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Southwestern Vibes in Las Cruces

Las Cruces New Mexico at a Glance

Location: Southern New Mexico

Access: 50 miles from El Paso International Airport, at the crossroads of interstates 10 and 25

Major Meeting Spaces: Las Cruces Convention Center, Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

Hotel Rooms: 3,000

Off-Site Venues: New Mexico State University, New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Rio Grande Theatre, DH Lescombes Winery and Bistro

Contact Info: 

Visit Las Cruces


Bordering the Chihuahuan Desert and wedged in by jagged mountains, Las Cruces offers a vibe and culture all its own.

Meetings and outdoor activities can be planned year-round due to 320 days of annual sunshine. Rich in both history and culture, this town provides big-city amenities, including a LEED-certified convention center adjacent to New Mexico State University.

“The most common feedback we hear is that we’re extremely welcoming, which is part of our Hispanic and New Mexican culture,” said Lorena Lozano, media publications manager for Visit Las Cruces.

Culture weaves itself throughout the city. New Mexico State University displays one of the world’s largest collections of Mexican retablos, and their Zuhl collection showcases petrified wood, fossils and geological artifacts. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Farmers and Crafts Market is a Las Cruces tradition. On the first Friday of each month, the lively Fine Arts Flea Market hosts approximately 100 vendors, food trucks, live entertainment, and usually, a car show.

Near downtown, New Mexico heritage took root in the historic town of Mesilla. Until 1854, when the U.S. finalized the Gadsden Purchase, Mesilla was part of Mexico. Today, Las Cruces lies approximately 40 miles from the nation’s southern border, and that history is still honored. Mesilla’s traditional plaza houses more than 40 shops and galleries. The bells of the plaza’s 1855 Basilica of San Albino have been rung by the same family since the 1870s.

Given that Las Cruces is in the heart of the world’s chile-growing region, Mexican cuisine takes center stage. With its famously haunted Carlotta Room, the upscale Double Eagle serves steaks and margaritas in an 1849 mansion adorned with a hammered gold ceiling. On the colorful patio of Andele’s Dog House, the salsa bar ranges from mild to smokin’ hot. And the “Walk of Flame” Green Chile Trail leads to Caliche’s Frozen Custard for sweet-spicy green chili sundaes.

“Our welcoming culture is reflected in the food, the people here and the way we love to celebrate,” said Lozano. “Our many festivals feature our music and rich agricultural history, which includes 400 years of wine making and the region’s Hatch chilis.”

Meet and Greet

Awarded LEED Gold certification, the Las Cruces Convention Center emphasizes “green” meetings. Situated on 10 acres, it offers just over 42,000 square feet of functional space, including 10 meeting rooms totaling nearly 8,500 square feet and a 17,236-square-foot exhibit hall. The nearly 8,900-square-foot ballroom features an outdoor covered event space with views of the Organ Mountains. Additionally, receptions and gatherings can be held in 7,100 square feet of indoor pre-function space that connects to 12,800 square feet of outside pre-function space, adjacent to many of the meeting rooms. An in-house chef and full culinary team can create custom menus.

Cultural Stay

Las Cruces hotels offers more than 3,000 guest rooms and 128,000 square feet of meeting space. Most notable, Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces overlooks the valley and reflects the city’s Spanish Colonial history and tradition. As one of New Mexico’s Heritage Hotels and Resorts, the family-owned company establishes culturally distinctive properties that blend the Southwest’s Native American, Mexican, Spanish and American Western influences. This property provides more than 10,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 25,000 square feet of sophisticated outdoor event space, including a palm-lined pool and a new on-site restaurant, Mezcla, for indoor and al fresco dining.

Southwestern Diversions

The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, where the desert’s history comes alive, offers more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space and a 14,355-square-foot courtyard with mountain views. On the National Historic Register, the 1926 Rio Grande Theatre is the nation’s only two-story adobe theater, seating 389 guests. Classic films, theater, live music and private events fill its calendar. DH Lescombes Winery and Bistro hosts private tastings, meetings and receptions. The winery tour begins with a mimosa, followed by a guided vineyard tour, lunch, and wine pairing at the Lescombes’ home near Lordsburg. Tours conclude at the Deming operation with tastings straight from the barrel.

The Rugged Outdoors

Tucked into the Organ Mountains, Dripping Springs Natural Area offers four scenic trails. Ten miles east of Las Cruces, the moderate one-and-a-half-mile Dripping Springs Trail climbs to the ruins of a resort that hosted famous guests in the 1870s, such as Pancho Villa. Hikers can also explore remnants of a livery and sanatorium. Farther away, White Sands National Park ranks as the world’s largest gypsum dune field and can be seen from space. Winding Dunes Drive leads through this whitewashed panorama. A variety of trails includes short boardwalks and the five-mile Alkali Flat Trail, which traverses up and down massive dunes.