If you’re visiting Las Cruces UkeFest from outside the area, there are lots of other fun things to do while you’re here (or for your non-ukulele-playing travel partner)! We’ll give you a few suggestions and encourage you to also check the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau website for even more ideas.
If you enjoy getting outdoors and hiking, you can keep driving towards the mountains on Dripping Springs Road from the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum and enjoy an easy hike at the Dripping Springs Recreation Area. Explore the ruins of resorts that once gave people an opportunity to escape the heat of the valley in the summer in this higher elevation. Other hiking opportunities in the area include A Mountain (Tortugas), just across from the museum and Aguirre Spring, across the Organ Mountains on Highway 70. Drive another 30 minutes on Highway 70 to the largest gypsum sand dunes in the world, White Sands National Monument. Go sledding on the cool sand, discover how plants adapt to this unique environment, and explore the visitors center.
If you enjoy walking in the footsteps of history, visit Mesilla, just south of Las Cruces. This fascinating town is much like it was when this part of the U.S. was still in Mexico. See where Billy the Kid was jailed (now the Billy the Kid gift shop), walk through (and eat at) the Double Eagle (once the headquarters of the Confederate Army in this area) and La Posta, which was like an early mall, with each room having a different function such as the blacksmith shop, school, and much more. Say hello to the parrots and cockatoo in the lobby and visit the shops for great souvenirs. There are lots of shops around the plaza to explore. Be sure to go inside the Basilica on the north end of the plaza as visitors are welcome. More information about Mesilla.
Farmers & Crafts Market:
Want to find some locally made and grown items? Head to the Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market downtown on Saturday morning. Several blocks full of local crafts, delicious foods, and agricultural products await you. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. More information at this link.
Soak your cares away:
Once the festival is over, relax with a soak in Truth or Consequences’ hot mineral springs. T or C (as locals call it) is only an hour north of Las Cruces and offers a wide range of soaking options, including both indoor and outdoor pools, several with lodging. Funky shops, a large art gallery, the Geronimo Springs Museum (which tells you how the town got its name and which features a huge collection of Mimbres pottery) and restaurants await you after your soak. More information here.
Our host hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, features a restaurant you can enjoy. In close proximity to the hotel are restaurants on University from Italian to Middle Eastern, plus a brew pub, wood-fired pizza, a yogurt shop, and more. You’re right across from the college, so there are plenty of choices! There are also restaurants on Telshor such as Genghis Grill and de la Vega’s Pecan Grill, which is on the edge of the Mesilla Valley Mall parking area. You’ll want to try Mexican food if you’re from out of the area, but we can’t agree on the best one, so you’ll have to explore that on your own!