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Ranches, Parks, and Giant Chilies: Top Things to do in Las Cruces

With a dramatic perch on the edge of the sprawling Chihuahuan Desert, Las Cruces is one of the most unusual and unforgettable places in New Mexico. The dramatic landscape takes center stage, of course, but there’s no shortage of human-made attractions and activities, too.

Are you looking for things to do in Las Cruces? We love living and working in this historic town, and we’d like to humbly offer up our expertise. If you’re not sure where to start, try our curated list of activities. While as of June 2021, some spots are still observing closure orders, you can expect most of them to open up come summertime and its anticipated loosening of COVID-related restrictions.

Green Goods’ Favorite Things to do in Las Cruces

Things to do in Las Cruces

Apodaca Park

801 E Madrid Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 541-2550

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When is a park more than a park? This central Las Cruces park is one of Las Cruces’ most beloved features, combining ample space for baseball, playgrounds, barbecue grills, tennis courts and much more. But the standout feature is surely the statue entitled “Dineh,” Navajo and Apache for “human being.” It’s an unforgettable monolith honoring all the states’ Native Americans, and for many, it symbolizes the proud and distinctive spirit of the place we call home.

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

4100 Dripping Springs Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88011
(575) 522-4100

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These days, few of us connect the concepts of survival, ingenuity and hope with agriculture, but when farming in New Mexico began some 4,000 years ago—yes, you read that right—it was a very different story. With a focus on bringing the history of New Mexico ranching and crop-rearing to life, you’ll find plenty of demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and other features that vividly bring the state’s fascinating history to life.

Things to do in Las Cruces

Slot Canyon

17198 N Valley Dr
Las Cruces, NM 88007

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We shared this landmark in our previous guide to Las Cruces hikes. But given this natural wonder’s iconic status, we’d be remiss not to include it in a list of things to do in Las Cruces. Located about half an hour north of town, the canyon is a popular destination for day hikes and nature trips. What’s more, it’s a great choice for younger hikers, as the terrain isn’t particularly challenging. Come hot weather, you’ll be rewarded by the atmosphere inside the narrow canyon itself, where you can expect the temperature to hover some 10 – 15 degrees lower than that of the sun-baked desert outside. Do keep an eye peeled for the entrance, marked by an easy-to-miss simple green gate.

Things to do in Las Cruces

World’s Largest Chili Pepper

2160 W Picacho Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88007
(575) 524-8627

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Are you a fan of spice? Spanning some 47 feet and constructed of 5,000 pounds of concrete, this pepper is definitely one to remember. Afterwards, you can walk the couple of steps to Day’s Hamburgers at 295 N Main St. A local institution since Grandma Day first set up shop in 1932, this casual burger joint is without doubt a signature taste of old Las Cruces.

Las Cruces Museum of Art

491 N Main St
Las Cruces, NM 88001

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This well-loved local institution attracts an ever-changing roster of contemporary art exhibits drawn for local, national, and international shows. With a welcoming free admission policy, it’s never a bad time to drop in and see what new and eye-catching works of art are passing through the museum’s quiet and cool gallery spaces. Equally appealing are the many workshops and classes geared towards artists of all age groups. If you’re wanting to dabble in ceramic jewelry, watercolors, oil painting or beyond, there’s no better place to begin than with our own art museum.