Planning a trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico and looking for some fun activities to make your trip a memorable one? Look no further! You’re at the right place, as we’ll be exploring the 26 best and fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, making your trip an interesting one.
Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Blanca mountain range, Ruidoso, New Mexico, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. This quaint mountain village boasts a mix of rich history, thriving arts, scenic beauty, and adventure opportunities.
Famous for its Ski Apache Ski Resort, Ruidoso has a number of must-visit places and fun experiences, ensuring you make the most of your trip. While planning your trip, you also need to understand the best time to visit Ruidoso, New Mexico, to make the most of your vacation.
26 Best & Fun Things To Do In Ruidoso, NM (2023)
1. Ruidoso Downs Race Track & Casino
Begin your Ruidoso experience at Ruidoso Downs Race Track & Casino, home to the richest quarter horse race in the world, the All American Futurity.
This spectacular horse race is one of the top tourist attractions in Ruidoso, New Mexico. It features seasoned competitors on well-trained horses, a superb casino offering up-to-date and classic games, onsite eateries, and many other facilities.
As part of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, this weekend, witness some of the world’s fastest quarter horses compete during the summer months. You can also explore The Billy the Kid Casino, located onsite, which offers a variety of gaming options for visitors.
Address: 26225 US-70, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346, United States
2. Hubbard Museum of the American West
One of the best things to do in Ruidoso, NM, is to step back in time at the Hubbard Museum of the American West. Established in 1992, this museum provides a deep dive into the heritage of the American West.
The museum houses the Anne C. Stradling Collection of authentic buggies and wagons, equestrian items, Native American artwork, and Native Western antiquities. The museum also showcases the role of horses in shaping the history of the West.
On your visit, take a tour of the museum and stroll through the beautiful sculpture garden featuring seven life-size breeds that Dave McGray sculpted. If you’re visiting with your children, allow them to participate in family-friendly activities such as the Children’s Interactive Area or attend one of the monthly Summer Saturday programs.
Address: 26301 US-70, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346, United States
3. Grindstone Lake
Grindstone Lake is one of Ruidoso’s most popular recreation spots. Located just minutes from downtown Ruidoso, this pristine 500-acre lake is a sanctuary for outdoor fun activities.
The lake is a hot spot for paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, or fishing for rainbow trout, catfish, and smallmouth bass. The surrounding trail system is excellent for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, offering views of the lake from various vantage points.
As one of the many unique things to do in Ruidoso with family, you can explore this beautiful lake for fun outdoor activities. You can also play golf with your friends and family at the 27-hole disc at Grindstone Lake.
Address: 111 Wiggins Way, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
4. Lincoln Historic Site
A short drive from Ruidoso, visiting the Lincoln Historic Site is one of the unique things to do near Ruidoso, NM. The Lincoln Historic Site is the most widely visited state monument in New Mexico.
The historic district contains 48 structures, with 17 structures owned by the state of New Mexico. Four of the buildings are open as museums year-round, and two are open seasonally.
Each building has its own story, from the Tunstall Store, Curry Sallon and Wright House to the Torreon Store, Old Courthouse and Montano Store, a defensive tower against Native American raids.
The Lincoln Historic Site is famous as the site of Billy the Kid, Pat Garett, and other famed characters. Take a short drive to this historic site and see what life looked like in the 1870s and 1880s.
Address: Highway 380 Mm 97, 5, Lincoln, NM 88338, United States
5. Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts
One of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, tonight is to catch a performance at the Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts.
This 514-seat state-of-the-art theatre hosts a myriad of performances, from Broadway shows to concerts and dance performances every 11 days year-round during separate summer and winter seasons.
Spanning 74 acres, the architectural brilliance of the theatre is a sight to behold. The crystal lobby, in particular, with its Dale Chihuly chandelier, is an art piece in itself.
Apart from catching your favourite performance and show at the theatre, you can take a free tour of the facility throughout the year and marvel at the architectural masterpiece.
Address: 108 Spencer Rd, Alto, NM 88312, United States
6. Ruidoso Winter Park
One of the fun family things to do in Ruidoso in Winter is to explore the Ruidoso Winter Park. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, this park is a haven for snow sports during winter.
The winter park offers a wide range of fun activities, including summer and snow tubing, zip line rides and a mountain coaster. While snow tubing is the main attraction, with multiple lanes and magic carpet lifts, the park also offers igloo tents and other snow activities.
On your visit, you can engage in many activities, including snow or summer tubing, zip line riding or riding a mountain coaster. You can also cosy up in an igloo tent, warm up with hot cocoa or gather around a bonfire in the evening.
Address: 121 Ski Run Rd, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
7. Fort Stanton
One of the best places to visit near Ruidoso is Fort Stanton. Established in 1885, Fort Santon has served many roles over the decades, from a military post during the Indian Wars to an internment camp during World War II.
Today, the 240-acre site stands as a living history museum, where visitors can explore the grounds, visit the old hospital, and even see re-enactments of historical events.
The fort is surrounded by the 24,000-acre Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area, which offers numerous outdoor activities.
You can take a self-guided or guided tour of the museum and Visitors Center, featuring historic exhibits, an introductory video, and a Gift Shop featuring Fort Stanton souvenirs and books.
Address: 104 Kit Carson Rd, Fort Stanton, NM 88323, United States
8. Flying J Ranch
One of the popular family attractions in Ruidoso is Flying J Ranch, known for serving up ranch-style suppers and performing Western music.
From chuckwagon suppers (a hearty meal served from a wagon) to gunfight re-enactments and from pony rides to a Western-style church service, the Flying J Ranch ensures a memorable evening for the whole family.
Visitors can also visit the Ranch’s TeePee, which Native American artifacts and a short audio presentation on the history of the local Mescalero tribe.
Address: 1028 NM-48, Alto, NM 88312, United States
9. Ski Apache
Ski Apache is one of the top tourist attractions in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Constructed in 1938 and at 11,500 feet, Ski Apache offers a winter wonderland for ski and snowboard enthusiasts.
Managed by the Mescalero Apache Tribe, it’s the country’s southernmost major ski area. With over 55 runs and trails over 750 skiable acres of land, 11 lifts, and slopes for beginners, intermediate skiers, and experts, Ski Apache has something for everyone.
Apart from the exhilarating ski trails, you can also take in panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including views of New Mexico’s White Sands. If you’re visiting in the summer months, you can engage in mountain biking trails and the Apache Wind Rider zipline tour.
Address: 1286 Ski Run Road Alto, New Mexico 88312, United States
10. Free Spirits at Noisy Water
Looking for free things to do in Ruidoso today? Then, explore the Free Spirits at Noisy Water. With eight bronze statues running through a natural landscape, each showcasing a distinct horse breed, the Free Spirits at Noisy Water is a tribute to the role horses have played throughout history.
The eight horses, each weighing between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, are balanced on just nine hooves, which is known as an engineering foot.
Thoroughbred, Quarter horse, Appaloosa, Paint e with Foal, Arabian, Morgan, and Standardbred are just a few of the seven American breeds represented on the monument.
As you stroll around, admire these beautiful sculptures and appreciate the work of art.
Address: 2342 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
11. Grindstone Stables
One of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico, is to enjoy guided horseback rides in the forest above Grindstone Lake. The Grindstones Stable, a horseback riding agency, is one of the agencies offering professional and experienced guides.
Even if you’ve never ridden before, the guides will ensure a comfortable and memorable ride. The trail rides take you through the beautiful Lincoln National Forest, giving you breathtaking views of Grindstone Lake and the surrounding mountains.
And if horses aren’t your thing, Grindstone Stables also offers carriage and sleigh rides, perfect for a romantic evening or family fun.
Address: 523 Resort Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
12. Pillow’s Funtrackers
Pillow’s Funtrackers is one of the ideal places for family fun in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The amusement centre offers a variety of recreational activities.
This family fun recreation centre features 3 go-kart tracks, an 18-hole mini-golf, bumper boats, a maze, arcade games, and other attractions suitable for all ages.
Visitors can hit the go-kart track or play a mini-golf course with its mountain-themed obstacles. If you’re visiting during the winter months, don’t miss the chance to enjoy a snowball fight or build a snowman in their snow play area.
Address: 101 Carrizo Canyon Rd, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
13. Smoky Bear Historical Park
Established in 1976 to honour Capitan’s favourite son, Smokey Bear, the Smoky Bear Historical Park is one of the top attraction destinations in Ruidoso, NM.
This park in Capitan, close to Ruidoso, is both the birthplace and final resting place of the famous bear cub that became a national symbol for forest fire prevention.
At the Visitor’s Center, you’ll find fascinating exhibits about forest health and wildfires, the science of fire ecology, and a historical look at forest fire prevention. The park also has a small theatre which features a short film about how forest health and fire impact society.
If you’re visiting with your family, you can explore the playground for kids with a fire tower, climbing wall, fire engine and swings, picnic area, and historic train depot.
Address: 118 Smokey Bear Blvd, Capitan, NM 88316, United States
14. Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum
One of the unique things to do near Ruidoso, NM, is to explore the rich history of the Mescalero Apache tribe at the Mescalero Apache Cultural Center and Museum.
The museum offers a clear picture of the Mescalero, Chiricahua, and Lipan Apache People. Visitors visiting the cultural centre can learn about the tribe’s traditions, history, and present-day life. You will also see ancient stone Apache tools, weapons, clothing, and a great collection of beautiful baskets.
From captivating exhibits on their creation story to the annual ceremonial dances, a trip to this cultural centre is a profound opportunity to understand the tribe’s spiritual connection to the land and its heritage.
Address: 181 Chiricahua Plaza, Mescalero, NM 88340, United States
15. Ruidoso River Museum
Another unique thing to do in Ruidoso, NM, is to delve deep into the local history and culture of Ruidoso at the Ruidoso River Museum.
This museum’s collection features artifacts, photographs and documents relating to the notable figures of the Old West and those involved in the Lincoln County War, including Billy the Kid sheriffs William Brady and Pat Garrett, as well as lawyer and businessman Alexander McSween.
The Ruidoso River Museum also houses the largest collection of Billy the Kid and Pat Garret items. It also houses a range of archaeological relics and celebrity memorabilia.
Take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the history and culture of the city.
Address: 101 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
16. Wingfield Park
Located in the heart of Ruidoso, Wingfield Park is one of the best places for family recreation in Ruidoso. This park, with its verdant lawns and meandering paths, serves as a communal hub for both locals and tourists.
The Wingfield Park features a 1/2 mile walking path, playground, picnic tables, disc golf course, and an 8-acre open space for special events. Many local festivals, including the Ruidoso Art Festival and Festival of Lights, are held here.
If you’re visiting during the summer months, the weekly “Movies in the Park” series is a must-attend. Spend time in the green space, under a canopy of stars, and enjoy a movie with the community.
Address: 300 Center Street, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
17. Perk Canyon Trail
Ruidoso is famous for its natural beauty, and hiking the Perk Canyon Trail is one of the best ways to experience it. This 4.7-mile trail is moderately challenging, making it perfect for a day’s hike.
The Perk Canyon Trail is perfect for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. It also features tree-covered, running streams and open 360 panoramic views of the Sierra Blanca peak.
As you walk through the dense forest, keep an eye out for local wildlife, including deer and a wide variety of bird species.
Address: Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
18. Eagle Creek Sports Complex
One of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, this weekend for sports enthusiasts is to visit the Eagle Creek Sports Complex.
The complex is home to some of the biggest lacrosse, soccer and baseball tournaments and leagues in Eagle County. This facility features two full-size baseball/softball fields along with two multipurpose fields for baseball, soccer and lacrosse.
The well-maintained basketball and tennis courts offer a challenge for players of all skill levels. If you’re visiting with your kids, you will appreciate the modern playgrounds. Picnic spots are also available, making it perfect for a family day out.
Address: 500 W New Mexico Road 523, Alto, NM 88312, United States
19. Ruidoso Bowling Center
Are you looking for fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, tonight? Then, head to the Ruidoso Bowling Center. This entertainment centre offers interactive family fun to both locals and visitors.
The entertainment centre features 10 bowling lanes, 4 pool tables, four standard dart boards, arcade games, a restaurant, and a lounge for parties and events.
The Ruidoso Bowling Center is an ideal destination for family fun. You can enjoy their in-house restaurant and bar that serves up delicious meals and refreshing drinks, making it a complete family entertainment package.
Address: 1202 Mechem Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
20. Bonito Lake
One of the many things to do in Ruidoso, NM, is to explore Bonito Lake. Located high in the Sierra Blanca mountains northwest of Ruidoso, this man-made reservoir is an oasis of tranquillity.
Although temporarily closed due to the aftermath of the Little Bear Fire, the lake is a popular fishing, hiking, and camping destination. Due to its high altitude, the lake’s temperature is cold year-round and is habitat to an abundance of rainbow trout.
Surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest, this lake is a great place to take the family. When you visit Bonito Lake, you can camp, do some fishing, check out the hiking trails, or relax.
Address: Highway 37, Alamogordo, NM 88341, United States
21. Monjeau Lookout
Built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Monjeau Lookout offers a panoramic view of the White Mountains and Ruidoso. Located in Lincoln National Forest, the Monjeau Lookout was built as a lookout tower for forest fires.
The winding drive up to Monjeau is as thrilling as the views from the top. If you’re up for a hike, there are several trails leading to the lookout, passing through dense forests and meadows awash with wildflowers in the spring.
Address: Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
22. Adventure Mountain
One of the best things to do in Ruidoso with kids is to explore Adventure Mountain Family Fun Center. The fun centre offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.
The facility features batting cages, glow-in-the-dar mini golf, a bazooka ball, a ropes course, a climbing wall, arcade games, a laser maze, and kids rides.
On your visit, you can engage in activities such as rock climbing, traversing a rope course, ice skating, rock climbing, hitting balls at the batting cages and many more.
Address: 1056 Mechem Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
23. Casino Apache Travel Center
Although not the world’s most famous casino, the Casino Apache Travel Center offers a glimpse of the New Mexican gaming experience.
This popular attraction spot features a casino, restaurant, car wash, convenience store, and more. With a variety of slot machines, table games, and bingo, there’s something for every gamer. The venue also offers regular live music, making the ambience lively and vibrant.
As part of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, head to the Casno Apache Travel Center and try your hands on fun games at the casino.
Address: S High St, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
24. Ruidoso Escape Rooms
Looking for fun things to do in Ruidoso with friends and family? Then, experience an immersive, captivating and challenging adventure at Ruidoso Escape Rooms.
Established in 2019, Ruidoso Escape Rooms offers 2 interactive escape rooms for a number of puzzles and challenges. Participants are offered the opportunity to take on a series of challenges and puzzles in under 60 minutes. Some of the escape rooms on offer include Mystery Cabin and The Ol’ Water’n Hole.
Address: 2809 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
25. Noisy Water Winery
Your trip to Ruidoso would be incomplete without having a taste of New Mexico’s wine. Established in 2009, Noisy Water Winery offers two tasting rooms and an impressive collection of fine wine.
Their tasting room in midtown Ruidoso offers a delightful range of wines, from bold reds to crisp whites.
Visitors to the beautiful winery can try all their cheeses and wines with some of Noisy Waters’ Balsamic Vinegars and Olive Oils, which are also available for tasting.
Address: 2331 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
26. Links at Sierra Blanca
One of the fun things to do in Ruidoso, NM, this weekend is to challenge yourself to the game of golf at Links at Sierra Blanca Golf Course.
Established in 1991, this 18-hole golf course is a perfect blend of Scottish-style golf and traditional mountain golf on a par 72 championship layout. At 6,900 feet, the course offers a 40,000-square-foot driving range tee and an 18,000-square-foot putting green, complete with chipping and bunker areas that will allow you to have the perfect practice session or just a quick warm-up.
Beyond golf, the course offers an onsite snack bar, where you can enjoy cold beverages or tasty snacks like sandwiches and breakfast burritos.
Address: 105 Sierra Blanca Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, United States
Plan Your Trip to Ruidoso, NM
Ruidoso, New Mexico, is a beautiful city with an intricate blend of nature, culture, and history. Each attraction destination and experience, from its verdant trails and snow-capped mountains to its bustling markets and rich museums, offers visitors a chance to step into a world that’s both timeless and ever-evolving.
If you’re planning a visit, this town promises memories that will linger long after the trip has concluded. We hope this guide serves as a comprehensive starting point for your explorations of this vibrant city.
Have a fun trip!