There’s no shortage of romantic things to do in the snowy mountain town of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Ruidoso is a haven for couples who love the outdoors. With a snow-capped mountains, a beautiful lake, and a charming downtown area, couples looking for a romantic and snow-filled getaway should look no further than Ruidoso, NM.

While the state of New Mexico doesn’t usually get a lot of snow, Ruidoso typically averages about 31 inches of snow every winter. This is because Ruidoso is nearly 7,000 feet high in elevation, so it’s colder than the rest of New Mexico. Since Ruidoso gets so much snow, it has become a popular skiing getaway, with Ski Apache resort a short 30 minute drive from Ruidoso.

Ruidoso is three hours southeast of Albuquerque, NM, and about two and a half hours southeast of El Paso, TX. The best way to get there is to fly into the Albuquerque Airport or El Paso Airpot and then rent a car to drive down. Just make sure to rent a car with snow tires if you’re going during the winter–we made that mistake.

1. Explore Downtown Ruidoso

Downtown area in Ruidoso, New Mexico | Jack and Gab Explore

There’s nothing more romantic than taking a stroll in Ruidoso’s charming downtown area as night falls. Most of the main shops and downtown area in Ruidoso are located along Sudderth Drive. Along this road, you’ll find everything from restaurants and coffee shops to wineries and shopping.

The sidewalk can get a little slushy and slippery during the winter, so remember to bring boots. You’ll also want to bring a pair of gloves to keep your hands warm while you walk.

2. Explore Two Rivers Ruidoso River Park

Two Rivers Ruidoso River Park | Jack and Gab Explore

Located on the eastern side of Ruidoso’s downtown area is Two Rivers Ruidoso River Park, a small but beautiful public park. At the park, you’ll find two quiet rivers (more of a stream), a beautiful bridge to walk across, and a small playground.

Two Rivers Ruidoso River Park | Jack and Gab Explore

The entire park is filled with beautiful evergreen trees and nature, making a stroll through the snow even more romantic. Wear snow-proof walking boots and you’ll even be able to venture up the side of a snow-covered hill together.

3. Grab a Hot Chocolate from Nana’s Yummy Cupcakes

Nana's Yummy Cupcakes in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

Once you’re ready to warm up from being in the cold, head to Nana’s Yummy Cupcakes for a warm cup of hot chocolate. This charming cafe is located along Sudderth Drive–the main street in downtown Ruidoso–and is a colorful and welcoming place to escape the cold. There are tables for two located inside–the perfect romantic place to sit and enjoy your hot chocolate

Hot Chocolate from Nana's Yummy Cupcakes in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

Nana’s Yummy Cupcakes also has a cute retail area in the front of the store, so you can also browse the merchandise while you drink your hot chocolate. They also have some delectable looking cupcakes that we were barely able to resist, so don’t be afraid to get your sweet tooth fixing while you’re there.

4. Eat at Rio Grande Grill & Taproom

Sandwich from Rio Grande Grill & Taproom in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

The Rio Grande Grill & Taproom is a great restaurant to eat at in Ruidoso. They have a very diverse menu of everything from pub food to Italian, plus a full service bar and extensive beer list. They also have a decadent dessert menu if you are in the mood for something sweet. We recommend you split the cheesecake.

Even if you just feel like a drink, Rio Grande has a great bar area. There are a bunch of TVs playing sports games, giving it a more casual vibe.

5. Wine Tasting at Noisy Water

Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

What’s more romantic than trying some new wines with your significant other? Noisy Water Winery is the perfect place to do just that. Located in Ruidoso’s main downtown area, Noisy Water Winey is located in a rustic style log cabin and is the perfect place to escape the cold.

Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

Head past the retail store in the front to the wine tasting room in the back. In addition to wine tasting, wine by bottle is also available for purchase. The bottles range from $20 on the low end to about $50 on the higher end.

6. Shop at the Happy Hiker

The Happy Hiker store in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

There is nothing that we love more than a great outdoors shop, and the Happy Hiker is one of the best. This charming little shop has everything outdoorsy that you can imagine. Whether you are browsing for a new pair of hiking boots or just enjoy looking at the various knick-knacks, you’ll have a great time perusing at The Happy Hiker.

7. Go-Karting at Pillow’s Funtrackers

Pillow's Funtrackers in Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

Pillow’s Funtrackers is an amusement park in Ruidoso offering everything from go-karting and mini golf to bumper cars and arcade games. While the snow had Pillow’s Funtrackers closed while we were there, we recommend heading over to unleash your fun side. It’s less than $10 to do a ride, so treat yourself to a romantic afternoon of fun!

8. Take a Scenic, Snowy Drive

Driving on a snowy road in New Mexico | Jack and Gab Explore

One of the most beautiful and romantic parts of Ruidoso are the snowy back roads. Take a drive together through the more rural parts of Ruidoso for a great view of nature. Just make sure that you have four-wheel drive! Our little Toyota Yaris rental was slipping and sliding on the roads, and we definitely wished we would have rented an SUV or something with better tires.

Other Romantic Things To Do

There’s a number of things that we didn’t get a chance to do when we visited Ruidoso, NM, since they had recently had a huge snow storm so a lot of the roads were in very bad condition. Here’s a list of a few additional things that we would recommend trying:

  • 9. Grindstone Lake: Take a stroll along one of the many scenic paths at this reservoir. The waterfront views of nature can’t be beat.
  • 10. Ski Apache: Hit the slopes for a romantic afternoon of adrenaline. The Ski Apache Resort is only a 30 minute drive from downtown Ruidoso.
  • 11. Ruidoso Downs: Head to Ruidoso Downs Race Track to catch a few horse races. Bonus points if you place a bet or two. You might even win some money!

Final Thoughts

Ruidoso is the perfect romantic winter wonderland to plan your next trip. There’s an amazing combination of fun outdoors activities, and a cute downtown area with restaurants and coffee shops for you to warm up. Remember to pack plenty of warm clothes and rent a car with snow tires, and you’ll have an incredible time in Ruidoso, NM.

Would you visit Ruidoso, NM for a romantic weekend getaway? Let us know in the comments!

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Romantic Things To Do In Ruidoso, NM | Jack and Gab Explore

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