Travel to Mesilla: Discover the Heart of New Mexico’s Historic Gem


Traveling to Mesilla, New Mexico, offers a unique blend of historical intrigue, cultural richness, and southwestern charm. Nestled in the picturesque Mesilla Valley, this small town is an ideal destination for those looking to immerse themselves in a place where the past and present coexist harmoniously.

Getting There

By Air

The closest major airport to Mesilla is El Paso International Airport (ELP) in Texas, approximately an hour’s drive away. El Paso International is serviced by most major airlines, making it a convenient gateway for visitors. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to reach Mesilla.

By Car

If you prefer a road trip, Mesilla is accessible via Interstate 10, which runs east-west through the southern part of New Mexico. This makes it an easy drive from major cities like El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix. For those coming from the north, U.S. Route 70 connects Mesilla to Las Cruces, the nearest large city, just a few miles away.

Where to Stay

Mesilla offers a variety of accommodation options that cater to different tastes and budgets. From historic inns and charming bed-and-breakfasts to modern hotels, you’ll find the perfect place to rest after a day of exploration.

Recommended Mesilla Hotels to Stay

  1. La Posta de Mesilla: This historic inn, once a stagecoach stop, provides a unique blend of history and comfort, with charming rooms and an on-site restaurant known for its delicious New Mexican cuisine.
  2. Hacienda de Mesilla: Located near Las Cruces in Historic Old Mesilla, this charming Boutique Inn, Grille, and Cantina offers a very special experience.
  3. Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces: is southern New Mexico’s premier luxury resort hotel. Enjoy our generous amenities, comfortable guest rooms, & dining options.

Things to Do in Mesilla, NM

Mesilla Plaza

Historic Mesilla Plaza is a central highlight of Mesilla, New Mexico, offering a rich tapestry of history and culture. Established around 1848, Mesilla has been pivotal in the region’s history, playing roles in events from the Gadsden Purchase to the Civil War, and even the trial of the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid​.

The Plaza itself was historically significant for defense against Apache raids, with many of the original adobe structures still standing today. One of the most notable events in its history was the raising of the United States flag by troops from Fort Fillmore in 1853 to mark the Gadsden Purchase. The Plaza was declared a state monument in 1957 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1980s​.

Today, Mesilla Plaza is a vibrant area filled with quaint shops, art galleries, and renowned restaurants. The area hosts numerous cultural events, including the Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre Fiesta celebrations, as well as the Dia de Los Muertos festivities. During the Christmas season, the Plaza comes alive with luminarias, creating a magical holiday atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy the Farmers and Crafts Market held every Thursday and Sunday throughout the year​.

Basilica of San Albino

This beautiful 19th-century church is one of the most iconic landmarks in Mesilla. Be sure to take a tour of the inside to admire the architecture and learn about the history of the church.

Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

Nature lovers should not miss Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. This serene park offers walking trails, birdwatching, and picnicking opportunities along the Rio Grande. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Gadsden Museum

For a deeper dive into local history, the Gadsden Museum is a must-visit. It houses artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Mesilla and the surrounding region, including its role in the Gadsden Purchase.

Mesilla Valley Fine Arts Gallery

This gallery showcases the work of local and regional artists.

Local Festivals

Mesilla hosts several vibrant festivals throughout the year that celebrate its cultural heritage. The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, and Christmas Eve Luminarias are just a few events that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich traditions.

Dining in Mesilla

New Mexican cuisine is a highlight of any visit to Mesilla. The town boasts a variety of restaurants where you can savor local flavors, from spicy green chile dishes to hearty enchiladas.

Top Dining Spots

  1. La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant: Located in the historic La Posta de Mesilla Inn, this restaurant serves traditional New Mexican fare in a charming, historic setting.
  2. Andele Restaurant: A local favorite known for its casual atmosphere and delicious Mexican dishes, including tacos, tamales, and burritos.
  3. Double Eagle Restaurant: Set in a beautifully restored 19th-century building, this upscale restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a menu that features both New Mexican and continental cuisine.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Mesilla’s shops are perfect for finding unique souvenirs, from handcrafted jewelry and pottery to southwestern art and decor. The Mesilla Mercantile and various local galleries offer a wide selection of items that capture the spirit of the region.

Mesilla map


A trip to Mesilla, New Mexico, is a journey through time, offering visitors a chance to experience the rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of the Southwest. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, enjoying local cuisine, or simply soaking in the charm of the plaza, Mesilla promises an unforgettable travel experience.

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