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The Oppenheimer House in Los Alamos

Joelle Mentis, Staff Writer

Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer

You’re never late to the party, but if you missed Oppenheimer in theaters this summer, you had no idea what you were, well, missing. Obsessed for a reason is where you stand now, and you’re up for a road trip anyway. So, these are the locations where Oppenheimer was filmed, and turns out New Mexico is perfect this time of year.

Oppenheimer topped the charts this year, and it’s out on Blue-Ray this November 21st.  The historic development of the atomic bomb changed the course of history, obviously. But if you don’t remember the details of the movie, it’s ok. You can visit the Oppenheimer House in Los Alamos where the whole Manhattan Project went down. Or after you see Oppenheimer and become obsessed with the history and science of the atomic bomb, you can make a trip to Santa Fe.

Travel Santa Fe

A Road Trip from Santa Fe

You travel far and wide throughout the globe for culture, food and scenery. However there is a place just as compelling in the United States. Santa Fe is one of the most culturally interesting, visually beautiful and has one of the top food scenes in the country. You may not think of it for a weekend getaway, but it’s one of the top cities in the U.s. Check out our full feature on Santa Fe, where there’s not only a Four Seasons, but there’s also a Rosewood and an Auberge. When the heavies like that come into a city, you know it’s worth a visit.

The beauty of Santa Fe is that even with the luxury hotels, its food scene and culture retain their authenticity. There’s more than enough to keep you busy in Santa Fe for a weekend.  Los Alamos, though, where Oppenheimer was set, is worth a day trip for those who want to get some science and history into the weekend. Even for the road trip itself with the expanse of mountains and big blue skies, is worth the 35 mile drive from Santa Fe to Los Alamos.

Los Alamos

If you told anyone living in Los Alamos during World War II that it would become one of the most famous cities, they would think you were crazy. Before the war, the place where the soon-to-be Oppenheimer house stood was top secret. When Oppenheimer began to search for his ideal lab site, he wanted somewhere completely remote and with temperate weather. Los Alamos became the ideal place to get to work.

At first, he thought he might only need a few dozen scientists. But soon, hundreds of scientists and their families, as well as staff, cooks, cleaners and janitors moved in. Los Alamos soon developed into a whole city in the middle of nowhere, with shops, a hospital, police, and a veterinarian for the horses.

The irony of Los Alamos is that one of the most devastating weapons ever used in the world was made in a beautiful place. Los Alamos has expansive mountain views with beautiful, large skies and rainbow colored sunsets. But inside, husbands kept the secrets of their real jobs from their wives, who grew fed up with the mail censorship, power outages, and short water supply. Babies, of which 80 were born in the first year, were given red and green bomb casings for toys.

Today, the Oppenheimer house is a museum where you can walk around and visit. However, if you want to discover where it all started, you can visit one of Oppenheimer’s first homes in Berkley where he professed at UC. In fact, you can purchase it. It’s unclear what kind of person might be interested in moving in where the atomic bomb was developed, at least in part. But for physicists, the Berkeley home might be an interesting exploration.


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