WHITNEY SPIVEY KNOWS a little secret about Los Alamos. “It’s super family friendly,” says the editor of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s National Security Science magazine. The mother of two has spent a decade in Los Alamos and authored a pair of children’s books about the city: Goodnight, Los Alamos and A Los Alamos Alphabet. “It has amazing outdoor access, not just for adults, but also for kids.” 

Get a lay of the land with the self-guided Historical Walking Tour, which begins at Fuller Lodge, originally built in 1928 for a local ranch school that now holds an art gallery and gift shop. “It’s just a really neat historic building,” Spivey says. “If you see the Oppenheimer movie, it's featured prominently.” The tour also includes the Los Alamos Historical Museum (next door to Fuller Lodge), as well as the Memorial Rose Garden, the Ancestral Pueblo Site (dating back to AD 1225), and Ashley Pond (perfect for a family summer picnic).  

Delve into scientific discovery at the Bradbury Science Museum, the only part of Los Alamos National Laboratory open to the public, to see documents and artifacts from the lab’s 80-year history, including supercomputing, biotechnology, climate science, and an original part of a Fat Man atomic bomb assembly. In July, thousands of science fans and families converge on Los Alamos ScienceFest for a week of all-ages science-related activities.  

Visit the Bandelier National Monument.

Start your family-friendly outdoor adventures at the Los Alamos Nature Center, which features a full-dome planetarium, interactive exhibits, and indoor and outdoor play areas. “If you want advice on a trail, they have this huge 3D map,” Spivey says. “You can get a bird's-eye view of the whole area and the different trails.” 

While it may be New Mexico’s smallest county by area, Los Alamos, along with the surrounding Santa Fe National Forest, holds more than 75 miles of trails to explore and three national parks—Bandelier National Monument, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park—all less than 40 minutes away. “Los Alamos is just such a special place because any trail that you're on, you have gorgeous views,” Spivey says.  

For a laid-back hike, Spivey, an accomplished trail runner and snowshoer, recommends North Bayo Bench Trail, a mellow out-and-back trail on the mesa. “When you get to the turnaround point, there's this view of the Río Grande Valley,” she says. “It's just stunning.” For expert hikers, Spivey recommends the Red Dot/Blue Dot trails in nearby White Rock. “They both start at the top of this cliff,” she says. “And they go basically straight down till you hit the Río Grande.” 

After a hike, stop by one of Los Alamos’s new eateries, like Wolf and Mermaid Enchanted Roasters at Central Park Square, an excellent coffee shop founded in 2022. Or check out Sugar & Cream Cafe for specialty drinks, pastries, and gelato—one of Spivey’s favorites. “My girls are obsessed with the chocolate with rainbow sprinkles,” she says.  


Los Alamos County Fair and Rodeo. Spanning three days in August, the event includes special exhibits, a parade down Central Avenue, arts and crafts at Fuller Lodge, and a Friday night concert. 

Tuesdays on the Square. Every Tuesday in June and July, head down to Central Park Square to catch live music along with a beer garden and picnicking opportunities.  

Halloweekend. Los Alamos scares up plenty of fun October 25–27, including games, treats, crafts, and costume contests.