Until the 1990s, the only tourists who stopped in Roswell, New Mexico, were either lost or asking for directions to Carlsbad. That’s no longer the case. Today, everyone knows Roswell as the Alien Capital of the World. Each July, this town of 50,000 celebrates its annual UFO Festival, to which thousands make the pilgrimage to hear notable ufologists argue about aliens and government subterfuge alongside a circus atmosphere of parades, concerts, and pet dogs dressed as E.T.
Roswell mayor and history buff Sam LaGrone recommends visiting the Roswell Museum and Art Center . It houses “the Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston Collection of the American West, which [has] Indian artifacts -- headbands and bows and arrows that they used back then. The Smithsonian wanted those, and Rogers turned them down,” LaGrone says.