You know you are addicted to a show when it becomes a part of your personal website, leaves a musical residue in your I-Tunes collection and inspires you to travel abroad. “Roswell,” the best TV show that ever existed (at-least to me), inspired me on all three of these aforementioned ways and it continues to be a part of my life. If it wasn’t for “Roswell,” I never would’ve gotten into Indie rock, learn about Native American culture or even keep a personal diary. In fact, I made a lifelong friend at a Verve concert in Madison Square Garden who was also a devote Roswellian. Actually, our shared love for Max and Liz has cemented our friendship for 6+ years. Crazy, huh!
Nonetheless, I can easily see how “Roswell,” this obscure TV show that was gone-to-soon, has an ardent following since it was a beautiful story about emotionally isolated aliens vying to fit into society, in spite of their cumbersome secret. When I was a pre-teen in seventh grade, this story hit home for me since that was when most girls feel out of place, hormonal, and confused. Who wasn’t an alien at 12- years- old?
Anyways, my bf is the sweetest person ever (and I am sure many girls out there may say the same about their special someone) since he wanted me to cross off a voyage to Roswell, New Mexico off my bucket list! We visited Roswell, New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Albaquerque, New Mexico and even Phoenix, Arizona for an entire week in October and had a wonderful time visiting famous landmarks (and discovering key ways how Roswell, New Mexico is quite similar to Roswell, the TV show). Even though the actual show was shot entirely in Covina, California, making a pilgrimage to Roswell is a must for a hardcore fan!
In fact, after visiting Roswell, I can attest that the producers behind the show “Roswell” did an accurate depiction of the location, people, and experiences one would feel if they grew up in this small town. The parks, restaurants and even the people were spot on with the TV show and, for a moment there, I thought I was a character ON the TV show. Spooky, huh!
Here’s a cogent itinerary in case you ever want to make the pilgrimage over! Special thanks to Jane B, Theresa M, Richard, and especially Lena (From Crashdown.com) for helping me find landmarks similar to the show! Much love to you guys ❤
Roswell, New Mexico Itinerary for Roswell (TV Show) Addicts
1.) UFO Museum/Research Center: Max Evans (played by Jason Behr) really did work at a legit location since the UFO Museum and research center is a real place. Located in the heart of downtown, it’s chock-full of old articles, artifact replicas, and an awesome UFO space ship that shoots out smoke every so often. Admission is dirt cheap and you can also perform your own alien research in their library from 9 a.m through 5 p.m. The actual museum differs starkly from the one Max worked in since it’s not as large nor does it have as many elaborate displays as the one from the TV show. Ironically enough, as soon as I walked in, there were a platoon of bikers in rugged plaid, fierce beards and sporting bandannas. The moment I laid eyes on them, I instantly thought of the “Pilot” since it was a rough-looking man who shot Liz that day at the Crashdown Cafe.
In addition, I also had a “White Room” moment when I saw the faux display of government agents operating on a gray alien towards the end of the exhibit. It’s famous, fyi! It is also interesting to mention that the actual museum pays homage to the show by plastering a poster of the cast from third season in its film section. If you want to learn more about the museum, click on this link.
2.) 285 South: Not only is this a really cool episode from first season but it’s also an actual route! My bf and I drove down this road to get to Santa Fe and saw the most beautiful sunset. If you know how to go to the UFO Museum, then you will know how to find the sign that actually says 285 South. When I first saw the sign, I imagined Sheriff Valenti wearing these massive Ray-bans, driving down this route to track down Max and the gang from leaving town!
3.) Roswell Sheriff’s Department: A visit to “Roswell” isn’t complete without finding the local sheriff’s department. It was late at night and we had a hard time finding the exact location, and even if we did find it, we wouldn’t be able to visit (unless we broke a law and that was highly unlikely). The closest we had to an encounter with the sheriff of Roswell was when my bf forgot to turn on his car lights and this really friendly sheriff stopped him over, only to remind him to turn them on since it’s late at night. I sorta wished he wore a cowboy hat but my bf told me to be grateful that we even encountered a Sheriff–a really nice one! If you want more information on the Chavez County Sheriffs County (yeah, that’s what it’s called), click here.
4.) Geodesic Dome: Jane told me awhile back that there was a geodesic dome located near downtown Roswell. If you remember 285 South and River Dog, then you must remember where Atholton lived in? Unfortunately for me and my bf, we couldn’t find this dome but we do know that it’s located somewhere in town. Maybe if you travel down to Roswell you can let us know where you find it?
5.) Roswell High School: The high school was easy to find but we didn’t think it was possible to visit it since we clearly didn’t look like high schoolers. The “Real” Roswell High’s school colors are red (not blue like the show) and it’s pretty big (unlike the show). When I saw the front courtyard, with the bike rack, I can easily imagine Liz, Maria and Alex wasting time there before class started. I can safely assume the eating area outside is reminiscent of the one from the show but, then again, I can’t be so sure since I only saw the location from afar. If you want to find the school on your own (and, perhaps, try to visit as an “interested” student) click on this link here.
6.) Planetarium: This was an easy find! It’s by the Roswell Museum and Art Center, and it’s in the shape of a geodesic dome. Apparently, it’s open during off-hours so we were unable to go inside to look at the stars in the sky like our favorite star-crossed lovers (please don’t think I am referring to Tess and Max, that was a nightmare)! The Robert H. Goddard Planetarium has star shows, astronomy lessons, and multi-media presentations that would intrigue anyone interested in space. If you want to learn more about this planetarium, visit this link here.
7.) Max and Isabel’s house: The architecture that was indigenous to the show was distinct and peerless to many homes found in the East, Mid-Atlantic and the West coast. With that said, right before you find the planetarium, you will see a nice home with a basketball court that looks a lot like Max and Isabel’s home. It’s not hard to find since the only parking available in downtown is by the residential areas. The producers and creative directors, as I said before, are spot on when it comes to recreating homes from the actual location.
8.) Amy Deluca’s Gift Shop: Most shops around Roswell are alien themed, and have kitschy alien art outside. Each store we went into sold tons of alien merchandise that would’ve made Maria DeLuca’s mom squeal with joy. We saw alien plush dolls, alien antennas, necklaces, candies, figurines, sweaters, and so much more! In fact, we found this nifty gift shop with a spaceship on the front, another with painted green aliens on the front of the store, and a plain looking gift shop with all sorts of souvenirs you’d want to take back home! If you want to visit a cool yet unique gift store plus take pictures with silly looking alien props, check out this link!
9.) Creepy Gas Stations: There were way too many episodes of “Roswell” where the gang were either being chased down or nearly apprehended at a creepy-ish gas station. Since Roswell is a very small town, half of the gas stations there are reminiscent of the show. I don’t even need to add a link since you will find once, instantly, when you drive into the downtown area.
10.) Parks, Street lamps, and Roads: Several intimate scenes shared by our favorites couples, friends and even frenemies took place in the middle of the night at some closed-of park. Roswell has private little benches with small gazebos dotted across town. The roads have an idyllic, small town feel, much like the show and it’s easy to take a jaunt down after hours. What was most romantic about Roswell’s infrastructure were the street lamps since they were identical to the ones from the show. Remember in Blind Date when Max drunkenly professed to Liz that he had strong feelings for her? He blew up parking meters and messed around with the street lamps. I remember that episode premiered on my birthday, years ago, and seeing those lights felt so surreal when I was there.
11.) The Desert: Roswell is surrounded by endless desert. There wasn’t much cacti around those parts but there sure where wired fences separating us from mother nature. When the sun rises, try taking a drive down the desert. I assure you, you will be quickly reminded of the show’s theme song where close ups of the actors are interposed with long-shots of the desert.
My bf and I chose a rental car that Agent Pierce would drive if he was on the prowl for aliens. Remember to bring extra water, snacks, and gas when you drive down these parts. You will not see a gas station if you drive from Roswell into places like Santa Fe or Albuquerque. You will, however, see plenty of shady looking diners (remember Michael and Maria’s adventures second season when they were searching for Laurie Duprie?), random sites, and even some Native American reservations. Lastly, keep in mind that having the “Roswell” show experience is more than just visiting the town, remember that the protagonists from the show took ALOT of roadtrips across the Southwest and it’s something you can do too!
12.) The Stars: For the first season of the show, Liz Parker wrote in her diary and often gazed at the stars across the sky. When night falls, you will see exactly what Liz sees. The stars in Roswell have a strong glow and they seem to scintillate more when you drive through the dessert. It’s a very romantic experience to drive through the dessert and to see these big, beautiful stars gleaning down at you. I wasn’t able to take a picture that would do this experience justice since my I-phone 4 had too many limitations. Before you come to Roswell, try to learn more about constellations. It’s something I regret and wished I learned before I came there!
13.) Caves: New Mexico has beautiful, red caves in far-off places. If you want to see where our favorite aliens would’ve hatched, check out Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico! On the road trip to Santa Fe, I was able to see red mountains fill up the sky. Normally, on trips of this magnitude, hardcore Roswellians blast Dido’s “Here with Me.” Though I do consider myself to be a hardcore Roswellian, I also know what the underlying message is behind the show (alienation, wanting to be home) so I decided to blast Stereophonics “Maybe Tomorrow” throughout the week. I’m more than positive that if this song came out in 1999 it would’ve been in 2-4 episodes of “Roswell,” especially when Michael, Max or Isabel contemplated leaving town to go home to Antar.
14.) Mescalero Apache Reservation: Before flying over to New Mexico, i’ve watched a copious supply
ofdocumentaries on Native American life on Netflix. I wanted to understand the culture before I visited any Native American reservations. The Mescalero reservation was often mentioned on the show first season, as the go-to spot to visit River Dog and to learn more about Nasedo’s alien language inscribed inside these forlorn walls. Since time was of the essence, we didn’t have enough time to drive over to the reservation since we wanted to visit Four Corners the next day (which is on Navajo land). If you have the time, I highly recommend you read up on the Mescalero culture and visit the reservation. First season is teeming with Native American symbolism and culture and by learning more about Native American culture, you will also understand the deeper meaning behind some of those alien symbols you know so well.
15.) Senor Chows (It exists): I’ve never been to a Spanish/Chinese restaurant before and didn’t think it really existed. I found Margarita’s by accident and yes, it was a very happy accident! The interior looked identical to the show’s portrayal of this restaurant and the best way to find it is to drive off the downtown road. I was searching for the geodesic dome but found this place instead! As a Roswellian, I highly recommend you visit this restaurant since this is the closest you will even get to Senor Chows! Click here for more information on the restaurant!
16.) Alien Symbols: If you want to see symbols similar to the show visit the UFO Museum located in the downtown area. The museum has a stone of “alien language” that was derived from Machu Pichu. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the alien symbols used on the show ( the symbol from the necklace, what Max’s healing hand means, healing stones, etc) then I highly recommend that you visit Santa Fe. Santa Fe is rich in rare and exquisite Native American jewelry, artifacts and artwork and I quickly noticed how the producers/creative directors from “Roswell” borrowed Navajo symbolism. According to Navajo beliefs, the symbol from the necklace is basically a convergence of two life energy signs and I guess that can be interpreted to the life of the aliens and the life of the humans. What shocked me the most during my visit to New Mexico was seeing a hand figurine with the dual life force energy symbol in its palm. When I asked the store owner what it means, he told me that it means “Healing hands.” Doesn’t Max have healing hands?
Also, remember on The Balance, when Michael was so sick that they had to use River Dog’s healing stones to heal him? In Navajo tradition, hematite is used as a healing stone for major and minor pains. After learning so much about Navajo culture, I decided to buy a hematite necklaces in the shape of a life force symbol.
17.) Underground Drain/ Bridge: I know this sounds strange but please bare with me when I say that Max and the gang hid from Agent Topolsky by walking out of an underground from Atholton’s house (River Dog)—which is why I am adding this as part of your itinerary! My bf and I wanted to cross the street to Arbys but didn’t want to die since there wasn’t a crosswalk developed for us. He had this hair-brained idea that we could cross this mysterious underground tunnel located by the Roswell art museum to get to Arbys. When we cross the path we didn’t realize we had to climb up a steep, rocky, sewage-y tunnel to get there. For someone who is pint sized, in heels, and wearing pricey threads, I actually climbed up that hill and made it to our final destination! Downtown Roswell is a really small area so you will see what I mean once you get there— I also hope you try what I did since life is short (YOLO).
18.) Crashdown Cafe: Sadly, there was once a Crashdown Cafe but it was torn down eons ago. If you want to have an alien foodie experience than visit the McDonalds that’s shaped as a spaceship down the street. If you want to eat really, really good burgers in an old timey-diner (minus the alien stuff), visit Big D’s Downtown Dive! Service, food, and restaurant is impeccable and makes food that can satisfy any fickle foodie!
19.) Liz Parker’s Cosmic Flashes: Well, “Roswell” is a teen show catered to young women so Liz having, umm, interesting flashes makes for great TV. When I visited the Roswell Spacewalk, it reminded me of the flashes of space Liz would have whenever Max was with her. Overall, it’s a wonderful and creative way to see how the crash happened. I highly recommend you visit this tourist attraction since it’s unique, cheap, and will remind you instantly why you love “Roswell” in the first place. Click here for more information!
20.) Hot sauce on your food?: Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess would often douse their food (even sweet desserts like cake) with globs of Tabasco sauce. Did you know that New Mexico is known for their green and red chilli sauces? Residents douse their food with spicy green or red sauces for the heck of it! Since that’s true, maybe every single resident of New Mexico is an alien? The executives and creators behind “Roswell” must have paid a thorough visit to New Mexico to get the inspiration to have their aliens eat foods with tons of Tabasco sauce on it. My favorite foodie pit stop was Pecos Flavors Winery since you can sample delicious Riesling and buy addictive green chili sauce for your food! If you want to try high-end spicy green sauce, this is your go-to spot!
21.) Roswell International Air Center: It was widely believed that the aliens from the 1947 crash were taken into a facility inside the Roswell International Air Center and were prodded, poked and dissected. I was curious about that and over the fact that this was what happened second season, when Michael visited an old war veteran in Summer of ’47, and learned the truth about what happened there. It’s something interesting to check out if you want to see sites related to the crash! If you have extra time, I highly recommend you visit 2-3 places where the crash could have taken place just so you could understand what it’s like to be a UFO enthusiast, like Larry and Jennifer (Pilot).
21.) ONLY Store Catered to ROSWELL (TV SHOW) Fans: When I first came to Roswell, I was well advised that there will not be any “Roswell” TV show oriented souvenirs for my picking. As wonderful as this TV show was, it never made a dent into this small town’s souvenir market share. Despite the odds, I was still hopeful that there must be at least one store which had “Roswell”-related merchandise for my liking.
Lo and behold, I found this unique ad from Barringer’s Blossom Shop that DIRECTLY promoted this sweet and spicy chocolate to Roswell (TV) fans. I was on the verge of freaking out since this was a rare occurrence for me. The lady inside told me that she had family in the D.C area who watched “Roswell” on Netflix and recommended that they made ads geared towards fans of the show. The ad basically states that if you like foods that are sweet and spicy then you must be a Roswell alien! And Roswell aliens can enjoy this sweet yet spicy chocolate! I guess based on their standards I was a “Roswell Alien” since I loved the chocolate they served—for FREE (The perks of being a Roswell fan).
Much to my surprise, they also sold jewelry that incorporated real meteors and other space rocks. I wanted a real “Roswell” souvenir that would remind me of the TV show and snacking on sweet n’ spicy chocolate, and wearing a real meteorite necklace was the next best thing. This is the only store in all of Roswell catered to fans of the show “Roswell.”
Have you visited Roswell, New Mexico? If so, what did you like about the place? Was the location much like the show? Comment below 🙂