Best Known For:
Las Cruces, known as "The City of the Crosses" ranked as the 100th largest city in the U.S. for many years, and is the second largest city in New Mexico. A new tradition, "The Chile Drop," has garnered attention as a new year celebration. Lastly, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is just outside of Las Cruces.
Year Established: 1849
What is the most surprising story about Las Cruces?
The Founding of Las Cruces
The site lay six miles south of Doña Ana near a stand of crosses marking the graves of travelers and soldiers. The landmark crosses gave the town its name - Las Cruces. In 1849, U.S. Army surveyors lead by Lieutenant Delos Bennett Sackett divided Las Cruces into 84 blocks. They used a rawhide rope as a measure and reserved one block each for a church and a cemetery. After the survey, family leaders drew lots to determine which property they would own. Read more about Las Cruces' history.
Does your community have any famous current or former residents?
Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty; also known as William H. Bonney (September 17, 1859 – July 14, 1881) was an American Old West gunfighter who participated in New Mexico's Lincoln County War. He is known to have killed eight men and was tried in Las Cruces in 1881.
Geronimo was born in 1829 and grew up in what is present-day Arizona and Mexico. His tribe, the Chiricahua Apaches, clashed with non-Indian settlers trying to take their land. In 1858, Geronimo’s family was murdered by Mexicans. Seeking revenge, he later led raids against Mexican and American settlers. General Nelson Miles accepted Geronimo’s surrender, making him the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signaling the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.
Plus so much more...
What are the biggest events in Las Cruces?
Famers & Crafts Market of Las Cruces - year-round, every Wednesday & Saturday
The Market celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011, and was named “Number One Large Farmers Market in the Nation.”
Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo - September 28 - October 2, 2016
Exhibits, special events, musical entertainment, rodeo and more. Check back for more info and a schedule of events.
Salsa Fest - October 1-2, 2016
Downtown Las Cruces will be heating up for the 8th Annual SalsaFest! Come enjoy a 2-day festival of everything salsa with food, dancing, and live entertainment!
The Chile Drop - December 31, 2016
Celebrate New Year's Eve by dropping a chile. New York has the ball drop, Atlanta has the peach drop, but our chile is even hotter than all of that!
Avenue Art New Mexico - April 2017
A 1-day community festival where art happens before your eyes as artists of all ages create paintings on the canvas of Main Street in Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Las Cruces Country Music Festival - April 28-30, 2017
A 3-day country music festival in downtown Las Cruces.
What initiative is your city currently working on?
Las Cruces has quite a few new projects we are working on. We are re-constructing and re-surfacing our roads downtown to create more efficiency when we have events downtown to lessen road closures.
The Civic Plaza with a splash pad will be completely finished and ready to use by August. Here we will host downtown events and just create such a fun bright culture for Downton!
The Amador Hotel is a project we are preserving and enhancing at the same time. This hotel after renovation will provide an old-time southwestern feel while you stay. We are also building a new Convention Visitors Bureau right next to the Amador Hotel!
How many family-friendly activities does Las Cruces have to offer?
A lot - most of our events are family-friendly fun! The Annual Salsa Fest includes a salsa tasting competition to bring the southern New Mexico culture alive, while Avenue Art features local artists of all ages drawing their masterpieces with chalk along the street downtown! The Farmers and Crafts Market - held twice per week - is definitely a family event, and once a month for the summer, the Market will be held at night! (All events linked above.)