Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Aggie Memorial Stadium Stewart St & Payne St Las Cruces, NM 88003
Year Opened: 1978 Capacity: 30,343
The A is for Aggies
Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, New Mexico opened in 1978, and has a capacity of 30,343. The stadium is dedicated to New Mexico State alumni that served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and features curved banks of seats on the east and west sides, with an opening on the north that leads to the player locker rooms, and box seats and offices built behind the opening on the south. See a quick tour of the stadium here:
Food & Beverage 4
Aggie Memorial Stadium has a wide variety of food and beverage options, including local Mexican fare and items featuring green chile, a New Mexico staple. The only challenge is the long lines, so you may want to eat during the first quarter or just before the game starts.
The best options are the food trucks and smaller stands on the north side, which include La Ristra’s Mexican ($4-$6 per item), as well as burgers ($9), kettle corn ($6), and cinnamon glazed nuts ($6) – for the latter two, there are smaller stands dotted around the venue that sell only those. There are also main stands on each end of the east and west side, which offer typical fare such as hot dogs, nachos, Frito pies, popcorn, peanuts, and cotton candy for $4-$5 each. Coke products, bottled water and Powerade ($4-$6) are available from the main stands, along with three brands of beer ($7). These are also available from smaller stands that only sell drinks.
The on-field action may not always be the greatest, but the staff at Aggie Memorial Stadium puts on a great show with various activities, and the stadium has some unique features.
The first thing you might notice is the giant “A” on the mountains overlooking the stadium, which is lit up at night. You will also see a giant banner above the main entrance displaying the Aggie Fight Song, so you never forget the words – if only it could be seen from inside the stadium! The north end zone is also unique, arranged to look like a rock garden with several tiers of desert vegetation, while the south end zone has sorority and fraternity logos displayed on the berm.
Besides the unique aesthetics, the staff also plays lots of fun music during breaks in the action, and following every NMSU kickoff, Striking the Wonder Dog (a border collie) runs onto the field to retrieve the kickoff tee, which the fans really seem to enjoy. Fans also ring cowbells (which are sold at the team store) during opposing third downs (and at other times), and it is fun to listen to the announcer change it up by calling for the “third down cow bell”, “rivalry cow bell”, or “overtime cow bell” as occasion may require.
Most of the seats are metal bleachers, but there is a very small section on the west side near midfield with grey chair back seats. The worst seats are the general admission section, in each end zone – these are just stone steps without bleachers.
Aggie Memorial Stadium is nestled at the intersection of I-10 and I-25 in Las Cruces, and there isn’t much in town besides the university, but there are several restaurants that would make a good pre or post-game hangout. The nearby mall (on University Ave) has plenty of fast food and Mexican options, but also features Dublin’s Street Pub, an upscale Irish restaurant. However, if you are looking for something a little less formal, you might try Whiskey Dicks, a fun country nightclub over on Union Ave.
University Ave also has several hotels, such as Sleep Inn or Comfort Suites. If you are from far out of town, the best major airport is in El Paso, about 45 minutes south of NMSU down I-10 – ELP is a great airport to fly into, because the rental cars are on-site.
The fans are loud, and most wear maroon. However, tickets are only $12, and students get in for free, so it is a little disappointing that they can’t get the stadium much more than half full even during their biggest game of the year.
Aggie Memorial Stadium is easy to get to, since it is near two major freeways, and the stadium is easy to get around, thanks to the bridge that now connects the east and west sides. However, some of the water fountains do not work, and the bathrooms are a bit dilapidated – there are regular bathrooms on the east and west sides, but only port-a-potties in the end zones and up top behind the press box. Also, there aren’t really any ramps for the handicapped, so these individuals are limited to a few small areas along the main aisle (between the upper and lower decks on each side).
For those without a parking pass, parking is free in certain areas very close to the stadium; for example, at the Tennis Center on the south side. But there aren’t any signs letting you know where to park, so you may have to stop and ask for directions.
Return on Investment 5
Aggie Memorial Stadium has some unique features and fun activities, so it is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Students get in for free, and tickets start at only $12. The only downside is, that price is for the stone step seats, so if you want bleachers (or chair backs), you will have to pay more. But many stadiums charge a lot more than $12 just to sit on the grass, so the experience is hard to beat for the price. Also parking is free, and concessions are reasonable. Plus, the concessions stands on the east and west sides are run by a local charity, so your purchase could get you a partial tax write-off.
One point for the A on the mountain, which can be seen for miles.
A second point for the décor in the north end zone – the desert plants provide some nice local flair.
A third point for the fight song displayed outside the north end zone – this is great for visitors who don’t know the song, and a gentle reminder for locals who should.
Aggie Memorial Stadium is a nice little stadium that provides a fun experience, but the venue could use some minor improvements, and a few more fans in attendance – addressing these two issues would make a good experience great.