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It’s under-the-radar, affordable, achingly beautiful, unspoiled and filled with soul. If we had 72 hours in Albuquerque, this is how we would spend it. Here is our list of the must-see, must-do things in the wonderful Duke City.
Cruise up and down Central Avenue to see Americana at it’s best: buzzing neon signs, vintage motels and historic architecture. For a real blast from the past, stop in to the Route 66 Diner, and don’t leave without ordering one of their amazingly delicious malts or milkshakes.
Sandia Peak boasts breathtaking views and offers nice sanctuary right outside the city. If you are looking for adventure, hike the La Luz Trail to reach the peak. If you want an easier, family friendly way to the top, the tram makes a trip every 20-30 minutes throughout hours of operation. And if you there during the winter season, the best way down is on skis or a board.
Every year in the beginning of October Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta. This is an experience like no other and hundreds of colorful balloons paint the sky with the most stunning and picturesque views. It’s an early morning but well worth it. You can even take a ride yourself. Just go extra early to help with takeoff.
New Mexican cuisine is hard to describe with words alone; it is something you have to experience. It is not Mexican food or Tex Mex. It is a blend of flavors from Spanish and Native American cultures that has been perfected over the course of 400 years. Sadies is a staple of Albuquerque but you can find authentic New Mexican food at Cervantes, Mary & Tito’s, El Patio, Garcia’s, El Pinto and more. Some standout dishes to try include breakfast burritos (check out where to find the best breakfast burritos here), carne adovada, green chile chicken enchiladas, chilles relleños and stuffed sopaipillas.
No matter what, make sure you try a warm sopapilla with honey. Sopaipillas are an authentic New Mexican fried dough creation that melt in your mouth but are not overly sweet. If you dine out at any New Mexican restaurant you will be presented with a basket of sopaipillas at the end of the meal. Do not pass this up.
Featured by Sunset Magazine as one of the best bike trails in the west, the Paseo Del Bosque Trail runs from the north to the south edges of the metro area. The 16-mile trail parallels the Rio Grande and runs through the cottonwood forest past Tingley Beach and the Nature Center. It’s a great uninterrupted trail for a long run, bike ride or walk with the family.
With more than 250 species, the 64-acre Rio Grande Zoo displays animals from around the world in open-air habitats. You can watch animal feedings, attend story time in the Africa Amphitheater, attend a show or ride the train.
If you love local beer as much as we do, make sure to stop by one of Albuquerque’s many breweries for a pint. Check out La Cumbre Bewing Co., Marble Brewery, Chama River Brewing Co., Tractor Brewing Co. or Broken Bottle Brewery.
The Apothecary Lounge sits on the roof of the Hotel Parq and offers some of the best panoramic views of the skyline and mountains in the city. Go in the early evening for a cocktail and enjoy a breathtaking view of the sunset.
Eli’s has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and packs quite a flavor punch. It’s small and nondescript on the outside, but do not let that fool you. The food is insanely good and one-of-kind. If you like big bold flavor do not miss this spot.
If you are fan of the hit show Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, do not miss out on this tour. Relive the series by visiting your favorite film locations from Jesse’s house to Walt’s Car Wash to the Laundromat and more. Stop by the Candy Lady to purchase some “breaking bad candy.” And learn some interesting and entertaining history along the way. You can take your own self-guided tour or opt for one of the trolley tours. For more information about tours visit this site (link to Albuquerque website page).
Discover the world of Pueblo Indian culture at this one-of-a-kind museum. Learn about the history and life of the 19 different New Mexican Pueblos, marvel at original artwork and craftsmanship or attend an event with food, native dances, art markets, exhibitions and more. For visitors without their own transportation they offer a free shuttle service from Old Town and the Zoo.
Historic Old Town has been the heart of Albuquerque for over three centuries. With five museums and more than 100 shops, galleries and restaurants Old Town is a great place to shop, walk about or soak in the distinctive culture. You can find spectacular and uniquely New Mexican jewelry, artwork, housewares, clothing and world-class leatherwork.