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14 Best things to do in Roswell NM

New Mexico

Roswell is a place synonymous with extraterrestrial activity, so it’s no surprise that there are many alien things to do in Roswell, NM. Primarily, don’t miss spotting aliens on Main Street in downtown Roswell, NM, and visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center and the Roswell Spacewalk, which is definitely high on the list of weird things to do in Roswell, NM.

As for free things to do in Roswell, NM, head to Roswell Museum and Art Center. One of the best things to do in Roswell, NM at night is to see the Roswell Symphony Orchestra perform. For more inspiration, here are 14 things to do in Roswell, NM this weekend.

International UFO Museum, Roswell
 Grossinger / Shutterstock.com

1. International UFO Museum And Research Center

The International UFO Museum and Research Center is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It was founded in 1991 and focuses primarily on the 1947 Roswell UFO incident, which is widely known as the world’s most famous – and most thoroughly debunked – UFO claim. There are also displays on other supposed UFO incidents in the United States and around the world, an extensive library, and a gift shop with extra terrestrial-inspired souvenirs.

Roswell Museum & Art Center
Courtesy of Roswell Museum and Art Center

2. Roswell Museum & Art Center

One of the best free things to do in Roswell, NM is to visit the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Focusing on art and history in America’s Southwest, its 50,000 square foot facility features 12 galleries, the Patricia Lubben Bassett Art Education Center, and the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium. It has temporary Artist-in-Residence exhibitions alongside permanent displays like Made in New Mexico and the largest public collection of Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth works.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
By Joel Deluxe

3. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is imperative to wetland conservation in America’s Southwest. Biologically diverse, it’s scenically located where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains. As the name suggests, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is home to about 60 different mammal species, 360 types of birds, and a plethora of reptile, amphibian, and fish species. It also has several walking, biking, and horseback riding trails, seasonal hunting opportunities, and the Refuge Informative Visitor Center.  

The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art
Courtesy of rair.org

4. The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art

The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 1994 to showcase the works of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program’s former fellows. Today, there are over 500 pieces of art on display across its 12 galleries, which include photographs, paintings, sculptures, and prints. In their words: “few other museums provide a similar focus on contemporary visual art with such an eclectic range of form and content.” The museum also hosts events like opera performances and art talks.

Spring River Park & Zoo
Courtesy of roswell-nm.gov

5. Spring River Park & Zoo

Spring River Park is one of the city’s most family-friendly destinations. Open seasonally, the Spring River Zoo has many fun attractions, including an antique wooden horse carousel and a miniature train that’s been driving passengers around the park since 1976. Then there’s the Children’s Zoo, a ranch area with Texas longhorns, miniature horses and native plants, and the Capitan Trail. The trail takes you passed enclosures home to black bears, mountain lion, bison, and deer.

J Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center
Courtesy of roswell-nm.gov

6. J Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center

The J Kennedy Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center was designed to provide local children and residents with the opportunity to learn more about native birds, their habitats, and the fragile ecosystem in which they exist. Depending on the season, the sanctuary is home to a range of bird species, which may include the turkey vulture, different sparrow and hawk varieties, snow goose, and the northern mockingbird. It’s all about education in a fun environment.

Bottomless Lakes State Park
By Megan Betteridge

7. Bottomless Lakes State Park

New Mexico’s first state park, Bottomless Lakes State Park is in fact home to nine almost-circular cenotes that range from 17 to 90 feet deep. Most of the lakes are surrounded by cliffs, except for Lea Lake and Lazy Lagoon. Lea Lake is the only place where swimming is permitted, so its beach is always busy in the summertime. Other things to do the park include camping (from mid-May to Labor Day), hiking, and birdwatching.

Downtown Historic District
Courtesy of hudsonandelliott.com

8. Downtown Historic District

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city’s downtown historic district covers 38 city blocks and is centered around S Main Street, which is known for its unique extraterrestrial accessories. Some of the district’s most popular attractions include Roswell Museum and Art Center, the local Convention and Civic Center, and the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Don’t miss a meal at Big D’s Downtown Dive or a drink at Red Door Brewing.

Pecos Flavors Winery
Courtesy of Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro

9. Pecos Flavors Winery

Pecos Flavors Winery and Bistro is proud to support a range of New Mexico businesses while operating two local vineyards, where they grow cabernet, syrah, and tempranillo grapes. They stock more than a dozen wine brands and over 80 different varieties, alongside New Mexico-made products like coffee, sauces, and cheese. Visit their tasting room to listen to live music and sample either a glass of wine or a beer from one of five stateside breweries.

Flying Saucer McDonalds
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

10. Flying Saucer McDonalds

If you want to visit the world’s only McDonalds restaurant that’s shaped like an alien flying saucer, then head over to the downtown Roswell Mcdonalds. This one-of-a-kind fast food destination is an iconic part of the Roswell alien UFO tradition, and a must-visit spot when you’re craving a hamburger and fries. While there are some wacky things to do in Roswell, this has to be one of the tastiest. If you want to be able to tell your friends that you ate a meal inside a Roswell UFO, then we’d recommend you stop by the flying saucer McDonalds sometime during your visit to Roswell.

 Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico
By Christine Poland

11. Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico

The Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico is housed inside the 1912 home of local rancher James Phelps White. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s a prairie-style home – a design developed by well-known architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Today, the home is filled with early 20th-century furnishings, as well as photographs and artwork. The center’s archive also features a range of rare and historic books, 14,000 photographs, manuscripts, and other artifacts. 

Roswell Symphony Orchestra & Pearson Auditorium
Courtesy of Roswell Symphony Chorus

12. Roswell Symphony Orchestra & Pearson Auditorium

Located in the New Mexico Military Institute, the Pearson Auditorium is a historic landmark. It’s most well-known for being home to the Roswell Symphony Orchestra, which has been entertaining local crowds for over 60 years. Musicians come from across New Mexico to join the orchestra, which often performs with the local choir and at annual community festivals. One of the top things to do in Roswell, NM at night is to see the orchestra perform.

Roswell Convention & Visitors Center
Courtesy of roswell-nm.gov

13. Roswell Visitors Center

One of the best things to do in Roswell, NM when you first arrive is to visit the Roswell Visitors Center. Located on S Main Street in the historic downtown district, there is plenty of information inside regarding the city and state’s best attractions and upcoming events. The friendly onsite staff are also always happy to share their local food and activity recommendations. Don’t miss taking a photo with the visitor center’s resident aliens either.

Roswell Spacewalk
By JJ Parsons

14. Roswell Spacewalk

The Roswell Spacewalk is an immersive walk-through black light art installation that’s unique to the city. Step into the Spacewalk’s retro vortex field and travel through time, as you see into both the city’s past and future – outer space panoramas included. There’s also an onsite store selling distinctive space toys, lamps, and fashion accessories. As one of the city’s most unexpectedly popular attractions, it’s worth noting that visiting the Spacewalk is a family-friendly activity.

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