National recording artists frequently perform at NMSU's Pan Am Center (tel. 575/646-1420; www.nmsu.edu). The NMSU Music Department (tel. 575/646-2421) offers free jazz, classical, and pop concerts from August to May, and the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra (tel. 575/646-3709; www.lascrucessymphony.com) often performs here as well.
Hershel Zohn Theater (tel. 575/646-4515), at NMSU, presents plays of the professional/student American Southwest Theatre Company from September to May, featuring dramas, comedies, musicals, and original works. Visit http://theatre.nmsu.edu/astc for information. The No Strings Theatre Company at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall (tel. 575/523-1223; www.no-strings.org), presents an eclectic selection of plays in a relaxed atmosphere, including some excellent local works.
The Las Cruces Community Theatre (tel. 575/523-1200; www.lcctnm.org) mounts six productions a year at its own facility on the downtown mall.
The Mesilla Valley Film Society (tel. 575/524-8287) runs a good selection of contemporary and vintage art films at the Fountain Theatre (www.fountaintheatre.org), 2469 Calle de Guadalupe, a half-block south of the plaza in Mesilla, nightly at 7:30pm and sometimes 9:45pm, and Sunday at 2:30pm and sometimes 5pm.
If you'd like a cocktail in a fun atmosphere, a new option has opened up. Azul Nightclub in the Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd., (tel. 866/383-0443 or 575/522-4300; www.hhandr.com). In a contemporary setting reminiscent of a Spanish nightclub, the city's youngish business set has drinks and hors 'd oeuvres.
Rambling Downtown -- The first Friday of each month all the galleries on the Downtown Mall stay open until 7pm for the Downtown Ramble. Most serve refreshments and have artists on-hand to visit with patrons. While wandering in the area stop in the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Downtown Mall, (tel. 575/523-7403; www.daarts.org). Built in 1926 as a movie palace, it has been restored to an elegant performing arts center. With Art Deco touches inside and out, including a restored neon sign and elaborate tile work, it's worth seeing in its own right. But plenty happens in the theater as well. Recent shows include Eliza Gilkyson in concert and a rendition of Prairie Home Companion. The theater sits along Main Street in downtown, also restored, offering a great place to stroll, though at this writing few shops had as yet opened up. One gallery worth checking out is M. Phillip's, 300 N. Downtown Mall (tel. 575/525-1367) which carries Russian and European fine art.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.