16 Best Things To Do In Ruidoso, New Mexico

things to do in ruidoso
Nicole
Nicole 
Updated

A village nestled in the Sierra Blanca mountain range in New Mexico, Ruidoso is a dreamy place for the whole family, with its amazing array of attractions and activities to see and try. It is an all-year-round tourist destination where you can try winter activities at Ski Apache Resort, and in summer, hike at Lincoln National Forest that features numerous trails and waterfalls. In case you’re into history and arts, this village also has something in store for you, just like the Lincoln Historic Site, where you’ll find 19th-century stone buildings, a church, a museum, and a store, where you can buy souvenirs. To give you more reasons to visit the village, check out our list of the top things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

1. Discover the extensive buggy and wagon collection at Museum of the Horse


Located at Ruidoso Downs, Museum of the Horse, also known as the Hubbard Museum of the American West, is a place where you’ll learn about the history of transportation through the ages. Also, you’ll discover various things about the Old West and Native America. Exhibits here include Native American artworks, modes of transportation, antiques from the Old West, and artifacts focusing on Hispanic and Pioneer cultures. Visit the museum and learn about a thing or two about New Mexico’s past and of the world.

Museum of the Horse

Address: 26301 US-70, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346, USA

Website: Museum of the Horse

Opening hours: Thu - Mon: 9am - 5pm (closed on Tue & Wed)

Price: 7 USD

2. Spend an active day out in the reservoir of the scenic Grindstone Lake

Grindstone Lake, Ruidoso,New Mexico, September 1, 2018
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Nunnally used under CC BY 2.0

An isolated mountain lake, Grindstone Lake is a scenic tourist destination that will keep you active with the numerous activities it offers, starting from fishing and swimming to hiking, biking, and more. It also features a trail system that has five trails, which are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Another great attraction you will find here is the new Wibit Water Park, which is open every summer, and has an inflatable, floating platform. Additionally, it has campsites with nearby restrooms.

Grindstone Lake

Address: Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Grindstone Lake

Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)

3. Enjoy a horse race at Ruidoso Downs Race Track


If you’re interested in horse racing and happened to be in Ruidoso, then you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Ruidoso Downs Race Track. It is a horse racing course that features Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing. One of the most remarkable races that take place here is the All-American Futurity, which is recognized as the richest race in Quarter Horse racing history. Don’t miss the chance to experience the adrenaline rush that you get from watching heart-stopping horse racing events.

Ruidoso Downs Race Track

Address: 26225 US-70, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346, USA

Website: Ruidoso Downs Race Track

4. See beautiful works of art at Mountain Arts Gallery


One of the must-visit galleries in Ruidoso is the Mountain Arts Gallery. It features artworks of well-renowned artists of the West and Southwest. Few of the artists that have their collections here include Teri Sodd, Miro Kenarov, James Tsoodle, Michael McCullough, and more. Artworks here range from paintings to sculptures up to pottery. Also, it has a beautiful gift shop that sells beautiful and unique items.

Mountain Arts Gallery

Address: 2530 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Mountain Arts Gallery-Framing

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

5. Have a fun time at Ruidoso Bowling Center


Wanting some down time in Ruidoso and don’t know what to do? You and your friends should visit Ruidoso Bowling Center. It is a bowling alley that accommodates all ages and is a perfect venue for birthday parties and company events. Also, it has a bar, where the you can hang out and enjoy a cold beer.

Ruidoso Bowling Center

Address: 1202 Mechem Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Ruidoso Bowling Center

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 11am - 9pm

6. Witness spectacular performances at Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts


Located in Downtown Ruidoso, Spencer Theater of Performing Arts is an award-winning performance venue that can accommodate around 500 people. It caters to many performances, including theater shows, concerts, ballet performances, stand-up comedies, and more. But, the most notable performances here are the Broadway shows, chamber orchestras, and European and American symphony orchestras. Also, one of the reasons why you should visit the theater is its stunning architecture designed by architect Antoine Predock and decorated with four beautiful glass insulators by famous artist Dale Chihuly.

Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts

Address: 108 Spencer Rd, Alto, NM 88312, USA

Website: Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

7. Admire the majestic horse statues in Free Spirits at Noisy Water

things to do in ruidoso | admire the majestic horse statues in free spirits at noisy water
Source: dpi3_ on Instagram

Located at Museum of the Horse, with a park-like setting, Free Spirits at Noisy Water is another attraction you shouldn’t miss visiting while in Ruidoso. It features eight sculptures of different breeds of horses, such as Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Paint, Appaloosa, Morgan, Arabian, and Quarter Horse, which seem to be running on the wild. The sculptures were made in July 1995 by an artist named Dave McGary. Also, you’ll find many benches throughout the park which may come in handy when you feel tired from all the sightseeing.

Free Spirits at Noisy Water

Address: 26301 US Highway 70, Ruidoso,

Website: Free Spirits at Noisy Water

8. Go snow tubing or zip lining at Ruidoso Winter Park


Located at Sierra Blanca in Alto, Ruidoso Winter Park is a family-friendly attraction that will surely make the holiday in Ruidoso memorable. It is a winter park that features snow tubing, zip lines, area for kids, as well as heated igloos where you can cozy up with a hot chocolate in hand. Another great thing about this park is its tubing lanes that can accommodate tandems and group racing.

Ruidoso Winter Park

Address: 121 Ski Run Rd, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Ruidoso Winter Park

Opening hours: Vary; check website for updates

Price: Vary according to activity; check website

9. Try your luck at Casino Apache


Are you feeling lucky tonight? Do you feel that the cards will be in your favor today? Then, visit the Casino Apache and try your fate at the many games available for you. It features slot machines, video poker, blackjack, three-card poker, roulette, and more. But, make sure to know your limit before playing, because you may lose big time if you’re not cautious. Other additional features that will surely come in handy, especially if you’re just stopping over, are its car wash and truck stop.

Casino Apache

Address: 25845 US-70, Mescalero, NM 88340, USA

Website: Casino Apache

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

10. Have a fun time with your kids at Pillow's Funtrackers

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you’re looking for an attraction that your kids will surely enjoy, then you have to visit the Pillow’s Funtracker. It is an amusement park that features numerous play amenities like go kart tracks, mini golf course, bumper boats, as well as arcade games for the less active children. Though this amusement park looks like a kid’s paradise, adults will also enjoy reliving their childhood memories.

Pillow's Funtrackers

Address: 101 Carrizo Canyon Rd, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Pillow’s Funtrackers

Opening hours: Vary; check website for updates

Price: From 6 USD

11. Delight your taste buds at Village Buttery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Village Buttery on Friday, March 27, 2020

Are you looking for a local restaurant where you can enjoy good food? Then you have to visit the Village Buttery. It is a perfect spot for lunch and snacks, for its cozy ambiance and indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant offers an exquisite lunch menu and appetizers with a good selection of sandwiches and soup as well as dessert. Plus, you should try their homemade pastries, pies, and cookies.

Village Buttery

Address: 2107 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Village Buttery

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10:30am - 2:30pm (closed on Sun)

12. Go horseback riding at Grindstone Stables


If you’re looking for an excellent place for horseback riding in Ruidoso, then you have to drop by Grindstone Stables. It has been in the business since 1988 and is one of the oldest stables in the village. Also, riding a horse here reconnects you to the past, where one of the few modes of transportation was riding a horse. Additionally, it will keep your child away from their gadgets and enjoy nature activities while on vacation in Ruidoso.

Grindstone Stables

Address: 523 Resort Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Grindstone Stables

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 8am - 5pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

Price: From 40 USD

13. Sample delicious wines at Noisy Water Winery


One of the many top attractions you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Ruidoso is Noisy Water Winery. It is an American winery that was founded in 2009. It features a tasting room, a gift shop, and The Mercantile. The Mercantile is a new addition in the Noisy Water Winery and contains many business ventures in its building, such as the Hunt and Harvest restaurant, the Hidden Tap, and a gift shop. Make sure you taste their award-winning wines when you visit.

Noisy Water Winery

Address: 2342 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Website: Noisy Water Winery

Opening hours: Mon, Sat: 10am - 7pm; Tue - Thu, Sun: 10am - 5:30pm; Fri: 10am - 6pm

14. Experience the nightlife at Midtown Ruidoso


An exciting area in the village, Midtown Ruidoso is boasting of shopping and entertainment establishment that will surely captivate your interest. It has numerous local stores, interesting gift shops, exquisite eateries, and cute cafes. Also, if its nightlife you are after, there’s no better place to be, than in Midtown Ruidoso. It has a vibrant nightlife with many clubs and bars to choose from like Hidden Tap, Texas Club, and Clubhouse Lounge.

Midtown Ruidoso

Address: Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345

15. Wander around Art Ruidoso Gallery


A delightful gift shop, Art Ruidoso Gallery features works of local artists, which you can buy for a very reasonable price. Apart from the artisan items, you may find here local musicians jamming at the patio. Also, the gallery conducts art classes wherein materials, food, and drinks are provided. Make sure you drop by and buy some unique souvenirs before heading back home.

Art Ruidoso Gallery

Address: 615 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345-6201

Website: Art Ruidoso Gallery

16. Soak in the views at Mechem Drive


An area in Ruidoso that has a lot of character, Mechem Drive will surely mesmerize you with its beautiful sceneries, charming homes, and local eats. It is one of the main roads in the village and has easy access to many establishments and attractions. Here, you’ll find numerous restaurants, shops, and local finds. If you have ample time, you should walk from one end to the other, to see everything this drive has to offer.

Mechem Drive

Address: Ruidoso, NM 88345, USA

Head to the charming village of Ruidoso

downtown Ruidoso NM
Source: Photo by user Beatnik Photos used under CC BY 2.0

Ruidoso is a village that has so much to offer if only one will visit. It has historical sites, nature activities, winter sports, great local eats, and more. In case you need more help on where to go and what activities to try, check out our list of the best things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico and have a marvelous holiday ahead.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I consider myself a free spirit with a wild heart who tells an authentic story in the most relatable way possible. I like going to new places I have never been to and meeting lovely new people. I...Read more

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