20 Things To Do In Las Cruces

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At the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert lies the former mining town of Las Cruces, where you can experience New Mexico’s charm, learn its history and taste delicious food. In Spanish, Las Cruces means “crosses”, today this city is considered the crossroad of New Mexico as it sits at the intersection of several major highways.

If you are looking for a southwestern city that’s peaceful yet thriving and filled with art and culture, head to Las Cruces. There are various museums to enjoy and activities that will allow you to experience some incredible nature spots. So, check out these 20 things to do in Las Cruces on your next trip to New Mexico.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

20 Things To Do In Las Cruces

las cruces, new mexico
Looking for things to do in Las Cruces? Here are 20 to get you going.

1- Visit The Old Mesilla Village

Old Mesilla Village has got to be on your list of things to do in Las Cruces.

This village and its plaza are a hive of activity, with various shops selling authentic local handicrafts and scrumptious Mexican food.

Old Mesilla also has a bit of a darker past, as it’s the place where Billy the Kid was put on trial.

Billy the Kid, otherwise known as William H. Bonney, killed eight men when he was just 21 years old.

He was one of the Wild West’s most notorious outlaws.

While at Old Mesilla, you can visit the very courthouse where he was sentenced to death.

Old Mesilla Village is located five-minutes south of Las Cruces.

2- Take A Photo At The Recycled Roadrunner Statue

This is a quick stop off during your travels to Las Cruces, but it’s still an impressive statue to see.

The recycled roadrunner statue stands at an imposing 20-foot (6 m) tall.

This bird statue is made out of recycled material and waste.

Look closely, and you’ll find old shoes, phones and bike parts.

It used to stand at the Las Cruces Foothills Landfill and acted as a poignant example of the harsh realities of excessive consumption and the need for recycling.

The bird has been relocated to the west of Las Cruces on I-10, so stop off and view this large, recycled bird and enjoy expansive views of Las Cruces as well.

3- Explore Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

things to do in las cruces nm
Admiring desert plants is one of the things to do in Las Cruces today.

This 305-acre state park is a favourite among locals and a popular place to hang out and relax.

This state park focuses on the protection and conservation of the forestlands of the Rio Grande.

If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking, you’ll love the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, so pack a picnic and head out with friends or on a ranger-led tour.

It is a fantastic park to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

Because the park also includes an extensive wetland area, bird lovers will enjoy their visit as they try and find different species.

Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is at 5000 Calle Del Norte, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

4- Shop At Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market

things to do in las cruces nm for couples colourful new mexico-style pottery
Shopping for local pottery is one of the things to do in Las Cruces when you visit the markets.

If you are in Las Cruces on a Wednesday or Saturday, you must head to the Farmers and Crafts Market.

The market is large, covering seven city blocks and has everything you’d possibly want from a local shopping trip.

There are various handmade jewellery, clothes, ceramics and pottery stalls. Or grab some organic veggies and other delectable local New Mexican foods.

Las Cruces is a melting pot of cultures, which is heavily reflected in the local farmer’s market.

Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market is at 221 N Main St Studio E, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

5- Hunt For Antiques At Picacho Avenue Antiques Mall

fun things to do in las cruces
Wandering around town is one of the first things to do in Las Cruces New Mexico to get your bearings.

Fancy a spot of antiquing while in town?

Check out the Picacho Avenue Antique Mall downtown to while away a few hours searching for hidden gems.

The entire Picacho Avenue is filled with different antique shops. Hop from shop to shop, looking at trinkets and treasures.

Las Cruces’ antique shops are known for having some wonderful finds at affordable prices.

6- Visit The Fort Seldon State Monument

things to do in las cruces Fort Seldon State Monument
Exploring the Fort Seldon State Monument is another of the things to do in Las Cruces for history buffs.

This monument was built in 1865 by the United States Army to protect the people who lived in the Mesilla Valley area.

Today, although most of the fortifications structure has crumbled away, you can still see the walls of the fort that once was able to protect communities.

Visit the Fort Seldon State Monument, wander around the fort and check out the visitor centre, where a permanent exhibition details the fort’s history and showcases the people that this fortification protected.

Fort Seldon State Monument is at 1280 Fort Selden Rd, Radium Springs, NM 88054.

7- Step Back in Time At Prehistoric Trackways National Monument

top things to do in las cruces purple cloudy sunset
Admiring the sunsets is one of the things to do in Las Cruces New Mexico.

This Las Cruces attraction is for paleontological enthusiasts or kids who love animals and reptiles.

The Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (PTNM) is home to the footprints of numerous amphibians, including reptiles and insects.

This isn’t just any old trackway; it’s one of the world’s most important sites of its kind.

At this site, you can see deposits from the Paleozoic Era and fossils from more than 280 million years ago.

At PTNM, they focus on education and spreading knowledge about paleontology, with programmes for both kids and adults.

8- Visit New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

things to do in las cruces this weekend ruins
Visiting the Dripping Springs ruins is another thing to do when visiting Las Cruces.

When you think of New Mexico, you might think of that bleak desert-like landscape with a few fields of cattle.

Well, the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is a place that showcases this idealistic picture.

This museum is both an indoor and outdoor museum that sits on 47 acres (19 ha) of space.

New Mexico’s farming history is more than 3,000 years old.

The Bruce Kind Building is the central focus point of the museum, which houses six galleries and changing exhibits.

Learn all about cows, how they are milked and the different breeds.

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is at 4100 Dripping Springs Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011.

9- Follow The Green Chili Trail

So, do you like spice? Are you that person who has to add chilli to absolutely everything? If so, you’ve got to go on a Green Chili Trail tour.

Las Cruces prides itself on its green chillies.

The local university has a specific research centre dedicated to these spicy green chilis.

There are excellent restaurants you can pop into and try their best chilli dishes.

Las Cruces is well-known for its incredible Mexican food and some rather spicy drinks you may not have tried before, like green chilli vodka or green chilli martini.

The ‘Walk of Flame’ tour is a great option, where a local guide will take you through Las Cruces’ history of chilli production.

10- Fountain Theater

The distinctive Fountain Theater is the oldest movie theatre in New Mexico and is built in the traditional adobe style.

This 1905 monument is not just an iconic Las Cruces building, but it is also a fully functioning movie theatre.

If you enjoy a good Western or the movie classics, you should head to the Fountain Theater one evening while in Las Cruces.

Fountain Theater is at 2469 Calle De Guadalupe, Mesilla, NM 88046.

11- Las Cruces Museum of Art

things to do in las cruces nm today snow on a road sign to Las Cruces
On a road trip in New Mexico? Here are some of the things to do in Las Cruces.

Head to the Las Cruces Museum of Art for the local art scene of Las Cruces and New Mexico to admire permanent and temporary exhibits.

You can also enjoy lectures about sculptures, photography and paintings at many of the exhibitions.

Art demonstrations at the museum showcase local contemporary art and support up-and-coming local artists.

Las Cruces Museum of Art is at 491 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

12- Learn About Trains At The Railroad Museum

best things to do in las cruces
Visiting the railway museum is a fun thing to do in Las Cruces for trainspotters.

If you enjoy keeping yourself entertained on vacation by going to museums, then Las Cruces is for you.

One of the best things to do in Las Cruces for train enthusiasts is to visit the Railroad Museum.

At the Santa Fe Depot, you’ll find this museum of all things trains!

This is a local train museum, so it details the evolution of the railway network surrounding Las Cruces and within New Mexico.

The most enthusiastic train buffs will love the model railways and tracks, and there is an old caboose outside as well.

The Railroad Museum is at 351 N Mesilla St #2567, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

13- Explore Concepts At The Museum of Nature and Science

things to do in las cruces today
A suburb in the eastern part of Las Cruces.

If you are not yet done with museums, then the Museum of Nature and Science is the place to spend a few hours.

This is a fantastic museum to take the kids to as there are a ton of interactive exhibits.

Discover the local flora and fauna of New Mexico through their rotational exhibitions.

There is even a small zoo once you reach the end of the science museum.

Museum of Nature and Science is at 411 N Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

14- White Sands Missile Range Museum

things to do las cruces an assortment of missiles on display outdoors
Seeing the missiles at White Sands missile range museum is one of the rather weird things to do in Las Cruces.

This army rocket range is the largest military installation in the United States.

The White Sands Missile Range covers 3,200 square miles of space and was established in 1945 to test American long-range rockets.

You’ll learn more about America’s missile and space program and the start of the Cold War Era of atomic bombs.

Outside the museum in the missile park, there are around 50 missiles and rockets on display.

They are enormous, it’s quite a thought-provoking and fascinating thing to see in Las Cruces.

White Sands Missile Range, Wsmr P Rt 1, White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002.

15- Visit The Branigan Cultural Center

things to do in las cruces new mexico
The Las Cruces city hall.

If you want to know about the place you’re visiting, check out the Branigan Cultural Center.

The Museum of Fine Art and Couture and the Las Cruces Historical Museum are within the cultural centre, so there’s plenty to see and do.

Inside the cultural centre are a bunch of sculptures, historical photographs, local textiles, and historical memorabilia.

There’s a whole mismatch of things to see and do at the Branigan Cultural Center, so why not check it out?

Branigan Cultural Center is at 501 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

16- Admire The Organ Mountains 

things to do in las cruces
One of the top things to do in Las Cruces for photographers is to capture images of the Organ Mountains.

One of the most stunning places on this list of things to do in Las Cruces, the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument is 500,000 acres (202,000 ha) of protected land that’s rugged and utterly breathtaking.

Immerse yourself in nature, take a hike and photograph some impressive mountains. There are a bunch of trails, from the easy to the more advanced.

With mountain views throughout the Chihuahua Desert and the Organ Mountains, you truly are spoilt for choice.

17- Discover Natural History At The Zuhl Museum

things to do in las cruces, nm distance view of Las Cruces
Las Cruces in New Mexico is a desert destination.

The Zuhl Museum is an amalgamation of natural history museum and an art gallery.

There are giant fossils on display, the most extensive collection of petrified wood in America, and the skeleton of a baby mammoth.

Inside there are quite a few exhibits featuring more than 1800 specimens.

There’s a kid’s corner with fun things for them to play with, there’s even a rare rock section where you can discover some hidden gems.

Zuhl Museum is at 775 College Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88003.

18- Go Horseriding At Corralitos Ranch

things to do in las cruces tomorrow woman on a horse
Going horse riding is one of the things to do in Las Cruces that gels with the culture.

So, New Mexico, and Las Cruces, in particular, feel like the ideal setting for a spot of horseback riding.

Visit the enormous Corralitos ranch and take a horse-riding trip through the expansive desert.

Not only is the horse-riding fun, but the views are spectacular.

Choose a daytime ride, or try golden hour, when the evening sun begins to set, it’s a truly spectacular time for photography and riding.

Corralitos Ranch is at 3000 Corralitos Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

19- Watch A Show At The No Strings Theatre Company

If you like going to the theatre, the No Strings Theatre has regular plays, performances and a puppet theatre.

Yes, those lifelike puppets will prance around the stage.

No Strings Theatre Company is at 430 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

20- Eat And Drink At D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro

family things to do in las cruces
Dining on tasty New Mexico fare is a fun thing to do in Las Cruces with kids.

As well as some excellent spicy Mexican food, Las Cruces has a winery and bistro you can enjoy.

This is the place to be if you want to sample local wines.

D.H. Lescombes winery features some of New Mexico’s best award-winning wines.

Visit the winery and pick your favourite at a wine tasting and enjoy some live music on Friday and Saturday.

This winery is also a great place to pick up some local Las Cruces gifts for friends and family back home.

Local craft beers, wines and gourmet food are available in their shop.

D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro is at 1720 Avenida de Mesilla, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!