper pit, which is the oldest active mine in the southwestern US.

City of Rocks State Park: the bizarre and fantastic volcanic rock formations scattered all over this park make for a fun day of whimsical exploration.

Log Cabin Curio Shop and Museum: built in 1866, this log cabin is both a testament to the town’s early mining days as well as a kitschy souvenir shop.