When people from outside of New Mexico think about the state, their minds tend to go to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, aliens, or “Breaking Bad”. Only one of those has to deal with the eastern part of the state, but there’s much more to the Land of Enchantment than that. East New Mexico offers a lot of great cities, many of which people would be happy to call home. Here are the five best cities to live in throughout East New Mexico.
5. Las Vegas
The city that has confused many travelers on their way through New Mexico, Las Vegas used to be two towns but merged into one and now boasts a population of over 13,000 people. Las Vegas has a rich history that was brought on by the railroad making it an important stop. That history includes many tales of outlaws and gamblers, but the Las Vegas you see today much more resembles small-town American instead of the other Las Vegas.
Home to New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas is home to memorable historic sites including the Castaneda Hotel and Carnegie Library. There are two major high schools in Las Vegas to cover each school district, and you’ll often spot movies and TV shows being filmed when studios need a perfect desert town to capture on camera.
More than twice the size of Las Vegas is Carlsbad, New Mexico, though the two aren’t exactly close to each other with Carlsbad being in the southern half and only about an hour away from the Mexico border. The development of southeast New Mexico was highly emphasized during the late 1800s, and Carlsbad received more attention than most regions at the time.
Founded as a town named Eddy in 1888, Carlsbad officially got its name in 1899 due to the Carlsbad Caverns being rediscovered. The mining industry is a big one in Carlsbad, though the city offers many places to work. With multiple high schools and a branch of New Mexico State University, as well, Carlsbad has several educational options.
Clovis is another one of those East New Mexico cities that became a railway hub in the late 19th century and has ended up steadily growing ever since its founding. Clovis is around the same size as Carlsbad, and is home to the Cannon Air Force Base. Fans of classic architecture will love the city, especially the Hotel Clovis and multiple movie theaters that look like they were taken straight from early 20th century.
Situated on the Texas border, Clovis is known to have some hot summers, though they’re much more manageable than a lot of the state. The winters are also mild, making Clovis a great place to live year-round. Eastern New Mexico State is a close trip for Clovis residents, and having just one high school makes the city feel like a tight-knit community.
Tucked away in the southeaster corner of New Mexico is Hobbs, which boasts a majority of the population in Lea County. Hobbs was founded in 1907 and has seen its population grow to over 40,000 people thanks to the oilfields and Hobbs Army Airfrield. The opening of the University of the Southwest helped to increase the population in the mid 20th century, establishing Hobbs as a college town.
Much of Hobbs’ economy is still based on oil and mining, though there’s plenty to do in the city. Hobbs boasts one the largest casino/resorts in the state with the Zia Park Casinoo operating a racetrack. The city is also home to the Soaring Society of America with United Airlines offering flights to Denver and Houston.
Of course, you can’t mention East New Mexico without mentioning perhaps the most famous city in the state: Roswell. Roswell is the largest city on the list with a population that hovers around 50,000 and is obviously known for its history with with rumored UFOs and the Roswell Army Air Field. Outside of that, though, Roswell is a fantastic city to live for a long list of reasons.
Roswell has some of the best food that you can find to go along with tremendous educational and employment opportunities. The city has been given the award of All-America City by the National Civic League on three occasions, and has a big city feel without having too many people. Sports fans will feel at home in Roswell, too, as the local pro baseball team (the Invaders) play at Joe Bauman Ballpark.