Are you planning to be at the Chili Capital of the World? If you live close to Hatch, New Mexico, then driving and visiting the annual Hatch Chili Festival is okay. But if you live like three hours away or more, it may not be worth the trip. I live in Las Cruces, and so a 40-minute drive to Hatch was nothing.
I left Las Cruces around noontime and arrived in Hatch in time for a heavy traffic along the festival venue. Parking was easy — just park anywhere! Although I expected thousands of visitors to flock the 2-day weekend fest (30,000 people, the website says), thus, finding a parking spot maybe of a problem. However, it was not the case at all. There were plenty of spaces for everyone. I parked near a church.
The first thing I did was asked few locals what they could recommend me to do. They were very helpful in directing me where to go first and what to do next. I was advised to walk through the long stretch of street vendors and buy some of the roasted green chili peppers. They also told to enjoy the entertainment at the other side of the venue. Most especially, they said that I should not miss the food at Sparkys, famous for its burgers and barbecues.
Everywhere I look were store roasting and selling chilies.
And look at this bunch!
This shop was selling plenty of Hatch-made handicrafts too.
When it was time for me to get my food at Sparkys, I was disappointed to see the long queue of people waiting outside the restaurant. Truly, people were lining up to be at Sparkys! I decided not to join the queue. With how the line was barely moving forward, a good two hours of wait may not even be enough.
I walked further and enjoyed the rest of the street displays.
Unless you stop by in every store, you can see everything within 2 hours. Since the event usually happens on Labor Day weekend, other places in the area on your travel list maybe closed (example: the Hatch Museum). That is why I highlighted in the beginning that driving 3 hours or more just to see the festival, may not be worth it. But if Hatch is along your route, stop by and enjoy some chilies.
Address: To visit the Hatch Chili Festival, just type Hatch, New Mexico on your GPS. It will bring you right to the town. Hatch is a very small town in the desert, so you will never get lost.
Where to stay.
The closest place to spend the night in is in Las Cruces.
Cheapest hotel: Motel 6 Las Cruces ($40 a night)
Check out other hotels below (all links will direct to hotels.com):
– Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – Las Cruces/I-10 Exit 140 ($50 a night)
– Value Place Las Cruces ($52 a night)
– Americas Best Value Inn – The Big Chile Inn ($55 a night)
– Econo Lodge ($55 a night)
*note that prices may vary depending on the season.