The city of Roswell, New Mexico is known for many things, not the least of which is its alien and UFO fanfare.
Home to the infamous UFO crash of 1947, the city has been capitalizing on this wild event ever since.
As such, there are some fun and campy things to do in Roswell.
From a UFO-themed fast food restaurant to UFO experiences and alien museums to an adventurous spacewalk, there are some fun things to do on board.
But Roswell is more than UFOs and aliens.
Exceptionally safe for tourists, surrounded by an incredible desert landscape, and packed with historical sites, Roswell should make your short list of places to visit in the U.S.
Besides its many historical attractions, Roswell has several acclaimed museums, a wonderful performing arts scene, many incredible parks, a lovely winery, an awesome zoo, and so much more.
Take a look at some of the many wonderful things there are to do when you’re in Roswell.
1. Roswell Museum & Art Center
Founded in 1935, Roswell Museum & Art Center is a must see.
The museum was established as a place to impart education, inspire discovery, and foster cultural understanding.
It focuses on sharing rotating exhibits on fine and practical arts as well as lectures and gallery talks to further elucidate particular exhibits.
Astoundingly, the museum is a 50,000-square-foot facility that houses 12 galleries rife with art and historical artifacts.
One of the so many cool things to do in town, the Roswell Museum & Art Center has incredible exhibits on abstract geometric forms, gifts of art, and things made in New Mexico.
Artistic mediums on display include paintings, sculptures, textiles, and beyond.
The museum also hosts frequent classes and workshops as well as other special events.
Tours of the museum are self-guided and admission can be purchased to include a visit to the on-site planetarium.
Lastly, no visit to the museum is complete without a stop in the gift shop where you can pick up cool souvenirs.
Address: 1011 N Richardson Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
2. Bottomless Lakes State Park
Established in 1933, the park is situated adjacent to the Pecos River near Roswell.
Known for being the first state park in New Mexico, Bottomless Lakes State Park gets its name from the nine small lakes, incredibly deep, that are seated along the Pecos River Valley.
Undoubtedly, the lakes are the big draw to the park, and they’re the perfect setting for a litany of water activities.
The lakes range in depth from 17 to 90 feet, and they can be used for non-motorized boating such as kayaking and canoeing.
Other fun things to do at the park include swimming, fishing, birding, hiking, camping, and picnicking.
One of the top 10 tourist attractions in town, Bottomless Lakes State Park is highly recommended.
Address: 545A Bottomless Lakes Rd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
3. International UFO Museum
This local hotspot provides the ultimate in Roswell sightseeing; UFO and alien attractions are a must do when you’re in town.
Situated in the city’s downtown district, the International UFO Museum is easily accessible.
The museum is the preemptive source for UFO research nationwide.
International UFO Museum is family-friendly and focuses on the 1947 Roswell Crash as well as other local UFO sightings.
It also showcases historical artifacts related to local UFO events and phenomena.
Some of the artifacts on display at the International UFO Museum include published news materials, audio and video recordings, and an interesting collection of other artifacts.
The museum is open 7 days a week for self-guided tours and admission fees are nominal.
Lastly, be sure to check out the gift shop for your unique UFO and alien souvenirs.
One of many awesome things to do in Roswell, the International UFO Museum is highly recommended.
Address: 114 N Main St, Roswell, NM 88203, United States
4. Spring River Park & Zoo
If you’re looking to do some sightseeing with children, the Spring River Park & Zoo is one of the top places to go in Roswell, New Mexico.
Set on a magnificent 34-acre preserve, the park and zoo have tons of fun activities.
For starters, a day at the park is fun for all; its setting is picturesque, and there are many exciting things to see and do.
Some of the park’s best features include an antique carousel, a playground, and a ranching exhibit.
Part of the park’s big draw is the on-site zoo.
The zoo can be enjoyed through both self-guided tours and private guided tours, and admission to the zoo is pretty cheap.
Some of the awesome things to see at the zoo include a beautiful butterfly garden, a ranching exhibit, and animals from around the world; animals that call the zoo home include mountain lions, capybaras, ponies, hawks, wallabies, and beyond.
Finally, the zoo offers many intriguing programs such as a toddler program called PreKritters and Keeper Chats.
Address: 1306 E College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
5. Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro
If you’re looking for places to go with an all-adult party, be sure to check out Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro in Roswell, New Mexico.
Founded in 2004, Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro is operated via two local vineyard locations, both of which are lovely points of interest.
The winery got its start as a downtown tasting room but has evolved into an all-encompassing winery experience.
Known for its cabernet, syrah, and Tempranillo grape varieties, the winery offers a great place to shop for delectable red blends.
Besides the takeaway shop, the bistro provides visitors with an amazing place to sample wines and enjoy first-class meals.
The Bistro serves both lunch and dinner with such offerings as cheese plates, pizzas, and fresh fish dishes.
Finally, Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro frequently hosts special seasonal events such as permanent jewelry nights, dinner and a show, and art and wine events.
If you’re looking for stuff to do with a sophisticated touch, Pecos Flavors Winery + Bistro is a great option.
Address: 412 W 2nd St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
6. Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art
The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the best places to see in Roswell if you’re interested in the arts.
Established in 1994, this American art museum displays artwork of local artists through the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program.
One of Roswell’s most popular points of interest, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art is home to more than 500 works of art that range in subject matter and medium.
Displayed throughout 12 exhibits and 22,000 square feet, the museum has tons to see and explore in one place.
The incredible collection of artwork at this museum includes mediums such as photographs, acrylic paintings, etchings, videos, and drawings.
The museum frequently hosts special events; for example, upcoming events include artist talks, musical performances, behind-the-scenes stories, and beyond.
Finally, no visit to the museum is complete without a stop in the gift shop where you can pick up books, jewelry, postcards, and other museum merchandise.
Address: 409 E College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
7. J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary & Nature Center
If you’re looking for free things to do when you’re visiting Roswell, New Mexico, check out the J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary & Nature Center.
Concerned with providing rich educational opportunities to its visitors, the center not only shares its birds, but teaches about habitats, ecosystems, and nature.
The sanctuary is home to dozens of birds that change with each season.
During the spring and summer months you can see mockingbirds, owls, and Blue Jays, while in the fall and winter months, you might see Green-Winged Teals, mallards, and geese.
Besides the incredible birdlife and educational programming, the center is set in a lovely park that’s fun to explore.
With hiking and biking trails, park benches, picnic areas, and other lovely features, the J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary & Nature Center is a nice place to spend the day.
Set on 15 magnificent acres, the center is one of the nicest places to visit in Roswell.
Address: 401 N Sycamore Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
8. Roswell UFO Spacewalk
Established in 2006, the spacewalk is a trippy, blacklight experience that gives you the feeling you’re walking in outer space.
Both fun and enlightening, the Roswell UFO Spacewalk brings you on an imagined adventure beginning in the Atomic Age and journeying to the “City of the Future.”
Other unique facets of a tour through the Roswell UFO Spacewalk include being summoned by an alien to a spaceship where you navigate through a wormhole before landing on an alien planet.
The Roswell UFO Spacewalk is known for its incredible special effects, animatronics, and space art gallery.
Notably, this attraction is open daily for self-guided tours, and admission fees are nominal.
One of the most interesting places to visit in New Mexico, this place is highly recommended.
Address: 116 E 2nd St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
9. Walker Aviation Museum
Situated on Walker Air Force Base, the Walker Aviation Museum is one of the coolest places to visit in terms of museums when you’re in New Mexico.
Closed down as an active Air Force base in 1966, the facility became a hub for historical musings.
Today, the museum is home to several memorials paying homage to historical flights, significant squadrons, and notable soldiers who have made flights from the base.
Besides the beautiful memorials, the Walker Aviation Museum displays several aviation-related artifacts.
Exhibits include materials, memorabilia, timelines, war artifacts, weapons, photographs, and more.
Through a tour of the museum, you’ll learn about the significant role the Air Force continues to play in our country’s security and beyond.
Though the museum is quaint and can be fully toured in under an hour, it’s a great New Mexico attraction to visit especially if you’re into history.
Address: 1 Jerry Smith Cir Suite 7, Roswell, NM 88203, United States
10. Robert H. Goddard Planetarium
The Robert H. Goddard Planetarium answers the question of what to see when you visit Roswell, New Mexico.
This 120-seat auditorium is the best place to catch magical star shows and presentations.
Founded in 1935 and named after an American engineer credited with inventing a liquid-fueled rocket, the planetarium is also home to 12 galleries of historical exhibitions.
Within these incredible exhibits, you’ll be treated to art, historical artifacts, and creative displays relevant to astronomical history.
Surely the big draw to the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium is the planetarium itself.
This state-of-the-art digital theater experience delivers an immersive planetary presentation.
The shows last for approximately 45 minutes and teach about cosmic origins.
Each show includes a full-dome presentation as well as an intergalactic star show.
A thrilling way to get to know the cosmos, the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium is one of the coolest tourist attractions near Roswell, New Mexico.
Address: 1011 N Richardson Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
Visiting other parts of New Mexico? Why not check out some of the things to do in Albuquerque?
11. Roswell UFO Tours
Roswell UFO Tours is one of the most fun New Mexico activities for the whole family.
Roswell UFO Tours is a fascinating educational experience that brings you to the heart of the 1947 Roswell UFO Crash.
This experience is a 2-hour guided tour of Roswell City and the Roswell Army Field where the purported UFO crash and cover-up took place.
Tours are led by leading UFO researcher Dennis Balthaser whose expertise is the cherry on the tour’s cake.
Roswell UFO Tours also does an awesome Area 51 tour, which is a full-day guided tour.
This tour travels to nearby Rachel, Nevada where you’ll explore the gated perimeter of Area 51.
Like most UFO tours, it takes you to remote landscapes with mysterious stories.
During your tour, you’ll search the open skies for UFOs, explore a dry lake bed, approach a top-secret government facility, and more.
If you’re wondering what to see when you’re in New Mexico, be sure to add Roswell UFO Tours to your itinerary.
12. Downtown Roswell Historic District
A quaint and clean city center, Downtown Roswell Historic District has several fun things to see.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985, downtown Roswell spans approximately 150 acres.
Peppered with small commercial buildings as well as a few historic attractions, Downtown Roswell Historic District is a nice place to walk around and take in the sights.
If you’re wondering what to do in Roswell, surely add the historic downtown area to your itinerary.
While the historic district is still home to many of its original, 1830s buildings, many have been restored to create a vibey setting housing contemporary businesses.
Some of the downtown hotspots include the country’s only UFO-themed McDonald’s, a central park with tributary statues, a UFO museum, a cute ice cream shop, and even a few historic sights.
Moreover, there are several excellent restaurants to choose from too.
With lots of activities in one central locale, Downtown Roswell Historic District is a must-do.
Address: Roswell, NM, United States
13. Mescalero Sands North Dune
One of the most popular Roswell attractions is undoubtedly Mescalero Sands North Dune.
Spanning more than 600 acres with towering, 90-foot dunes, this spot is loaded with opportunities for thrilling adventures.
Specifically, Mescalero Sands North Dune is a hotspot for using Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs); these recreational vehicles can be rented in town and provide the opportunity for an incredible adventure in an astounding setting.
One of the most exciting things to do in Roswell, Mescalero Sands North Dune is also a fun place to use all-terrain bikes, motorcycles, and dune buggies too.
Whilst enjoying incredible fun at Mescalero Sands North Dune, you’ll also enjoy magnificent sights.
The dune park is surrounded by mature cottonwood trees and rolling hills of dunes ready for adventure.
One of the Dune’s most popular features is “The Bowl,” a bowl-like depression that is a fun place to try out new tricks on your OHV.
One of the most exciting Roswell attractions, Mescalero Sands North Dune is a must-do.
Address: Roswell, NM 88203, United States
14. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the answer to your question of what to do when you’re in New Mexico.
Situated just a few miles outside of town, the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935.
What appears from the outside as a barren and desolate tract is home to a diverse ecosystem with interesting natural features.
Some of the refuge’s unique features include geologic systems, bubbling springs, and a desert oasis rife with desert wildlife.
One of the best things to do in Roswell, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located where the New Mexico desert meets the plains.
During a visit to the refuge, there are many lovely ways to enjoy the landscape.
Popular activities at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge include hunting, biking, and birding as well as hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife observation.
Notably, the refuge features half a dozen unique trails that are perfect for exploring.
Address: 4200 E Pine Lodge Rd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
15. Roswell McDonald’s
Nowhere in the U.S. will you find your favorite fast food joint outfitted like this one.
If you’re wondering what to do for lunch, be sure to check out the local Roswell McDonald’s.
Serving all of your McDonald’s faves from cheeseburgers and french fries to milkshakes and apple pies, this McDonald’s gives you the comfort of your hometown restaurant in an all-new, unexpected setting.
Lauded as the only UFO-themed McDonald’s in the world, this establishment has a fun setting to enjoy your favorite fast food eats.
Speaking of the setting, this McDonald’s is set in a UFO-shaped building that’s lit up with neon lights at night and a shiny metallic exterior during the day.
Like many McDonald’s, this one is home to a fun children’s play place, but it has a UFO theme.
Another cute feature are the characters dressed in space suits.
Breaking the conformity that McDonald’s usually adheres to, this restaurant is a must-see.
Address: 720 N Main St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
16. Roswell Symphony Orchestra & Pearson Auditorium
This local New Mexico mainstay is one of the top spots to visit when you’re in town.
Although Roswell Symphony Orchestra comes from humble beginnings, getting its start in 1959 from a local’s basement, today it’s a community hub for professional musical entertainment.
What’s special about this orchestra is its desire to serve under-served communities in its state, bringing the professional musical talents of renowned artists to communities where such is typically inaccessible.
Today, the orchestra performs several concerts per season, classical in style, at Pearson Auditorium.
Depending on when you’ll be visiting, the orchestra performs some free concerts as well as some paid ones.
Past shows have included “Christmas Classics,” “An Evening at the Opera,” and “Holst’s The Planets.”
Incredibly, the orchestra has been under the direction of the same maestro for 50 years, a truly special feat.
If you’ll be in town soon, be sure to reserve tickets to see this amazing local orchestra.
Address: 101 W College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
17. General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum
One of the best things to do with history buffs when you’re in town is to visit the General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum.
Situated on the campus of the New Mexico Military Institute, the museum opened to the public in 1985.
The museum is known for exquisitely showcasing the state’s local heritage through artifacts reflecting its history.
The museum’s exhibits focus on the history of the Institute as well as a growing hall of fame honoring its students.
The museum tour includes a history of the campus as well as all of the famous people to graduate from the Institute.
Besides touring the museum and its artifacts, the campus on which it’s set is another wonderful place to explore.
The museum’s setting has spectacularly landscaped pathways, historical architecture, and even a famous port surrounding the museum.
A lovely place to spend an hour or so, the General Douglas L. McBride Military Museum is highly recommended.
Address: Luna Hall, 101 W College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
18. Roswell Community Little Theater
Here’s one of a host of things to do in Roswell that’s suitable for the whole family.
In business for more than 60 years, Roswell Community Little Theater is a place that aims to serve a creative community as well as those who enjoy the performing arts.
All performances are delivered by amateur actors which gives the shows unadulterated charm.
Each year, the theater hosts five performances, so be sure to check out the event calendar before you visit the Alien Capital of the World.
Past shows have included performances of “Four Old Broads on the High Seas,” “Mission: Improvable,” and “Jeeves Intervenes.”
Performances range from lighthearted and funny to dramatic and dark.
Typically, the theater stages five performances of each show giving you ample opportunity to catch a performance.
A wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening with family or friends, this stellar community theater is a great local attraction.
Address: 1717 S Union Ave, Roswell, NM 88203, United States
19. Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum
This quaint local museum is a must-see.
Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum got its start from an abandoned miniature house and a local artist’s dream.
With the help of a friend and other local artists, the abandoned miniature doll house was restored and given a home in this new museum.
Today, the museum is housed in a tower of the Petroleum Building where hundreds of miniature figurines, dollhouses, and both natural and manmade curiosities are displayed.
During a visit to the museum, you’ll be treated to its vast collection of miniatures that includes full dollhouses, box houses, antiques, furniture, themed vignettes, and seasonal displays.
The displays are paired with touch-screen videos explaining what you’re viewing.
Additionally, the museum’s curious collection includes items such as a penny collection, a novelty bank collection, monopoly money art, and cool stones to name a few.
The Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum is a super cool way to spend a few hours when you’re in town.
Address: 320 N Richardson Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
20. Spaceport Roswell
This cool local attraction is a virtual reality experience like no other.
An experience at Spaceport Roswell allows you to virtually journey through time, space, and all around the globe.
During your virtual reality experience, you’ll visit places like Mars, the UFO crash of 1947, and beyond.
Essentially, Spaceport is the only way to visit an actual crash sight as the real ones are government-protected.
This popular attraction is the only way to see so many unique places without leaving the U.S.
Spaceport Roswell allows you to handpick the journey or journeys that most interest you.
From “1947” to “Apollo 11” and “Mars 2147” to “Nativity VR,” there’s something fun for everyone.
Flights are led by trained “flight attendants” and embark from the safety of personal virtual reality pods.
Journeys are available Monday through Friday and each comes with a nominal admission fee.
Best of all, these incredible space flights are suitable for children as young as 5 years old.
Address: 121 E 2nd St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
Exploring other areas of New Mexico? Why not check out some of the things to do in Santa Fe?
21. Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico
This attraction is one of the best places to visit to ingest local history.
Containing an assemblage of preserved and interpreted historic artifacts, this museum-like setting provides visitors with an education of the region’s rich history.
This house that the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico calls home is a magnificent sight in and of itself; it’s actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1912, the house’s architecture is an example of “Prairie” or “Scooner” design which was developed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Of note, the home is filled with an incredible antique collection, rare historical books, thousands of photos, an array of important manuscripts, and so much more.
The museum is open Monday through Friday and is available to tour by reservation.
During a tour, you can peruse all of the wonderful displays as well as pore over historical videos, tapes, newspaper clippings, and beyond.
Address: 200 N Lea Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
22. Nancy Lopez Golf Course
If you’re looking to enjoy some time outdoors while you’re in town, why not visit Nancy Lopez Golf Course?
This challenging 18-hole course is a municipal course that, lucky for tourists, is open to the public.
Easy to navigate for walkers and framed by a tree-lined backdrop, the course is both beautiful and user-friendly.
Four of the course’s holes have lovely water features while each of the 18 holes features traps.
In addition to playing a straight 18 holes of golf, the Nancy Lopez Golf Course has other great amenities.
A putting green, driving range, and chipping green are other ways to enjoy this noteworthy golf course.
Additionally, the course has a great little pro shop as well as a lovely snack bar.
The course often hosts fun tournaments as well as occasionally running green-fee specials; this information can be accessed prior to your visit on the course’s events page.
Address: 1612 W 8th St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
23. Cielo Grande Park
The park spans a whopping 160 acres and is fraught with lots to do.
Besides open green spaces that are perfect for picnicking, sunbathing, kite-flying, and ball games, the park has other great features.
For starters, the park is peppered with benches that are perfect for taking a break.
Cielo Grande Park has an extensive bike trail, sheltered picnic areas, tables, a playground, and even a concession stand.
The park also has multiple sports facilities including a soccer field, football field, volleyball court, and skate park.
The park has a convenient walking track as well as hiking trails, ample parking, and restrooms.
Best of all, Cielo Grande Park is ADA accessible, so it’s fun for all.
Address: 1612 West College, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
24. Roswell Mall
This hometown mall is like an 80s mall with all your favorite department stores and chain shops.
If you’re looking for some retail therapy, then this is the place to go.
Some of the mall’s merchants include JCPenney, Beall’s, Foot Locker, and Western Warehouse.
Other shops cater to children, accessories, fragrances, and jewelry.
Additionally, the mall has an adjacent movie theater where you can catch the latest flick as well as a public bounce house for your children.
The mall’s food court is a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy light refreshments.
Some of the mall’s eateries include Corn Dog 7, The Grinder Coffee Shop, Orange Julius, and Pasta Cafe.
Though the mall is small, you could definitely spend an hour or two shopping your heart out.
Address: 4501 N Main St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
25. Peppers Grill & Bar
A food lover’s paradise, Peppers Grill & Bar is a great place to grab a delicious bite to eat when you’re in town.
This unique eatery is adored by locals and travelers alike.
This family-owned and -operated restaurant has been in business since 1990.
With incredible staying power, the restaurant has not only been in business for more than 30 years but, it’s had the same chef at the helm for all those years too.
Staffed entirely by Roswell natives, both the vibe and cuisine are fraught with regional charm.
Beyond its charm, Peppers Grill & Bar has awesome menu selections full of regional favorites.
The starters menu features selections such as cheese-stuffed jalapenos, green chile stew, and quesadillas, while the entree menu features salads, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh Mex selections.
A full-service bar, an inviting children’s menu, and incredible daily specials are just a few other reasons you should add Peppers Grill & Bar to your itinerary.
Address: 500 N Main St, Roswell, NM 88201, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Roswell
Finally, Roswell, New Mexico is a safe and inviting city to visit.
It’s home to many offbeat pursuits as well as loads of sophisticated attractions too.
Wonderful eateries, culture galore, a vibrant art scene, and all of the whacky UFO attractions you can dream of, there are tons of cool things to do in Roswell, NM.