The town of Los Alamos, New Mexico is possibly known best as the site of the Los Alamos National Laboratories, the place where Dr. Oppenheimer worked on the first atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project.
However, Los Alamos has so much more to offer visitors, including Pueblo history and archeological sites at the Bandelier National Monument, many shopping experiences like the Los Alamos Cooperative Market, craft brews at the Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op, and numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation at attractions such as the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.
1. Bandelier National Monument
© Felipe Sanchez/stock.adobe.com
The Bandelier National Monument was established to protect more thirty-three thousand acres of beautiful and rugged mesa and canyon country, a place where evidence suggests people have lived for over eleven thousand years. Masonry pueblos and petroglyphs provide evidence of the area’s Ancestral Pueblo people, the descendants of which still live in the vicinity. Most visitors to the Bandelier National Monument start their journey on the Main Loop Trail, a short loop trail starting at the Visitor Center and traveling through Frijoles Canyon’s excavated archeological sites. There is also the round-trip three-mile Falls Trail leading down canyon to the stunning Upper Falls.
15 Entrance Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544
The Tsankawi trail is a part of the Bandelier National Monument, located off of State Highway 4, around eleven or twelve miles away from the park’s main section. Visitors taking the hike will follow a 1.5-mile path along a mesa while viewing petroglyphs, cavates, and the Tsankawi village belonging to the Ancestral Pueblo. At its height, the ancient pueblo seen along the trail consists of about three hundred rooms across multiple storeys, which were built around a central circular plaza. One thing to note is that ladders are part of the Tsankawi trail, that along with the pathways, connect the cavates.
Los Alamos, NM 87544
3. Bradbury Science Museum
© Bradbury Science Museum
The Bradbury Science Museum offers a look into the Los Alamos National Laboratory. While the Lab’s technical areas aren’t open to visitors, this museum provides a window into the institution’s history, the national security mission that made it famous, and the wide variety of technology and scientific research towards improving the future of the United States. The Bradbury Science Museum features over forty different interactive exhibits throughout the three galleries of Research, Defense, and History. The museum also shows two films that share the work the Los Alamos National Laboratory does today and the story of the Manhattan Project.
1350 Central Ave, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-667-4444
4. Los Alamos History Museum
© Los Alamos History Museum
The Los Alamos History Museum is operated by the Los Alamos Historical Society with a mission of promoting and interpreting the Pajarito Plateau area’s history. Situated in downtown Los Alamos, the history museum is a great stop for anyone interested in both the recent and ancient history of the Los Alamos area. There are several award-winning exhibits throughout the Los Alamos HIstory Museum on the Manhattan Project, the Los Alamos Ranch School, anthropology of the region, and the region’s geology. Several activities are available for children as well, such as grinding corn and searching for pieces of pottery.
1050 Bathtub Row, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-662-4493
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5. Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op
© Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op
The Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op is Los Alamos, New Mexico is a locally owned cooperatively run taproom and brewery. The unique co-op first started out of a rather simple idea of creating a taproom and brewery in town that could serve a community gathering place for people to enjoy locally brewed, great beer, invoking the feeling of a neighborhood pub.
163 Central Park Square, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-500-8381
6. Pajarito Mountain Ski Area
© Pajarito Mountain Ski Area
The Pajarito Mountain Ski Area near Los Alamos is situated on the northern face of the Pajarito Mountain, part of New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains. Set on approximately 850 acres of land, the typical season for the ski area takes place from around Christmas through early April and the facility has its own snowmaking system to provide a great skiing experience for guests. During the summer months, the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area hosts a variety of special events, several of which involve mountain biking. Several hiking trails are available as well, along with horseback riding allowed everywhere, but mountain biking trails.
397 Camp May Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-662-5725
7. Manhattan Project National Historical Park
© Manhattan Project National Historical Park
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park commemorates the Manhattan Project and is jointly managed by the Department of Energy and the National Park Service. The national historical park is made up of three different units: Hanford, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Oak Ridge Tennessee. There is a visitor center at the park with a small history exhibit about the facilities on the grounds. A minimal amount of what remains of the original buildings can be seen, spread out over “the hill” across several miles. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was officially established in November of 2015.
475 20th St, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-661-6277
8. The Karen Wray Gallery
© The Karen Wray Gallery
Located in historic Los Alamos along Central Avenue, The Karen Wray Gallery is a local independent art gallery near the Bradbury Science Museum. The gallery represents more than thirty-five emerging and professional artists in the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, as well as the surrounding region. While the area is best known for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Manhattan Project, The Karen Wray Gallery invites visitors to experience the unique community’s culturally creative side.
1247 Central Ave, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-660-6382
9. Los Alamos Cooperative Market
© Los Alamos Cooperative Market
The Los Alamos Cooperative Market is a deli and natural grocery market with a mission of serving New Mexico’s Los Alamos County, as well as the surrounding areas, by offering wholesome, fairly priced foods and several other products in a socially responsible, economically appropriate, and sustainable manner. The market is owned by its members, people who work and live in the local community, however, anyone is welcome to visit the market, whether they are a local resident or a tourist. The Los Alamos Cooperative Market is open seven days a week from eight in the morning until eight at night.
95 Entrada Dr, Los Alamos, NM 87544, Phone: 505-695-1579
10. Fuller Lodge Art Center
© Fuller Lodge Art Center
The Fuller Lodge Art Center has been a staunch purveyor and celebrator of the arts in Los Alamos since its establishment in 1967 by the Los Alamos Arts Council. Each year, the Fuller Lodge Art Center expands its organization and offerings with creative ideas and exhibits designed to enrich, educate, and entertain the local community. Apart from dropping by to peruse the center’s ever-changing exhibit, guests can also participate in arts and culture programs, and a range of classes, or even join the Clay Club’s activities. Dedicated to giving local artists a space to show and sell their works, the Fuller Lodge Art Center is undeniably an integral and irreplaceable part of Los Alamos’ art community.
2132 Central Avenue, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, Phone: 505-662-1635
11. Los Alamos Nature Center
Visitors who want to explore the beauty and spectacular area of the Pajarito Plateau will benefit from a trip to the Los Alamos Nature Center. The perfect jump-off point to the area, the nature center features breathtaking views of the Jemez Mountains but also educates through fantastic interactive exhibits about the natural history of New Mexico’s northern region. The Los Alamos Nature Center has experts in many fields of study such as geology, astronomy, ecology, and biology to enrich your visits, along with many other features like a geology exhibit, a hands-on wildlife exhibit, and even live animals to hold and interact with. Meanwhile, outdoors, the nature center has a great trail to explore as well as a Children’s Discovery Area.
2600 Canyon Road, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, Phone: 505-662-0460
12. Santa Fe National Forest
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Comprised of 1.6 million stunning acres of not just mountains but also valleys and mesas, the Santa Fe National Forest is a prime example of the beauty that New Mexico has to offer. The hills and mountains in the forest range anywhere between an elevation of 5,000 to 13,000 feet with impressive and colorful volcanic formations, green mountain slopes, and glorious river gorges just a stone's throw away from most trailheads. Open year-round, the Santa Fe National Forest is perfect for any kind of outdoor recreation, all of which can be enjoyed within the refuge of the region’s cool mountain air. Whether you’re in the park to explore the county’s rich natural heritage, and culture, or simply to enjoy what nature has to offer, it’s bound to be a treat of a time.
11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508, Phone: 505-438-5300
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