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Roswell combines UFO and Native American iconography.
Window mural at the Roswell Chamber of Commerce: Native American iconography, plus a saucer and cow.

Roswell Alien Attraction Autopsy!

Roswell, New Mexico's Unearthly Alien Round-Up

Patriotic Aliens.
In Roswell, aliens are patriotic.

Roswell's otherworldly glow as a tourist destination comes from an apparently limitless power source -- the power of an idea. The notion that a saucer full of aliens nosedived near town -- and then that the government covered it up -- is urban legend radiation that just won't decay. Documents declassified by the FBI and the military further fuel conspiracy theories about non-humans in spacesuits. Were the nut cases right all along?

From a tourism perspective, it really doesn't matter. Roswell is the Earth's most famous UFO crash site.

Roswell, a long drive from anywhere else, became an essentially one-reason-for-tourists-to-visit town on July 7, 1947, when a local paper reported that William "Mac" Brazel had found pieces of a flying saucer scattered across a nearby ranch (The saucer had crashed on June 14). Brazel later retracted his story (under the usual suspicious circumstances) and all of the evidence vanished, supposedly carted away to some secret hiding place such as Area 51 or the Pentagon basement.

It took decades for Roswell to accept its heritage. For years the largest welcome sign leading into town ignored UFOs and declared Roswell to be "Dairy Capital of the Southwest." Some people still insist that they only visit Roswell for its Chile Cheese Festival, or to see the world's largest mozzarella factory (It's southeast of town on Omaha Road), and not for the annual Alien Fest that briefly doubles the town's human population.

UFO crash in the headlines.
July 1947. Afterward, Roswell would never be the same.

Several UFO business owners told us that conservative Roswell always feared that "crazy people" would overrun the town, even as mainstream corporate franchises enlivened their Roswell exteriors with extraterrestrial photo-ops.

Pat Jennings, who ran the Roswell Space Center, had a different explanation for Roswell's unease. "Half the people in town still have pieces of spacecraft, inherited from grandpa," he told us. "I wouldn't be surprised if someone still has an alien in a freezer someplace."

But it's too late to hide; too many visitors spend too much money on "Alien Fuel" coffee mugs and "I'm a Believer" t-shirts in Roswell to be ignored.

Jim Hill, director of Roswell's International UFO Museum since 2016, said he'd seen the town grow more open-minded and accepting of its saucer crash history. Perhaps Roswell's business owners, like a wise alien race, have helped the town to evolve. It couldn't remain just the Dairy Capital of the Southwest for much longer -- not with what aliens are known to do to cows.

Our favorite Roswell alien attractions

Also see: Area 51's Little A Le Inn | Space Acorn - 1965 UFO

Roswell Alien Attraction Autopsy

US Hwy 70, Roswell, NM
From the downtown intersection of US-380 and 285, it's a quick drive to most of the alien-and-saucer spots of this UFO-happy town.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

We Believe! MuralWe Believe! Mural, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
International UFO MuseumInternational UFO Museum, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
Alien Zone: Area 51Alien Zone: Area 51, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Alien Print Shop Mural, Roswell, NM - < 1 mi.

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