Are you ready to learn about one of the coolest midsize cities in the American Southwest?
While Roswell, New Mexico may not be as gigantic and commercialized as many other major U.S. cities, it’s still a good-sized city with lots to offer. A bit isolated, the closest medium to large-size cities are Carlsbad (1.2 hours), Alamogordo (2 hours), Albuquerque (3 hours), and El Paso (3.2 hours). Of course, Roswell’s main claim to fame is the infamous 1947 “Roswell Incident”, where an (alleged) UFO crashed into a rancher’s field about 50 minutes north of the city. While the (alleged) crash site is strictly off-limits to the public, there are still plenty of other alien-themed and non-alien-themed sites and attractions to be enjoyed (mostly alien).
Even though the Roswell Army Airfield initially reported that a “flying disc” had crashed and been recovered in a rancher’s field, the U.S. Government quickly changed course, claiming that the Roswell Incident was nothing more than a crashed weather balloon and there was nothing to see. Nonetheless, literally nothing has changed or will change the original crashed UFO narrative, with this “incident” forever etched into the minds of Americans and non-Americans alike. While numerous industries have capitalized on the Roswell Incident – like the film, TV, podcast, YouTube, and book industries – Roswell as a city has recognized this incident as its ultimate claim to fame and absolutely ran with it.
With a population of around 49,000, Roswell is the 5th-largest city in the state of New Mexico. While known for a couple of other local industries, like one of the world’s largest mozzarella manufacturers, Leprino Foods, it’s most known for tourism centered around aliens and the Roswell Incident. There are countless references to aliens, seeping from almost every orifice of the city, but particularly the downtown strip. There are alien-themed welcome signs, streetlamps, murals, statues, wood carvings, and window art, along with tiny alien footprints painted along the sidewalk, and countless shops or restaurants with names referencing aliens and UFO’s. The Roswell McDonalds alone is famous for being partially shaped like a gigantic UFO.
There are numerous things to do and see while in Roswell, including the International UFO Museum and Research Center, the Roswell Museum, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, the Walker Aviation Museum at Walker Air Force Base, the Spring River Zoo, and the well-known gift shops Alien Zone and Spaceport Roswell. Make sure to visit the Historic Downtown District and walk the downtown strip, visiting the various shops and restaurants, many alien or mystic themed.
We visited the famous International UFO Museum and Research Center, well-known within the alien enthusiast and UFO community. Located right on the downtown strip at 114 N. Main Street, it’s open daily from 9am to 5pm. Tickets are $7 per adult, $4 for children aged 5-15, and $5 for seniors/military/first responders. The museum houses many historical artifacts and exhibits related to the Roswell Incident, as well as other extraterrestrial-related events and artifacts.
From the museum’s official mission statement : “The Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials and information in written, audio and visual formats that are related to the 1947 Roswell Incident and other unexplained phenomena related to UFO research. The Museum endeavors to be the leading information source in history, science, and research about UFO events worldwide.”
For any good alien enthusiast, the museum is a must-visit.
Lastly, the beautiful Carlsbad Caverns National Park. is only 1.5 hours directly south of Roswell, making both the perfect stop on any American Southwest or New Mexico road trip itinerary!
Overall, Roswell is a city everyone should visit at least once, especially those with a belief in the otherworldly and extraterrestrials. It’s one of America’s most well-known and notorious cities, a place that earned its spot in history seven decades ago and hasn’t let go of a single inch of that fame since. While the city may seem kitschy to non-believers, to everyone else, it’s pure fun. ✌🏼👽