Truth or Consequences

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downtowntruthorconsequences with happy clouds

Truth or Consequences New Mexico, known as Hot Springs until 1950, is a small resort town with a year-round population of slightly more than 6,000.

Brief History

The mineral-rich hot springs along the Rio Grande have been a destination since long before Europeans came along. Once settlers arrived, word began to spread about the healing qualities of the water and our temperate climate. People suffering from all kinds of maladies came to the area hoping to be healed. Incorporation papers for the Palomas Hot Springs Town Site were filed in 1914. By 1919, the town name had been shortened to Hot Springs. More about the early history of the town is on our hot springs page.

The Carrie Tingley Hospital for Children was opened by Governor Clyde Tingley in 1937 to treat children with polio, hip dysplasia, and other illnesses. New bath houses and motor courts were built to accommodate the incoming, who continued flocking to the City of Health seeking care at Carrie Tingley, in the therapeutic springs, or through the magic touch of reputed healers like Magnolia Ellis, Edna White, and Newton “Jack” Keas.

early Hot Springs New Mexico - Tumble Inn
The Tumble Inn, at the approximate location of Riverbend Hot Springs.

Today, a walk around downtown can be like stepping into a living time capsule; one can stroll among businesses on WPA-era sidewalks, take a soak in T or C’s ancient hot springs, or dine at a steak house straight out of the 1980s (the town offers a range of interesting dining options).

Mind the one-way streets downtown! Broadway traffic flows west to east from Bullocks Grocery until Date Street. Main Street traffic flows the opposite way: east to west from Date St to Bullocks.

The Ralph Edwards Years

The little town got its big name in 1950 as part of a publicity scheme to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Truth or Consequences, Ralph Edwards’ hugely successful game show on NBC radio.

Once the new name was adopted, Edwards traveled to town annually, celebrity friends in tow, for nearly 50 years to celebrate “Truth or Consequences Fiesta.” Edwards has been gone for some years now, but Fiesta continues to be held annually on the first weekend of May, and the downtown park and the civic auditorium are named for him.

Annual Fiesta

Activities include the Miss Fiesta pageant, a parade, rodeos and calf roping, and a golf tournament. Bands and other entertainers take the downtown stage starting Friday night and continuing through Sunday afternoon. Fun contests include Mr. Fiesta and the Beard Contest. Ralph Edwards Park is the site of volleyball and basketball tournaments, a kids fishing derby, and a rubber duck race on the Rio Grande.

For dates and an event schedule, see our events section. For more Fiesta History, visit the Ralph Edwards Room at the Geronimo Springs Museum.

Visitor Center

The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway Visitor Center is open as noted on their website. Conveniently located at 523 Broadway, the Visitor Center offers maps, brochures and other information on local area attractions and amenities. On Saturdays, tours of Spaceport America depart from this location.

geronimo trail scenic byway visitor center

Downtown Landmarks: WPA Post Office, Las Palomas Plaza

Las Palomas Plaza, completed by Embudo NM artist Shel Neymark in 2003, is a small park surrounded with colorful ceramic mountains. Located next door to the artifact-studded Geronimo Springs Museum and across the street from the historic downtown Post Office, the fountain provides a place for visitors to sit and relax while soaking their feet in the town’s famous hot mineral waters. Currently, the water cycles at 15 minutes on / 15 minutes off – these waters are worth waiting for if you can spare the time.

Healing Waters Plaza

T or C’s Healing Waters Plaza serves as an event venue and a nice spot for pedestrians to sit, take a pause, and watch the world go by. You will find it between Ted Turner’s Sierra Grande on McAdoo and the Lee Belle Johnson building (currently undergoing repairs) on Foch. Look for two rows of palm trees lining a sidewalk through the middle of the park.

healing waters plaza truth or consequences
mainstreet torc

Credit for Healing Waters Plaza belongs to MainStreet Truth or Consequences, a community-based group dedicated to the revitalization and beautification of the downtown. MainStreet partners with the Sierra County Tourism Board in the promotion of downtown Truth or Consequences, its Historic Hot Springs District and water sports on the Rio Grande.

truth or consequences 2nd saturday art hop

MainStreet is also the group behind the monthly Second Saturday Art Hop, a night when many downtown businesses open their doors from 6-9pm for gallery shows, shopping, dining, performance, and live music. Check the MainStreet website for details on the next event.

Kick off your shoes and stay a while

You’ll find all sorts of lodging here, from larger, name-brand motels “uptown” (near I-25 exit 79 and Walmart) to charmingly-restored commercial spa / hotels and vacation rentals in the Historic Hot Springs and Downtown District, to the many motor courts along Date Street.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs District

map hot springs truth or consequences spa and commercial district

There are TEN commercial bathhouses offering hot springs in the cool town’s easily walkable historic hot springs & commercial district.

The bathhouses were the town’s biggest draw in the Hot Springs era, back when T or C was advertised as the City of Health.

Today, the springs are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Most of T or C’s spas have been charmingly restored and are open to walk-ins who can pay to soak by the hour. Several also offer lodging.

truth or consequences

Information for the municipality can be found on the City of Truth or Consequences website, torcnm.org.

Downtown T or C’s signature events

Details are subject to change, always check websites or social media for up-to-date info. See our events page for other events around the town and the county.

Second Saturday Art Hop

6pm February 10, 2024
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Truth or Consequences Fiesta

4pm Friday May 3 through 4pm Sunday May 5
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T or C’s Old-Fashioned Christmas

Annually, 2nd Friday of December
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