Thinking of making your home in the southern part of the Land of Enchantment? Of course, we think that’s a great choice! Here are some things to know while you ponder that move.
This is considered the high desert, although you may be fooled just looking around. It doesn’t look like you’re in the mountains, of course, but most of Las Cruces is at an altitude of 4,000 feet. That’s enough to make you need to drink some extra water and use sun protection for your skin. Some folks find themselves winded with exertion when they first arrive, but you’ll soon get acclimated!
They say that if you don’t like the weather in New Mexico, wait five minutes! While that isn’t exactly true (well, not EVERY day), you can experience a range of weather in a single day, such as during the summer monsoon season when a hot sunny day an suddenly become quite soggy as a deluge of rain comes down . . . and cools things off. Spring tends to be windy, making fall the favorite season of almost everyone, in part because that’s also when the green chile roasting stands go up outside the grocery stores (more about that in a minute). Does it snow? It can and does, but it usually is light and melts away in hours. A snow day is a joyous rarity with kids racing off to find someplace to sled. Check out current weather conditions.
Ahhh, chile, and we don’t mean the country (Chile) OR the dish made with meat, beans, and peppers (chili). What we’re talking about are chile pods that are famously grown in the Hatch region of the Mesilla Valley. Chile is something that can be added to just about any meal, from classics like enchiladas (red or green?) to lasagna, pizza, cheeseburgers, or even ice cream. The favorite season in New Mexico is chile roasting time when grocery stores and other venues set up roasting stands. You can buy a box of chiles and they’ll roast them for you on the spot. The aroma is delicious and an unmistakable sign of fall in the Land of Enchantment! Just know, when you visit a restaurant and they ask you “Red or green?”, they’re asking not only our state question, but if you want green chile or the ripened version of the pod, red. A good question is “Which is hotter?” because that depends on a variety of factors. The official answer to our state question is “Christmas” — which means some of each.
4. Learn some Spanish
Nothing marks you as a visitor as much as asking “Which way to ‘Mes-sill-uh?” and pronouncing the Ls like, well, Ls. In Spanish, double Ls make the “y” sound, so Mesilla is pronounced “Mess-ee-ya.” That’s your first lesson! Bonus points if you can roll your double Rs. Just remember, Spanish was spoken here long before English ever was and many place names are Spanish.
5. Where to Live
Las Cruces and Mesilla are side by side communities and between them provide many distinct housing options. Areas like Picacho Hills and Sonoma Ranch offer modern new homes. The Alameda District just west of downtown Las Cruces has historic homes, many built by the first business owners to follow the railroad tracks to the area and build homes in the eastern style. The Mesquite Historic District, just east of downtown, has homes in the Mexican style. Mesilla Park is home to many New Mexico State University professors and staff and is a very walkable community close to the restaurants and shops of Mesilla. If you prefer to be out in the country, Shalem Colony Road, the area behind A Mountain, or Valley Drive might be to your liking. The Rasaff Hills area has unique homes perched on a hill on the west side of town, offering great views of the valley. Our advice? Take some time to explore the different neighborhoods and find the one that is right for you.
While Las Cruces isn’t a late-night city, there are some great restaurants and entertainment venues for those who like to stay up. The Amador is home to four distinct restaurants, plus a live performance area, that attracts folks from throughout the area. Rad Retrocade is a bar, restaurant, and video game arcade all in one. Las Cruces is also home to a growing number of craft beer breweries where you can visit with friends while discovering your favorite new brew. If live theatre is your passion, the city is home to the Black Box Theatre, Las Cruces Community Theatre, and the NMSU Theatre.
7. Head outdoors
Outdoor adventures are really what we’re all about! We have hiking trails in the Organ Mountains, mountain bike trails, birding hot spots, campgrounds, bicycling trails, the Rio Grande, and the Organ Mountains — Desert Peaks National Monument and White Sands National Park, the latter just an hour to the east on Interstate 10. If boating is your thing, Elephant Butte and Caballo Lake are less than an hour north on Interstate 25, and soaking in the hot springs of Truth or Consequences is just a bit further north.
8. What is it about Bataan?
You may notice that there’s a Bataan Memorial Highway, a Bataan statue at Veterans Memorial Park, and a Bataan Memorial Death March held at White Sands Missile Range in March. You need to know a little World War II history to understand why it is so important here. We’ll condense it! American soldiers were stationed in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked both Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands. After months of fighting back with limited firepower, food, and medical supplies, we surrendered. Both our soldiers and Filipino soldiers were marched up to 80 miles in the brutal jungle heat and humidity, with very little access to food or water, to a POW camp. That was the Bataan Death March. New Mexico was represented there and only about half of the men stationed there returned after the war, either dying in battle, on the march, in POW camps, or in “hell ships” when they were transported to serve as labor in China. This sparsely populated state was especially hard hit, as almost everyone knew someone who died there. Hence the annual memorial march and commemorative streets and statues.
Posted by LasCruces.com