Bandelier National Monument is a family-friendly hiking area.
Photo by Laurence Parent
Word's getting out about this once secret city perched on a mesa north of Santa Fe. The locals — many of whom are PhDs who work at Los Alamos National Labs — love the outdoors, and you can join them on nature trails and paths to Ancestral Puebloan dwellings.
Blue Window Bistro
A popular downtown lunch and dinner spot, this colorful eatery has been serving hungry residents for 30 years. Whether it's the unusual cocktails — pineapple upside-down cake? — or fine fare, like the lunchtime duck BLT, we can't be sure.
This punny wine bar (its name nods to the town's resident physicists) serves sips of 40 wines, many of them local, and blends a handful of house sangrias.
Pig + Fig
This Los Alamos eatery made early waves in the mesa-top town with beer and food pairing dinners, as well as winemaker dinners, and kept fans with its elevated comfort food. Take the Pig Mac: macaroni in a four-cheese béchamel sauce topped with candied pork.
Bathtub Row Brewing
This craft brewery is all about community. It was the first brewery in town and it's the fourth cooperatively run brewery in the United States, meaning it's member-owned and -operated. The founders' main priority, aside from the art and science of brewing — which it upholds every day with a handful of in-house taps from typical wheats and stouts to more rare raspberry sours — was to offer up a gathering place for Los Alamos.
As a small-town department store, CB Fox has a bit of everything — mattresses and furniture, yes, but also outdoor gear, clothing and shoes, and children's toys. It's been locally owned and operated since 1979.
Fuller Lodge Art Center
Fuller Lodge is the town's art gallery. The log-and-stone lodge mounts exhibitions throughout the year, often featuring local artists, and its gift shop is a perennial catchall for artisanal finds.
This women's clothing boutique has been dressing Los Alamos women for 30 years. Personal shoppers, including Uli herself, outfit women in designs by the likes of Luna Luz, George Roth, and Connie Robertson. You can also visit their sister store in Santa Fe.
Bandelier National Monument
At this monument outside Los Alamos, evidence of human history stretches back more than 10,000 years. Most notably, 800 years ago, ancestors of today's pueblo people built masonry buildings and established dwellings in the soft rock cliffs of Frijoles Canyon. Visitors stroll the canyon, climbing ladders into the room-like caves and to a kiva (ceremonial chamber) at Alcove House. Don't skip the visitors center, where artifacts and art from the likes of famed pueblo painter Pablita Velarde set the stage.
Pajarito Environmental Education Center at Los Alamos Nature Center
This small but excellent center celebrates the Pajarito Plateau's rare ecology with demonstration gardens, nature play areas for children, and wildlife exhibitions.
Pajarito Mountain Ski Area
A hidden gem, this area boasts non-existent lift lines and mogul runs that challenge even advanced skiers and make locals devoted season ticket holders. Summer brings lift-served hiking and biking mid-May through October.
Did You Know?
A J. Robert Oppenheimer statue memorializes his Manhattan Project leadership.
Photo courtesy Los Alamos County/Leslie Bucklin
During World War II, Los Alamos was an outpost of the top-secret Manhattan Project where scientists developed the world's first atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park protects several of these sites, but they're off-limits to visitors. The open-door Los Alamos Historical Museum chronicles the project. Maps for the Historic District Walking Tour lead to other project-related buildings, ending near the Bradbury Science Museum, which shines light on Los Alamos National Laboratory's current research, from nanotechnology to alternative energy. It's also the departure point for Atomic City Tours, which delves into the history of this secret city.
www.nps.gov/mapr, www.losalamoshistory.org, www.lanl.gov/museum, www.atomiccitytours.com