Mesilla Travel Guide

  • Mesilla
    by toonsarah
  • Basilica of San Albino
    Basilica of San Albino
    by toonsarah
  • Gazebo in the Plaza
    Gazebo in the Plaza
    by toonsarah

Mesilla Things to Do

  • The Plaza

    At the time Mesilla was founded, the population of the town was concentrated around the Plaza for defence against Apache Raiders who were a constant threat to the settlement. In November 1854 the Plaza was the site for a major historical event, when the Gadsden Purchase declared the town officially part of the United States. As Mesilla was the most...

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  • Around the historic district

    Strolling the streets around the Plaza is the number one activity here. Many of the adobe buildings built during the colonial era remain today, and most have been converted into interesting shops, galleries and restaurants, but the district retains a lot of its character and although popular with tourists seemed to us much less busy than somewhat...

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  • Basilica of San Albino

    The north side of the Plaza is dominated by the Basilica of San Albino. The first church in the town had been a small log and mud construction on the south side, but when the town was transferred from Mexico to the United States as part of the Gadsden Purchase, it began to grow and a new church was needed. This church was built in adobe in 1855,...

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  • The Fountain Theater

    The Fountain Theater was built in 1905 for Albert Jennings Fountain and is the oldest movie thetaer in New Mexico. In those days, in addition to films the theater offered vaudeville performances often including Fountain and his family. Fountain is also known for his famous fued with Albert Fall from the Teapot Dome Scandal.

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  • Old Court House

    Another building of significance on the old plaza is the old courthouse building. Billy the Kid stood trial here in 1881 and was sentenced to hang. He escpaed and killed his jailers though while en route back to Lincoln County. The building now houses the Billy the Kid Gift Shop. Other old buildings around the plaza include El Patio Cantina and La...

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  • San Albino Church (now a Basilica)

    The most important and most noticable building around the square is the San Albino Basilica which was built in 1851. San Albino just achieved basilica status in November 2008. Basilica status means San Albino is of historical and spiritual significance.

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  • Old Mesilla Plaza

    The Mesilla Valley, which includes Mesilla, has a long history of habitation by man. Hunter/gatherers came here 9000 years ago. More recently, in 1598 the Spaniards came here and established the Camino Real (Royal Highway). The first real permanent settlers came in 1848 after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-Ametican War. Because...

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  • Mesilla Visitors Center

    Your first stop in Mesilla should be the large, new Visitors Center. Here you will find brochures, maps and other information so you can decide what you want to see and make your trip more enjoyable. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly.

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  • The Casasola Museum

    The Gadsden Museum is fairly well known and is publicized; but I had never heard of the Casasola Museum and did not even know it existed. I spotted it as I came out of the Visitors Center. The museum was having a special exhibition of old photographs from the time of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. If you go to Mesilla check this place out!

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  • Gadsden Museum

    The Gadsden Museum is named for the Gadsden Purchase which made the town part of the United States after it had been a part of Mexico for a number of years. The museum is located in the old A. J. Fountain home and contains Native American and Spanish artifacts from the early days of the town along with items about the Gadsden Purchase and other...

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  • MVBSP: Constructed Wetlands

    The main trail lead you by two constructed wetlands created through a restoration project run by the Southwest Environmental Center and the city of Las Cruces. These wetlands were then replanted with plants native to the area, and provide both open water and marsh habitats. This attracts lots of wildlife. The trail takes two routes from here; the...

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  • MVBSP: Wildlife

    You will mostly just hear the bullfrogs and some of the birds, other birds you will see at a distance and you would need a better camera than mine to photograph them. You may get a better view of the birds if you sit on the bench for a while. Mostly I just saw them at a distance and saw this rabbit.

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  • MVBSP: Picacho Drain

    The long slender body of water you find at the beginning of the trail is the Picacho Drain. The Picacho Drain serves two main functions: it keeps the farmers fields from becoming too saturated and salty and it provides a habitat for the wildlife and vegetation in the park. The cattails along the drain provide an ideal place for bullfrogs and a...

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  • MVBSP: Cactus Garden

    As you first leave the Visitors Center going towards the trails you will see a small cactus garden set up to show the typical types of cacti growing in the area.

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  • Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

    Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is the newest state park in New Mexico. It just opened in December 2008. Unlike most of its neighboring parks the main emphasis for the park is the reclamation and conservation of the habitat along the Rio Grande. The secondary function is educational. The park is just getting started and they have big plans for it...

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Mesilla Restaurants

  • Lunch near the plaza

    We arrived in Mesilla just in time for lunch, so as soon as we had parked the car we headed for the Plaza and started to check out the options. There were quite a few places to choose from but some only seemed to offer more substantial meals than we like at this time of day. But Emilia’s looked promising, with several salads and sandwiches on the...

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  • Historic spot for dinner

    We were keen to find somewhere nice in Mesilla for our final meal of the trip, and at first tried La Posta which gets good reviews. But not only would we have had to wait for a table, we were also put off by the rather over-touristy, over-gimicky décor, and I objected to the caged birds in the entrance area (cruel and unnecessary – what’s New...

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  • For coffee fanatics!

    When travelling in the US I am always on the lookout for a good cup of coffee, especially at breakfast time. I spotted The Bean in our Moon New Mexico Handbook and was pleased to see that it was just down the road from our accommodation at the Meson de Mesilla. It sounded like just our sort of place, and it proved to be exactly that – warm (it was...

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  • The Place to go in Mesilla

    This building is the only intact stop along the Butterfield Stage Route. It now houses La Posta de Mesilla. If you can only go to one restaurant in town, go here. They have great steaks and Mexican food and the best selection of Margaritas and Tequila around. Hours: 11:00-9:00 Tue. - Thurs., Sun.; 11:00-9:30 Fri. and Sat. Open Mondays during...

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  • Historic Cantina

    The building housing El Patio Cantina has been around since the mid-1800s. It has been a cantina run by the descendants of A. J. Fountain since 1934. Previously the building housed offices for the Butterfield Stage Line and various newspapers. Today it is a very popular spot in Mesilla serving good food and hosting live music. Hours are 2 PM to 11...

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  • Red Mountain Cafe

    Red Mountain Cafe(505) 522-7584 1120 Commerce Dr # A Las Cruces, NM 88011 Stepping into the Red Mountain Cafe, nestled in Las Cruces with view of the mountains, I thought I was stepping into a wine bar or classy restaurant. At this coffee shop, you don't go up to order at the counter, they serve you at the table and apparently has quite a great...

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Mesilla Nightlife

  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    by leafmcgowan Written Sep 18, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    La Patio Bar

    (505) 526-9943
    2171 Calle De Parian SW
    Mesilla, NM 88046
    The group of us headed off to "La Patio" Bar in scenic and historic Mesilla, just on the ring of the festive plaza. The bar charged a cover of $3 - all of which, plus all the bartender's tips, were going towards Hurricane Katrina relief. Good music, great pool tables - younger mixed with mid-age range local and student groups. Local bands often play the venue. Drinks were affordable. Has a bit of a sports bar overtone. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Visited 9/15/05.

    Dress Code: none known

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Singles

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Mesilla Shopping

  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    by leafmcgowan Written Sep 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    on the Historic Old Mesilla plaza
    www.stahmanns.com
    (505)528-6840

    Of course exploring around the Old Historic Mesilla plaza, had to stop by and visit the famous Stahmann's Pecan orchard country store - one of the only two retail outlets for the world's largest family owned pecan orchard. Indulged in the free samples of all of their spiced and candied pecans, mixes, and brittles ... mmmmmm .... yummy! These fantastic creations come from a 4,000 acre pecan tree farm in the fertile Mesilla Valley that was planted by Deane Stahmann 70 years ago. Every year, they produce over 8 million pounds of premium pecans making them the largest family owned pecan orchard in the world. Rated: 4 stars out of 5. (visited 9/15/05) I of course left with a tin of their famous pecan brittle, some navajo print bandanas that were only 79 cents each, and a smile.

    What to buy: Pecans everything ...

    What to pay: Its a little pricey, but well worth it ...

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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Mesilla Sports & Outdoors

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    View From the Trail 3 more images

    by Basaic Updated May 13, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is one main trail at the park which leads along the east side of Picacho Drain. At the constructed wetlands you then choose a 1/4 mile trail called the Upland Trail that leads along some eroded bluffs with desert vegetation or the 1/2 mile Recasa Trail which leads my the Mitigation Wetland which was made to make for vegetation/habitat destroyed while making the Visitors Center and the parking area. Along the main trail is a short diversion leading to an overlook which was created using the soil removed to make the constructed wetlands.

    Equipment: Decent walking shoes, sunscreen, some water.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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