Portales ranked 15th in the nation in quality of life among 577 micropolitan areas in a 2006 study of "America's Dreamtowns: Regional leaders in small-town quality of life rankings" by Bizjournals.
Portales offers a friendly, small-town atmosphere with plenty of cultural and recreational activities. Eastern New Mexico University and Cannon Air Force Base bring in residents from across the country and around the world.
Located on the High Plains, Portales is in the heart of a major agricultural region. Residents enjoy sunny days, low humidity and mild winters.
Portales is a doorway into rich human history stretching back 13,000 years to the Paleoindian mammoth hunters. Eastern New Mexico University operates five museums that provide an extensive look at regional history. The Blackwater Draw Archaeological Site is one of the most well-known and significant sites in North America. The Blackwater Draw Museum features a complete display of prehistoric animals such as the woolly mammoth. The Miles Mineral Museum, Miles Anthropological Museum, Roosevelt County Museum and Natural History Museum are housed on the ENMU campus.
- Blackwater Draw Museum and archaelogical site
- The Golden Library
- Natural History Museum
- Miles Mineral Museum
- Roosevelt County Historical Museum
Recreational offerings in the city include a golf course, parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, softball fields, baseball diamonds, a youth recreation center, an archery range, racquetball courts, and a fitness center.
Ski resorts, shopping malls, state and national parks are within easy driving distance. Clovis, a town of nearly 40,000, is 20 minutes away.
- Amarillo, Texas: 120 miles
- Lubbock, Texas: 105 miles
- Albuquerque: 225 miles
- Santa Fe: 230 miles