Roswell, New Mexico OverviewThe town of Roswell, New Mexico, of the Southwestern United States, has become most known for one thingÂ—aliens. It gained its fame for an alleged UFO crash in the vicinity of the town back in 1947. Many speculated that the incident involved an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants, and that that an alien craft was found and its occupants were captured, but the military then engaged in a cover-up. It has been a topic of much controversy since the 1970s, and has since turned the town into a tourist attraction for those interested in aliens, UFOs, and science fiction.
All aliens aside, the area was first populated by pioneers from Missouri looking to start a new settlement. Van C. Smith, a businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, and his partner, Aaron Wilburn, constructed two adobe buildings in 1869 that began what is now Roswell. Smith named the town Roswell after his father's first name and the town grew from there. Today Roswell acts as a center for irrigated farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also home to New Mexico Military Institute.
SightsWith its tourism built on aliens, a visit to Roswell will have you seeing extraterrestrials around every corner. Even the windows of Walmart are painted with little green men greeting customers happily. From alien statues at bus corners to vending machines decked with alien art, the town of Roswell is overrun with extraterrestrial paraphernalia. One of the biggest attractions is of course the International UFO Museum and Research Center. For a small fee, visitors can walk through exhibits that not only feature the Roswell Incident, but also alleged abductions, crop circles, and the infamous Project Blue Book. While the museum has a gift shop full of great novelties, the main street is lined with even more. A day just walking around town is sure to meet visitors with quirky characters, wacky shops, and enough alien sightings to last a lifetime.
NeighborhoodsMain Street in Roswell is definitely the center of tourist activity. In addition to the International UFO Museum and Research Center and a ton of little stores for souvenir shopping, the main street also houses the Roswell Visitor's Bureau where visitors can stop for pamphlets, brochures, books, and information on the town. Just around the corner from the bureau is another attraction called the Roswell Museum & Art Center. A little break from aliens, this museum exhibits history, scientific discovery, art with Southwestern significance. Main Street is also lined with plenty of options for dining, from cafĂ©s and bakeries to bars and dives.
ActivitiesOnce again, aliens are the main attraction of Roswell. From the UFO Museum to the decor around town, one cannot escape the extraterrestrial hype. There are a few museums, however, dedicated to southwestern culture of the area. The Roswell Museum & Art Center, for example, hosts a fine array of sculptures, artifacts, prints, painting and photographs which showcase the history and art traditions of the American Southwest. The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art houses a diverse and eclectic collection of over 200 art pieces, and also features participants from the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, which began in 1967. Other attractions include the General Douglas L McBride Military Museum, the Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico, the Walker Aviation Museum, Spring River Park and Zoo, as well as the Robert H Goddard Planetarium which adjoins with the Roswell Museum and Art Center.
For those looking for outdoor enjoyment, the Bottomless Lakes State Park is another popular attraction located about 15 miles southeast of Roswell. Carved from limestone by the river and aquifer, the lakes are actually ancient caves that have collapsed. Not only are they a natural phenomenon, but they are a great setting for swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating, and birdwatching. The Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is another great outdoor feature of the region, home to many aquatic species, dragonflies, and birds.
Food and DiningAny town in the southwestern United States is a hub for good Mexican restaurants. With a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, Los Cerritos is a casual Mexican restaurant serving breakfast, tacos, burritos, seafood, burgers, wine, and beer. Another casual stop is Peppers Grill & Bar, family-friendly with a Southwestern menu from burgers to Mexican staples. If you're looking for a little more ambiance, Tia Juana's Mexican Grill & Cantina serves up margaritas and Mexican cuisine in a festive cantina atmosphere. If Mexican is just not your thing, Roswell also has a mix of ethnic cuisine from Thai to Italian, as well as your regular American cafĂ©s, pubs, and fast food.
TransportationRoswell International Air Center is the city's main airport, served by American Airlines via its American Eagle regional airline affiliate.
By car, Roswell's major highways include US Route 70, US Route 285, and US Route 380.
As far as public transportation goes, Roswell has several bus routes serviced by Pecos Trails Transit.