Places to Visit in Las Cruces
The multicultural nature of Las Cruces history is showcased in the nearby town of Old Mesilla, with its historic plaza and beautifully preserved adobe buildings. Just half an hour from the Mexican border, Las Cruces events and entertainment feature the vibrant rhythms of Mariachi music, while the art galleries showcase both the Old West ranching and cowboy history as well as the work of intriguing contemporary artists. Link to learn more below.
One of the premier Las Cruces summer events is the Southern New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival. Las Cruces is the oldest wine growing region in the country. Fall brings a host of major events and Las Cruces attractions, including the White Sands International Film Festival, Las Cruces Country Music Festival, and the Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo. Las Cruces winter events begin with the spectacular International Mariachi Conference in November and Old Mesilla welcomes the holidays with Christmas carols and Luminarias on their historic plaza Christmas Eve.
Historic Old Mesilla Plaza is home to over 40 shops featuring Southwestern traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, as well as imports from Mexico and Central America. From antiques and fine art to jewelry, pottery, and wine, this Las Cruces cultural shopping experience has something for everyone.
Experience one of the world's great natural wonders: White Sands National Park. The unusual gypsum sands, beautiful plants, incredible animals, and spectacular vistas make this dunefield a truly amazing site to see. Link to learn more below.
One of the true gems in the Las Cruces area, White Sands National Park is the largest gypsum sand dunefield in the world. It covers an astonishing 275 square miles of glittering white sand and unusual desert vegetation. A number of fascinating visitor programs are offered at White Sands National Park throughout the year, including ranger programs, interpretive events, stargazing, sand sledding, painting and photography classes and hiking. Link to learn more below.
Step back in time when you visit the historic community of Mesilla. Traditional adobe structures with their unique Southwestern features—some of them almost 150 years old—line the old town square. These buildings are now home to local museums, trendy art galleries and boutique shopping opportunities for Las Cruces pottery and other regional crafts, as well as restaurants offering traditional Southwestern cuisine in historic old adobe rooms and patios. Link to learn more below.
Believe it or not, farming has a long tradition in this desert landscape. One of our unique Las Cruces museums, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, traces 3,000 years of farming and ranching history in this area. This interactive museum has more than 600,000 square feet of exhibits on topics like agricultural heritage, livestock and the evolution of equipment and techniques for farming and ranching. It also hosts special events during the year, such as a traditional blessing of the fields and Cowboy Days. Link to learn more below.
A reminder that this area was not always so peaceful, Fort Selden was established in 1865 to protect the Mesilla Valley from Apache raiders and outlaws. Situated along the Rio Grande, it housed U.S. Infantry and Calvary units. Abandoned in 1891, Fort Selden State Monument today features the ruins of its adobe buildings and exhibits that explain the close connection between frontier living and military protection. Link to learn more below.
Catch a spectacular show at Southern New Mexico's premier performing arts venue. The Rio Grande Theatre features a variety of performances throughout the year including concerts, plays, musicals, comedy and variety shows. Check their schedule to see what performances are happening during your visit. Link to learn more below.
The Las Cruces Museum of Art features over 4,000 square feet of gallery space. With juried, traveling, invitational, national and international exhibits, the museum offers a wide-ranging calendar of events, lectures, tours, musical performances and art classes for students and adults. Admission is free. Link to learn more below.
The Branigan Cultural Center focuses on local Las Cruces history and also hosts changing cultural exhibits. Housed in a building on the National and State Registries of Historic Buildings, this Las Cruces museum is dedicated to engaging visitors on the rich culture of the Southwest. Link to learn more below.
The Museum of Nature & Science opened its doors in November 2012 and seeks to inspire curiosity about the sciences and promote stewardship of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. Link to learn more below.
Located in a historic depot of the Santa Fe Railroad, the Railroad Museum reminds visitors of the importance of the railway system in bringing settlers, goods and trade to this area of the country. Link to learn more below.
Spaceport America, located just an hour from Las Cruces, is defining space travel for this generation. Built specifically in support of commercial space travel, Spaceport America is home to an impressive list of world-leading aerospace companies. The facility's anchor tenant is Virgin Galactic, and other resident companies include Lockheed Martin and Up Aerospace, Inc. Virgin Galactic is the first commercial spaceline that plans to offer public space travel. Link to learn more and tour on YouTube below.