My best friend, Amber and I have been huge fans of alien culture our whole lives, so we naturally became obsessed with Roswell when it started while we were in high school. We even had a sign made that showed how many miles it was from our hometown to the UFO museum that I’ve had in my bedroom for years and talked endlessly about the day we would finally visit that magical place.
A few years ago we finally made our dream come true and took a month long road trip through the USA from Canada, with our sights set on finally visiting the town that our favorite show was based on.
We decided to get there in early July, when the UFO festival was on. Since then I’ve returned to Roswell twice more and over these 3 trips have been able to check off almost every possible Roswell-related activity.
The town itself is really cute, and there are plenty of alien themed things all year round in most stores. The streetlights are even shaped like alien heads and there are green footprints on the sidewalk.
If you’re coming from the north, you’ll take 285 south to get into town, which I was very happy about since one of my favorite episodes is 285 south.
During the UFO festival, the whole place is on alien overload, which we of course loved. I’d say the theme is more like the one displayed in ‘The Convention’ as opposed to the Crash Fest that’s displayed in the Pilot episode.
There’s all sorts of interesting talks and seminars and the town is really set up for visitors. We went to a talk by Travis Walton, the author of ‘fire in the sky’ and supposed abductee. We met him and toured the UFO museum (114 N Main) afterwards.
It’s a little run down, but a great wealth of information, they recently opened the first UFO library that was well stocked with hundreds of books and helpful staff. I certainly recommend taking the afternoon to go through and read the literature on their interesting exhibitions, we recognized several things very similar to pictures, symbols and ideologies used in the show.
There’s even a similar alien autopsy display like the one in the show and a Roswell TV show poster. You can get some funny souvenir photos and there’s a cute gift shop as well.
The parade is really fun, we bought green wigs and costumes and spent the day immersing ourselves in all the fun alien activities. It does in some ways kind of poke fun at alien culture, but there is an nice juxtaposition between the entertaining activities like the parade, paranormal marketplace, ect and the more scientific ones like seminars and planetarium shows.
It’s a great balance for serious UFO aficionados and those who want to attend quirky events. If you’re planning on heading down for the festival, it usually runs the first week of July and the calendar of activities can be found at www.ufofestivalroswell.com
We went to the Roswell High School (500 W Hobbs st) and asked for a tour (we may have told a little fib to gain entry). It was so easy to imagine our beloved characters there, especially on the quad, in the library and my favorite, in the science lab. Roswell High uses red as their school color, whereas nearby Goddard High uses blue like the in show, so it was a little off, but I still bought a Roswell High t-shirt from their athletic department.
On the city bypass (Hwy 70) near seven mile hill, there is an actual little abandoned geodesic dome near an electrical station that’s visible from the road which we shrieked when we saw, it looks just like Athertons house from season 1.
Although it wasn’t filmed in Roswell, it was actually really easy to picture all the characters we love so much experiencing life there. There’s a trailer park on the outskirts of downtown that looks exactly like where Michael grew up and Cahoon Park (1101 W 4th St) looked just like the one where the 3 aliens meet up so often at night time. The Roswell public library at 301 N Pennsylvania also reminded me of the library used in the show, particularly the episode where Tess retrieves the book from within the back walls with Kyle’s help.
The Roswell police station is right downtown too, and we had lunch one day nearby and hoped for a glimpse of Sheriff Valenti.
I called ahead to the planetarium (100 West 11th st, 575-624-6744) to see if they had any upcoming shows because I really wanted to see the stars and learn a bit more about them while I was there. The stars and astrology are such an important part of the show I thought it would be a perfect activity there. Sadly, they had nothing planned but the director took such pity on me that I had come all the way there and wasn’t going to be able to see a show that he graciously agreed to come in and put one on just for me! His name was Marcus and he was fantastic, he put on an excellent show about exoplanets that taught us a lot about how planets are found and just how many are likely out there. It was a great, informative show in a beautiful facility, and I couldn’t help but hope that one of the planets we learned about might be Antar :)
There is sadly no longer an alien themed restaurant in town, but there is a great Mexican one that I liked a lot, Tia Juanas at 3601 Main Street. Peppers Bar & Grille (as mentioned in season one by Hubble) is also there at 500 Main st N. I preferred Tia’s, although neither are as seedy as depicted by the show.
On our last day there we even spotted an exact Jeep with a Max look alike driving and almost jumped right out of our seats! Had we been in a different lane I think I would have followed him. It was actually a great moment, it really made the whole place seem very magical, like Max Evans could really just be around the corner. A lot of my favorite memories from there weren’t visiting specific places, but just driving around with my best friend listening to ‘Here with Me’ and picturing all of our favorite characters living there.
I highly recommend Roswell as a place to visit for any Roswell fan. Besides the TV show connection, the town itself is really cute and friendly to visitors. There’s some great shops in the downtown core and the surrounding area is really beautiful, I especially recommend visiting old town in Las Cruces and Santa Fe if you have time to tour around New Mexico, it is truly a unique and wonderful state.
If you can go during the UFO festival, there are a ton of activities for everyone, barbecues, sidewalk sales, street parties, ect, but I’m sure that no matter what time of year you go, you will enjoy Roswell, happy exploring Roswellians!