Mesilla, New Mexico

Mesilla, New Mexico

Mesilla, New Mexico

Photo by Mark Paulda.

West of Las Cruces and 45 minutes from El Paso, Mesilla has a storied history — from the Civil War to Billy the Kid's trial. It's home to rambling adobes, a pleasant plaza, and colorful fiestas.

Begin at Mesilla Plaza, the village's heart for more than a century and a landmark since 1982. The stately Basilica of San Albino, one of the region's oldest churches, presides over the plaza's north side. Venture to the Gadsden Museum to learn how the city was relocated into the United States and see the original jail-cell doors that restrained Wild West icon Billy the Kid.

If your visit allows, catch an indie flick at the Fountain Theatre, the region's oldest movie house, dating to the 1870s.

Branch out from the plaza to explore historic restaurants, captivating galleries, and tastes of local pecans, wine, and beer. A mile and a half from town, stroll the scenic nature trails along the Rio Grande at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.

Don't Miss: 2018 Mesilla Happenings

Mesilla celebrates its cultural roots with several plaza festivities, including Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, May 5–6; 16 de Septiembre Fiesta, Sept. 15–16; and Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Nov. 2–4.

The 150-year-old mercado tradition continues on the plaza with a farmers market on Fridays and Sundays. Boisterous mariachi music resounds on Sundays from September through November.