Whether you’re a permanent resident of Las Cruces, NM, or just passing through, there are several things you must do while in the Mesilla Valley. Here is a Mesilla Valley Bucket List to keep on hand.
Hiking is a beloved past-time for Mesilla Valley locals. The beautiful desert landscape and plentiful wildlife make for an exciting journey for hikers. On the West side of the Mesilla Valley lives a large prominent volcanic mountain called Picacho Peak. At 4,959 feet, this mountain hiking trail offers a 1-mile trek. The Mesilla Valley also offers a hiking trail that boasts waterfalls. Soledad Canyon Loop offers a little over a 3-mile trail that’s perfect for all skill levels. During monsoon season, it serves up a refreshing waterfall rest stop that’s great for cooling off.
Summer can be warm in the Mesilla Valley, which is one reason cold treats are highly sought after in the area. Caliches is a classic custard shoppe with countless unique and delicious toppings. Since the Mesilla Valley is known for its spicy green chile, those feeling adventurous can try the famous Caliches green chilli shake.
If you ask most Mesilla Valley locals where to take visitors to dinner, you’ll often hear them name La Posta, a restaurant with a rich history dating back to the 1840s. Its interior showcases bright rich colors, reminiscent of classic Mexican decor. There is a small aviary that greets visitors as they enter the restaurant foyer, and gift shops sprinkled throughout the entrance so that patrons can bring a little piece of the experience home.
Self-proclaimed the “Crown Jewel of Historic Old Mesilla,” the Double Eagle does not disappoint. Visitors are practically transported to a different time in this incredibly ornate establishment. The brunch spread and bottomless mimosas will match the decadent atmosphere. Additionally, this restaurant’s history lends itself to a haunting tale. Indeed it’s such a nice place even the dead are believed to never leave.
As one of the Mesilla Valley’s most well-known cash crop green chile is found on many local dishes. One of the top things you must try in the Mesilla Valley is a green chile cheeseburger. You can get one at the famous Blake’s Lotta Burger, featured in AMC’s Breaking Bad, Day’s Hamburger, or any of the local establishments listed on yelp.
To cool off in the summers, many of the Mesilla Valley locals participate in the Raft The Rio competition hosted by the Kwanis Club in Las Cruces, NM. Forming groups or pairs, participants build a raft and float down the Rio Grande in hopes of winning in multiple categories, including most creative raft.
The Mesilla Valley offers a couple of farmer’s markets for those seeking handmade crafts, locally sourced produce, souvenirs, and more. Visit the Las Cruces Farmer’s market, which is held Saturdays 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM on Main Street in Downtown Las Cruces, NM, and the Mesilla Farmer’s and Crafts Market held in the Old Mesilla historic plaza Fridays 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Sundays 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.
Halloween is one amazing and magical holiday. In the Mesilla Valley, the Day of The Dead is also ceIlebrated. In fact, the historic Mesilla Plaza hosts a big celebration every year that is reminiscent of the latin cultural influence in the area. Visitors can see beautiful altar displays, enjoy face painting, costumed performers, traditional and authentic Day of the Dead dishes, snacks and more!
Nestled in historic Mesilla is an old-fashioned theatre with lots of history. Unlike typical box office theaters, The Fountain Theatre offers classic and foreign films on the big screen. They also offer live performances from musicals to magic shows and theatrical acts. This is definitely a must-do in the Mesilla Valley.
If you’re looking for theatrical thrills, the Black Box Theatre offers an up-close experience with local talent. Build in 2000 as a home for the No Strings Theatre Company, the Black Box sets the stage for a wide repertoire of work, featuring new productions monthly. Located in the Downtown Mall, reserve your seat ahead of time by calling the theatre at (575) 523-1223, and by visiting the box office to purchase single tickets or coupon packages. You can also buy tickets online here.
You might already know that the Mesilla Valley is famous for its sunsets, but one of the best places to watch the sun go down is where the locals call “Sunset Peak.” Sunset Peak is the perfect place to park your car to view most of the city from a great vantage point. Just drive East on University Blvd. and turn right at the Sonoma Ranch light. There is a dirt path that will take you up to the parking area for the vista. They even have a couple of covered tables with benches if you want to enjoy an outdoor dinner, just BYOD (bring your own dinner).
Celebrating its 20th season this fall, the Mesilla Valley Maze is an autumn festival that invites locals to take in the crisp air of the new season as they weave through the vines and stalks of a five-acre farmland labyrinth. Open from Sept. 29-Oct. 28, the Mesilla Valley Maze offers plenty of “A-Maze-N” activities in a short amount of time, including hayrides and pumpkin decorating.
Hailed by USA Today as one of the top ten high school football rivalries in the nation, seeing the Mayfield Trojans face off with the Las Cruces Bulldawgs isn’t your average gridiron game — it’s a die-hard tradition that’s lived long enough to become the stuff of varsity legends. Slated to take place November 2 at Aggie Memorial Stadium, the divide between green and gold, and red and blue will come to a collision on the 52nd anniversary of this crosstown clash.
Spanish for “Night of the Lights,” Noche de Luminarias will enter its 34th year of illuminating holiday spirits across the New Mexico State University campus this December. Last year, Noche de Luminarias boasted more than 7,000 candle-lit paper bags spanning from the International Mall to the University Museum, making it one of the largest arrangements in New Mexico. Guests are welcome to enjoy the display on foot, or by trolley rides around the luminaria route. Free activities, entertainment, and refreshments are also held inside of the Corbett Center Student Union
Explore 47 acres and 3,000 years of interactive history when you visit the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Rated the best thing to do in Las Cruces by TripAdvisor, the Farm & Ranch Museum offers a wide range of activities for all age levels and interests. For the rugged; blacksmithing and livestock demonstrations. For the refined; research artifacts and art exhibitions. The Farm & Ranch Museum is the perfect blend of entertainment and education, and offers historical reenactments and special events for schools and individuals alike.