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30 Fun Things to do in Roswell, NM

30 Fun Things to do in Roswell, NM

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If you are looking for things to do in Roswell, NM, then you are in the right place!

Roswell is a quirky little town that has fully embraced its reputation for having been visited by aliens! You see, Roswell, New Mexico was made famous when an alleged UFO crash occurred here in 1947.

Many people suspect that the military covered up this alien crash, and the “Roswell Incident” as this crashed was called, is still a debated topic to this day.

As I mentioned above, the town has fully embraced the alien theme. We visited Roswell on our way to Ruidoso, NM, and were so glad we did! You will see alien-themed items everywhere during your visit.

A visitor would be amiss if they just associated Roswell with this alien crash though. There is so much more to this New Mexico town.

Let’s take a look at all of the attractions in Roswell.

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Explore the Roswell Historic District: Downtown Roswell

Downtown Roswell is unique for sure. It feels like something “alien” is watching you at every turn. That’s because it is!

While visiting the Roswell Historic District, you will quickly understand what I meant about this city fully embracing the alien. It seems like every store in the downtown area has something to do with aliens in downtown Roswell.

Really, aliens are everywhere on N. Main St!

Here are some places of interest in the historic district:

courthouse building in Roswell NM

Roswell Visitors Center

Pop into the Roswell Visitors Center, located right on N. Main St., to learn all about places to visit in Roswell. The center is staffed with local, knowledgeable experts that can help ensure that your time in Roswell is well spent and that you get to enjoy all of the things to do in Roswell.

While visiting the Visitors Center, you can also browse their gift shop to get some fun Roswell souvenirs to take home with you. You can even take a photo with the aliens here before heading out to explore all of the Roswell attractions!

Read Next: 25 Fun Things to do in Salem, MA

Roswell McDonald’s

McDonalds in Roswell shaped like a flying saucer

Now, I know that Dunkin Donuts in Roswell’s historic district has a giant alien holding up its sign. I also know that you will see aliens at other restaurants throughout town, but none of them have a building shaped like a flying saucer, except for McDonald’s!

I know it is silly, and you probably don’t want to eat lunch at McDonald’s, but you have to at least stop and take a picture, especially at night.

Check Out the Street Art and Murals

couple standing in front of colorful mural in Roswell that says "Roswell we believe" and has a space ship on it

There are several fun murals throughout the Roswell historic district perfect for a fun photo in front of. One of our personal favorites was the colorful UFO photo that you see pictured here. Explore the historic district and see how many you can find!

Roswell UFO Spacewalk

Head to 166 E. 2nd Street in Roswell to find this interesting Roswell, NM art exhibit and amusement center.

If you are traveling with kids, there is a good chance that they will think this is one of the best things in Roswell.

The Roswell UFO Spacewalk allows you to take a trip through space courtesy of the interactive displays that you will find here.

This is definitely one of New Mexico’s unique attractions.

Shop For All Things Alien Themed

statue of an alien riding a roadrunner

You can’t leave Roswell, New Mexico without an alien-themed souvenir of some sort. Lucky for you N. Main Street in downtown Roswell is full of unique shops specializing in alien merchandise.

Browsing the fun shops on Main Street is a great way to fill a couple of hours of time and is free, well unless you buy something. Along the way, be sure to snap a fun selfie with all of the alien cutouts and statues that line N. Main Street.

International UFO Museum and Research Center

recreation of Roswell UFO crash at the International UFO Museum, one of the things to do in Rowell, NM

You will find the International UFO Museum and Research Center in the heart of the downtown district at 114 N. Main Street.

If you are fascinated by aliens and the thought of there being something “out there” beyond our world, then the International UFO Museum and Research Center is a place you want to visit for sure.

Most of the exhibits at the International UFO Museum are centered around the 1947 Roswell UFO crash, which makes sense since you are visiting Roswell.

Don’t worry though, there are other things to do at the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Here you can explore all sorts of outer space-themed exhibits.

Not only that, but you can also check out over 55,000 documents like audio recordings, newspaper stories, and pictures, autopsy reports, and more to solidify whether or not you believe in aliens!

Alien Zone

Alien Zone welcomes you to come in and check out all of the exhibits and merchandise they have in their store. I know, extraterrestrial exhibits are all around this town, but the Alien Zone is a fun place to check out!

Roswell, New Mexico Museums

There are several great museums in Roswell, New Mexico for you to explore to learn more about the area’s history outside of the “alien invasion.”

Roswell was originally home to the Mescalero Apache and Comanches tribes and was first settled by Anglo ranchers from Texas in 1867. These ranchers introduced the ranching lifestyle to this area of New Mexico, of which you can still see evidence throughout the town.

These museums allow you to immerse yourself in the history of the American Southwest through their dynamic exhibits.

Visiting a Roswell museum is the perfect thing to do in Roswell on a rainy day!

Here are some of Roswell’s museums for you to explore:

Roswell Museum & Art Center

Head to the Roswell Museum to see works of art dedicated to the American Southwest. The Roswell Museum Art Center was founded in 1935, and today is a 50,000 square-foot facility showcasing paintings, sculptures, drawings, and historical artifacts throughout its 12 galleries.

The Art Center Roswell Museum is also where you will find the Patricia Lubben Bassett Art Education Center and the Dr. Robert H Goddard Planetarium. The Art Center Roswell Museum is considered one of the top museums and one of the top attractions in Southeastern New Mexico.

Robert H. Goddard Planetarium

exterior of the planetarium

You will find the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium inside of the Roswell Museum & Art Center. The Goodard Planetarium (as it is often called) contains a full-dome digital theatre system where you can discover the beauty of the galaxy that surrounds us.

The Goddard Planetarium also offers guests a chance to participate in multi-media presentations, view space-related exhibits, and view the stars using a high-powered telescope. This is a great addition to your Roswell, NM itinerary.

Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art

displays of art in the contemporary art museum
Photo courtesy of Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art’s Facebook Page

If you are a lover of contemporary art, then you will definitely want to check out the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art in Roswell, NM.

The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art displays more than 500 original works of art from former fellows of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. The art displayed at Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art includes paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and more.

Exhibited throughout the 12 galleries, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art truly is one of the best things in Roswell, NM for art lovers.

Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico

old house in Roswell NM

You will find the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico housed in a historic home in Roswell, NM. The home was built by a local rancher, James Phelps White, and later became the Historical Society.

Not only is this home a historical landmark in New Mexico, but the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico is also a free museum that you can visit.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the historic home to learn about the history of the home and the people who owned it. In addition to the home, the archive building next door to the Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico holds over 14,000 rare and historical books, photos, and documents, perfect for my history buffs!

The Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico is one of the best things to do in Roswell for history lovers.

Hours at the Historical Society are 10 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday. They are closed Saturday and Sunday.

General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum

The General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum showcases the history of the New Mexico Military Institute. The grand castle-looking building was once the Luna Natatorium which house the first indoor swimming pool west of the Mississippi.

Today, the General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum calls the Natatorium home. It is here that you can view artifacts, photographs, a collection of military firearms, and more to learn more about the history of the New Mexico Military Institute.

If you are adding this to your trip itinerary, take note that their hours are 8 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Walker Aviation Museum

re

The Walker Aviation Museum can be found on the Walker Air Force Base at 1 Jerry Smith Circle.

Inside the Walker Aviation Museum, you can learn all about the interesting aviation history associated with the Roswell Army Airfield and the Walker Air Force Base.

Visitors to the Walker Aviation Museum can enjoy a variety of exhibits that includes military aircraft, photographs, uniforms, and military weapons. The best part, this museum is completely free!

Outdoor Attractions in Roswell, New Mexico

Bottomless Lakes State Park

lake with canyon walls around it in Roswell NM

Bottomless Lakes State Park was the first state park in New Mexico! If that alone isn’t a reason for you to visit, then let me tell you more about it.

Bottomless Lakes State Park is named after the sinkholes that were formed here, some that are over 90 feet deep. This state park is a favorite of visitors and Roswell locals because of all of the fun recreational activities it offers.

At Bottomless Lakes State Park you can go fishing, swimming, hiking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and more! This is a great place to cool off from the Roswell, NM summer heat!

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

a hawk

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife photographer’s dream come true. Thanks to the fact that the Chihuahuan Desert, High Plains, and Pecos River valley come together and form a wetland paradise for over 350 species of migratory birds.

Birds aren’t the only animals that love Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. There are also numerous reptiles, amphibians, and fish that call this area home. Some of these creatures as some of the rarest species found in New Mexico like the Roswell Spring Snail and the Least Shrew.

While here, you can explore some of the hiking trails and horseback riding that are available here.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a special place and a must-see during your trip to Roswell, New Mexico!

Take note though, their opening hours are 8 am – 4 pm Monday-Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.

Mescalero Sand Dunes

sand dunes in Roswell, NM

The Mescalero Sand Dunes are an awesome place to visit if you want a unique experience during your time in Roswell, NM.

The 610 acres of towering sand dunes draw ATV vehicles like crazy. ATV riders love zipping through the soft sand on the 90+ foot hills.

The Mescalero Sand Dunes are located about 45 minutes outside of Roswell, New Mexico, and are open daily.

J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center

parks in Roswell

If my bird lovers didn’t get their fill at Bitter Lake, they can try their luck at the J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center.

The J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center gives the residents of Chaves County a nice place to connect with nature. The Chaves County residents are also invited to learn more about this diverse ecosystem and the preservation needed to protect the wildlife that call this area home.

Guests can also enjoy the Spring River Trail during their time here. Spring River Trail is a 4-mile long trail that is fully paved and perfect for walking or cycling.

This is a relaxing addition to your trip!

Golf Courses in Roswell, New Mexico

golf ball being put on golf tee

If you are looking to spend the day out on the golf course, then you’re in good hands. Roswell, NM is home to several golf courses.

The Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River lies on 144-acres around the Spring River. This 18-hole course is said to be a nice challenge for all golfers.

Other options for your trip itinerary include the New Mexico Military Institute Golf Course and the Roswell Country Club.

Disc Golf Courses in Roswell, NM

If you are interested in playing a round of disc golf during your time in Roswell, New Mexico, then you will be happy to know that there are two disc golf courses also.

Enchanted Lands disc golf course is a free 18-hole disc golf course located in Enchanted Lands Park. Guests here can also enjoy the other park amenities like the playground, picnic areas, and walking trails.

The ENMU-Roswell Campus also has a 9-hole disc golf course that you are welcome to come and play on.

Spring River Park and Zoo

ring tailed lemur

Spring River Park and Zoo is one of the great kid-friendly places to go in Roswell, NM.

Comprised of over 30 acres of land, the Spring River Park and Zoo has plenty to see, but still at a manageable size.

Not only can you see all of the animals that call the Spring River Park and Zoo home, but you can also participate in educational programs, petting the animals, and go on a train ride!

1306 E. College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201

Cielo Grande Park

For a nice picnic or just a stroll outside, Cielo Grande Park is a nice place to visit. The park is situated on 151 acres and offers loads of fun amenities. There are picnic facilities, a paved walking path, a skate park, soccer fields, and more at Ciele Grande Park.

Enchanted Lands Park

Another Roswell park, Enchanted Lands Park features a playground, a large grassy area, barbecue pits, and baseball and soccer fields. This is a great place to spend a day outside.

Other Places to Visit in Roswell, NM

Pecos Flavors Winery

2 glasses of red wine and a charcuterie board

Head to Pecos Flavors Winery for a relaxed evening out on the town. Here you can enjoy a great atmosphere paired with some great wine.

Pecos Flavors Winery is a local wine producer that makes some incredible New Mexican wine. You can do a tasting during your visit to determine your favorite and then settle in with a bottle and a charcuterie board!

Honestly, Pecos Flavors Winery sounds like the perfect date night in Roswell, NM!

412 W. 2nd Street, Roswell, NM 88201

See a Performance at Pearson Auditorium

A concert at Person Auditorium is a great addition to your trip itinerary. Located on the New Mexico Military Institute campus, the Person is where the Roswell Symphony Orchestra plays. Attending a concert here and then going to dinner at one of Roswell’s restaurants makes for a nice evening out.

Roswell UFO Tours

UFO Crash Site sign

Roswell UFO Tours offers in-depth tours with a Roswell UFO Researcher to answer all of your questions about what really happened on that day in 1947.

During your tour, you will visit 20 locations to see if you can uncover the truth. The tour includes stops at the homes of several of the witnesses, some of the Roswell museums, and the Roswell Army Airfield.

Go Shopping at Roswell Mall

If you didn’t find what you were looking for while exploring Main Street, then head to Roswell Mall to continue your shopping spree.

Roswell Mall is home to many national retail stores and has everything from clothes to crafts.

Go Antiquing at the Roswell Antique Mall

antiques

The Roswell Antique Mall is the perfect place for antique lovers. This antique mall contains all sorts of little treasures. And the best part is, it is nearby other Roswell attractions, like the International UFO Museum, so it is easy to pop in to take a look.

Of course, are several restaurants in the area as well if you are in need of a meal after all of that shopping!

Support the Local Actors at Roswell Community Little Theatre

There is nothing better than supporting local talent and you can do just that when you attend a performance at the Roswell Community Little Theatre. The Little Theatre Company puts on live performances for the community to enjoy.

Grab dinner at one of the Roswell restaurants and make this a fun night out.

Snap a Photo with the Welcome to Roswell Sign

Welcome to Roswell sign

We love snapping photos with the town’s “Welcome to” signs and the Roswell one is no exception. Actually, it is pretty awesome as it is such a unique and fun sign.

Complete with a flying saucer that lights up and spins at night, this is the perfect place for a fun selfie!

Roswell UFO Fest

recreation of UFO crash site during Roswell UFO Festival

We visited Roswell during the Roswell UFO Festival totally by coincidence. We had no idea the festival was happening the weekend we went to Roswell until we got there.

I have to say, if you are a fan of outer space and extra-terrestrial stuff, then you will love this festival. You will also love it if you are a fan of people-watching like we are!

The festival takes place annually and is a quirky, fun time for sure. Walking around Main St. during this festival was such a treat.

There were people dressed in all sorts of space-inspired costumes. They really did go “all out.” It reminded me of some of the fun costumes we see when we visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras!

If you can add this to your itinerary, DO IT! Just know that the town gets extremely crowded during this festival, which means prices for accommodations will increase.

Where to Stay in Roswell, NM

Hotels in Roswell

There are several hotels in Roswell to choose from. Here are some you may want to consider:

Candlewood Suites

Days Inn by Wyndham

Quality Inn and Suites Roswell

Holiday Inn

Home2 Suites

Hampton Inn and Suites

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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight:

We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.

Book Your Vacation Package:

If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.

Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!

For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.

Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”

Book Your Accommodations:

We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!

There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.

Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!

HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.

If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.

Tour Companies We Trust:

We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!

For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.

CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.

Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.

Looking to Save Time and Money?

Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!

Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

About The Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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Carol Colborn

Tuesday 28th of December 2021

What an interesting town! I didn't know about the 1947 crash. And they have built such a dedtination!!!

thattexascouple

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

It really is!

Agnes

Tuesday 28th of December 2021

I was in Roswell, NM and I enjoyed it a lot. It's a perfect destination, especially as a family trip. Mc Donalds is so funny, and the UFO Museum is fabulous! But I had no time to visit Robert H. Goddard Planetarium. I add it to my list for my next trip. It's an exciting and detailed guide to Roswell.

thattexascouple

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

You are so right, kids absolutely love it! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Sage Scott

Tuesday 28th of December 2021

Roswell is SUCH a fun New Mexico town! It's a bit out off the normal route we drive between Kansas City and my Mom and Dad's house in Las Cruces, but when we adjust to visit, we always have a blast!

thattexascouple

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

It really is!!!

Rudy at Backpack and Snorkel

Monday 27th of December 2021

Wow, this is a great article. I have driven by Roswell, NM on the highway twic about 20 years ago, but never bothered to stop. I really like the murals and, like you, I think I will take some photos with the 'aliens'.

thattexascouple

Monday 27th of December 2021

Thank you, Rudy. Next time you're driving by, stop and explore!

Nicole Anderson

Friday 24th of December 2021

I had no idea there were so many fun things to keep you occupied in Roswell! Yes, the UFO angle is enjoyable and provides much food for thought, but the natural beauty of the surrounding area is something I wasn't aware of, including the State Park, Wildlife Refuge and Sand Dunes. Previously I might have thought of spending a weekend there at the most, but given everything you have shared, a week now seems probable.

thattexascouple

Saturday 25th of December 2021

I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the post! Roswell is such a fun, quirky town, and there is really so much to see and enjoy that isn't just the "alien" scene.