"Our last few hours in New Mexico ..." Mesilla by toonsarah

Mesilla Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 63 photos

Doorway in old Mesilla

Our last night in New Mexico was spent right in the south of the state, in Mesilla. Mesilla is really a suburb of Los Cruces, but with a very separate identity and character. Its cluster of streets are arranged in a grid pattern around the central Plaza and lined with buildings that date back to the colonial Spanish era.

Of all the southern New Mexico towns we visited, it was the one that came closest to the historical identity of more northern Santa Fe and Taos, albeit much smaller. It made a lovely base for our last few hours in the state.

Mesilla was founded in the mid 19th century and for a part of its history lay in a sort of no man’s land between Mexico and the United States. But in 1854 the Gadsden Purchase declared the town officially part of the United States. As Mesilla was the most important community in this parcel, the treaty was consummated by the raising of the American flag on the town plaza on November 16, 1854.

With increased stability came increased trade, and Mesilla found itself in a prime location on the cross-roads of two stagecoach routes. But the town chose not to have the railroad routed through the community, so it went “next-door” to Las Cruces instead. The result was major growth for that city, while Mesilla remained small and retained much of its charm and character.

Today Mesilla is a little pocket of colonial Spain on the outskirts of more modern Las Cruces. There are only a few “sights” (an attractive church, a small museum). Rather, it is a place to wander around and seek the serendipity of a pretty building here, an interesting shop there ...

There are also a number of good restaurants in the historical buildings in and around the Plaza, which made it the perfect place for our final New Mexican meal – and New Mexican margarita!

Please start your visit to Mesilla with my accommodation tip.

  • Last visit to Mesilla: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (7)

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I like your intro photo and I'm glad that you found good food options :-)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Well, this concludes my virtual tour with you through-out New Mexico.
    I have enjoyed it, and it sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Sarah, goregous page about your last few hours in New Mexico. I also hate it when cars are parking in front of the sights I am just about to take photos of. I usually wait for hours until they are all gone; but cropping them out of the photos sounds like the much quicker solution.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    This looks like a pleasant little place to round off your trip through New Mexico. Good that you cropped the cars out of your photos of the Basilica, even if it means showing only the top 3/5 of the building. Where did you fly back from, El Paso?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Looks like you had a lovely visit. Sorry about the hotel. Sadly these places do to appreciate their tourist. I hope you gave them some advice in how to improve. What a lovely destination and page!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Messila sounds to be a nice place to spend a day in. That Traditional Margarita would be my choice too over the House Margarita.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Oh this was a rather quick travel. Sad that New Mexioc is finished. I love your pages, especially the ones of the tiny destinations :-) Like this one. The door frame in your intro photo is magnificent and again I get inspired for New Mexico :-)) And your dish at Peppers ... to die for! Reminds me that I must do guacamole very soon!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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