Located in southern New Mexico, Las Cruces is a city with a rich history and a bright future.
Founded in 1848, it was once an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail. Today, it is home to New Mexico State University and a thriving arts community. Visitors to Las Cruces can enjoy a variety of activities, from hiking and cycling in the Organ Mountains to exploring the city’s many museums and art galleries.
There is something for everyone in Las Cruces, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway (it’s about a 3 hour drive from Albuquerque) or a longer vacation.
To help plan your trip, here is our list of the best things to do in Las Cruces.
1) Dripping Springs Natural Area
The Dripping Springs Natural Area is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is a great place to hike and explore. The area is home to a variety of plant and animal life, as well as some incredible views.
There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, so there is something for everyone. In addition, the area is very scenic, with towering cliffs, beautiful desert landscapes, and a rushing river.
The Dripping Springs Natural Area is a great place to spend a day outdoors and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
2) Old Mesa Village
The Old Mesa Village is a collection of ancient pueblo ruins located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The site includes the remains of several houses, as well as a kiva (a ceremonial structure used by the Pueblo people).
Excavations at the site have revealed that it was inhabited from about AD 1200 to 1400. Today, the Old Mesa Village is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can learn about the Pueblo people and their way of life.
The site is also an important archeological site, and ongoing research is helping to shed light on the history of this fascinating culture.
3) New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is a 24-acre complex that celebrates the state’s rich agricultural heritage.
The museum features exposition buildings, an amphitheater, a working ranch, and a variety of interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about the history of farming and ranching in New Mexico, see firsthand how crops are grown and animals are raised, and explore the state’s diverse agricultural traditions.
The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including educational programs, musical performances, and hands-on activities for kids. Whether you’re a lifelong resident of New Mexico or just passing through, the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is sure to give you a taste of the state’s unique culture and history.
4) Organ Mountains desert peak national monument
Organ Mountains Desert Peak National Monument is a federally protected area located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The monument includes four major mountain ranges: the organs, the san Andres, the doña Ana, and the robledo mountains.
These ranges are home to a variety of plant and animal life, as well as a number of historical and cultural sites. The monument is also popular with hikers, campers, and climbers. In recent years, the monument has become increasingly popular with tourists seeking to experience the desert landscape.
The Organ Mountains desert peak national monument is an important part of the state’s history and culture, and a visit to the monument is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
5) Farmers’ markets and craft fairs
Farmers’ markets and craft fairs are a great way to support local businesses and find unique, handcrafted goods. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, there are several farmers’ markets and craft fairs that take place throughout the year.
The Mesilla Valley Farmers’ Market is open all year round, offering fresh produce, honey, eggs, and more from local vendors. The market also features live music and cooking demonstrations. The Las Cruces Farmers’ Market is another popular option, with over 100 vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to jewelry and pottery.
For those looking for handmade gifts, the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival is held twice a year and features hundreds of artists and crafters from all over the Southwest. With so many options to choose from, there’s something for everyone at the farmers’ markets and craft fairs in Las Cruces!
6) Zuhl Museum
The Zuhl museum is a hidden gem in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The museum is small but packed with items from the private collection of Dr. Albert Zuhl.
The collection includes fossils, minerals, rocks, and petrified wood from around the world. There are also interactive displays, such as a replica of a working mine, that help to bring the exhibits to life. The Zuhl museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday and offers educational programs for all ages.
With its unique collection and hands-on approach, the Zuhl museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Earth science.
7) Soledad Canyon
Soledad Canyon is a popular recreation spot in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The canyon is located just minutes from downtown, and it offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.
Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in the canyon, and there are several trails of varying difficulty levels. For those who want a challenge, the canyon also has several rock-climbing routes. In addition to hiking and climbing, visitors can also go picnicking, birdwatching, and horseback riding in Soledad Canyon.
There are several picnic areas located throughout the canyon, and the birdwatching is particularly good in the early morning hours. Horseback riding is allowed on certain trails, and there are several stables in the area that offer rental horses. Whatever your interests, Soledad Canyon is sure to have something for you.
8) NMSU campus
NMSU campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico is one of the nation’s leading research universities. The 792-acre campus is home to over 20,000 students, making it the largest university in New Mexico.
The campus is also home to the state’s flagship agricultural college, as well as a nationally renowned engineering program. In addition to its academic excellence, the NMSU campus is known for its beautiful desert landscape and its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Students come from all over the world to study at NMSU, and they are drawn to the university’s strong sense of community. With its cutting-edge research and world-class facilities, the NMSU campus is truly a beautiful and unique place to learn.
9) Las Cruces Museum of Art
The Las Cruces Museum of Art is in the historic district of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The museum was founded in 1977, and it houses a permanent collection of more than 700 works of art.
The collection includes paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs by artists from the United States and Europe. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
In addition to the galleries, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and admission is free.
10) Veterans Memorial Park
The Veterans Memorial Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico is a beautiful and serene place. It is a great place to come and reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by the men and women who have served in our country’s armed forces.
The park is home to a variety of different monuments, each of which pays tribute to a different aspect of military service. There is also a walking path that leads through the park, and it is lined with trees and shrubs that provide shade and beauty.
The veterans memorial park is a beautiful place to visit, and it is an excellent way to show support for the men and women who have served our country.
11) Lake Valley historic townsite
The Lake Valley historic townsite is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was once a thriving mining town, but its population began to decline in the early 20th century.
The town was eventually abandoned, and its buildings fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, the town was rediscovered by historians and preservationists, who began working to restore its original appearance. Today, the Lake Valley historic townsite is a popular tourist destination, and its restored buildings offer a glimpse into the past.
Visitors can tour the restored miners’ dwellings, walk along the old streets, and learn about the town’s history at the visitor center. The Lake Valley historic townsite is a unique and fascinating place, and it is well worth a visit.
12) Railroad Museum
The Railroad Museum in Las Cruces, New Mexico is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the American West. The museum chronicles the impact of the railroads on the development of the region, from the early days of freight transport to the passenger trains of today.
Visitors can explore exhibits on the construction of the transcontinental railroad, the rise of the locomotive industry, and the lives of the workers who built and maintained the railroads. The museum also features a working model train layout, as well as a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and books about the history of railroading.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of trains or you’re just curious about this important part of American history, the Railroad Museum in Las Cruces is sure to please.
13) La Llorona Park
La Llorona Park is a beautiful place to visit in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Park gets its name from the legend of La Llorona, a woman who is said to haunt the area after she drowned her children in the river.
Today, the park is a popular spot for picnics and fishing, and visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking on the trails. The Park is also home to a playground, making it a great place to bring the kids. In addition, La Llorona Park is a popular spot for birdwatching, as it is home to a variety of different species.
So, whether you’re looking to enjoy some time outdoors or learn about local legends, La Llorona Park is definitely worth a visit.
14) Fort Seldon National Monument
Fort Seldon National Monument is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was established in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is managed by the National Park Service.
The monument commemorates the site of theFirst Battle of the Apache Pass, which was fought during the American Civil War. The battle was a major victory for the Union Army, as it prevented the Confederate Army from using the Apache Pass to invade California.
Today, visitors to the monument can see a variety of historical artifacts, including cannons and Tonyan petroglyphs. Fort Seldon National Monument is a great place to learn about America’s history and the importance of protecting our natural resources.
15) White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument is a unique and beautiful place. The monument is in the desert in southern New Mexico and is home to the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
The dunes are white because of the high concentration of gypsum crystals in the sand. The dunes are constantly shifting and moving, shaped by the wind. The best time to visit the dunes is early morning or evening, when the light is low, and the shadows are long.
The Monument is also home to many unique plants and animals, including the sandhill crane, which nests in the dunes. Visitors to White Sands can hike, camp, stargaze, and participate in ranger-led programs. With its otherworldly landscape, White Sands National Monument is a place like no other.
16) Green Chile Trail
The Green Chile Trail in Las Cruces, New Mexico is a must-do for any chili lover. This trail takes you through some of the best chili spots in the city, from hole-in-the-wall restaurants to food trucks.
You’ll get to try all different types of green chile, from traditional to innovative. And you’ll definitely want to take some home with you – there are plenty of places along the trail where you can buy green chile sauce and spices.
So whether you’re a chili connoisseur or just looking for a new food adventure, be sure to check out the green chile trail in Las Cruces.