Las Cruces Culture, Attractions and MuseumsDeep in the heart of the desert Southwest, Las Cruces is home to a number of cultural opportunities and unique desert experiences. Hotel Encanto is ideally located for exploring nearby Las Cruces art galleries, as well as fascinating museums and the unique natural wonders, such as the White Sands gypsum sand dunes. Popular Las Cruces arts and crafts can also be found in nearby Mesilla. Enjoy Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces accommodations nearby a plethora of cultural attractions.
Historic Old MesillaStep 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. To learn more, visit www.OldMesilla.org.
New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage MuseumBelieve 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. For more information, visit www.frhm.org.
Fort Selden State MonumentA 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. For further details, visit http://www.nmmonuments.org/fort-selden.
White Sands National MonumentOne of the true gems in the Las Cruces area, White Sands National Monument is the largest gypsum sand dune field 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 Monument throughout the year, including ranger programs, interpretive events, stargazing, sand sledding, painting and photography classes and hiking. To learn more, visit www.nps.gov/whsa.
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Las Cruces Museums
Focusing on contemporary art, 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.
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 museum is dedicated to engaging visitors on the rich culture of the Southwest.
The new 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.
The Railroad Museum, located in a historic depot of the Santa Fe Railroad, reminds visitors of the importance of the railway system in bringing settlers, goods and trade to this area of the country.
Visit http://www.las-cruces.org/museums to learn more about each of these fascinating museums.
Ghost TownsThe boom-and-bust nature of the Old West has left behind a number of scenic and picturesque ghost towns in southern New Mexico. Chloride, which is 120 miles north of Las Cruces on Highway 52, was settled by silver miners in 1880. Today a number of its restored buildings, along with the Pioneer Store Museum, are open daily. Nearby Winston, less than 3 miles away, was founded by the “good folk” who left the rowdy ways of Chloride and founded their own, quieter town. For other ghost towns and additional information, visit http://www.lascrucescvb.org/explore/ghost-towns.
Hiking in Las CrucesWith our splendid sunshine and many nearby mountain ranges, hiking is a natural activity in Las Cruces. Choose from the Organ Mountains, Doña Ana Mountains, or Robledo Mountains, or enjoy strolling along the lush Rio Grande Valley. Dozens of maintained hiking trails are available in the Las Cruces area, ranging from easy to strenuous. In addition to the scenic views, many popular hiking trails offer opportunities to view our native wildlife. Visit http://www.las-cruces-new-mexico.org/explore/outdoor-recreation/hiking/ for information on some specific places to hike.
Check out more things to do in Las Cruces and day trip ideas at www.NewMexicoTravelBlog.com/Las-Cruces
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