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Roswell, New Mexico – Quirky or Tourist Trap?

Roswell, New Mexico – Quirky or Tourist Trap?

I wanted to like Roswell.  Really.

sangre de cristo mountains new mexicoOverall, New Mexico is one of my favorite states.  It has such variety, from the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains (pictured) and the rugged Sandias to desolate desert.

It also has a lot of quirkiness.  There’s quirky places all over the US, but New Mexico seems to have more per capita than any other state I’ve visited.

Roswell.  Well.  Roswell didn’t feel quirky.  Roswell felt like a trap.  And it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

Ever since the aliens landed in the desert (allegedly) and the US built Area 51 around the crash site (allegedly), Roswell has become a mecca for crackpots and UFO enthusiasts (alleged – of course).  The media has built TV shows around the premise and it’s become common knowledge through popular culture that Roswell is the place to get your quirk on.

alien art in roswell new mexico

You know what I found?

A bunch of sucky t-shirt shops.

I’m a fan of the t-shirt, especially travel ones.  I enjoy them and I wanted one because I enjoyed this trip immensely.  But these shirts sucked.  I don’t mean one or two sucked.  They all did.  Every single one of them.  They were all the bad type of vintage – not kitschy just out dated and not appealing.

roswell ufo museum and research center

I also found the famed UFO Research Center in the center of town.  Again, not kitschy just bad.  I know you’ve read otherwise and that you have seen other travel writers say it was a “must stop.”  It really isn’t.

food mexican chineseMy advice?  Skip Roswell if you have to drive out of your way.  Drive through the north or the south of the state and you’ll be much happier.  If it is on your way, it’s a good place to stop for lunch.  There’s an American/Mexican/Chinese food restaurant calling your name.