Have you ever been to Roswell, NM?

My mother and I have, in the last few years, taken two trips by car. One was from Kansas to Ohio, the other was a sightseeing journey around Kansas.

Mom is not a space fanatic, or into woo-woo stuff but has expressed a desire to see Roswell, New Mexico. Just for the kitchsy fun of it. Have any of you been there? Can it be fun? Is there anything else to see beside UFO stuff?

I’m going to be checking some other travel sites, like Roadside America, to see what else we could see along the way, but Dopers are the best for stuff like this. If you know of any good places to eat down that way, I’d like that too.

Never been there. It’s completely alien to me.

There’s a nice little art museum which also has a display on Robert Goddard, a pioneer in rocket work. There’s also a little zoo, not so nice.

I managed to keep busy for a day without seeing anything about aliens except what I saw while walking around downtown.

I ate at a local steakhouse that was pretty good, but I can’t remember the name. Seems to me it was one of a small local chain.

This was about 10 years ago.

If you want to go further, the space museum in Alamogordo is worth visiting. Alamogordo also has a small zoo, much nicer than Roswell’s. And, of course, there is Billy the Kid stuff scattered all around east-central New Mexico.

I was there a couple of years ago. It’s definitely not typical of the rest of that area. I certainly wouldn’t make a special trip to go there. But if you’re on your way to Carlsbad or Ruidoso or Cloudcroft, it’s worth a stop.

I used to have a display at an art gallery in Roswell when I lived in Artesia.

The town is actually somewhat normal until the festival.

Cowboy Cafe on 2nd St is pretty good. Consistently good Yelp reviews.

Drive an hour down to the refinery town of Artesia and check out Pecos Diamond Steakhouse or the Wellhead microbrew. Adobe Rose is a new place, never went there.

Go an hour more south and you’re in Carlsbad, yes, near the caverns. The caverns are worth the trip. Local eatery of note, Mimi’s Fiesta. Good mexican food.

While in New Mexico, be prepared for an unusual standard of customer service. Basically, they treat you like shit or totally ignore you. Sometimes they manage to do both! From gas stations to retail stores to upper middle class restaurants. Can be frustrating.

Drove through their several years ago heading from Carlsbad to Albuqueque, it looked like a fairly normal, mid-sized Southwest town, you could see a few places dedicated to the UFO’s but nothing spectacular to my eyes. Seeing the B-1B about an hour north making a low pass the opposite direction at 600MPH was more impressive than Roswell, IMHO.

Ruidoso is a much more happening place. Check out their places online.

Cloudcroft has some very nice mountain scenery and nice touristy gift/jewelry shops. Also a solar observatory. A little bit driving down from Cloudcroft is a scenic turnout that gives an awesome vista of the White Sands.

Spent the night there. It’s really nothing unusual or special other than a few alien-themed signs and businesses. It certainly shouldn’t be a destination. Stop there on your way to Carlsbad Caverns, and you’ll have a fun trip. If you wait a couple months, you can drive a little further and also see the Trinity Test site! It’s only open one day a year.

I was there in 2007, on the way home from visiting my sister in San Diego. I visited the town museum, which is heavily slanted towards the “alien” thing, and did a few other things while I was there; otherwise, it was a place to spend the night.

Some people on another board have said that the city has largely been taken over by gangs in recent years; any truth to this?

Gangs are an issue in many NM towns.* I couldn’t say if Roswell is more or less troubled.

*The poor customer service causes it. (j/k)

Growing up in West Texas, I’ve been to and through Roswell many times. Not a very exciting place despite it being, I believe, the fifth-largest city in the state. Eastern New Mexico is not very different from West Texas, so there was no really special need to go there when there were so many wonderful places in the state. The supposed UFO incident happened in 1947, and while I believe I heard about it when I was in West Texas, it hadn’t taken off to the extent it has today. I’ve heard that since my day Roswellians have started using it to promote their town, hopefully in just a fun way and not taking it seriously.

If you’re going to go all that way, then you should hit Albuquerque and Santa Fe while you’re at it. And Taos and even Las Cruces. Nothing exciting in Las Cruces, but it’s an okay little town and birthplace of the atomic bomb, only an hour’s drive or so from the capital. It’s at a higher elevation than Santa Fe, and I remember the eerie effect of seeing its lights up in the sky at night from Santa Fe. I’m not up on places to eat anymore, but Sadie’s and Baca’s in Albuquerque were tops when I lived there, while Tomasita’s in Santa Fe is to die for. I don’t know about Baca’s, but those other two I hear are still going strong.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I agree with the Carlsbad Caverns recommendation. Don’t miss that. And ya know, since you’re going that far, El Paso and Juarez are not that much farther.

Drove through once. It was late at night. Road construction. Lights everywhere. Detours. Couldn’t figure out was was going on. Eventually woke up hours later in a field with the car still running. Felt vaguely violated for some reason. Fixed the barb wire fence and when on my merry way.

However I no longer do all night drives alone and /or through Roswell at night.

If you mean the Trinity test site, that’s a 3 hour drive from Las Cruces - and only open to the public a couple times a year. I don’t recall seeing anything in Las Cruces that was related to the bomb.

Anyone in the vicinity of Las Cruces should definitely visit White Sands National Monument. I visit every time I’m in Las Cruces, and it never gets old.

There’s a bookstore in Las Cruces that I once ordered a used book from. Paid top dollar. Maybe we could go there and see if the store is still around.

And in a sign that I really am growing senile, I didn’t mean Las Cruces at all. I meant Los Alamos. Los Alamos, NOT Las Cruces. You certainly cannot see Las Cruces from Sante Fe.

Los Alamos is where the scientists actually worked, and it’s considered the birthplace of the Bomb. Today it still has Los Alamos National Laboratory working on secret nuclear stuff.

During the war, there was a small shop in Santa Fe. I can’t remember what it was nominally supposed to be, but it was kept very indistinguishable. The scientists would enter and never come out, having been whisked away to Los Alamos after being sneaked out the back. I believe their mail was addressed to that shop also.

I’ve driven through. Loved the alien street-lamps.

Coas books? It’s still there.

I’m pretty much in agreement that Roswell is only worth a drive-through on your way to somewhere else. I wanted to echo scr4 that White Sands is a fun stop.

If you are going to be in NM, on the west side of White Sands Missile Test Range, just north of Las Cruses, see Spaceport America.

They host Virgin Galactic and (chirp, chirp…)

They were supposed to be swamped with high rollers blasting off for a 4 minute stretch of weightlessness.

Ya know why SpaceX uses that barge? They don’t have permission to overfly inhabited areas.

How many operations are you going to run from the middle of NM?

But hey! Remember how Star Trek’s Scottie’s ashes were blasted into space? IIRC, that was this place.

I don’t remember the name of the store. I was looking for a particular book and found it while searching abebooks.com That may have been it, as I know it wasn’t a chain store name or the university store.