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Is Albuquerque Fun? Here's What You Need to Know

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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When most people think of Albuquerque, the first thing that comes to mind is the TV show Breaking Bad. While it's true that the city was used as a filming location for the show, there's much more to Albuquerque than that. Albuquerque is a great place to live, work, and play.

Albuquerque is a beautiful city situated at the base of the Sandia Mountains, with plenty to see and do. There are numerous mountain hiking and biking trails, and the city is full of exciting museums and art galleries. In addition, Albuquerque is home to a thriving food scene, with a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.

Whether you're looking for adventure or simply want to enjoy some good food and culture, Albuquerque is worth a visit.

Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Albuquerque

In Albuquerque, there is never a shortage of things to do. Here are our top 10 favorite attractions and activities in the city:

1. Sandia Peak Tramway

The Sandia Peak Tramway in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico, near Bernalillio and Albuquerque

The Sandia Mountains offer a stunning view of Albuquerque, and the tramway provides a great way to experience it. The 2.7-mile journey takes you from the city's edge to the summit, where you can see hundreds of miles. For those who want more exercise, the La Luz Trail is a 7.5-mile hike to the top that can be taken back down on the tramway. In the winter, the tramway also services the Sandia Peak Ski Resort. This makes it a great place to visit year-round.

2. ABQ BioPark

Double Crested Basilisk seen in BioPark Zoo, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

The ABQ BioPark is a great place to spend the day with family and friends. With its many attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The aquarium is perfect for anyone interested in sharks, whereas the botanical garden is a great place to discover butterflies and other insects. Tingley Beach also has three designated fishing ponds open to the public and pedal boats that can be rented. You can also learn more about the many animals that call the ABQ BioPark home. Whether you are a local or just visiting, the ABQ BioPark is worth a visit!

3. Albuquerque Museum

Albuquerque Museum, Old Town

The Albuquerque Museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Albuquerque and the surrounding area. It features exhibits from Spanish armor to wood carvings to art by Georgia O'Keeffe. It's a great place to learn about the region's history and culture. The museum also hosts traveling and temporary exhibits, so there's always something new to see. This makes it a great place to visit whether you're a history buff or just looking for something interesting to do.

4. Old Town Albuquerque

San Felipe de Neri Church in old town Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Old Town Albuquerque is a historic district in the center of the city. It's full of art galleries, souvenir shops, museums, and restaurants. The San Felipe de Neri Church is a Catholic church over 100 years old in the district. It has a rectory, convent, school, museum, and impressive religious artifacts. The district is also home to the Albuquerque Museum and the Old Town Plaza. Visitors can stroll through the cobblestone streets, relax in the shade of the giant cottonwood trees, and enjoy the sunny patios of the restaurants. Albuquerque's Old Town is a charming and peaceful place to visit.

5. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

There is no doubt that Albuquerque has a long and rich history, dating back thousands of years to the Pueblo people. While many of the original pueblos have disappeared over time, there are still several that remain today. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a great place to learn about these living cultures, with an excellent museum and various events, workshops, and tours. You can also taste traditional New Native American cuisine at Pueblo Harvest Cafe. This place is worth visiting to get a sense of Albuquerque's unique past.

6. Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyphs In New Mexico

In Albuquerque, you can find a variety of historical sites. One of the most popular is the Petroglyph National Monument. This monument has over 20,000 ancient images carved into volcanic rock. It's a great place to hike and see all the different petroglyphs. The Boca Negra Canyon day-use area is also a great place to explore. You can find 100 different petroglyphs there. The visitor center is also very informative, with exhibits and educational programs.

7. Unser Racing Museum

The Unser Racing Museum is a must-see for automobile enthusiasts and racing fans. The museum contains many motor vehicles from throughout the last century, many of which come directly from the Unser family history and timeline. Visitors can explore the museum floor and view these beautiful cars and motorcycles up close or take things one step further by getting behind the wheel in the racing simulator. Whether you're a car enthusiast, this museum provides an exciting look into the history of motor-engine racing.

8. Balloon Fiesta Park

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an event that takes place every year for about a week. During this time, people from all over the world come to Albuquerque to participate in hot-air ballooning. Hundreds of hot air balloons can be seen in the sky, and many events occur simultaneously. The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum is open year-round and adjacent to the Balloon Fiesta Park. It has a variety of exhibits on ballooning history as well as activities for kids. You can also take balloon rides and see the balloons up close. It also has a 4-D theatre for an immersive experience. If you're looking for something fun to do, Albuquerque is the place to be!

9. Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

This is an excellent place to visit if you want a fun and educational experience. The park is located on the east bank of the Rio Grande just north of downtown Albuquerque, and it features exhibits that introduce you to the ecology, geology, and history of the Rio Grande Valley. There are also outdoor exhibits, gardens, ponds, wetlands, and a great blind for bird watching. If you're looking for some hiking trails to explore, the park also has a small trail that meanders throughout the area. If you're looking for something a little more strenuous, you can head to the Rio Grande Valley State Park, which has other hiking trails to check out. This nature center is a great place to access some excellent outdoor recreation opportunities.

10. Explora Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque

This science center is not your average museum. With experiential exhibits, hands-on learning opportunities, and a focus on fun, the Explora Science Center is an excellent place for kids to explore and discover. At the Shapes of Sounds exhibit, kids can experiment with how different shapes change how sound waves travel. The Paradox Café is a great place to learn about the science of food, and the Water Flow Patio is perfect for exploring the properties of water. In addition to these exhibits, the Explora Science Center also offers a variety of camps, classes, and events designed to encourage a love of learning in kids of all ages.

Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Albuquerque

While Albuquerque has plenty to offer, many great places are nearby. If you're looking for some ideas for day trips from Albuquerque, here are a few of the top options:

1. Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloons Albuquerque New Mexico

If you're looking for an unforgettable way to start your day, consider booking a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Albuquerque. From the comfort of your basket, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the Rio Grande Valley and the Sandia Mountains as the sun rises. You'll also have a chance to learn about New Mexico's natural history and hot-air ballooning from the expert pilot. And after your flight, you can celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine and a light breakfast. This is one of the most popular Albuquerque attractions, so book in advance to secure your spot.


2. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers something for everyone. If you're looking for a unique and memorable experience, consider a private tour of the city. Your guide will take you to some of the most popular destinations in Santa Fe, including the historic Santa Fe Plaza, shops and art galleries, and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. You'll also learn about New Mexico's history and the Native American Southwest and have the opportunity to visit the traditional architecture, such as the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. There's no better way to explore all Santa Fe offers than with a private guide! You can also book a walking tour, which is an excellent option if you're short on time.

3. Acoma Pueblo Sky City Private Tour

Native American Acoma Pueblo, Sky City

This private 6-hour tour from Albuquerque takes you to the top of Sky City to explore the ancient Native American ruins. You'll learn about the history and culture of the Acoma people from your knowledgeable guide and take in sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. This is a unique opportunity to visit a site that's not often open to the public and to get an intimate look at Native American culture.

4. Georgia O'Keeffe and Ghost Ranch Country Tour

Georgia O'Keeffe Cabin at Ghost Ranch

This tour explores the landscape that inspired famed artist Georgia O'Keeffe. In addition to visiting Ghost Ranch, where O'Keeffe painted many of her iconic works, you'll also drive through the Piedra Lumbre Basin. This area is known for its rich paleontological beds and dramatic sandstone cliffs. By exploring this unique landscape, you can better understand the artist's spirit and her lasting love for this region of New Mexico. Your tour will take you to several locations that were important to O'Keeffe, including the places where she worked and found inspiration for her art. You'll also have the opportunity to visit the O'Keeffe Museum and her home in Abiquiu (separate tickets required). This is a great way to learn more about one of America's most celebrated artists and the place she called home.

Top 3 Places To Stay in Albuquerque

Downtown Albuquerque Illuminated Before Sunrise

No matter what type of traveler you are, Albuquerque has a place for you to stay. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels, there's something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to stay in Albuquerque:

1. Hotel Chaco

Hotel Chaco is a chic, premium hotel located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hotel is within walking distance of Old Town Albuquerque, the American International Rattlesnake Museum, and the Albuquerque Aquarium. Hotel Chaco offers guests warm, inviting rooms with free Wi-Fi, balconies, minibars, and HDTVs. Upgraded suites include wet bars, dining areas and/or outdoor fire pits, and terraces with panoramic views. The hotel also has a chic rooftop restaurant, a lobby lounge, and a 24-hour gym. There is also a hot tub and a seasonal outdoor pool on site. Event facilities are available for those looking to host an event in Albuquerque.

2. Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

The Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town is a beautiful and upscale hotel inspired by Spain, Mexico, and Native American culture. It is located in Old Town Albuquerque, home to the zoo, botanical gardens, and aquarium at ABQ BioPark. The hotel is also just two miles from downtown Albuquerque. The rooms and suites at the hotel are stylish and understated, and they come with free Wi-Fi. Some of the rooms even have balconies with views of the mountains. The Presidential Suite includes a dining table and a wet bar. The hotel also has an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and free Saturday walking tours of Old Town (in season). The hotel also has expansive event facilities, including a wedding chapel set amid gardens and several ballrooms.

3. Baymont by Wyndham Albuquerque

Baymont by Wyndham Albuquerque offers a convenient location near restaurants and the airport. The hotel is just three miles from Albuquerque International Sunport and seven miles from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Rooms are comfortable and come with free Wi-Fi, HDTVs, minifridges, microwaves, and tea and coffeemakers. Suites also include pull-out couches and wet bars. Kids stay for free when accompanied by an adult. Amenities at this Baymont include a heated outdoor pool, a gym, complimentary parking for cars, buses, RVs, and trucks, an airport shuttle, and a hot breakfast. There is also a coin-operated laundry on-site, as well as a business center.

Final Thoughts

Albuquerque Skyline During Autumn

This is just a taste of what Albuquerque has to offer. The city is rich in culture and history, and plenty of activities keep you entertained. Whether you're looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly motel, there's a place for you to stay in Albuquerque. Regardless of what activities you get up to, we would like to wish you all the best on your trip! Remember to take lots of pictures, have fun and take care!

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