Many noted artists -- among them Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth, and Gordon Snidow -- made their homes in Ruidoso and the surrounding Lincoln County. Dozens of other art-world hopefuls have followed them here, resulting in a proliferation of galleries in town. Most are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, except where noted. Among my favorites are De Carol Designs, 2616 Sudderth Dr. (tel. 575/257-5024); McGary Studios, a bronze foundry at 2002 Sudderth Dr. (tel. 575/257-1000); and Hurd-La Rinconada (tel. 575/653-4331), in San Patricio, 20 miles east of Ruidoso on US 70, open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Ruidoso's best shopping is at 2801 Sudderth Dr., where a cluster of shops fulfill many desires. Slip on sassy sandals and other contemporary shoes at Steppin' Out (tel. 575/257-5924). Next door, tots and teens can find upscale duds at Klassy Kids (tel. 575/257-3857). Meanwhile, wine lovers may want to sample the grape and artisanal cheeses at End of the Vine (tel. 575/630-WINE). And finally, foodies will like the kitchen selection at House of Kelham (tel. 575/257-2492).
In a stunning setting surrounded by green grass and pine trees, the famous Ruidoso Downs racetrack and Billy the Kid Casino (tel. 575/378-4431; www.ruidosodownsracing.com), 2 miles east of Ruidoso on US 70, is home to the world's richest quarter-horse race, the $2 million All American Futurity, run each year on Labor Day. Many other days of quarter-horse and thoroughbred racing lead up to the big one, beginning in May and running to Labor Day. Post time is 1pm Thursday through Sunday. Grandstand admission is free; call about reserved seating prices, which range from $5 to $42.
The on-site casino has all the neon, noise, and smoke gamblers love. Though you'll find only slots at this casino (for more variety, head to Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino), bonuses here include simulcast racing on big-screen TVs in the bar and a well-priced buffet with tables overlooking the track. It's open Saturday through Thursday from 11am to 11pm, and Friday from noon to midnight.
Families enjoy the excitement at Funtrackers Family Fun Center, 101 Carrizo Canyon Rd. (tel. 575/257-3275), which offers go-kart courses, bumper boats, bull riding, and miniature golf. Beware: It can be crammed with people midsummer. It's open Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10am to 10pm; from September to May it's open weekends only, with limited hours.
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.