Why Las Cruces?
Unmatched Culture, Unlimited Exploration
Maybe you're expecting to hear that the cost of living in Las Cruces is far below average (it is), or that southern New Mexico offers abundant sunshine and a climate so beautiful that Las Cruces was ranked in the top 10 best places to retire (it does, and it was), but none of this does justice to what's waiting for you in the "City of the Crosses". Maybe you've never thought about living here, but you certainly should, because one of the best kept secrets in America is just how much there is to love about this place!
Small City, Big Culture
Las Cruces has a lot going for it, which is why it's on the list of best small cities in the USA, and ranked #3 on Money.com's Best Places to Go in 2019. In fact, New Mexico was ranked #8 in the top 10 U.S. states for quality of life by US News. It's great living here, and by far what stands out most are the amazing people who make up our community, and the rich history and culture you'll find here.
If anything comes to mind when you think of the culture in southern New Mexico it might be green chile, and some of the most unique regional cuisine in the USA. Although you definitely shouldn't overlook the pecans, Las Cruces is so much more than amazing food. Did you know that the earliest developments of the American space program happened here? Spaceflight is still a major part of our local economy via work at White Sands Missile Range and NASA's White Sands Test Facility. Virgin Galactic is bringing the emerging private spaceflight industry to Las Cruces and to nearby Space Port America. It takes a lot of highly skilled scientists, engineers, and technicians to operate those facilities, and if you spend time at the very popular Las Cruces Farmer's & Crafts Market on Saturday mornings, you're likely to bump into some of them. That's because there's a huge community of smart, educated people who have chosen to call Las Cruces home.
Our regional history reaches back much further than the birth of the space program, and you can see it first hand with a visit to historic Mesilla Plaza. Here the Basilica San Albino overlooks an immaculate public square surrounded by specialty shops and iconic restaurants, like La Posta and Double Eagle, all housed in historic buildings. All of this is just blocks away from sprawling pecan orchards that line the banks of the Rio Grande river. Just up the road from Mesilla Plaza is Lescombes Winery, the most notable among many southern NM wineries. More of a beer person? I hear ya, and Las Cruces has you covered on that front too!
Las Cruces has a professional symphony orchestra, and the city maintains an impressive system of museums for a city our size. Of course, NMSU is a major cultural hub for the region, with its own offerings of museums, performances, and sports.
Exploration and adventure are good for the soul, and they're good for your science, too. Expanding your horizons literally, by climbing a mountain or exploring the wide open desert, can be a game changer towards expanding your horizons intellectually, to accommodate new knowledge, skills, and abilities. In fact, this is a major reason why we chose to bring the BBL to New Mexico, where you'll find more than enough exploration and adventure to fill a lifetime (let alone a grad school or postdoc career!)
Mountains? We've got 'em. Forests? They're here. Beaches? Surely not in the middle of a desert?! Yep, we've got those too. Southern NM offers some of the most diverse and dramatic landscapes that the USA has to offer, and an impressive array of these are a short drive from Las Cruces. On any lazy Sunday afternoon you could scramble through prehistoric boulder fields at City of Rocks, search for raw gemstones at Rock Hound State Park, feel like you're on another planet at White Sands National Park, or soak up the ample NM sun on a beach at Elephant Butte.
How about a weekend road trip? Most of the major cities of the desert south west (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff) are easily reachable from Las Cruces by car, and can be pit stops on the way to the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service operates 15 parks and monuments in NM alone (22 more in neighboring AZ), not to mention 27 state parks in NM and 17 more in AZ. As long as you're roaming the desert by car, might as well feel like you're in a car commercial with a visit to Monument Valley.
Big City Benefits
Like most college towns, Las Cruces isn't a huge metropolis, our population is around 100,000 "Cruceans" (yes, that's what we're called). There's a lot to love about a town this size, but we get it, smaller towns are not for everyone. Some people are just happier in a big city. Luckily, NMSU is an easy 30 minute drive from El Paso, TX. There are members of our team who live in El Paso and commute to campus every day. It's a beautiful drive!
El Paso is a cosmopolitan city, with international flair, and a reputation as one of America's safest cities. Our big city neighbor to the south has so much to offer, from professional baseball, to unique cultural and dining experiences, and check out the historically restored street cars! El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico form an international metroplex with a population of almost 3 million people. With so many citizens of such diverse culture and background, there's no way to describe everything that El Paso has to offer. You can learn more about the benefits of our big city neighbor here.