Are you planning a trip to La Cruces, New Mexico, and looking for fun activities to make your trip memorable? Look no further! You’re at the right place, as we’ll explore the 31 best and fun things to do in La Cruces, NM, making your trip unforgettable.
Often referred to as “The City of the Crosses,” La Cruces is a charming city in the heart of New Mexico’s scenic desert and surrounded by the majestic Organ Mountains. The city offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, making it a compelling tourist destination.
This family-friendly destination offers several fun attractions and experiences, ensuring you maximize your trip. Visit the interactive New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, the Museum of Nature and Science, the Railroad Museum, and other unique attractions.
31 Best & Fun Things To Do In La Cruces, NM (2023)
1. Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
One of the best places to visit in La Cruces, New Mexico, is the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which is a testament to the stunning desert landscapes of the Southwest.
Established in 2014, this national monument encompasses over 496,000 acres of land to protect significant prehistoric, historic, geologic, and biological resources of scientific interest.
The monument includes five areas: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Sierra de las Uvas, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.
Explore the canyons, pine-covered peaks, and volcanic landscapes as part of the unique things to do in La Cruces. Take advantage of the La Cueva rock shelter, which once served as a dwelling for indigenous people.
Address: Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
2. Old Mesilla Village and Plaza
One of the unique things to do in La Cruces, NM, today is to step back in time at the historic Old Messila Village and Plaza. Established in 1848, Mesilla played a crucial role in regional trade and politics.
The historic village is one of the most visited historical communities in southern New Mexico. The village also houses Mesilla’s San Albino Basilica, one of the oldest missions in the Mesilla Valley, providing spiritual guidance since the 1850s.
As you walk on the roads that once felt the footsteps of Billy the Kid and the Apache leader, Geronimo, admire the historic architecture of the historic village. Shop at various boutiques and dine at La Posta de Mesilla, a historic restaurant offering authentic New Mexican cuisine.
Address: Calle Principal, Las Cruces, NM 88005, United States
3. Dripping Springs Natural Area
For nature enthusiasts, one of the must-visit destinations in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the Dripping Springs Natural Area.
Located 10 miles east of Las Cruces, on the west side of the Organ Mountains, the area has four miles of hiking trails, including the Dripping Springs trail, which shows off desert scrub and low-elevation pinon-juniper and oak woodlands.
The area also boasts excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and diverse flora and fauna. You can engage in hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing during your visit.
Address: 15000 Dripping Springs Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
4. New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
One of the best things to do in Las Cruces is to dive into the region’s agricultural roots at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
Spanning 47 acres, this interactive museum chronicles the state’s 4,000-year history of farming and ranching. The museum features six galleries and corridors that display permanent and changing exhibits, including historical tools and implements and recreated structures such as mercantiles and pithouses.
On your visit, you can watch a cow being milked, walk along corrals filled with livestock, enjoy gardens, or watch hands-on exhibits such as quilting, blacksmithing, water dowsing, and many more.
Address: 4100 Dripping Springs Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
5. White Sands National Park
One of the unique things to do in Las Cruces, NM, with loved ones is to discover one of the world’s great natural wonders at White Sands National Park.
Spanning over 145,762 acres, this park makes up the world’s largest gypsum dune field, with a depth of about 30 feet and dunes as tall as 60 feet. The park offers various activities like dune sledging, guided moonlight walks, photography workshops, Lake Lucero Tours, Mothapalooza and various community events.
On your visit, you can hike the dunes in the full moonlight, one of the most popular activities at White Sand National Park. The interplay of shadows, light, and pure white sands makes it a sight.
Address: New Mexico, United States
6. Las Cruces Museum of Art
One of the free things to do in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is to visit the Las Cruces Museum of Art. As part of the Las Cruces Museum System, this museum provides a welcoming environment for visitors to gain new insights into the town.
The museum features juried, invitational, and travelling exhibitions with artwork by nationally and internationally known artists. It also hosts changing contemporary art exhibits and offers programs for visitors of all ages.
The museum also runs an extensive art studio class program that offers professional art instructions for youth and adults in drawing, painting, ceramics, and other media.
Address: 491 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
7. La Llorona Park
Are you looking for fun outdoor activities in La Cruces with family and friends? Head to La Llorona Park. Spanning about 20-30 acres, this serene riverside park along the Rio Grande River is ideal for picnics and relaxation.
Named after a famous Hispanic legend, this park features walking trails, playgrounds for kids, and picnic areas for family gatherings. The park also provides birdwatching opportunities and interpretive signs about the haunting legend of la Llorona.
Take your family to this beautiful park, and enjoy the numerous amenities provided at the park.
Address: 3440 W Picacho Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88007, United States
8. Plaza De Las Cruces
Located in the city’s downtown district, the Plaza De Las Cruces is one of the most popular attractions in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The plaza is the epicentre of local events and activities.
Whether you want to sample local foods, enjoy a live performance, browse a bookstore, shop for goodies, or explore a museum, it’s all available here. You can also catch a performance by the Las Cruces Symphony, which performs regularly at the plaza.
The plaza also hosts a unique “Chalk the Block” event where artists use the pavement as their canvas. Join the neighbourhood’s Christmas carolers and watch the Christmas tree lighting during the winter holidays.
Address: 100 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
9. Las Cruces Museum of Nature & Science
Exploring the Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science is one of the most unique things to do in the city. The museum seeks to inspire curiosity about the sciences, facilitates life-long learning, and promotes stewardship of the natural environment of the Chihuahuan Desert and southern New Mexico.
The museum features live animals and plants of the Chihuahuan Desert and hands-on science and natural history exhibits for children.
Visitors can see all the quintessential thrillers like dinosaur skeletons, reptiles, snakes, and numerous frog species at the museum.
Address: 411 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
10. Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center
One of the fun things to do in Las Cruces today with kids is to escape the summer heat at the Regional Aquatic Center, a public swimming pool and recreation area offering classes and programs for all ages.
This state-of-the-art aquatic center features a therapeutic pool, a leisure pool for swimming instruction, a “lazy” river for play and aquacise, a three-lane pool for lap swimming, a water slide, and a zero-entry pool with water play equipment, a gymnasium and community meeting area.
Visit this aquatic center with your family and partake in fitness swims, family swims, open swims, and many more.
Address: 1401 E Hadley Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
11. Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market
Located at the heart of the city’s downtown area, exploring the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market is one of the best things to do on weekends in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Opened every Wednesday and Saturday morning, this farmers and crafts market features locally made hand-crafted items, seasonal produce, food trucks with a wide range of cuisine and roaming live entertainment.
With over 100 vendors, this market is family-friendly and offers visitors an opportunity to experience the people and culture of the Mesilla Valley.
Address: 221 N Main St Studio E, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
12. Recycled Roadrunner Sculpture
One of the must-see attractions in Las Cruces is the Recycled Roadrunner Sculpture, made entirely of old shoes, cell phones, bike parts, and other recycled materials.
Built in 1993 by artist Olin Calk, the giant recycled roadrunner is 20 feet tall and 40 feet long. Today, this quirky sculpture is a fun photo op and serves as a reminder of the importance of recycling.
The roadrunner could be seen for miles and gained a wide new audience of admirers. Get up close and admire the artistry that went into creating the Recycled Roadrunner Sculpture.
Address: 32 AL-106, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88005, United States
13. Fountain Theater
One of the fun things to do in Las Cruces, NM, this evening is to see your favourite movie at the historic Fountain Theater, New Mexico’s oldest movie house.
Built in 1905, the theatre is home to the Mesilla Valley Film Society, which showcases the best independent, foreign, documentary and other alternative art films. With its adobe facade and vintage charm, this theatre offers a variety of films for an eventful evening.
The theatre has undergone several renovations and retains its original tin ceiling, giving it a unique acoustic character.
Address: 2469 Calle De Guadalupe, Mesilla, NM 88046, United States
14. Leasburg Dam State Park
Located a short 25-minute drive from Las Cruces, exploring the Leasburg Dam State Park is one of the unique family things do near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
This oasis offers a blend of recreation and relaxation, a beautiful cactus garden, several hiking trails, and opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and bird watching. The Rio Grande runs through it and is a hub for water-based activities.
The park also offers an extremely popular night sky program and features an observatory open monthly for special events.
Address: 12712 State Park Rd, Radium Springs, NM 88054, United States
15. Fort Seldon State Monument
The Fort Seldon State Monument is one of the top attraction destinations near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fort Seldon was established in 1865 by the United States Army as a fortification to protect westward settlers from Native American raids; however, it fell into disrepair after the American Civil War.
Over time, the ruins of Fort Selden were taken over by the ravages of rain, snow and wind. 1974, the fort was declared a New Mexico State Monument after being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Visitors can visit the historic site for viewing via an interpretative trail. You can also visit the visitor centre for exhibits on frontier and military life.
Address: 1280 Fort Selden Rd, Radium Springs, NM 88054, United States
16. New Mexico Museum of Space History
One of the unique things to do near Las Cruces is to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Located in Alamogordo, this museum seeks to educate visitors about history, science, and space technology.
The museum offers dedicated artifacts and displays related to space flight and the Space Age. It also included the International Spac Hall of Fame and highlighted the role of New Mexico in the U.S. space program.
The museum’s outdoor exhibit includes a large Sonic Wind I rocket sledge ridden by Stapp and the Little Joe II rocket, the biggest rocket ever launched from New Mexico. It also features the Clyde W. Tombaugh IMAX Theater, Planetarium, the Astronaut Memorial Garden, and the Hubbard Space Science Research Building.
Address: 3198 State Rte 2001, Alamogordo, NM 88310, United States
17. Rio Grande Winery
Your trip to Las Cruces would be incomplete without tasting southwestern wine at the Rio Grande Winery. Located in the historic Mesilla Valley, this winery is the perfect destination for visitors seeking a true New Mexico experience.
The winery features an extensive collection of exquisite, hand-crafted wines. Their tasting room offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with an alluring view of the Organ Mountains.
In addition to the great wine and scenic views, Rio Grande Winery also offers a venue for special events.
Address: 5321 NM-28, Las Cruces, NM 88005, United States
18. U-Pick Mesilla Valley Apple Orchard
One of the fun things to do in Las Cruces, NM, with kids is to pick apples at the U-Pick Mesilla Valley Apple Orchard. Spanning about 6 acres with over 400 apple trees, this family-owned orchard allows visitors to pick their apples.
Depending on the season, wander through rows of apple trees, picking varieties ranging from Red Delicious and Jonathan apples to sweet Fuji and Golden Delicious apples. The orchard also offers fresh cider and homemade apple pies.
The orchard also celebrates an annual Apple Festival with hayrides, live music, and apple-themed games. You can visit during the annual festival.
Address: 2330 Shalem Colony Trail, Las Cruces, NM 88007, United States
19. Soledad Canyon Day Use Area
Located on the west side of the magnificent Organ Mountains, the Soledad Canyon Day Use Area stretches between two canyons: Soledad Canyon and Bar Canyon.
The area features a three-mile loop, Bar Canyon Trail, which offers an easy and scenic hike close to Las Cruces. The Bar Canyon Trail includes scenic vistas of the central Organ Mountains and the southern Mesilla Valley.
For unique outdoor activities in Las Cruces, visit the Soledad Canyon Day Use Area and engage in hiking, picnicking, photography, rope climbing, and wildlife watching.
Address: 13300 Soledad Canyon Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
20. Mesilla Valley Maze
One of the fun things to do in Las Cruces, NM, with family this weekend is to visit the Mesilla Valley Maze. Established in 1999, this family-owned giant corn maze features many attractions for the entire family.
Spanning 30 acres, the Mesilla Valley Maze is open every weekend from September to October. The 5-acre Giant Corn Maze is the main attraction, filled with twisting pathways and fun activities, and the Pumpkin Patch, where you can pick a pumpkin right from the vine.
You can also engage in other activities, including two escape rooms, flower fields, five giant slides, ring games, whisper tubes, mini pedal carts, Papa’s Playground, the Mystic Walk, and a wide range of musical entertainment.
Address: 3855 W Picacho Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88007, United States
21. Sonoma Ranch Golf Course
Established in 2000, the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course is an 18-hole golf championship course conveniently located in the foothills of the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Designed by architect Cal Olson, this golf course is famous for its rolling fairways and multiple bunkers. This picturesque golf club allows enthusiasts to enjoy their sport against mesquite and brush-covered desert.
The golf club also offers meticulously maintained greens and fairways, challenging holes, and a serene ambience. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, consider booking a session with their in-house professionals for tips and guidance.
Address: 1274 Golf Club Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
22. Monuments to Main Street Festival
One of the fun things to do in Las Cruces is to attend the Monuments to Main Street Festival, a month-long event usually held in September.
The festival celebrates the history, culture, nature, film, and cuisine of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County. During the event, residents and locals enjoy the best of southern New Mexico.
The festival also features a historic hike at White Sands National Park under the full moon, guided tours of Fort Selden, fine art shows, birding in Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, interactive camping cooking demonstrations, and yoga in La Cueva Amphitheater.
Address: Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
23. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
Located on the Rio Grande, the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is one of the best places to visit fun outdoor activities in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Spreading over 305 acres at an elevation of 3,900 feet, the state park offers visitors many opportunities to view wildlife in the natural surroundings while taking a leisurely one of the self-guided nature trails.
The park features river woodlands and restored wetlands and is commonly used by migratory birds, making it a popular spot for birdwatching, walking and bicycling.
Address: 5000 Calle Del Norte, Las Cruces, NM 88005, United States
24. Lake Valley Historic Townsite
One of the unusual things to do in Las Cruces is to visit the Lake Valley Ghost Town. Founded in 1878 with the discovery of silver, Lake Valley became a thriving community of 4,000 people who came for mining.
1893, a devastating silver panic wiped out the town, while a fire destroyed Main Street in 1895. 1994, the last permanent residents left, leaving behind a true ghost town.
Visitors can take a walking tour of Lake Valley and see what is left of the town, including a chapel built in 1920, several old homes, the cemetery, and the old schoolhouse built in 1904.
Address: Hillsboro, NM 88042, United States
25. Branigan Cultural Center
Located in a historic 1935 Pueblo Revival-style building, exploring the Branigan Cultural Center is one of the free things to do in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The cultural center, which restates Las Cruces’ diverse cultural heritage, hosts rotating exhibits covering topics from local to contemporary issues. The center also hosts workshops, lectures, and cultural events.
The building was once the city’s library and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Address: 501 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
26. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
One of the fun family things to do in Las Cruces is to visit Sky Zone, an amusement center in the city. This family attraction spot is a beehive of fun activities for people of all ages.
This indoor trampoline park features a freestyle jump, dodgeball, slam dunk zone, rock climbing wall, X-beam, drop zone, parkour blox, and other programs such as parent’s night out, home school P.E., sensory-friendly program, and little jumper time.
In addition to the fun activities offered at the park, Sky Zone is also a great place for birthday parties, family gatherings, team parties, and other events.
Address: 805 S Solano Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88001, United States
27. White Sands Missile Range Museum
Founded in 1994, the White Sands Missile Range Museum preserves the artifacts and history of the Army and New Mexico.
The museum collects, preserves, interprets and displays the Army’s story in New Mexico and its role in operating the Missile Range. The museum’s exhibit includes the Frontier Army in New Mexico, Early Ranching in the Tularosa Basin, the V-2 Rocket, NASA, and the Bataan Death March, among others.
Visitors are expected to present a valid form of identification and pass an NCIC-III background check conducted at the Visitor’s Center or Las Cruces Gate.
Address: White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002, United States
28. New Mexico State University
Your trip to Las Cruces would be incomplete without visiting one of the most prestigious institutions in the state, New Mexico State University.
In addition to being an academic institution, the university offers stunning architectural masterpieces and a youthful atmosphere. The university has several attraction sites, including the Zuhl Museum, NMSU Art Museum, Klipsch Museum, Arthropod Museum, NMSU Library Archives and Special Collections, Chile Pepper Institute, and NMSU golf course.
Visit the university campus, take a leisurely walk, admire the architecture, and enjoy a game at the Aggie Memorial Stadium, the home turf of the New Mexico State Aggies of Conference USA.
Address: 1780 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88003, United States
29. Mesilla Valley Mall
One of the romantic things to do in Las Cruces, NM, for couples is to go shopping at Mesilla Valley Mall. Established in 1981, this regional shopping mall spreads over 600,000 square feet and is managed by Namdar Realty Group.
The Mesilla Valley Mall, the largest shopping mall in southern New Mexico, has over 90 stores and restaurants, including JC Penney, Sears, Dillard’s and Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
In addition to shopping and dining, couples and families can also catch a movie at the Cineport 10, which is located within the mall complex.
Address: 700 S Telshor Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
30. Lost Cruces Escape Room
Looking for fun things to do in Las Cruces today with friends and family? Then, experience an immersive, captivating and challenging adventure at Lost Cruces Escape Room.
Established in 2017, the Lost Cruces Escape Room provides an immersive, fun, yet challenging set of puzzles designed to foster teamwork.
The rooms are all set in different themes, with four choices, making it a fantastic experience. Some escape rooms on offer include the Heist, Manhattan Mission, Ariana’s Wedding, and Lass Cruces.
Address: 755 S Telshor Blvd STE G4, Las Cruces, NM 88011, United States
31. Picacho Peak Recreation Area
One of the fun outdoor things to do in Las Cruces for outdoor enthusiasts is to hike the Picacho Peak Recreation Area. The Picacho Peak is a 4959-foot high peak, which adds a gorgeous feature to the skyline around Las Cruces.
Dominated by its namesake peak, this area offers a blend of recreation and natural beauty. It offers multiple trails which cater to hikers of all levels. One can get panoramic views of the Mesilla Valley and the Rio Grande from the summit. It’s also a popular spot for bird watching.
Local legends say that the peak was once used as a lookout by Apache tribes to monitor approaching enemies.
Address: Unnamed Road, Las Cruces, NM 88007, United States
Plan Your Trip to Las Cruces, NM
Las Cruces, New Mexico, is more than just a stopover in the vast desert landscape of the American Southwest. It’s a city of stories waiting to be explored, experienced, and cherished.
As the sun sets behind the rugged Organ Mountains, casting a golden hue over the city, one can’t help but feel a deep connection to this land of contrasts and traditions. Whether for a weekend getaway or an extended exploration, Las Cruces promises memories that will last a lifetime.