Top Reasons To Visit Las Cruces

Maybe it’s the friendly people and the endless sunshine.  Or maybe it’s the chile-laced food (and drink.)  There are plenty of reasons to visit Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here are just ten:

1. Do the Walk of Flame
That is… if you can handle the heat! The Walk of Flame Green Chile Trail is a newly established culinary route that leads hungry (and thirsty) visitors to hot spots where they can sample Las Cruces’ famous green chiles in all their glorious guises.  In Las Cruces, green chile crops up in and on everything from ice cream to pot stickers to hot dogs to wine, not just Mexican fare. Visitors can feast on The Game’s corked bats (pecan-encrusted Hatch green chile strips), sip Chile ‘Rita’s at La Posta de Mesilla or surprise their senses with a Green Chile Sundae from Caliche’s Frozen Custard. Green chile chasers also have the option to get their hands dirty on a tour of the Chile Pepper Institute Garden.

Top10LG2. Kick up some dust at the Country Music Festival
Country superstars will ride into Las Cruces for the city’s favorite event: the Las Cruces Country Music Festival.  The lineup promises to be stellar: Past performers include Travis Tritt, Tayna Tucker, Kacey Musgraves, Eli Young Band, Kenny Rogers, the Charlie Daniels Band, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lee Ann Womack, Aaron Watson, Cam, Dustin Lynch, Cassadee Pope, Little Texas, Darryl Worley, Craig Campbell, Greg Bates, Chase Bryant and others. More details here:

3. Or wander across what seems like an endless desert beach
Just an hour outside of Las Cruces, White Sands National Monument comprises 275 square miles of wave-like gypsum sand dunes, and the park’s ranger-guided Sunset Stroll is a great way to see it.  During the stroll, visitors will hear the story of the monument and see the critters and vegetation that are able to survive in this arid expanse. By the end of the tour, the sun is setting, lighting the sky with hues of purples and pinks for a picture-perfect moment.

4. Encounter local and exotic creations at the award-winning Farmer’s & Crafts Market
More than 300 vendors gather to sell locally-made wares and fares of all sorts at the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market, voted one of the top farmers markets in the country. Open every Wednesday and Saturday morning downtown, the market brims with handmade jewelry, pottery and other crafts, local produce and even prepared food to devour on the spot.

5. Talk with parrots at La Posta
Diners will find unexpectedly talkative “greeters” at the much-loved restaurant La Posta de Mesilla. Caged parrots and a piranha welcome guests in the lobby of the colorful 200-year old adobe.  This and lots of other restaurants and shops can be found in the historic village of Mesilla just outside of Las Cruces.

6. Monumental moments
The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument surrounds Las Cruces with 496,000 acres of opportunity for hiking, biking and exploring petroglyph and archeological sites.

7. Raise a glass in the oldest wine-producing region in North America
Las Cruces has lots to boast about, being in the fertile Mesilla Valley where grape growing dates back to the late 1500s. At Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery, Sunday afternoons on the patio are particularly alluring.  Enjoy live music and taste the wines or house made sangrias as you gaze at the nearby mountains.  Oenophiles can also enjoy New Mexican wines at St. Clair Winery & Bistro, La Viña Winery and more around Las Cruces.

8. Become the Salsa Judge
Downtown Las Cruces heats up for Salsa Fest, a three-day celebration of everything salsa in the fall.  In addition to salsa sampling and a salsa making competition, the event gets people moving with salsa dancing lessons, live performances and local wine and beer.

9. Dine among “ghosts”
Legend has it that quite a few buildings in Mesilla are haunted. Begin your search for the paranormal with La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant, where many have claimed to see chairs moving, heard glasses smashed to the floor and experienced strange smells. Then head to the Double Eagle restaurant in Mesilla, with resident spirits in the building (which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places!) If paranormal activity doesn’t call to you, the World’s Largest Green Chile Cheeseburger just might.

10. Mingle at a sophisticated ultra-lounge
The Azul Ultra Lounge is one of the hottest nightclubs in Las Cruces, situated in Hotel Encanto, the luxury landmark resort. The lounge is furnished to resemble its counterparts in Mexico.  A luxurious outdoor patio provides a laid-back atmosphere for sipping and talking with friends new and old. Try the signature AZUL Tini or the Mojito de Cuba, and then rest easy in one of the hotel’s luxurious rooms.

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