Photo: Discover Ruidoso

Where to Stay, Eat, and Play in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Insider Guides
by Erin Donahue Sep 27, 2023

Ruidoso, New Mexico, population about 8,000, sits in the Sierra Blanca Mountain range at an elevation of 7,800 feet. Though small, it has a big draw for travelers thanks to its history, Indigenous and Spanish culture, family-friendly atmosphere, opportunities for outdoor adventure, and central location near Carlsbad Caverns, Lincoln National Forest, White Sands National Monument, and more. It’s the type of mountain town where you can actually find relaxation unlike some of the more visited mountain towns in states like Colorado and Utah.

While its ski-town bona fides make Ruidoso a destination in the winter, trips are worthwhile year-round. In the warmer months, there’s horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and camping along with an 8,900-foot zip line down Ski Apache. Casinos, art galleries, and boutique shops can fill the down time between the action.

Here’s what you should have on your itinerary when planning a trip to Ruidoso.

Things to do in and around Ruidoso, New Mexico

Back Country Attitudes

Let your adventurous spirit go wild with a thrilling off-roading experience with Back Country Attitudes. Choose between a 2-hour unguided tour or a 3-4 hour guided expedition, both of which take you on paved streets and dirt roads through the woods. The OHVs provide a smooth ride with minimal jostling, allowing you to revel in the stunning surroundings.

Back Country Attitudes: 1203 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Blue Lotus Day Spa and Yoga

Take some time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul at this full spectrum wellness yoga studio that offers a tranquil sanctuary where you can unwind and restore your balance. With a range of treatments and services, this women-owned and run business provides an oasis of serenity with private treatment rooms, an infrared sauna, and 1,000-square-foot yoga studio with a window overlooking the river.

Blue Lotus Day Spa and Yoga: 2810A Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino

Ruidoso Downs horse track and casino

Photo: Discover Ruidoso

This track is home to the highest prize money for a quarter horse race in the country, the All American Futurity. Throughout the year, there are quarter horse and thoroughbred races, bull riding events, and more hosted at the location. There’s also, of course, the Billy The Kid Casino with 300 slot machines. Whether you choose the slots or the excitement of quarter horse racing, there’s always something going on.

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino: 26225 US-70, Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346

Hurd Gallery

Another quick trip out of Ruidoso that’s worth the drive is the Hurd Gallery, where you can admire the works of its former artists, Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth-Hurd, and current artist Michael Hurd, who is the son of the former and a legend in his own right.

Hurd Gallery: 105 la Rinconada, San Patricio, NM 88348

Lincoln Historic Site

Drive about 40 minutes to reach the Lincoln Historic Site, a town steeped in rich history. Here, you can step back in time and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the 1870s and 80s. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll discover the town’s storied past, including its association with some of the most notorious figures from New Mexico’s history, like Billy the Kid. Take a refreshment break with a stop at the Bonito Valley Brewing Company taproom, which is located in the historic Lesnet-Garcia home that was built over 150 years ago.

Lincoln Historic Site: Highway 380 Mm 97, 5, Lincoln, NM 88338

Where to eat and drink in Ruidoso

Noisy Water Winery

Noisy Water Winery gets its name from the town itself: Riudoso gets its name from the Spanish word ruido, which means noisy, in reference to the town’s river. At the winery, there are dry and sweet red and white wines, but you’ll find more than your standard bottles. There are green chile-infused New Mexico wines that play with the flavors of the state’s most famous crop. The Enchanted Vine Barn, an extension of Noisy Water outside of town, is the winery’s production facility that doubles as an amazing hangout spot and wedding venue.

Noisy Water Winery: 2331 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Tina’s Cafe

Start your day right with breakfast at Tina’s Cafe. This cozy eatery offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, accompanied by hearty breakfast options that will fuel your adventures. From fluffy pancakes to hearty omelets, Tina’s Cafe serves up classic comfort food that will leave you energized and ready to explore.

Tina’s Cafe: 2825 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Win Place Show

This historic bar is a true Western honky tonk with live music on the weekends on both an outdoor and an indoor stage. It’s also one of the best places to drink bourbon in New Mexico, with private tastings led by the only certified bourbon steward in the state. The entertainment doesn’t stop there: On the outdoor patio, there’s ax throwing.

Win Place Show: 2516 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Grill Caliente

For a mouthwatering culinary experience, head to Grill Caliente. This restaurant serves up Southwestern dishes bursting with flavor, like tacos, juicy burgers, and refreshing salads.

Grill Caliente: 2800 Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Downshift Brewing Company’s Hidden Tap

If you’re into the craft beer scene, head to Downshift Hidden Tap, run by Downshift Brewing Company. This family-owned microbrewery offers a wide selection of ales, lagers, and specialty beers. Pair your favorite drink with the pizzas or other pub food staples. With live music and a lively atmosphere, the Hidden Tap is a great spot to hang-out at. There’s also a second location, Downshift Riverside, that’s a 10-minute walk away. Here, you can grab coffee and pastries in the morning followed by beer and shareable food at night.

Downshift Brewing Company: 2408 B Sudderth Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

Where to stay in Ruidoso

Ruidoso River Resort

This property stands out as the only one in Ruidoso situated on the river. The resort offers a range of comfortable one-, two-, and thee-bedroom condos (and each room has its own bathroom), each providing a cozy retreat after a day of exploration. It has tranquil outdoor spaces like a reflection pond, firepit, waterfall, grill area, and courtyard. The central location also means that it’s easy to get around when staying here.

Ruidoso River Resort: 206 Eagle Dr, Ruidoso, NM 88345

How to get to Ruidoso

Travelers can fly into El Paso, Texas, and then drive about two-and-a-half hours north to Ruidoso. It’s a scenic drive through picturesque landscapes, with the opportunity to stop by White Sands National Park on the way. Alternatively, you can fly into the regional airport in Roswell, New Mexico, which is about 75 miles from Ruidoso.

Once there, exploring the town is a breeze thanks to its walkable streets and flat backroads. Much of the activities in Ruidoso are a 20-minute walk away from each other at the farthest, allowing you to leisurely explore the charming streets and stores. You’ll need a rental car to reach the parks, however.

Discover Matador