Las Cruces is a city in New Mexico. The name means "the crosses" in Spanish. It is the state's second largest city, with a population of over 111,000 (in 2020), and is the site of New Mexico State University.
& Las Cruces is located at the junction of Interstate Highways 10 and 25 and is the southern terminus of the latter. The nearest airport with commercial air service is in El Paso, Texas, about 50 mi (80 km) away. Limited bus service is available between El Paso and Albuquerque with stops in Las Cruces.
- 1 Las Cruces International Airport (LRU IATA). Located 10 min west of downtown Las Cruces in West Mesa, at Exit 132 of I-10, the airport serves as a general aviation airport and for VIP flights. It also have ample facilities for unmanned Aerial activity, and testing and system development. Nearest airport for scheduled passenger airline services is El Paso International Airport, a 45-minute drive south from downtown Las Cruces on I-10.
The 2 Mesilla Intermodal Transit Terminal. serves as the central bus station for:
- Greyhound Lines, (bus stop) Mesilla Intermodal Transit Terminal @ 300 W Lohman Ave (Lohman Ave & Alameda Blvd), toll-free: . Greyhound travels on I-10 between El Paso, Lordsburg, Tucson and Phoenix. Some variations of the I-10 route may make extra stops in Las Cruces, Deming, Wilcox, Benson, Casa Grande/Eloy and/or Mesa; and on I-25 to Albuquerque (Via Las Cruces). For going towards Los Angeles or Phoenix they may put passengers on an eastbound bus going into El Paso where passengers transfer to another bus going to Los Angeles that does not stop in Las Cruces as not all buses stop in Las Cruces. Other buses may detour from Lordsburg, on US Hwy 70, through Safford and Globe, AZ to reach Phoenix/Mesa. For continuing towards Denver, passengers typically transfer in Albuquerque. Nearest transfer point for Greyhound and other bus companies to the U.S. and Mexico is in El Paso. As this stop is just a pick-up and drop-off point, tickets should be purchased beforehand online or over the phone. Check schedules.
- New Mexico Park & Ride Gold Line, (bus stop) Mesilla Intermodal Transit Terminal @ 300 W Lohman Ave (Lohman Ave & Alameda Blvd), ☏ . Bus operated by the New Mexico Dept of Transportation throughout New Mexico state on multiple routes. In southern New Mexico the 'Gold Line' bus only connects Las Cruces to Anthony, Texas; and El Paso along I-10.
- South Central Transit District. It provides public transportation around Dona Ana County outside of Las Cruces as well as services to El Paso from Anthony.
- RoadRunner Transit. operates as local public transportation within the city limits of Las Cruces in 8 routes.
The following have their own bus station or stop in other parts of the city:
- 3 Flixbus, (bus stop) 1685 E University Ave (bus will board on the north side of the Mobile gas station, on the backside of the "Giant" store away from the gas pumps and near the metal fence). Service to El Paso from Los Angeles, Phoenix/Tempe, Tucson, Las Cruces via I-10.
Las Cruces has some degree of public transportation by the city bus line RoadRUNNER Transit. Service is limited to Monday through Saturday and ends by 7:30 in the evening. Buses can carry bicycles. Otherwise, just plan to drive, bike, or walk.
- 1 New Mexico State University. It is in Las Cruces, with an interesting museum or two, a large conference center, and a comfortable student union.
- University Museum, ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-4PM. In Kent Hall at NMSU. Emphasis on local archaeology and culture. Free, but donations accepted.
- Zuhl Collection. M-F noon-4PM, except holidays. In the Alumni Center at NMSU. Fossils, minerals, and petrified wood. Free.
- 2 New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Rd, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. East of NMSU on the way out into the countryside. This is a fairly substantial site based on a working cattle ranch, with demonstrations. You can spend half a day here; there are picnic tables as well as food available for purchase. $3 (student and senior discounts).
- 3 Branigan Cultural Center, 501 N. Main St, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa 9AM-4:30PM. A small museum dealing with local history. Free.
- 4 Museum of Art, 491 N Main St (next to the Branigan), ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa 9AM-4:30PM. Predominantly contemporary art with a regional emphasis. Free.
- 5 Las Cruces Museum of Natural History, 411 N Main St, ☏ . Includes a small collection of live animals. 7 days, with evening hours on Friday; free, but donations requested.
- 6 Las Cruces Railroad Museum, 351 N Mesilla St (in the historic Santa Fe Depot), ☏ . Th-Sa 10AM-4PM. The museum interprets the impact of the railroad on the Mesilla Valley and Las Cruces. Free.
- 7 Mesilla. It is a separate town just to the west of Las Cruces which is an older settlement than Las Cruces and contains a historic district with numerous adobe buildings surrounding a plaza and the adjoining church. A visitors center is located at 2231 Avenida de Mesilla, in the Mesilla town hall.
- 8 Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, ☏ . Daily 7:30AM-4:30PM.
- 1 Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, 15000 Dripping Springs Rd, ☏ . 8AM-5PM. Just east of town offer good hiking and rock climbing. Follow University Avenue east from NMSU past the Farm and Ranch museum to one of the primary trailheads, in a small park (fee) with interpretive exhibit. Trails lead from here into the mountains. Some campground space is available (additional fee). The Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument was established May 21, 2014. $3.
- 2 Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. Free.
The best place to buy Native American art or other characteristic types of durable mementos is in the nearby town of Mesilla. If you want something to remember your visit by, one idea is food, specifically chile peppers, which are grown in abundance in the Mesilla Valley. The long strings of red chiles that you see hanging from porches, gables, etc., are called ristras and are available for purchase at many locations. These are largely for ornamental purposes, but edible chiles are also widely available, with spiciness levels ranging from mild to downright inedible (New Mexico State University has a substantial chile research program that grows peppers so hot that they function as bug repellents).
If in town in late summer or fall, make a pilgrimage to the outlying town of Hatch on I-25 to the north. Hatch is the center of the chile-growing business and has several shops with chile paraphernalia. Better, it hosts a "Chile Festival" in early September, usually around Labor Day, that's fun to visit as well as a great source of chiles. (Hatch is a tiny town with little or no lodging, so you'll want to stay in Las Cruces and make a day trip to the Festival.) If you're getting your chiles for cooking rather than ornamentation, and can get them home/in a freezer quickly, get them roasted while you're there; roasting is a key step in preparation for the table, and doing it in a Hatch roaster will save you all manner of peculiar odors resulting from doing the roasting at home.
For more pedestrian, day-to-day purchases, Las Cruces has all of the usual shopping associated with a town of 80,000. Mesilla Valley Mall is off I-25 just north of NMSU.
- 1 D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro, 1720 Avenida De Mesilla, ☏ . Warm atmosphere, live music, great food and wine selection. French country menu includes interesting appetizers like European cheese plates that pair wonderfully with flights of wine. Entres include dinner salads, fish, steak, pastas, and more.
- University Avenue, on the north side of NMSU, has the usual assortment of student-oriented eateries, with the usual properties for such places: lots of food, reasonable prices, less than haute cuisine. Some, by no means all, of the restaurants along University are:
- Old Mesilla. To the southwest of Las Cruces is on the El Camino Real traveled by Onate and Coronado and is the home of many restaurants.
- 3 Double Eagle, 2355 Calle de Guadalupe (Mesilla), ☏ , fax: . More of an upscale restaurant. Standard New Mexican fare and locally-inspired dishes. One of the few places in town that serves aged steak. Supposedly haunted, local lore says star-crossed lovers perished here and continue to visit one of the dining rooms. Their bar has an extensive liquor selection, suitable for all tastes. The ambiance is almost unmatched in the area. The Sunday brunch is a popular choice.
- 4 Andele, 1950 Calle del Norte, ☏ . Mexican with a salsa bar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check out the green chile pork enchiladas, tacos al cabon and roasted jalapenos.
- 5 El Paisano Cafe, 1740 Calle de Mercado, ☏ . New Mexican food with a European flair; Seasonal dishes using fresh ingredients. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 6 Chope's Bar and Cafe, 16145 S Hwy 28, La Mesa, ☏ . It offers the best rellenos in New Mexico. The restaurant is located approximately 12 mi (19 km) scenic south of University Ave on Highway 28, which winds through the Stahmann's Pecan orchards.
- 7 High Desert Brewery, 1201 W. Hadley Avenue (just off Valley (head east)), ☏ . Microbrew beer and excellent food. Try their seasonal brews (Hefeweizen in summer and Holiday Ale in winter are choice) and order their outstanding nachos. Beware, the portions (especially on the nachos!) tend to run large, ask your server for advice. Open for lunch, dinner, and a pre-bed beer. Live music many nights, but no cover, ever.
- 8 Si Señor, 1551 E Amador Ave, ☏ . Best chips & salsa in town (available to-go). You will not be hungry leaving Si Señor.
- 9 Renoo's Thai Time, 16151 Hwy 70 E, ☏ . Great Thai food in Organ up the hill east of Las Cruces. Prices are moderate and servings are very large. A great addition and worth the drive.
A fine place for a drink or nightlife is in Old Mesilla, to the southwest of Las Cruces:
- 1 El Patio, Old Mesilla Plaza. The main bar in town. Live music. Unique smell.
- 2 Azul Lounge, 705 South Telshor Blvd (inside Hotel Encanto). An upscale cosmopolitan lounge serving creative cocktails, delicious appetizers and live entertainment.
- 1 The Lundeen Inn of the Arts, 618 S. Alameda Blvd.. Beautiful bed and breakfast housed in an art gallery. From $80.
- 2 Best Western Mission Inn, 1765 S. Main St, ☏ . Adequate if unexceptional lodging in a commercial area; not adjacent to NMSU, but still reasonably convenient for visitors to the university. Rooms from $55.
- 3 Comfort Suites, 2101 S. Triviz Dr, ☏ . More adequate, unexceptional lodging. From $60.
- 4 Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, 705 South Telshor Blvd (off of I-25 to Lohman exit), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A full-service pet friendly hotel near the convention center. Meeting & wedding facilities, swimming pool, restaurant & bar.
- 5 Ramada de Las Cruces, 201 East University Ave, ☏ . Newly remodeled, and rooms include breakfast. From $60.
- 6 SpringHill Suites Las Cruces, 1611 Hickory Loop (off of I-10 & Avenida de Mesilla, Exit 140), ☏ . All-suite hotel.
- El Paso is about 45 mi (72 km) away via I-10, and Juarez, Mexico slightly beyond.
- White Sands National Park is less than an hour's drive from Las Cruces.
- Ski Apache is about 90 mi (140 km) away. Decent skiing just past the town of Ruidoso.
- White Sands Missile Range is a short detour on the way to White Sands National Park and has a missile museum.
- New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo is great for young space exploration enthusiasts - especially the shuttle flight simulator.
- Cloudcroft is about 85 mi (137 km) away with breathtaking views and mountains.
- If you're in the vicinity in the latter part of August, consider driving 60 mi (97 km) west on I-10 to the Great American Duck Race -- seriously -- in the small town of Deming.
- Truth or Consequences, about 70 mi (110 km) north of Las Cruces and commonly called "T or C," has traveler-friendly hot springs. The new Spaceport America -- again, seriously! -- will be constructed about 30 mi (48 km) southeast of T or C, and should be easily accessible from Las Cruces.
|Routes through Las Cruces|
|Tucson/Holbrook ← Deming ←||W E||→ El Paso → San Antonio/Carlsbad|
|Albuquerque ← Truth or Consequences ←||N S||→ END|
|Lordsburg ← Merges with ←||W E||→ White Sands NP → Roswell|