Night view of the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta event

Things to do in  Albuquerque

The sky’s the limit

At the heart of New Mexico lies this high desert city bordered by the towering Sandia Mountains and the slow flow of the Rio Grande River. Much like Santa Fe—the smaller, artsy capital city to the north—Albuquerque is characterized by its penchant for chile-infused foods, adobe architecture, and a unique culture founded on a mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo traditions. Things to do in Albuquerque include hiking, hot-air balloon rides, and exploring the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Petroglyph National Monument, and Old Town.

Top 2 attractions in Albuquerque

Old Town Albuquerque

The narrow colonial streets of Old Town Albuquerque are filled with colorful shops, curbside craft stands, and the rich aromas of Southwest cooking. You can explore the winding alleyways, shop for souvenirs, and discover the history and culture surrounding Old Town Plaza and the city’s oldest church—18th-century San Felipe de Neri Church.More

Turquoise Museum

With a collection of turquoise drawn from more than one hundred different mines, Albuquerque’s Turquoise Museum is considered a worldwide authority on the mineral. When the Santa Fe Trail brought traders and settlers west, turquoise became a valuable commodity. Native Americans in the area have also been using turquoise for centuries in their art. With both of these legacies, New Mexico has become a world famous spot for turquoise. The brightly colored stone, shining the color of its name, takes on a variety of different shapes, forms, and histories in the museum’s displays.A visit allows for an education on mining processes and techniques as well as the natural geology and mineralogy of turquoise. There’s even a replica of a mine tunnel that leads to where the most precious and rare turquoise specimens. The main J.C. “Zack” Zachary collection features turquoise stones from 80 different locations around the globe. Guests can also see how the mineral is formed from a natural material into jewelry at a working lapidary shop.More

Top activities in Albuquerque

New Mexico: Jemez Pueblo, Soda Dam & Falls: A Photographer's Landscape Dream
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Acoma Pueblo Sky City Private 6 Hour Tour from Albuquerque
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Turquoise Museum Visit

Turquoise Museum Visit

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Albuquerque, NM
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New Mexico Flavors Tour Of Old Town Albuquerque
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PRIVATE History, Legends and Lore Guided Old Town Stroll - 10am or 2pm
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Exploring the Magic of Northern New Mexico: Scenery, Pueblos and Churches
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Mezcla de Culturas Walking Tour of ABQ's Historic Old Town and Sawmill District
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Quirky Burque Scavenger Hunt

Quirky Burque Scavenger Hunt

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All about Albuquerque

When to visit

The fall season, roughly from late August to late November, is an ideal time to visit Albuquerque. Not only are the temperatures pleasant, but you can smell chile roasting in the air, catch fall colors in the mountains, and witness the spectacular International Balloon Fiesta. However, with snowy winters that attract skiers and sunny days with low humidity in the summer, the natural beauty of Albuquerque is enjoyable any time of the year.

Getting around

While it is typical to rent a car to get around the city, it isn’t required. The average drive time to most places within Albuquerque is 20 minutes, and ride shares, taxis, and city buses are plentiful. In fact, a current pilot program for ABQ Ride offers free rides throughout town. For a day trip up to Santa Fe without a car, the Rail Runner commuter train is affordable, easy, and fun.

Traveler tips

Whether a veteran or newbie of New Mexican cuisine, a great place to start is the Frontier Restaurant—a classic half-century-old diner with homemade tortillas, green chile stew, breakfast burritos, and the famous Frontier Sweet Roll. Other restaurant picks for an authentic experience include El Pinto, Duran Central Pharmacy, and Satellite Coffee—a local hangout for food, community, and coffee with several locations around town.

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People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Albuquerque?

A trifecta of culture, the outdoors, and New Mexican cuisine makes for a great Albuquerque trip. Start with breakfast at Satellite Coffee or the Frontier Restaurant, then consider a hike in the Sandia Mountains or Bosque. Later, explore Old Town, drive down Route 66, and visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Is Albuquerque worth a visit?

Yes. Albuquerque is one of America’s most unique cities. Through its adobe architecture, Pueblo pottery, and regional cuisine based on beans, meat, and chile, the city is a showcase for Native American and Hispanic legacies. Here you can experience under-recognized aspects of American culture in a desert landscape that is truly special.

What is Albuquerque known for?

Before Breaking Bad came onto the scene, Albuquerque was best known for its unique culture, including the International Balloon Fiesta, ancient petroglyphs, and an Old Town made of adobe. The city is bisected by Route 66 and edged by the Sandia Mountains, which can be scaled using the world’s longest tramway.

What do locals do in Albuquerque?

The interests of the residents of Albuquerque are as diverse as the city itself, but a few things are a source of contentment and pride: the Sandia Mountains, unique arts and cultural events, and New Mexican food. Outdoor adventures—including skiing, hiking, and biking—are especially popular when paired with locally brewed beer.

Is it better to stay in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Generally, Santa Fe is more geared toward tourism than Albuquerque. The city is easily navigable by foot, has a high concentration of tourist attractions, and exudes Old World charm. However, Albuquerque is still worth visiting for places like its historic Old Town and experiences like riding on the world’s longest tramway.

What is the nicest part of Albuquerque?

Nice areas exist throughout the city of Albuquerque. These include the Nob Hill neighborhood, adjacent to the University of New Mexico campus, as well as the less dense North Valley and Bosque neighborhoods, just off the Rio Grande River. Although somewhat bland, the Northeast Heights neighborhoods are also generally safe, affluent, and quiet.

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