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5 Reasons a Visit to Historic Downtown is a Must!

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

The Raton Downtown Historic District is a Registered Historic District.  The district is bounded on the north by Clark Avenue and on the south by Rio Grande Avenue. On the east the district is bounded by First Street, and on the west the district is bounded by Third Street.

5. Downtown is Filled with History and Art

Downtown Raton has been designated a New Mexico Arts & Culture District by the state. It's no surprise why, as the Raton Museum, Old Pass Gallery and Theater Row ("Theater Row" includes The Shuler Theater, Isabel Castillo Center for Performing Arts and El Raton) are all located in the downtown district.

The Raton Museum is located on 2nd Street in Downtown Raton. Photo Courtesy: Glen Maddellini

If you love old buildings and the stories behind them, The Raton Museum has a walking tour that will tell you all about the history of the buildings and their (sometimes sordid and intriguing) history. Just stop in and visit the friendly staff and they'll be happy to provide your walking tour guide.

Want to spend some time looking at local art? The Old Pass Gallery is open 6 days a week highlighting local artists. With a diversity of local and regional art, the subject and theme of gallery art shows change regularly providing a little bit of something for everyone. The Old Pass Gallery is a great place to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift while supporting a local artist as well.

The Shuler Theater is a one-of-a-kind event space that you must see to believe. Very few small towns have such a well-preserved asset drenched in history. If you ask locals, some swear it is haunted - you can find out for yourself by taking a tour of our unique theater during open business hours.

4. We've got a wide-range of delicious eateries that will tempt your taste buds

Raton is the first stop coming from Colorado where you can get genuine New Mexico green chile! Sure, our neighbors to the North have their own version with the Pueblo Chile, but we're biased and believe visitors can't leave before trying NM Hatch Green Chile. You'll be glad you did!

The good news? We love our green chile so much so you can get it served in one shape or form at every restaurant in town (even McDonald's!). So next time you come to town, check out one of our local eateries. For a unique experience check out: Bruno's Pizza and Wings, Enchanted Grounds Coffee Shop & Cafe and The Icehouse BBQ, and La Cosina Mexican Restaurant are all located within the downtown district. If you're looking for grab-and-go pastries and treats, Premo Bakery is the place to go.

3. Our local brewery serves up some of the best tasting craft beer you can find

Colfax Ale Cellar's owners Jim and Karen Sterns chose to make a huge investment in our community by building their dream brewery in an old building in the heart of Downtown Raton, and we are so glad they did! . With 6-8 in house brewed beer on tap, it'll be hard for you to choose which growler to purchase for the road. Be sure to ask them about the Masonic Lodge that was located upstairs!

The opening of the Colfax Ale Cellar brought more than just great beer to Raton, it has helped to revive the nightlife in our downtown district. Colfax Ale Cellar routinely has live music with musicians ranging from Local to traveling from all over the United States.

Not in the mood for music? No worries! Colfax Ale Cellar will make you feel like you're sitting in a big city brew pub by providing you with BuzzTime Trivia. Trivia may seem like a small deal, but it's a big deal in Raton! The Colfax Ale Cellar BuzzTime Trivia team routinely places within the Top 3 teams in national competitions. Trivia make you hungry? No problem! Bruno's Pizza around the corner delivers meals to Colfax Ale so you get the best of both worlds; local pizza and locally brewed craft beer - it doesn't get much better than that!

2. We've got unique shops scattered throughout downtown that you'll want to see

The coolest part of small towns is the fact their culture shines through local retailers and Raton is no exception. Our downtown district has stores along Historic First Street, Second Street (or, as the locals call it 'Main Street') and the Avenues that connect them making shopping an easy, walkable experience.

Picture Courtesy of Honeysuckle Station

If you're looking for a unique gift that speaks to the hot air balloon culture of Raton or if you're looking for a chile ristra decoration that screams 'New Mexico', we've got you covered. Plan a few hours of your day to be spent walking around and trying on clothes at Honeysuckle Station or Hunting for a one-of-a-kind item at The Pack Rat. We can't forget the newly expanded Buffalo Chip now located on Second Street - they carry everything from grab-and-go snacks to the perfect gift for any occasion.

Photo Courtesy of Carrie's Honey & More

High-Class Boots and Western Wear are available at Solanos - one of the downtown anchors that have been serving our community for over 60 years! The shopping experience of Solano's is one part museum and two parts two-step with their incredible display of old cowboy hats.

Like honey? Then Carrie's Honey & More is a must-see! Bring your own jar to get discounts on locally produced honey or choose from their many items that are packaged and ready to go. Looking for some new makeup or accessories? Stop in Tanning and Boutique, you can even pick up a tanning session while you're there.

Did you know Raton is a hidden gem for antique seekers? Downtown is home to three different antique stores as well as two thrift stores.

A piece of artwork from the 1951 World Premier of The Raton Pass movie. Photo Courtesy: Flat Mountain Trading Company

Flat Mountain Trading Company is located on Second Street and is easy-to-find due to their locally famous window decor. Flat Mountain Trading Company sells everything from art to antique jewelry and has a pawn shop connected to the back of the store that you may find something you didn't know you needed. Tucked away under a beautiful canopy on First Street is The Heirloom Shop. This cute antique shop has items for even the pickiest person with unique collectibles and even antique furniture, you're sure to find a treasure or two.

Last (but definitely not least), is the newest antique shop on the block, Park Avenue Treasures. Located on Apache Avenue, this quaint shop is carefully decorated to help spark creativity. If you're looking for unique decorations for your house, Park Avenue Treasures will likely have the perfect piece.

If you're interested in digging through items to find bargain deals and prices, check out the Alternative To Violence Thrift Store found on Second Street or the St. Patrick's/St. Joseph's Thrift Store on Apache Avenue.

Whatever gift or treasure you may be seeking, Downtown Raton has you covered!

1. The People

You would be hard-pressed to find a town with friendlier people than in Raton. If you want to get a feel for the local culture and people walking around Downtown Raton and visiting with locals is the way to do it!

Stop in and grab a coffee at Enchanted Grounds where you'll be greeted by friendly baristas and likely to get roped into a conversation with regulars that meet daily and discuss local happenings. Even if you don't stay at The Raton Pass Motor Inn (which you should!) you must stop and talk with the owners of this Vintage-Cool Inn. If you like retro, this hotel will take you back to the good 'ol days with vintage cars and themed rooms paired with friendly local conversation that can't be beat!

Mr. & Mrs. Solano

Mr. Andy Solano can be found in his leather work studio at Solano's Boot & Western Wear. Mr. Solano has been making custom leather items from boots to saddles since 1956. Stop in to see this master leather craftsman at work and pick up a couple of items to add to your wardrobe while you're at it.

Go by the Raton Museum and ask Roger about his favorite highlights of Raton's past. He's passionate about the town's history and can tell you stories that you would think are out of a storybook but are the true tales of our little city.

Come by and spend some time loving downtown Raton as much as we do!

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