10 Best Places and Things To Do in Los Alamos, New Mexico

Los Alamos, New Mexico is a small town located in the northern part of the state, known for its rich history and scientific significance. It gained prominence during the Manhattan Project in the 1940s and has since become a hub for scientific research and education. While Los Alamos may be small in size, it offers a range of attractions and activities that make it an intriguing destination for visitors. Here are some of the best places and things to do in Los Alamos:

1. Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier Kiva.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandelier_National_Monument

Just a short drive from Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument is a must-visit attraction. This ancient dwelling site of the Ancestral Pueblo people features well-preserved cave dwellings, petroglyphs, and breathtaking canyons. Hiking trails of varying difficulties allow you to explore the area and immerse yourself in the region’s fascinating history.

2. Bradbury Science Museum


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradbury_Science_Museum

Start your visit to Los Alamos with a trip to the Bradbury Science Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Manhattan Project and the development of nuclear weapons. The museum offers interactive exhibits, displays, and informative videos that delve into the scientific research conducted in Los Alamos.

3. White Rock Overlook Park

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White Rock Overlook Park is a beautiful and scenic spot located in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Situated on the edge of the Pajarito Plateau, this park offers breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Valley, the Jemez Mountains, and the surrounding landscapes. The main attraction of White Rock Overlook Park is, of course, the stunning panoramic views it provides. From the overlook point, you can gaze out over the vast expanse of the Rio Grande Valley, with the majestic Jemez Mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop. The breathtaking vistas are particularly captivating during sunrise or sunset when the golden light paints the landscape.

4. Los Alamos History Museum

Los Alamos Historical Museum.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Alamos_Historical_Museum

The museum showcases exhibits dedicated to the Manhattan Project, the top-secret World War II research program that took place in Los Alamos. Through informative displays, artifacts, and photographs, visitors can learn about the scientific breakthroughs, the daily lives of the scientists and their families, and the immense impact of the project on global history. Gain a deeper understanding of the scientific, social, and ethical aspects surrounding the creation of the atomic bomb.

5. Tsankawi


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsankawi

Tsankawi is a remarkable archaeological site located near Los Alamos, New Mexico. It is part of Bandelier National Monument and offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancestral Puebloan culture and the remnants of an ancient village. Tsankawi features a series of well-preserved cliff dwellings and cave dwellings that were inhabited by the ancestral Pueblo people centuries ago. These structures were constructed within the natural rock formations and provide a glimpse into the architectural and cultural practices of the time. You can explore the remains of rooms, storage spaces, and petroglyphs, which offer insights into the daily life of the indigenous inhabitants.

6. Frijoles Canyon

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Begin your exploration of Frijoles Canyon at the visitor center, where you can gather information about the area’s history, geology, and hiking opportunities. The visitor center features exhibits that provide insights into the ancestral Pueblo people, their way of life, and the natural environment of the region. Park rangers are available to answer questions and offer guidance for your visit.

7. Los Alamos Nature Center


Image Source: https://visitlosalamos.org/los-alamos-nature-center

Learn about the local flora, fauna, and natural history at the Los Alamos Nature Center. The center offers interactive exhibits, educational programs, and guided hikes, providing insights into the unique ecosystems of the surrounding area, including the Jemez Mountains and the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

8. Manhattan Project National Historical Park


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project_National_Historical_Park

Los Alamos is the primary site of the Manhattan Project and played a crucial role in the development of the atomic bomb. The park in Los Alamos includes a series of historic structures, laboratories, and sites associated with the scientific research conducted during the project. Visitors can explore the Los Alamos History Museum, which houses exhibits and artifacts related to the Manhattan Project, as well as the Bradbury Science Museum, which provides in-depth information about the scientific achievements and the bomb’s impact.

9. Ashley Pond Park


Image Source: https://www.nps.gov/places/000/ashley-pond.htm

Take a leisurely stroll around Ashley Pond Park, a beautiful green space located in the center of town. The park features a tranquil pond, picnic areas, and benches where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s a great spot for a peaceful afternoon or to feed the ducks.

10. Los Alamos Project Main Gate Park

A small white sided building with a sign reading

Image Source: https://www.nps.gov/places/000/main-gate-park.htm

This building is a re-creation of the historic security gate all Manhattan Project workers passed through to enter Los Alamos. Before reaching the security gate, however, newcomers to Project Y had to go through Dorothy McKibbin. Known as the gatekeeper of Los Alamos, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer hired her as his assistant in Santa Fe, where she organized housing, greeted scientists, and, perhaps most importantly, issued security and identification passes to Project Y workers.

Los Alamos offers a unique blend of scientific heritage, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply enjoying the serene ambiance of this mountain town, Los Alamos has something to offer every visitor.