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 through downtown T or C 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.
Edwards suggested that there might be a town in the United States that “liked and respected” the show so much that it would change its name to Truth or Consequences. State Senator Burton Roach relayed the news to the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, and in a special city election, residents voted to adopt Truth or Consequences as their town’s new name. Edwards and his entire crew subsequently came to T or C, as it is affectionately called by locals, and on April 1, 1950 a live, coast-to-coast broadcast of Truth or Consequences-the-radio show – was aired from Truth or Consequences-the-town!
Edwards loved T or C so much that he returned every year for nearly 50 years with his Hollywood friends for a Fiesta. The event is still celebrated in early May of every year with classic small-town panache.
Today’s Fiesta activities include the Miss Fiesta pageant, a parade, rodeos (motorcyle and traditional), a golf tournament, and – in 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 Post Office, the plaza and fountain provides a place for visitors to sit and relax while soaking their feet in the town’s famous hot mineral waters. Currently, the fountain cycles at 15 minutes on / 15 minutes off – these waters are worth waiting for if you can spare the time!
MainStreet Truth or Consequences 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 Truth or Consequences is a community-based group dedicated to the revitalization and beautification of the downtown.
MainStreet is also the group behind the monthly Second Saturday Art Hop, a night when many downtown businesses open their doors from 6-9pm.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES HOT SPRINGS HISTORIC DISTRICT
You’ll find 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.