Alien sightings. Huge nuts. When it comes to the strange and mysterious, you can’t get any better than New Mexico. Whether you’re exploring the beauty of the Santa Rosa Blue Hole or marveling at the world’s largest pistachio, these eight New Mexico attractions shouldn’t be missed!
World’s Largest Chile Pepper
Located in Las Cruces, about 40 miles outside of Hatch, lies a massive 47-foot red chile. If you’ve got sensitive taste buds, don’t worry–this one ranks a zero on the Scoville scale! Built from two and a half tons of concrete as an advertisement for the Big Chile Inn (Clint Eastwood once stayed here), the World’s Largest Chile Pepper is now a hot spot for social media enthusiasts looking for their next big reel or post. Book a suite at the inn, relax by the pool and admire this freakishly large pepper in person!
Ra Paulette’s Caves
These 14 hand-carved caves are the pet project of New Mexico artist Ra Paulette, who has spent the last 25 years creating an underground labyrinth by hand. Located just north of Santa Fe, these unique caverns feature intricate designs like flowers, suns and skylights that transform the rock into something straight from the pages of a fantasy novel. From spiral patterns to abstract mandalas, the designs and caves were meant to evoke peace and harmony for visitors who stumble upon them.
Note: These caves now reside on private land and are currently closed to the public.
World’s Largest Pistachio
Another massive monument to food, the World’s Largest Pistachio in Alamogordo, towers over spectators at 30 feet tall. Built on the pistachio farm, PistachioLand, as a tribute to its founder, Tom McGinn, this monument is one tough nut to crack and made from rebar, concrete and 35 gallons of paint! Grab a hilarious photo of yourself “pinching” the giant pistachio, tour the farm and winery, and sample tons of edible pistachio creations, like pistachio butter toffee and pistachio ice cream!
International UFO Museum and Research Center
Where else would a UFO museum belong other than Roswell? The International UFO Museum and Research Center is dedicated to the infamous Roswell Incident of 1947, when aliens were believed to have crashed in the New Mexico desert. Inside the retro-meets-modern museum, you’ll find life-size models of aliens and UFOs, along with interactive exhibits that put you in the pilot seat of a model spaceship. There are also displays featuring newspaper clippings, biographies, and eyewitness accounts of the incident. Don’t miss out on the tribute to popular Roswell television show and the funky gift shop with kitschy souvenirs like alien crossing bumper stickers.
Santa Rosa Blue Hole
Known for its crystal-clear blue waters, the Santa Rosa Blue Hole is a desert oasis off Route 66 featuring a vast underwater cave system that connects to seven other lakes. Here, surrounded by the vibrant red mesas, you can dive off rocks, swim and snorkel in the cool, azure waters. It’s also a scuba diving hotspot (permit required) where experienced divers can descend more than 80 feet to explore the eerie cobalt depths. Fun Fact: The Blue Hole’s water completely renews itself from the Ogallala Aquifer every six hours, so no matter how often you visit, you’ll never swim in the same lake twice.
Four Corners Monument
Geography geeks will love Shiprock, New Mexico’s Four Corners Monument. Located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, where the state meets Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, travelers can stand in the exact spot where they converge or step over the state lines and visit four states at once! Admire the rugged desert landscape while you wait or shop for Indigenous American artwork, jewelry, and textiles from the on-site vendor market.
Built into a cliffside in Ruidoso Downs, this literal hole-in-the-wall attraction used to serve as a hideout for notorious outlaw Billy the Kid! Today, Fox Cave is a museum gift shop selling crystals, geodes, gemstones, and handmade New Mexican art like silver and turquoise jewelry. Check out the museum on the property. It’s home to a kooky collection of artifacts from around the world, including celebrity memorabilia like the crown of Marie Antoinette, alien paraphernalia, primate skulls, and cryptid artifacts.
Ethyl the Whale
Located on the Santa Fe Community College Campus, Ethyl the Whale is a life-size replica of a blue whale made from more than 4,000 pounds of recycled polyethylene plastic. Created in honor of Earth Day, this 82-foot-long sculpture is a reminder that plastic is one of the leading causes of the destruction of our oceans. Visit during the day or at night when the sculpture glows and glistens under a cascade of colored lights.