History of the Rio Grande Theatre

Built as a movie theater in 1926, the Rio Grande Theatre was a focal point of downtown Las Cruces and a community gathering place until it closed in 1997. Over the next 8 years and at a cost of $2.2 million, the Doña Ana Arts Council oversaw a complete renovation and reinvention of the 426-seat theater.

The theater reopened in 2005 and was managed restored by the Doña Ana Arts Council for 12 years. During that time, the Arts Council hosted numerous performing and visual art events that helped keep the theater going and allowed it to become the centerpiece of the newly renovated Main Street in downtown.

If you are in the area, we encourage everyone to take a tour and discover the rich history of this one-of-a-kind Arts facility which happened to be only remaining operating two-story adobe theater in the country.

Among the many performers and artists who have graced the stage are piano virtuoso George Winston, dance phenomenon the Moscow Ballet, folk legend Janis Ian, the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, the internationally renowned Vienna Boys Choir and many more. Film series, literary events, free performances, and special lectures have also been a regular occurrence at the Rio Grande Theatre, and will remain a staple of programing as the theater moves forward.

About the Rio Grande Theatre

The Rio Grande Theatre, originally built in 1926, is a restored performing arts center in the heart of Downtown Las Cruces. It is the only operating 2-story adobe theater in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Theatre is owned by the City of Las Cruces and managed and operated by Visit Las Cruces.

The theater features a wide selection of entertainment from local, regional and national recording artists and performing arts, to a classic film series and Saturday children’s matinee program. The theater now serves concessions and refreshments including snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine.

Contact the Rio Grande Theatre

The Rio Grande Theatre is managed by Visit Las Cruces.  For questions about events, rentals or anything else happening at the theatre, contact us at 575-541-2290 or fill out the form below.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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