20 Things To Do In Albuquerque

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Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, so it isn’t surprising that there are plenty of things to do there. It has a rich and vibrant history going back hundreds of years, with both the Pueblo Native Americans and the Spanish conquerors making their mark on the city. You will find over a dozen museums to visit, as well as cultural centres where you can learn about the history of this iconic city.

However, this is not all there is to Albuquerque. It has a beautiful Old Town filled with interesting shops, restaurants, and art galleries, a vibrant food scene, and many picturesque outdoor spaces. It also holds the largest balloon fiesta in the world, which is well worth seeing. With around 310 days of sunshine, it is a city that can be enjoyed at most times of the year.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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20 Things To Do In Albuquerque

1- Ride The Sandia Peak Tramway

Sandia Peak
Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway is one of the cool things to do in Albuquerque this weekend.

One of the best things to do when visiting a new city is to see it from above, and in Albuquerque, you can do this by riding the Sandia Peak Tramway, the longest aerial tramway in the world.

It goes up to Sandia Peak where there is an observation deck at 3.163 metres (10,278 feet) above sea level.

From here, you get fantastic views of the whole of Albuquerque and the surrounding area.

If it is a clear day, the view can cover as much as 28,489 square km (11, 000 square miles).

If you ride the tramway near the end of the day, you will see a wonderful sunset.

2- Visit The Rio Grande Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden is a lovely place to spend a peaceful afternoon admiring beautiful flowers and exotic plants.

It covers 14.56 hectares (36 acres) and has perfectly manicured walkways, with a selection of different gardens, such as the Children’s Fantasy Garden which has a castle tower and a dragon.

There is also a garden that grows enormous carrots, radishes, and onions, with oversized flowerpots, watering cans, trowels, and rakes.

Other gardens include a model railroad garden, a Japanese garden, and a dragon and damselfly sanctuary.

The Botanical Garden also has a 929 square metre (10,000 Square foot) glass conservatory showcasing exotic plants and Mediterranean species.

The Botanical Garden is at 2601 Central Avenue NW, Albuquerque 87104.

3- Visit A Museum

Albuquerque, New Mexico Skyline Of Downtown
Albuquerque, New Mexico, downtown skyline.

There are many museums in Albuquerque, so you should find one to suit your tastes and interests.

One of the best museums in the city is the Albuquerque Museum where you can learn about the interactions between the Native Americans and the Spanish conquerors.

There are thousands of artefacts displayed, including 19th-century Spanish armour.

The museum also showcases 7,000 artworks from different periods over the last few hundred years.

To learn more about the significance of the pieces displayed, take a guided tour of the museum.

Another interesting museum is the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Here there are impressive life-size models of Jurassic-period dinosaurs.

The Natural History and Science Museum also showcases a Hall of Stars exhibition where you can learn more about the stars in our sky.

The museum also welcomes temporary exhibitions and holds workshops and lectures.

If you are interested in cars, head to the Unser Racing Museum.

The Unsers were a family of race car drivers, and the museum tells you about their lives.

Exhibited are numerous vehicles, many having belonged to the Unsers.

The Albuquerque Museum is at 2000 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque 87104
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History is at 1801 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque 87104
The Unser Racing Museum is at 1776 Montana Rd NW, Albuquerque 87107

4- Go To The Balloon Fiesta And Balloon Museum

Balloons At White Sands National Monument
Going to the Balloon Fiesta is one of the things to do in Albuquerque NM.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest balloon festival in the world and the largest event held in the US.

It is held over two weeks in October, so if you have the opportunity to get to Albuquerque at this time of year, you will find your visit enhanced by this spectacular event.

As many as 600 balloons fill the air each day and you won’t be surprised that this is the most photographed event in the world.

The fun doesn’t stop here, however, as there is entertainment and fireworks in the evenings.

If you can’t get to Albuquerque in October, head to the Balloon Museum where you can learn about the history of ballooning and use the balloon simulator.

You can also book a balloon flight at any time of the year, weather permitting.

The Balloon Museum is at 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE. Albuquerque 87113.

5- Visit The San Felipe De Neri Church

Dawn On Blue Doors Of Albuquerque Church
Visiting the San Felipe de Neri Church is one of the things to do in Albuquerque.

In 1706, the Spanish built a Roman Catholic Church on this site, but it collapsed in 1792 and was rebuilt and called the San Felipe de Neri Church.

It had an extension built with a rectory, a convent and a school.

Now, you can take a guided tour of the church and the other sections.

There is a museum on site which showcases many religious artefacts and artwork going back hundreds of years.

The San Felipe de Neri Church is at 2005 N Plaza Street NW, Albuquerque 87104

6- Explore the Rio Grande Nature Centre State Park

There are several hiking trails in the park which, although not as long as many of the trails in other parks, follow picturesque routes.

The park is a great place to go if you are interested in birdwatching.

The park is home to several species such as the Plain Chachalaca, the Great Kiskadee, and the Altamira Oriole.

It is also a stopover for migratory birds in the spring and autumn, including Broad-Winged Hawks and Swainson Hawks.

The park hosts exhibitions covering such subjects as gardens, ponds, and wetlands.

It attempts to teach people about the landscape of Albuquerque and the surrounding area.

The Rio Grande Nature Centre State Park is at 2901 Candelaria Road NW, Albuquerque 87107

7- Catch A Show At The KiMo Theatre

At the KiMo theatre, you can see musicians, musicals, tribute acts, and even the New Mexico Burlesque Festival.

Check their website to see what’s on while you’re in the city.

The KiMo Theatre stands out in the city as it has been built in the Art Deco style.

It acts as a museum as well as a theatre with an exhibition of paintings and other artefacts relating to the Pueblo Native Americans.

The KiMo Theatre is at 423 Central Avenue NW, Albuquerque 87102

8- Have Fun At Cliff’s Amusement Park

Illuminated Swing Chain Carousel In Amusement Park
Having fun at Cliff’s Amusement Park is one of the things to do in Albuquerque with kids.

Cliff’s Amusement Park is a great place to take the whole family.

It has 24 rides, some suitable for young children, and others for older children and adults.

There is a great selection of fast roller coasters on offer.

Cliff’s also has a water park with slides for both young kids and older children.

You can easily spend all day here, especially as you can get great food from various venues in the park.

Cliff’s Amusement Park is at 4.800 Osuna Road NE, Albuquerque 87109

9- Visit The National Hispanic Cultural Centre

The National Hispanic Cultural Centre covers 8 hectares (20 acres) and here you can find an education centre, a library, three theatres, an art museum featuring Hispanic and Latino art, and two restaurants.

It is dedicated to teaching you about Hispanic Culture, and it does this through book readings, lectures, and performances.

It also hosts exhibitions about preserving the culture of the Hispanic culture.

The National Hispanic Cultural Centre is at 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque 87102

10- Wander Around The Old Town

Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque USA
Wandering around the Old Town is one of the things to do in Albuquerque today

The Old Town of Albuquerque was founded in 1706 and houses the oldest standing building in the city, the San Felipe de Neri Church.

The cobblestoned Old Town is home to many shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums, including the very interesting and perhaps a little scary, Rattlesnake Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of live rattlesnakes, as well as turtles, spiders, and lizards.

You can take various tours in the Old Town including a guided walking tour, a history tour, a food tour, and finally, the spooky ghost tour.

The Rattlesnake Museum is at 202 San Felipe Street NW, Albuquerque 87104

11- Sample Craft Beer

You may not associate Albuquerque with beer, but the city has a thriving beer scene.

If you enjoy a pint, you will be in your element here, as there are many breweries that you can visit to enjoy their brews.

The award-winning Marble Brewery is the largest and oldest brewery in the city.

It has a rooftop bar which is a great place to hang out and sample the different beers.

Red Beer Company opened in 2014 and already has two locations in the city.

It offers unusual beers such as the coffee porter, which is very popular.

Rio Bravo Brewing Company is a great place to hang out as it has lots of big TVs and bar games.

There is plenty of seating around an enormous bar.

Marble Brewery is at 111 Marble Avenue NW, Albuquerque 87102
Red Door Brewing Company is at 509 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque 87102
Rio Bravo Brewing Company is at 1912 2nd Street NW, Albuquerque 87102

12- Enjoy The State Fair

If you plan to go to Albuquerque in September, you may catch the State Fair, which runs for ten days and has been held since 1938.

It is continually among the top five fairs in the US, offering fairground rides, art exhibits, and animal displays.

In 2023, live sharks and stingrays were exhibited, and the Far-Famous exhibition showcased New Mexico’s TV and film history.

Other highlights include Mind Works, which is a collection of enormous classic board games, and Kiddie Land where there are plenty of rides for young children.

The State Park houses an Indian Village and offers performances by different Native American tribes.

13- Have Fun At Explora

If you or your children are interested in science, you should visit Explora.

It gives you an interactive science experience, which is fun for all ages.

Learn how to fly a model plane or create enormous soap bubbles.

There are a variety of exhibitions, all with their own themes, such as science, maths, engineering, or technology.

Most of the exhibits are small so that even young children can interact with them.

Explora is at 1701 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque 87104

14- Visit The Indian Pueblo Cultural Centre

Before the Spanish came to Albuquerque, many Pueblo tribes lived in the area.

You can learn about them in their cultural centre, which showcases exhibitions and art galleries.

It is owned by a group of Indian Pueblos from New Mexico, so you will know that everything here is authentic.

One of the highlights of the centre is the Pueblo Dancers Display.

Through music and dance, the troupe shows how their ancestors lived.

Dances that used to be performed during rituals are performed as well.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Centre is at 2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque 87104

15- Watch The Sunset From A Rooftop Bar

While the sunset at Sandia Park is spectacular, the one thing missing is a cocktail! If a Margarita, a Long Island Iced Tea, or a Daiquiri is your thing, there are plenty of rooftop bars in Albuquerque where you can combine drinks with a spectacular sunset.

The Apothecary Lounge at the Hotel Parq Central is one of the best venues in town to experience the sunset.

It used to be a psychiatric hospital and has used some of the hospital themes in its decor.

Not only can you experience the sunset here, but you also get some of the best views of the city.

For a different drink, try the Green Chilli Margarita.

Another rooftop bar is Level 5 on the fifth floor of Hotel Chaco.

Apart from the sunset, you get a great view of the Sandia Mountains and parts of the historic Old Town.

Vintage 423 is another spot from where you can see the sunset.

Try the Jalapeno Pickle Margarita which is infused with jalapenos, pickles, and pickle juices.

The Apothecary Lounge is at 806 Central Avenue SE, Albuquerque 87102
Level 5 is at 2000 Bellamah Avenue NW, Albuquerque 87104
Vintage 423 is at 8000 Paseo Del Norte NE Suite A1, Albuquerque 87122

16- Visit Los Ranchos De Albuquerque

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is a small village of around 6,000 people on the outskirts of the city.

You can take a guided tour of the village and learn about its history.

For such a small village, you will be impressed by the unique shops to be found, as well as the many restaurants and cafes.

Try to go there on a Saturday when the farmers market, selling just local produce, is held.

It is a chance for you to have a glimpse into local life in the area.

The village is right next to the Rio Grande River, which offers outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and fishing.

17- Visit The Petroglyph National Monument and Park

Petroglyphs On Rock At Petroglyph National Monument
Seeing the petroglyphs is one of the top things to do in Albuquerque.

The park covers 2,833 hectares (7,000 acres), and here you can see around 24,000 petroglyphs, which are artworks carved into rocks.

They were created by both the Native Americans and the Spanish settlers and are between 400 and 700 years old.

There are around 24,000 petroglyphs to be found around the park.

Head to the Visitor’s Centre which will tell you about the hiking trails that you can take to see the petroglyphs.

The shortest trail is just 1.6 km (1 mile) and the longest is 10.46 km (6.5 miles), part of which you can drive.

The most popular trail is the Boca Negra Canyon as there is a large section of petroglyphs that you can view from a flat trail.

You can, however, take a detour up a steep, but short trail for spectacular views of the city.

18- Enjoy A Glass Of Wine At Casa Rondena Winery

If you enjoy a glass of wine or two, a visit to a winery is always a good option.

The Casa Rondena Winery in Albuquerque is well worth visiting as it produces wine of the highest quality.

Their wines include Merlot Rose, Cabernet Franc, and Rondena sparkling wine.

You can take a guided tour of the winery to discover how they produce their wines.

Then you go to the tasting room to try a selection of their excellent award-winning wines.

You also have the opportunity to buy bottles of your favourites.

The Casa Rondena Winery is at 733 Chavez Road, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque 87107

19- Follow The Pasco Del Bosque Trail

This trail, which is 25.7 km (16 miles) long, connects the north of the city with the south.

It is paved and doesn’t have any roads cutting through it, so it is safe and feels rural.

The trail takes you through the Cottonwood Bosque Forest which is beautiful, and it also crosses the Rio Grande Nature Centre State Park where you can hike and go bird watching.

You can also stop off on Central Avenue or Tingley Beach for a rest and something to eat.

20- Try The Local Food

New Mexico loves chillies and Alburquerque is obsessed with them.

The most popular use here is the red or green chilli sauce that you can add to just about everything.

It is even served at McDonalds.

In the autumn, the green chillies are roasted and added to many dishes.

Lots of restaurants in the city serve the green chilli cheeseburger which has the chillies on top of the burger.

Breakfast burritos are popular in the city.

They are filled with eggs, potatoes, cheese, bacon or sausage, and red or green chilli sauce.

Sopaipillas are another traditional delicacy found in Albuquerque.

They are fried dough puffs filled with eggs and hash browns for breakfast and meat or cheese for lunch and dinner.

If you have a sweet tooth, they can be drizzled with honey.

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Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.