18 Out-of-This-World Things to Do in Roswell, New Mexico on UFO Day

UFO and Alien in Roswell


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UFO and Alien in Roswell

Take Us to Your Souvenir Shops

If you know anything about Roswell, New Mexico, it's probably that something is believed to have crashed there in July 1947. The Roswell Daily Record quoted military sources as saying they recovered a “flying disc” at the site — before quickly backtracking and saying the wreckage was from a weather balloon. When conspiracy theories popped up decades later, the town came to embrace them, forever linking Roswell and little green men in the zeitgeist. 

Whether you believe in extraterrestrials or not, there are lots of things to see and do in and around Roswell. And with World UFO Day on July 2 just on the horizon, now seems like the perfect time to explore this otherworldly destination.

Related: Strangest American Conspiracy Theories

Roswell Welcome Sign

Roswell Welcome Sign

U.S. 285 north of Roswell

Sure, Las Vegas has its iconic welcome sign, but Roswell’s is one for the ages, depicting cows being abducted by a flying saucer. Or get into the picture with the tableau of an alien spaceship, its occupants and an Earthling welcoming committee on U.S. 285 southeast of town.

Related: The Weirdest Large Roadside Attraction in Every State

Roswell Visitors Center
Roswell Visitors Center/Yelp

Roswell Visitor Center

426 N. Main St., Roswell

The term “visitor center” takes on a whole new meaning in Roswell. While we’re pretty sure it’s intended for human visitors, you can’t rule anything out here. This is a good starting point for your explorations or to find updated information on the area as well as the place to purchase “official” Roswell branded items.

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International UFO Museum And Research Center located in Roswell, New Mexico

International UFO Museum and Research Center

114 N. Main St., Roswell

If you’re curious about what’s become known as “The Roswell Incident,” this is the place for you. The museum opened to visitors in 1992 and its research center holds more than 7,000 books, 30,000 magazines, periodicals and pamphlets, and more than 1,500 DVDs related to UFOs. It also hosts the annual Roswell UFO Festival that draws curious crowds every year during the first week of July.

Related: 50 Tourist Traps That Locals Still Love

Roswell UFO Spacewalk

Roswell UFO Spacewalk

116 East 2nd St., Roswell

Grab your ray gun and help defend Earth from invading aliens at this walk-through blacklight adventure “that transports you onto an alien ship and alien plant.”

Alien Zone Roswell, NM

Alien Zone and Area 51

216 N. Main St., Roswell

A specialty gift shop with an extra dose of fun, this location features a number of aliens on display, giving visitors a chance to grab some unusual selfies.

Flying Saucer UFO McDonald's restaurant

UFO McDonald’s

720 N. Main St., Roswell

Satisfy your fast food cravings at this unique McDonald’s location where the play area is shaped like a flying saucer. The alien motif even includes Ronald McDonald in a spacesuit. We’ve always suspected he wasn’t from this world.

Related: 19 Spectacular Fast Food Restaurant Designs Around the World

Roswell Invaders Baseball Game
Roswell Invaders Baseball Game by Dave Hensley (CC BY-NC-ND)

Roswell Invaders

2500 E. Poe Road, Roswell

Playing off the alien vibe, the Invaders are a professional baseball team in the independent Pecos League. They play in Joe Bauman Stadium, named after a minor league slugger who hit at least 50 home runs in three straight seasons — including 72 for the then-Roswell Rockets in 1954.

Roswell Zoo Train
Rich P./Yelp

Spring River Zoo

1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell

Roswell’s recently reopened zoo features animals such as black bears, foxes, bison, and mountain lions, along with an assortment of ranch animals, an antique wooden horse carousel and miniature train on 34 acres of parkland. And then there’s the “sci-fi interactive human species exhibit.”

Summer afternoon at the splash pad

Murphy Family Splash Pad

Poe Corn Park, 200 block of South Garden Avenue, Roswell

This free play area has numerous water features for children of all ages. Opened in 2016, it was named for the family that made a major donation to the project. And did we mention that it’s free?

Roswell Museum and Art Center

Roswell Museum and Art Center

1011 N. Richardson Ave., Roswell

Featuring paintings by Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth, and Georgia O’Keefe, the museum dates back to 1937 when it was part of a Depression-era project to promote public art centers around the country. It now boasts 12 galleries in a 50,000-square-foot facility that includes an art education center, a planetarium, and items from the workshop of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard.

Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art

Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art

409 E. College Blvd., Roswell

An outgrowth of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, the museum houses an eclectic collection of photographs, paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures in 12 galleries consisting of 22,000 square feet of museum space.

Historical Society for Southwest New Mexico

Historical Society for Southwest New Mexico

200 N. Lea Ave., Roswell

History fans may be interested in this attraction that includes antiques, artifacts, and a gallery of exhibits that change regularly. Call ahead to schedule a private tour.

POW Iron Cross Roswell, NM

POW Iron Cross

1010 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell

Some of the 4,800 German prisoners of war held in a camp outside Roswell during World War II worked on a flood-control project in the city and managed to arrange rocks to form an outline of the Iron Cross, a German military decoration. The site has become a memorial to prisoners of war and MIA soldiers everywhere.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

4200 E. Pine Lodge Road, Roswell

Looking for strange creatures? Just outside of Roswell — where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains — lies a wetlands that is home to the North American least shrew, Noel’s amphipod, least tern, Pecos sunflower, and Roswell spring snail.

Carlsbad Caverns
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

National Parks Highway (U.S. 62) south of Carlsbad, New Mexico

Hidden beneath the Chihuahuan Desert about 90 minutes south of Roswell are more than 119 caves that have been attracting visitors from around the world for decades. Above ground, scout for birds or picnic at Rattlesnake Springs, one of the less-visited areas of the park, hike the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, or see thousands of Brazilian free-tail bats emerge from the cavern during the summer.

Related: 35 Stunning Landscapes That Make Earth Look Like Another Planet

Mescalero Sands North Dune Off-Highway Vehicle Area

Mescalero Sands North Dune Off-Highway Vehicle Area

Off U.S. 380 East of Roswell

Bring your dune buggy and explore the towering sand dunes in this 610-acre area about 45 miles east of Roswell maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management.

Lincoln Historic Site

Lincoln Historic Site

Main Street (U.S. 380), Lincoln

About an hour west of Roswell, Lincoln was at the center of one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history, featuring Wild West legends Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. This site offers historic community buildings and is one of the most visited state monuments.

Related: 18 Towns Where You Can Still Experience the Wild West

Bottomless Lakes State Park, NM

Bottomless Lakes State Park

545 Bottomless Lakes Road, Roswell

The unusual lakes in this park just east of Roswell are actually sinkholes that are up to 90 feet deep with aquatic plants giving the illusion of greater depth. It’s a favorite for kayaking, canoeing, and scuba diving as well as camping.