Once known as Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences New Mexico is a small resort town with a year-round population of slightly more than 6,000.
A walk around downtown Truth or Consequences 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).
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 in the Historic Hot Springs and Downtown District, to the many motor courts along Date Street.
Situated off I-25 between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, this little town got its big name in 1950 as part of a publicity scheme to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ralph Edwards’ hugely successful game show on NBC radio. (more info on the name change) Once Hot Springs became Truth or Consequences, 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 time now, but Fiesta continues every year, on the first weekend of May.
Fiesta activities include the Miss Fiesta pageant, a parade, rodeos and calf roping, a golf tournament, and – throughout the downtown and at Ralph Edwards Park – music, performance, and contests including a junk boat race and rubber duck race on the Rio Grande. (Complete info is on the Fiesta website.)
Las Palomas Plaza (pictured at left), completed by the artist Shel Neymark circa 2003, is an inviting feature of downtown T or C. 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.
MainStreet Truth or Consequences, a community-based group dedicated to the revitalization and beautification of the downtown, 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.
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 at T or C Brewing (and beyond).
Downtown Visitor Center
The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway Visitor Center is open daily, just inside the entrance of the Lee Belle Johnson Center. Brochures, maps and other information on local and area attractions and amenities are available here 7 days per week. The Healing Waters Plaza, located directly behind the Visitor Center, serves as an event venue and a nice place for pedestrians to sit and watch the world go by.
Truth or Consequences Hot Springs 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.
Information for the municipality can be found on the City of Truth or Consequences website, torcnm.org.