The southernmost range of the Rockies is home to the town of Ruidoso. Ruidoso, New Mexico (named after the “noisy river” that runs through it, Rio Ruidoso) is a popular destination for tourists, locals, and retirees looking to settle down in a rustic log home.
Ruidoso’s economy relies primarily on tourism, although the town still has a quaint, residential charm. Here are ten things to know before moving to Ruidoso, NM.
1. Ruidoso is a stunning city
The Lincoln National Forest, covering an area of over 1.1 million acres, surrounds 20% of the hamlet of Ruidoso, making it one of the most picturesque mountain communities in New Mexico. Locals can quickly and easily reach the ponderosa and aspen woods, challenging mountain trails, and village lakes and parks.
The towering Sierra Blanca Peak at over 12,000 feet can be seen from the hamlet, and there is plenty of outdoor fun at Ski Apache throughout the year. Enjoy a day of fishing, golfing, kayaking, or zip line.
2. You get to enjoy all four seasons
Residents in Ruidoso enjoy a dry, sunny, four-season climate that is perfect for getting out into the great outdoors. The annual average temperature is around 28 degrees Fahrenheit, rarely dropping below 18 degrees or rising over 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the summer, Ruidoso experiences hot weather punctuated by brief afternoon thunderstorms; in the winter, the temperature drops, but the sun shines brightly, melting any snow that may have fallen.
3. Learn of the city’s history at The Hubbard Museum of the American West
Visitors interested in history will find a wealth of resources in the Ruidoso area, including museums, historic forts, cowboy legends, and lore. Ski Apache Ski Resort and the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino are both owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe, whose reservation encompasses 720 square miles of territory next to the hamlet.
The Hubbard Museum of the American West is located in Ruidoso, and nearby Fort Stanton and Lincoln Historic Sites are two of the most visited historic destinations in all of New Mexico.
4. The cost of living is less than the national average
At 84.7, the cost of living is 16% less than the national average. A year’s worth of living expenses for a single person in Ruidoso includes a $33,811 price tag for the city’s accommodation, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other miscellaneous costs.
At $291,241, the median home price in Ruidoso is much less than the national average of $428,000. If you’re looking to live in a city where you can cut down costs, then this place might be a good fit.
5. Easy access to quality healthcare
The new $38.1 million Lincoln County Medical Center opened its doors to patients in May 2020, and it features 25 private patient rooms and various services under the management of Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
Lincoln County Medical Center was awarded the Quest for Excellence Award by the New Mexico Hospital Association (NMHA) for its dedication to patient care and its efforts to advance medical science, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This center offers Ruidoso residents access to quality healthcare without going too far.
6. Eat at La Lorraine or the Village Buttery
It’s been said that New Mexicans live, breathe, and consume chile peppers; at Ruidoso, you can find out once and for all if your favorite is red or green. If you’re craving traditional Southwest food, visit one of the city’s acclaimed eateries.
If you’re not in the mood for spicy food, locals highly recommend La Lorraine, a French restaurant that was just granted four diamonds by AAA, and the Village Buttery. Cloudcroft, 60 miles south of Ruidoso, is home to K.C.’s Log Cabin Restaurant, a must for fans of log cabins who are hungry for traditional American breakfast or lunch.
7. Check out The Hurd LaRinconada Gallery or Spenser Theater
The Hurd LaRinconada Gallery in Ruidoso is home to works by artists such as N.C., Andrew, and Henrietta Wyeth, as well as Peter and Michael Hurd. The new Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts has a capacity of 3,000, and it frequently hosts concerts and other performances by internationally renowned performers. There are also four glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.
When it comes to ballooning, Albuquerque gets all the attention, but Ruidoso also offers some breathtaking panoramas from above. The world’s largest gypsum dune field is located close by in New Mexico, and every year in the fall, the nearby city of Alamogordo holds the White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational. You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Ruidoso.
8. The city has a horseracing tradition
The horse races in Ruidoso are a fun part of the town’s history. Unaware that they were developing one of the world’s richest horse races, local cowboys thought in 1946 that it would be fun to race their horses for money.
Every year on Labor Day, the All-American Futurity is held at Ruidoso Downs, and it offers a million-dollar payoff.
9. Ruidoso has a small-town feel
Ruidoso’s economy relies primarily on tourism, but the town still has a friendly, residential feel. A lot of people used to meet up at the post office every day to talk about what was going on in their communities before home delivery became the norm.
In fact, maintaining Ruidoso’s high standard of living is a priority for locals.
10. The property crime rate is high
While Ruidoso has a relatively low violent crime rate, the property crime rate is much higher.
When compared to the national average of 22.7, Ruidoso’s violent crime rate, at 20.6, is significantly lower. However, the property crime rate in this area, at 44.1, is higher than the national average of 35.4. You should be on the lookout for the safety of your property if you choose to move to this city.
To Sum it All Up
Life in Ruidoso offers a low cost of living, a thriving culinary scene, quality healthcare, and amazing weather. However, the city has a relatively high rate of property crime, so it’s important to be security conscious in Ruidoso.