Where To Stay And Eat; What To Do; Thinking About Retirement?

Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico, with an estimated population of nearly 103,000 people. It is located in southern New Mexico, about 225 miles south of Albuquerque. It sits at an eleveation of about 4,000 feet above sea level, and is home to New Mexico State University. Climate-wise, temperatures are usually in the '90's in the early summer months, dropping off somewhat in late summer into fall. Winter temperatures are mild and there are often nice, sunny days during the winter season. This is one reason that Las Cruces attracts many "snowbirds" escaping the winter months up north. If you are planning a visit to this area, we recommend coming in late summer, fall, winter or spring. This article will serve as your vacation guide, giving you information on travelling to the area, places to stay and eat, and things to see and do. It is an area full of historical and fun events and sights, as well as great outdoor activities. We'll give you basic information as well as references to check for further information. Come on along as we explore this southern New Mexico city.

First Step: Getting There

Commercial air service was halted to Las Cruces in July, 2005, so if you are planning to fly, the nearest major airline is in El Paso, Texas. El Paso is less than an hour's drive from Las Cruces, and most travelers will rent a car for the drive. This gives you a way to get around while you're visiting, too. The El Paso Airport is served by seven major air carriers, including American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United Express and US Airways. We recommend using one of the travel booking sites such as Experida or Travelocity to book your flights, and you will save money by booking the rental car and hotel at the same time. Unless you are flying on Southwest, in which case you'd use their web site to book your flights. There are nine rental car agencies serving the El Paso International Airport: Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. There is also bus and shuttle bus service to Las Cruces from the El Paso airport.

Lodging And Dining In Las Cruces

Unless you are visiting friends or relatives, you're going to need a place to stay in Las Cruces, as well as places to eat. We'll review some top hotels and restaurants in this paragraph. lists the following as the most popular hotels in Las Cruces.

Staybridge Suites
Rates range from about $129 to $169 per night, depending on accomodations. They feature one and two bedroom suites, kitchen facilities, high speed Internet access, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, fitness center, swimming pool with jacuzzi, putting green and outdoor grills.

Comfort Inn and Suites
Number two on the list, room rates average $121 a night, and amenities include an indoor swimming pool and sauna, fitness equipment, cable/satellite TV, high speed internet, refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker in each room. Best Western Mission Inn
Average price is $81 per night. Amenities include onsite restaurant and lounge, complimentary breakfast, high speed internet, free parking.

America's Best Value Inn
This one is easy on your pocketbook, with average room rates at $64 per night. Featured amenities include gym and fitness room, swimming pool, free continental breakfast, high speed internet, laundromat, oversided rooms.

Drury Inn and Suites
Less than a year old at the time this article was written, room rates average $86 per night; amenities include free "quikstart" breakfast, free local and long distance telephone service, free wireless internet access in all rooms and the lobby, free evening beverages from 5:30 to 7 p.m., free fountain soda and popcorn in the lobby from 3 to 10 p.m. daily, indoor pool and whirlpool, microwave and refrigerators in every room, and more.

For dining, Tripadvisor recommends the following Las Cruces restaurants. Most are Mexican, but there are other cuisine types available, including barbecue, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, as well as American.

Nellie's Cafe (Mexican)
Saenz Gorditas (Mexican)
Dick's Cafe (American, Mexican)
Nopalito Restaurant (Southwest, Mexican)
Outback Steakhouse (Steakhouse)
El Comedor Restaurant (Mexican)
Andele Restaurant (Mexican)
Chinese Phoenix (Chinese)
SI Italian Bistro and Bakery (Italian)

There are just too many to list, but this gives you a general idea what's available.

Things To See And Do

There are plenty of things to see and do in Las Cruces, including indoor and outdoor activities. Outdoor activities, shopping, performing arts, museums and other attractions, festivals and events are plentiful. Here's just a small sampling.

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
Museum of Natural History
New Mexico State University
Old Mesilla Village
Fountain Theater
San Albino Church

The most popular outdoor activities include hiking, mountain biking, camping, and golfing. Most of the spectator sports revolve around the University sports teams, but there is also horse racing and stock car racing events. For golfing, there are several golf courses, including one at New Mexico State University, and the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course, among others. Interested in some day trips? Try the Gila National Forest or City of Rocks State Park and Rockhound State Park. For water sports, Caballo Lake and Elephant Butte Lake State Parks are about an hour north of Las Cruces, and you can enjoy all water sports, fishing, hiking and camping at either place.

For shopping, there are malls and shops specializing in local goods. For regular mall shopping, try the Mesilla Valley Mall. If you're interested in combining education with your shopping, there is a museum here as well. Specialty shops include Silver Assets (native jewelry), Rising Sky Artworks (for pottery and ceramics), Lundeen's Inn of the Arats (southwestern paintings), and historic Mesilla, which is home to many small shops as well as historical settings.

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