Las Cruces is one of the most diverse and exciting places to visit in the Southwest. With a wide range of activities and things to do here, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this vibrant city year after year.
From historical sites and art galleries to unique restaurants and outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in Las Cruces. In this post, we highlight the top 20 things to do in Las Cruces—from family-friendly activities to more adrenaline-pumping experiences. Get ready for an unforgettable experience as you explore all that Las Cruces has to offer.
Old Town Mesilla
Las Cruces is home to a number of historical sites and landmarks, but none are quite as charming as Old Town Mesilla. This quaint area is full of adobe buildings, art galleries, and great places to eat. Be sure to visit the Plaza de Las Cruces, which hosts a farmers market on Saturday mornings, and La Posta de Mesilla, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the state.
Dripping Springs Hike
Looking to get out of the city and explore nature? Then the Dripping Springs Hike is perfect for you! The hike is located just outside of Las Cruces and is a moderate difficulty. The trailhead begins at an old stagecoach stop and follows a cascading stream up into the Organ Mountains. The hike is about 4 miles round trip and takes around 2 hours to complete. Along the way, you’ll be able to see plenty of wildlife, including deer, birds, and lizards. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a javelina!
The Las Cruces Farmers Market is one of the best in the state. It’s open year-round, and offers locally grown produce, as well as handmade arts and crafts. The market also features live music, making it a great place to spend a Saturday morning.
The Organ Mountains National Monument is a beautiful range of mountains located just outside of Las Cruces. There are plenty of hiking and camping opportunities in the area, and the views are absolutely stunning. The range is also home to the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which is definitely worth a visit.
Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science is a great place to learn about the natural history of the area. The museum has a variety of exhibits that focus on the geology, biology, and archaeology of the region. The museum also has a planetarium, which is a great place to learn about the night sky.
New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University, located in the heart of Las Cruces is a research-intensive university with over 21,000 students. The university offers a wide variety of degree programs and is home to the Aggies athletics program. NMSU is also a designated Hispanic-serving institution, making it a great choice for students looking for a culturally diverse college experience.
Basilica San Albino Church
The Basilica of San Albino Church is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Las Cruces, NM. The church was built in 1881 and is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture. The church is open to the public for tours and Masses.
Veterans Memorial Park
Veterans Memorial Park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The park features a variety of amenities, including a playground, picnic tables, and a walking trail. The park also has a special section dedicated to veterans, with a monument and benches for visitors to pay their respects.
White Sands Missile Range Museum
White Sands Missile Range Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the American space program. The museum chronicles the development of rocketry and space exploration, from early experiments conducted at White Sands to the present day. Exhibits include a replica of the Apollo 11 command module, as well as artifacts from all of the major space programs. The museum is located on the grounds of the White Sands Missile Range, just outside of Las Cruces. Admission is free.
White Sands National Park
If you find yourself in Las Cruces, New Mexico, be sure to check out White Sands National Park. The park is home to the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, and it’s a sight to behold. You can explore the dunes by hiking, biking, or even taking a leisurely stroll. Just be sure to bring plenty of water, as it can get pretty hot in the desert.
Prehistoric Trackways is a must-see for anyone interested in history or archaeology. The site is home to the largest collection of petrified footprints in the world, dating back over 200 million years. Visitors can see fossilized tracks of dinosaurs, reptiles, and mammals, as well as experience what life was like in the Late Triassic Period. Prehistoric Trackways is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
New Mexico Farm & Heritage Museum
The New Mexico Farm & Heritage Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of the American Southwest. The museum is located on a working farm just outside of Las Cruces, and features a variety of exhibits on the area’s agriculture, ranching, and Native American heritage. Visitors can tour the museum’s historic buildings, see live demonstrations of traditional farming techniques, and learn about the local environment and wildlife. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for all ages.
The Zuhl Museum
The Zuhl Museum is home to an impressive collection of minerals, fossils, and meteorites. The museum also houses a planetarium, which offers shows and events throughout the year.
The museum is named after Dr. Robert H. Zuhl, who was a professor of geology at New Mexico State University. He assembled the collection over his lifetime, and it was donated to the university upon his death in 2004.
The collection includes more than 300 specimens of minerals, fossils, and meteorites. Many of the specimens are from New Mexico, but there are also examples from all over the world.
The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Admission is free for students and seniors, and $3 for adults.
Soledad Canyon Day Use Area
The Soledad Canyon Day Use Area is a great place to enjoy the outdoors near Las Cruces. The area has picnic tables, grills, and a playground, making it perfect for a family outing. There are also hiking and biking trails nearby, so you can explore the area.
Lake Valley Historic Site
Las Cruces is home to the Lake Valley Historic Site, which is a must-see for history buffs. The site includes the remains of a 19th-century mining town, as well as a visitors center with exhibits on the area’s history. Visitors can also take part in gold panning demonstrations, and there are plenty of hiking trails to explore.
Corralitos Trail Rides
Corralitos Trail Rides is one of the top things to do in Las Cruces, NM. This company offers horseback riding tours through the beautiful Organ Mountains. The views from atop a horse are incredible, and you’ll get to see some of the area’s most stunning scenery. Corralitos also offers horseback riding lessons, so if you’ve never been on a horse before, this is the perfect place to start.
New Mexico Spaceport Authority
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority is located in Las Cruces, NM and is responsible for the state’s spaceport operations. The Authority offers tours of their facilities which include theLaunch Pad and Vehicle Assembly Building. Visitors can also learn about the history of space exploration in New Mexico as well as the future of space travel.
Rio Grande Theater
Las Cruces is home to the iconic Rio Grande Theater, a beautifully restored Art Deco movie palace. The theater first opened its doors in 1932 and was one of the first air-conditioned buildings in the city. It closed in the 1970s but was lovingly restored and reopened in 2006. The Rio Grande Theater is now a premier venue for live music, dance, and theater performances. It also hosts a popular film series, which showcases classic and independent films.
The Roadrunner Sculpture is a large, metallic sculpture of a roadrunner that is located in the center of downtown Las Cruces. The sculpture was created by local artist, Jerry Dominguez, and was installed in 2007. The roadrunner sculpture is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Las Cruces, and is often used as a meeting spot or photo opportunity for visitors.
The Las Cruces Railroad Museum is a great place to learn about the history of railroads and see some amazing examples of early railroad technology. The museum has a wide variety of exhibits that cover the development of railroads from the early days of steam locomotives up to the modern era. You can also see some really cool model trains, and even take a ride on a miniature train! The Las Cruces Railroad Museum is a great place for anyone who loves trains or wants to learn more about the history of transportation.
That’s a Wrap
There’s lots more to do in Las Cruces than hitting the 20 places list above, but if you’re about to visit for the first time, this should get you started. And if you’re considering moving here, you check out our post on what it’s like to live in Las Cruces for more info.