Fodor's Expert Review Taos Plaza
The first European explorers of the Taos Valley came here with Captain Hernando de Alvarado, a member of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's expedition of 1540. Basque explorer Don Juan de Oñate arrived in Taos in July 1598 and established a mission and trading arrangements with residents of Taos Pueblo. The settlement developed into two plazas: the plaza at the heart of the town became a thriving business district for the early colony, and a walled residential plaza was constructed a few hundred yards behind. It remains active today, home to a throng of shlocky gift shops, plus a few more noteworthy galleries and boutiques. On the southeastern corner of Taos Plaza is the Hotel La Fonda de Taos. Nine infamous erotic paintings by D. H. Lawrence that were naughty in his day but are quite tame by present standards can be viewed in a small gallery in the hotel.