Local Attractions – Things to See
One of the area’s most appealing locales is just down the road in historic Old Mesilla. A unique assortment of shops, galleries and restaurants surround the charming plaza with its gazebo and picturesque church. A stagecoach stop along the Butterfield Trail, Billy the Kid was put on trial here and sentenced to hang. He later escaped from jail in nearby Lincoln, before being tracked down and killed at Fort Sumner by Pat Garrett. Old Mesilla was the site of the signing of 1854 Gadsden Purchase, and the village’s narrow streets and homes have retained much of their nostalgic flavor.
Day Trips near Las Cruces
South—Less than an hour’s drive is El Paso, Texas and Juaréz, Mexico. The Mexican culture combines with a feel of the old West at El Paso del Norte (The Pass of the North). Dog racing, bullfights, museums and unique shopping and dining give El Paso/Juaréz its appeal. Casino gaming, horse racing, an amusement park and a water park are also within minutes.
North—Hot Springs, water sports, fishing, camping and ghost towns are just an hour or two away. Caballo and Elephant Butte lakes are home to boats, skiers, fishermen and campers just outside the town of Truth or Consequences (formerly Hot Springs), New Mexico. The old mining communities of Hillsboro and Kingston offer scenic and interesting side trips.
East—Just over the Organ Mountains lies the Tularosa Basin and one of the world’s wonders, the White Sands National Monument. The gypsum sands create a landscape unlike any other. Continue on to the Sacramento Mountains and to the scenic towns of Cloudcroft and Ruidoso. Cool pines and fresh mountain air are in abundant supply, as well as winter skiing, sledding and snowboarding. For those with a gambling spirit, there are Ruidoso Downs racetrack and Casino Apache, while the Inn of the Mountain Gods offers resort accommodations, dining and golf.
West—Historic Silver City, the City of Rocks and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument are just a few hours’ drive from Las Cruces. Camping, hiking and fishing are all available in this beautiful setting. Don’t miss Pinos Altos with its Buckhorn Bar or melodramas at the Opera House.
Recreation in Las Cruces
Las Cruces has wonderful weather so outdoor sports can be enjoyed year-round at some of southern New Mexico’s finest recreational facilities. There are plenty of places to walk, run, hike, bike or play. The city itself contains 90 parks and five public swimming pools— two of which are indoor pools—including the newly constructed Las Cruces Aquatic Center.
Other recreational facilities include soccer fields, baseball fields, lighted tennis courts, various recreation centers and a skate park. The City of Las Cruces offers a variety of programs, activities and events for the public at several of the city’s recreation centers.
They include youth and adult leagues in hockey, volleyball, baseball, softball, track and field, triathlons and duathlons, football, basketball, BMX track, boxing, soccer and others.
Outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy hiking opportunities in the nearby Organ Mountains and searching for fossils near Picacho Peak.