15 Best Things to Do in Las Cruces

15 Best Things to Do in Las Cruces

Located just beside the Chihuahuan Desert, the New Mexican city of Las Cruces was called “the happiest city in New Mexico” by Money.

Home to the New Mexico State University, New Mexico’s one and only land grant University, this city is a mix of subtle warm-toned mountainous backdrops, classic wide Mexican fields and modern state of art architecture and infrastructure.

It also got the third position under the award for the top 20 places to go for a vacation 2019!

That speaks volumes on how fine of a travel location Las Cruces is. Being the second-largest city in New Mexico, Las Cruces has a population of around 103,432 people approximately.

Being famous for a lot of reasons like the scenic beauty, befriending people, extremely safe atmosphere and the University, one thing Las Cruces is loved for is the availability of top notch Mexican delicacies.

The young crowds from the university and lively population, in general, keep up the nightlife active in Las Cruces so do not think of it as a city that sleeps off at night!

However, the city has much more to offer than just fun, the long list of heritage museums and classic art galleries and theatres, scenic wildlife centers and parks, the downtown, an entire old village, mountainous and desert monuments and memorials are sure to grab your heart and make for an unforgettable journey.

A Trip to The Great Old Mesilla Village

Old Mesilla Village
Camerafiend, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This village is a historic site of massive significance in the U.S. formation history, dating back to the 1800s. what is astounding is that the entire village has been kept running not only as visual areas but properly functioning town units of Las Cruces.

There are loads of things to do and adorable buildings to savor. As you reach the area, the very ambience and architectural pattern will set the mood taking you back to the 1800s.

Rugged, colorful and mystic buildings are sure to make your tour worth it. The Old Mexican architecture makes itself gracefully evident.

There is an unending list of shops, plazas, galleries, bars, restaurants, mini-museums, and some breathtaking Chapels for you to visit.

Do not miss out on the Parish Hall that will make you go spellbound with the regal decoration and royal atmosphere with a golden aura all around.

There is the Capitol house where Billy The Kid was sentenced. The ethnic memorabilia of the natives are still very well preserved and will amaze you. This village should be a must visit to get to deeply know the culture and heritage of Las Cruces.

Visit the Dripping Springs Natural Area

Dripping Springs Natural Area
Anna Westman / Shutterstock.com

The Dripping Springs Natural Area is one of the most scenically blessed and geographically rich locations of New Mexico.

This location covers a huge area of geological formations in a pure desert-like vegetation and landmark.

Like a Tarantino movie location, this place has a quintessential mountainous and desert beauty with water springs falling from in between the rocky structures.

The vegetation also witnesses a major variety with some areas having dry bushes while the other having thick green trees and amongst these rocky formations bloom some of the biggest Mexican flowers, believe it or not!

The most famous activity to try out here is evidently hiking. There are facilities and paths available for all types of hikers from simple amateur families to professionals.

These amber mountains are huge and unending, so photography is another heavily practised activity.

Also get ready to end up encountering some real wildlife here, a herd of deer might come close and inspect you. The thrill is therefore pretty real.

The Amazing New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

The Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum tells a captivating story through different means on how over the last 4000 years the lands and people of New Mexico and thereby Las Cruces, have been growing their food.

The mesmerizing contents of this museum range from equipment used by the earliest natives to top notch gorgeous statues of famous figures or art works by renowned artists.

This museum also features animals and birds which add to the thrill. There are visual representations, exhibits, skilled guides to help you.

There are barns, amphitheatres, a greenhouse, library, heritage garden, gift shop, snack bar and more.

A Beautiful Glimpse of The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Organ Mountains
Jonathan Owens / Shutterstock.com

This place probably gives the most outstanding view of the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces.

One of the most ragged yet picturesque locations in New Mexico, this place has been a top attraction for many film makers! It is filled with monuments and structures and the rocky golden brown mountains simultaneously creating a backdrop with the lush green ones.

There are wooden cabins to give that gorgeous American feel to the area. There are loads of things to do like trailing or hiking, bird watching or visiting the parks and gardens. There are beautiful picnic spots at the mountain tops too.

An Active Day at The Museum of Nature and Science

The Museum of Nature and Science is one of the most unique and well equipped museums in Las Cruces with some good competitors!

What makes it unique is the amalgamation of scientific equipment on one hand and natural significant pieces on the other.

This museum also features a lot of animal content and learning about tourism and animal welfare is an added bonus here.

All the quintessential thrillers like dinosaur skeletons, reptiles and snakes and numerous frog species are present.

Apart from this some precious stones and gems, electro spectrum lighting equipment and live display are also available for visitors.

Enjoy the Lively Farmers and Crafts Market

Located at the heart of the downtown, Main Street Suite B, this Farmers and Crafts Market is a fine example on why Las Cruces is officially the happiest city in New Mexico!

Once you enter the zone, be prepared to be taken aback by the array of colorful, lively and loud shops and hustle of people all around.

Old men and women wearing the most vibrant costumes and singing away to their heart’s glory with their mandolins is another treasured sight.

Flower markets, multiple food trucks, gorgeously decorated handicraft stores, showpieces to costumes to beverages and traditional clothing, it’s all here.

The New Mexico State University

Farmers and Crafts Market
Travel_with_me / Shutterstock.com

One of the most prestigious universities of Mexico, this one is the only land-grant University here.

Apart from being an educational site it is also a favorite of visitors for the environment, architecture and atmosphere of being surrounded by the youth.

You can even get inside and have a detailed tour of the University with focus on the different departments like performing arts, geography or the sciences.

There is also a treasured art museum inside this very University, do not miss out on that. There are inventions and monuments outdoors, very intriguing to watch along with the top notch architecture.

A Tour to The Soledad Canyon Day Use Area

Soledad Canyon
Richard J Roberts / Shutterstock.com

There can hardly be anyone not enthralled and amazed by the utmost beauty of natural magnanimous canyons through which slim brooks flow down creating some of the most gorgeous American locations to witness.

The Soledad Canyon is one such exceptionally robust structure which deserves your attention.

Also the entire area around it has a range of views to offer from lush green woods to dry and rocky trailing paths, from narrow channels flowing from in between the canyon to mysterious hiking paths in between the mountains.

Activities like hiking, picnicking, photography, rope climbing, animal watching or detailed touring are favorites.

The Stunning Zuhl Museum

The motto of the Zuhl Museum is quite lively as they themselves state that here “rocks come alive!” You can only expect to be thoroughly mind blown here and nothing else on the ordinary side.

The collection is praiseworthy to say the least. Starting from a varied range of precious rocks, gems, ancient, old and even young, they also delve into the fossil world.

There are multiple exemplary forensic artifacts like numerous skeletons or skeletal figures of extinct creatures like the dinosaurs and huge lizards, their imprints on rocks will blow your mind. So will the minerals and petrified wood.

An Interesting Day at The Mesilla Plaza

The Mesilla Plaza is indeed a part of the Mesilla Old Heritage village. However it deserves a special attention and spot as the Plaza alone can take up to 3 to 4 hours to finish seeing.

Fabulous restaurants that will beckon you to go see the classical way of cooking traditional Mexican dishes and of course taste them!

Hymns and tunes coming from old ethnic singers who sit by their porch and play the quintessential Mexican music live for show.

An endless array and a maze like paradise of shops ranging from precious antiques to handicrafts to current art pieces.

Relax by The La Llrona Park

All that travelling, hiking, biking, trailing, and information overload might make you want to take a pause and relax.

The La LIorona Park will give you that solace and peace amidst calming and soothing landscapes of nature.

This is a minimalistic park for soft activities like trailing, sitting by the river, jogging, picnics etc. there is a biking path and an outhouse too.

The view of the river and the mountains beyond on any day at the time of sunset is something you would not want to miss. The ambiance is of greenery and peaceful silence for you to unwind.

Pay a Visit to The Veterans Memorial

Located at the Roadrunner Pkwy, the Veterans Memorial is technically another park but in reality much deeper than that.

It is a memorial built to commemorate and pay homage to the war veterans who bravely fought for the country.

There are many interesting markers like the shoe prints on where they walked, a humbling sculpture of 3 soldiers, and a helicopter heading towards the ground.

It covers the military parts mostly and you would surely feel a lot of emotions pouring in your heart and brimming through your eyes here. There are BBQ grills, a field and playing areas too.

The Historic Las Cruces Rail Road Museum

Another unique museum located at the Mesilla Street, this location is dedicated to the trains and all the locomotives and their history. It is a true treat for all the true train lovers and curious people in general.

There is a miniature model town created with functioning railways, the functioning of which will amaze you.

Different pictures and information are given in great details in regard to the evolution of local models.

There is of course a gorgeous gallery with all the equipment you could want to see. The staff is also very friendly. It is a treat for children.

Check out The Water Tank Murals

Coming out of the lavish galleries, the very walls of Las Cruces are ready to dazzle you with their art. The Las Cruces Water Tank Murals beside the sea is an area with some of the most prolific art creations.

The location itself is a loved spot with the waters beside and humongous water tanks the walls of which are painted with these magnanimous paintings.

The whole ambiance is that of the amalgamation of pop art culture and classic ethnic paintings, starting with legendary running horses to paintings of space, satellites and famous astronauts to paintings matching the landscape around.

A Tour to The Lake Valley Historic Townsite

To get to know the true roots and ancestry of Las Cruces as well as feast on a scenic location, a tour to the Valley Historic Town site is mandatory.

With an exceptionally peaceful ambiance, the huge mountainous fields, this site bears witness to the remains of some of the earliest establishments of Las Cruces and thereby New Mexico.

The old wooden houses and cabins on the crevasses of these mountains with local vegetation blooming all around will be worth your visit.

Hiking, rope climbing and trailing are particulars here. The ambiance evokes both an aesthetic thrill and an eerie feeling.