Las Cruces and Doña Ana County

Residents say geographical wonders help “The Land of Enchantment” live up to its name, from jagged snowy mountains and dense forests to wide swaths of pink-and-orange deserts as well as table-top-shaped white mesas. A wide range of outdoor recreation is easily available here, including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, caving and water sports, as well as skiing and snowboarding in the Ruidoso and Cloudcroft areas.

The Pueblo and Apache tribes called this area home for centuries and the culture reflects it as twenty-three tribes still call New Mexico home. You’ll be surrounded by friendly people, a vibrant arts community anchored by NMSU, and “breathtaking” wilderness nearby.

Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the fertile Mesilla Valley. Las Cruces is also the home of New Mexico State University, New Mexico's only land grant university. The city's major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. The majestic Organ Mountains are dominant in the city's landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak.

Country Music Festival

Lifestyle

Las Cruces and its surrounding cities have been nationally recognized among the best places to live, retire, work, do business, and raise children. The people still have a warm and friendly small-town manner. The region and its economy are strong and growing, you'll still find a relaxed lifestyle and affordable prices.

Family by the pool

Attractions

Southern New Mexico is a tourist’s treasure trove, full to the brim and spilling over. Travel from the White Sands of the Tularosa Basin to the pine forests of Cloudcroft 9,000 feet up. Journey from the past, peopled by the likes of Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett to the future, at the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak. You’ll find all this and more in the "Land of Enchantment."

White Sands

The Branigan Cultural Center Complex is the headquarters for many artistic and entertaining endeavors. Located in the revitalized Downtown Mall, the Branigan Center has developed into two distinct museums. Proudly, Las Cruces now supports a Museum of Fine Art and Culture, as well as a Historical Museum. The Branigan building also houses a Hispanic dance troupe, dedicated to promoting and preserving traditional dances of Mexico and New Mexico.

Notable cultural venues within the city include the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, the Las Cruces Museum of Art, the Las Cruces Railroad Museum and a number of the area’s surrounding monuments and features. Annual events include the Border Book Festival, the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, the Southern New Mexico State Fair and the Day of the Dead Festival held at the Branigan Cultural Center.

Here you can step into another era in a perfectly preserved Wild West stagecoach town (once Billy the Kid territory) or explore an old silver mining center that's since been colorfully reinvented as a thriving culinary and arts haven. And as southern New Mexico gears up to serve as the world's gateway to outer space—as the setting of Spaceport America, featuring Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic—don't miss a chance to pass through the UFO capital of the world, at the site of a supposed 1947 UFO crash that still piques curiosity, nearly 70 years later.

Las Cruces downtown at night

Other regional attractions include:

Visit www.lascrucescvb.org for more.

Climate and Geography

Las Cruces has an arid climate. The average temperature is 63° F, with annual high and low temperatures of 77.57° F and 47.3° F. Spring months are warm and can be windy. Summers begin with hot weather and end with lower daytime temperatures due to thunderstorms. Winters alternate between cool and windy weather following trough and frontal passages, with warm, sunny periods in between. Rainfall averages 9.76 inches per year. Most winter moisture is in the form of rain, though some light snow falls most winters, averaging 2 inches annually.

Outdoor dining

Quality of place defines the very soul of a successful community; the factors that go into it add up to the things that everyone wants in their communities including good schools, government, and worship.

School Districts

Las Cruces Public Schools

In partnership with students, families, and the community provides a student-centered learning environment that cultivates character, fosters academic excellence, and embraces diversity. Las Cruces Public Schools is the second largest school district in New Mexico. Located 45 miles north of the US-Mexico border, it encompasses the City of Las Cruces, the Town of Mesilla, the Village of Doña Ana, and White Sands Missile Range, and covers the middle third of Doña Ana County. The district has 41 schools: 25 elementary schools (kindergarten-5); one combined elementary and middle school (K-8); eight middle schools (6-8); and seven high schools (9-12). Two of the seven high schools are early college high schools and are located on the campus of New Mexico State University. LCPS also has a virtual learning academy, serving elementary through high school students. Student enrollment is approximately 24,600 students. Las Cruces Public Schools is the third largest employer in Doña Ana County with more than 3,600 employees, which includes about 2,300 classroom teachers and educational assistants. 

Other districts in Southern New Mexico include:

Government

Las Cruces is a charter city (also called a home rule city) and has a council-manager form of government. The city council consists of six councilors and the mayor, who chairs the meetings. The mayor is elected at-large, and each of the city councilors represents one neighborhood district within the city. The mayor and city council members serve staggered four-year terms. Currently, the mayor of Las Cruces is Ken Miyagishima.

Las Cruces City Hall

The following are the City Council members for the city’s six districts:

  • District 1 - Kasandra Gandara
  • District 2 - Greg Smith
  • District 3 - Olga Pedroza
  • District 4 - Jack Eakman
  • District 5 - Gill Sorg
  • District 6 - Ceil Levatino

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico, 2nd District) has been Las Cruces’ Congressman since 2011. He serves on the Committee on Financial Services and is a Co-Chair of the Border Security Caucus.

Worship

In Las Cruces, 31.8 percent are Catholic; 2.2 percent are LDS; 2 percent are another Christian faith; 0.3 percent are Jewish; 0.2 percent are an eastern faith; 0.3 percent affiliate with Islam.

Church in Las Cruces

Key Industries in this region

Energy & Natural Resources: New Mexico is blessed with plentiful natural resources making it the 4th largest net energy supplier to the nation through a diverse portfolio of energy sources: oil and gas, solar and wind farms, geothermal, and algae and biofuel production.

Aerospace & Defense: Space pioneers found New Mexico 75 years ago and the industry continues to grow here thanks to an ideal climate, restricted air space, testing facilities, Spaceport America, and more. The area has recently become a hub for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles research, development, testing, and manufacturing.

Distribution, Logistics, & Transportation: Companies have discovered that New Mexico's location, transportation infrastructure, and perfect climate are ideal for goods distribution. The Borderplex provides easy access to Mexican maquiladoras and Union Pacific's Intermodal Ramp is the latest addition to this growing region. Interstates 10 and 25 connect Las Cruces and Doña Ana County to north-south and east-west shipping corridors.

Las Cruces train yard

Advanced Manufacturing: New Mexico's workforce ranks 1st in manufacturing value added (2014 State New Economy Index), NM has the 5th best workforce training program (Business Facilities 2014) and the best business climate in the West for manufacturing (Ernst & Young 2014). Three national research laboratories, world-renowned research universities and more specialized R&D facilities provide cutting-edge technologies and services for advanced production capabilities.

Business Service Centers: Home to an increasing number of customer service centers, New Mexico enjoys a strong and growing back office sector. Some of the largest U.S. consumer companies represented are Allstate, General Dynamics, Empereon, Hewlett-Packard, Fidelity Investments, Lowe’s, and Alliance Data Systems.

Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space

Current investors operating in this sector include:

Business Industry
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architects/Design
Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac Hummer Automobile Dealers/Rental/Supplies/Svs
John Curry Construction Construction
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at NMSU Education/Training
New Mexico State University Education/Training
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino Entertainment/Sports
Beasley, Mitchell & Co. LLP Financial Services/Banks/Credit Union
U.S. Bank Financial Services/Banks/Credit Union
Pioneer Bank Financial Services/Banks/Credit Union
Citizens Bank Financial Services/Banks/Credit Union
Memorial Medical Hospital Health Care Providers/Hospital
Mesilla Valley Transportation Logistics Commercial and Retail
Union Pacific Logistics/Commercial and Retail
Las Cruces Machine Manufacturing
Las Cruces Sun-News Media
Steinborn TCN Commercial Real Estate Real Estate Commercial
NAI 1st Valley Realty Real Estate-Commercial
Mathers Realty Real Estate-Residential
La Posta Group Inc. Restaurants/Food & Beverage

A vibrant economy depends on a skilled workforce ready to take on 21st-century jobs. Most jobs in Southern New Mexico are in the healthcare and social assistance sectors. Much of the R&D is concentrated on engineering-related fields like aerospace, biomedicine, and electronics.

Workforce Development

New Mexico has one of the most generous training incentive programs in the country. The Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) funds classroom and on-the-job training for newly created jobs in expanding or relocating businesses for up to 6 months. The program reimburses 50-75% of employee wages. Custom training at a New Mexico public educational institution may also be reimbursed.

The New Mexico State Legislature created JTIP, formerly known as the Industrial Development Training Program, or “in plant training,” in 1972. Since then, JTIP has supported the creation of more than 44,000 jobs for New Mexicans in nearly 1,400 businesses across the state.

Ed & Harold Foreman Engineering Complex

Institutions of Higher Education

NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY (NMSU)

  • New Mexico State University sits on a 900-acre campus and enrolls more than 15,000 students from 49 states and 89 foreign countries. NMSU is a NASA Space Grant College and is home to the very first Honors College in New Mexico. A Hispanic-serving institution, NMSU serves a multicultural population of students and community members across the state at five campuses, a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, cooperative extension offices located in each of New Mexico's 33 counties, and 12 agriculture research and science centers. Plus, distance education programs give students maximum flexibility.
  • NMSU is classified as a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. For a second consecutive year, NMSU received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
  • NMSU is No. 1 in the state for contributions to the public good in social mobility, research, and service, according to Washington Monthly’s 2014 National Universities rankings.

NMSU in Las Cruces

Other regional institutions include: