Los Alamos is in Los Alamos County
, and in the North Central New Mexico
region. Located north of Albuquerque
and northwest of Santa Fe
. It lies along Highway 501 near the Rio Grande
The federal government chose the site for nuclear weapon research during World War II and the first atomic bomb was assembled here. In 1947, Los Alamos came under the sway of the Atomic Energy Commission until the city became autonomous in 1962; the first hydrogen bomb was designed during that era. The city was incorporated in 1968.
Today Los Alamos, population 11,420 (est. 1996), is a research center, site of Los Alamos National Laboratory. It also is home to a branch of University of New Mexico. For arts-oriented visitors, the Fuller Lodge Art Center and Los Alamos County Art Collection are resources. Los Alamos also boasts a symphony orchestra, wind-players' ensemble and choral society. Nearby Bandelier National and Jemez State monuments contain Pueblo ruins. Visitors also can hike many trails in the vicinity.