Native American influence is an important part of New Mexico’s culture, and the state’s diverse and rich background is part of what makes it such an enchanting travel destination. One of the best places to see this diversity on display is at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC). Created in collaboration with the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, the center is conveniently located in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest metropolis, and offers a variety of enriching activities and exhibits.
From watching traditional Native dances to taking frybread cooking classes to learning about historical relics, there is so much to see and do at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. A few experiences in particular are not be missed, so we rounded up the best ways to truly make this the experience of a lifetime.
Witness a Traditional Native American Dance
For centuries, Native American people have used ceremonial dances as a way to pray for health, balance, harmony, and bounty. There are different dances to commemorate every occasion, and seeing these dances is a truly special experience.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the only place in North America to offer traditional Native American dances every week year-round, showcasing dance groups from the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, as well as Plains Style, Navajo, Apache, and Hopi dancers.
Explore the Vast Collections in the Museum
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is dedicated to conserving and curating a collection of invaluable objects from each of the state’s 19 Pueblos and other Southwestern tribes, and it never fails to impress. Get a true taste of the Southwestern tribes by perusing the museum’s collection, which includes more than 2,500 pieces of pottery, artwork, jewelry, textiles, baskets, photographs, prints, paintings, and archaeological artifacts. You’ll find everything from black-on-black vessels of San Ildefonso and Santa Clara Pueblos to the intricately detailed jars of the Acoma Pueblo to golden micaceous clay bean pots of Northern New Mexican Pueblos.
If you’re looking to enrich your historical experience, check out the library, which includes more than 5,000 papers, books, and collections. The library and museum together paint a picture of Pueblo history and culture.
Participate in a Workshop or Demonstration
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, there’s more to do than just view exhibitions. The IPCC gives you the chance to learn about the culture through interactive demonstrations and workshops, too. Whether you’re learning how to craft pottery with traditional methods, cooking Pueblo bread in an horno oven, or watching an artist at work, you will learn a new skill—and make some incredible memories while you’re at it. Check the events schedule to see what is going on at the center when you visit.
Embark on a Guided Mural Tour
While the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is home to a variety of indoor attractions, the walls outside of the center are special in their own right. The center is home to more than 20 murals, all created by great Pueblo artists. The works of art portray nature, dance, harvest, animals, celebrations and more.
To learn more, consider going on the Mural Discovery Tour. Tours take place year round on Fridays at 1 p.m. and are complimentary with museum admission. It’s a great way to get a comprehensive introduction to the artwork and learn about the story behind each piece.
Take a Turn Through the Resilience Garden
The IPCC’s Resilience Garden incorporates traditional Pueblo farming techniques to cultivate endangered crops. Visitors are invited to wander through the garden or "get their hands dirty" by enrolling in the Seasons of Growth learning series, where participants will learn more practical skills for growing Pueblo crops.
The garden is steeped in natural beauty and is a wonderful place to enjoy a moment of peace and simply be.
Visit the Center’s Mainstay Exhibit
Part of the magic of the IPCC is that the exhibitions, programs, and artwork are constantly rotating, which means you will never have the same experience twice. However, one of the center’s newest installations has become its signature display. "We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story" opened in April 2016 as part of the center’s 40th anniversary celebration and shares the story of the Pueblo people through their words and voices. The exhibit truly gives life to the story of Native peoples.
Enjoy a Meal in the Pueblo Harvest Cafe
Now that you’ve experienced what the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has to offer, it’s time to try traditional Pueblo cuisine. All of the dishes at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe are crafted with the finest seasonal ingredients available, and the menu features traditional Native American dishes with global influences.
Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening (year round) the cafe features live performers. Dance along to the beats of local musicians while you enjoy all-you-can-eat horno-baked pizza, handcrafted signature cocktails, craft beer, flavorful appetizers, and a fully loaded taco bar.
While we recommend planning for at least a full day at the IPCC, if you are short on time, mixing and matching these suggestions will ensure that you see some of the best the center has to offer. Click here for more ideas on what to do during your visit and get information about hours and admission fees.
Originally written by RootsRated for New Mexico.