2024 Albuquerque Visitors Guide
Albuquerque is a city with diverse splendors providing something for every type of vacationer. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy biking, skiing, and some of the best golf courses. For those in need of a little pampering, the city offers many spas. Visitors seeking adventure can take to the skies, learn about the native culture, experience wildlife, and dine on scrumptious local fare.
No visit to Albuquerque would be complete without an adventure involving the sky. Due to the phenomenal local weather, it became known as the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World. Tourists can experience a ride from one of the many hot air balloon companies. Another way to take to the skies is on the Sandia Peak Tramway, which allows guests to enjoy a view of the gorgeous lush forests and canyons.
Those seeking unique cultural experiences are sure to be delighted by the quaint shops with Pueblo and Spanish-style architecture. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology provides exhibits on many world cultures with an emphasis on the heritage of the Southwest. Science and history enthusiasts will marvel over the displays at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History which features presentations of the history, science applications, and future development of nuclear energy.
The beautiful Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is one of the best ways to experience art in Albuquerque. The museum includes artwork from the indigenous people to cutting-edge modern displays. For a more in-depth study of Native American culture, a trip to the Pueblo Cultural Center is an absolute must.
The ABQ Biopark, situated along the Rio Grande, hosts a plethora of wildlife in the botanical garden, zoo, and aquarium. The botanical garden features 36 acres of stunning gardens and conservatories. The 64-acre zoo features indigenous and exotic animals and boasts the only Tasmanian wombats in the US. The aquarium dazzles visitors with displays of both fresh and saltwater species.
Epicureans can ponder the question of red or green by dining on one of many entrees containing the New Mexico State Fruit, the chili. Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cooking techniques create a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Cooking classes are a great way to take a piece of New Mexico home.
After a great meal, visitors often enjoy a leisurely stroll along historic Route 66, now Central Avenue. Tourists are welcome to admire the bright neon signs displayed in the many shops or participate in a Route 66 Tour. Travel to Albuquerque is easy by car or by flight. Visitors have a variety of lodging options from camping to upscale hotels.
Downtown Albuquerque, a pleasant area laid out in a standard grid pattern, is partitioned into six distinct districts, each with their own unique flavor and feel. The smallest area, the Transportation Center District, features the Alvarado Transportation Center. The Case District has a residential feel and possesses a large number of loft apartments. The Courthouse District is named for the presence of three important Albuquerque courthouses: the Pete V. Domenici US Courthouse, Bernalillo County Courthouse, and Bernalillo Metropolitan County Courthouse. The Warehouse District, located near the railroad tracks, is eponymous for the large proliferation of warehouses. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Albuquerque that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!
New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment, and the weather in the state’s largest city conforms perfectly to this description. Albuquerque, New Mexico is a city in the north-central part of the state that sits in the high desert region of the American Southwest. The city is bounded by the rugged and picturesque Sandia Mountains in the east, and the lazy Rio Grande River in the east, though many developments in the city have moved beyond the banks of the river. Given the city’s unique location, Albuquerque’s weather is different than the weather anywhere else, and it makes Albuquerque one of the nicest places in the United States to visit or live.
One of the nicest things about the weather in Albuquerque is the distinct lack of phenomena that lead to natural disasters. Tornados and hurricanes never affect the city, and flash flooding only happens once every few years when rare torrential rains hit the area. Because thunderstorms happen so rarely, lighting does very little damage within the city. This gives people in Albuquerque peace of mind as they go about their daily lives. People who live in other areas of the country often envy the citizens of Albuquerque for this reason.
Although Albuquerque experiences all four seasons during the course of each year, the weather conditions are moderated by the area’s elevation, which is over 5,000 feet in many parts of the city. As a result, Albuquerque remains relatively cool in the summers and dry in the winters. Some desert communities in lower elevations experience summers with sweltering heat.
Albuquerque experiences tolerable, if not comfortable temperatures in the high 80s to mid-90s. Winters are cool, but they are not defined by heavy snowstorms or bitterly cold temperatures. In fact, some winter days in Albuquerque are so nice that outdoor sports enthusiasts can ski in the Sandia mountains in the mornings, and then play a round of golf in the warmer afternoons. This is not possible every day, of course, but it allows residents and visitors to keep their options open instead of staying indoors all day.
The most pleasant time of year for weather in Albuquerque is fall. During this time, the winds are calm and the temperatures are perfect. Although the spring months are considered the least pleasant because of higher winds, the days are filled with plentiful sunshine and calm breezes before the winds pick up in the evenings.
There are very few places on Earth that experience ideal weather conditions, but Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of them. The city lies within the Land of Enchantment, and it lives up to its name when it comes to climate conditions. This is just one reason why so many people choose Albuquerque to live and to visit.
Sometimes while on vacation, getting there is half the fun. Albuquerque offers a variety of transportation options for visitors. Renting a car is always an option however guests of the Albuquerque area should consider all their options to enhance their stay. ABQ Ride, the City’s transportation system, offers help planning bus routes. A unique feature of the bus system is Guaranteed Ride Home Program which provides transportation if unforeseen circumstances arise and the rider is unable to make the regular route. Maps and route schedules are available online from the ABQ Ride website.
A visitor arriving from the airport can use the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. The “Airport Express Bus” – Route 380 connects travelers from the airport to the Downtown Station. Connecting buses are provided to travel southbound in Albuquerque. For a destination in the northern part of the city, travelers can take the “Rio Bravo-Sunport-Kirtland Bus” – Route 222 and get off at the Bernalillo County/Sunport Station. Many of the Rail Runner stations in Sandoval, Bernalillo, and Valencia counties have transit connections that provide access to area destinations. The rail line also provides a discount card that can be used at local area restaurants, shops, and museums. Maps and route schedules are available from the New Mexico Rail Runner Express website.
One greener and healthier way to get around Albuquerque is by bicycle. Albuquerque is very bike-friendly with over 400 miles of bike paths and trails to explore. A list of bike paths and trails is located on the City of Albuquerque website. Bike paths and trails are classified as multiple-use trails, bicycle lanes, bike boulevards, wide roads, and bicycle roads according to whether the trail is open to vehicles and the proximity of bicycles to motorists. Additionally, ABQ Ride offers bike racks on their buses. Walking and skateboarding are also fun alternative options for getting around the city. Visitors should be aware that the Child Safe Helmet Act of 2007 requires all minors under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding, skateboarding, and rollerblading.
Albuquerque features the following car rental companies: Advantage Rent A Car, Alamo Rent A Car, Avis, Budget Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent A Car, Hertz Corporation, National Rent A Car, PaylessCar, and Thrifty Car Rental. Taxi services available are Albuquerque Cab Company, Yellow Cab Company, and ABQ Green Cab Company. Tours and Charter Services include Casino Tours (American Tours), Herrera Coaches, Paradise Tours, Roadrunner Shuttle Services, Socorro Taxi, Tours of the Southwest, and Twin Hearts Express.
Albuquerque is filled with wonderment and delight. You can experience this elevated desert city in a number of ways. Many people choose to take in the geographical splendor of the Rio Grande Valley by a hot air balloon. You can have a stunning aerial view of this Southwestern city in a unique and unforgettable way. You might also consider a tramway journey up Sandia Mountain to reach the peak which stands over 10,000 feet above sea level. This panoramic view is another unforgettable memory.
Once you are ready to keep your feet firmly on the ground, you can start exploring the lively art and culture available throughout the city. You might start in Old Town. As you explore the many museums and cultural centers, you will have a variety of shops and galleries to experience, as well. You will be able to choose from any number of restaurants and cafes, while you take in the Spanish-colonial architecture of the buildings. You can discover a number of art exhibits, sculptures, and nature. The botanical gardens are also located in Old Town. You can take a train from the gardens to the aquarium and end your day at the beach for a bit of fishing and relaxing.
If you prefer to let a professional guide you around this thriving city, consider one of the many tours. You could take one of the walking tours around the city. You could take a guided train ride tour. You might also consider taking a Sculpture Garden tour. Most importantly, do not forget to take a self-guided culinary tour of Albuquerque. This is a foodie city. You can experience any number of cuisines in the region; however, locals rave about the traditional fare unique to this region, as well as the fusion cuisine being introduced by the integration of cultures. Once you fill up on culinary delights, you might consider a bit of outdoor activity before your next meal.
After you explore the city, you might consider a bit of adventure just outside the city. Albuquerque is the gateway to outdoor adventure. If you enjoy a bit of excitement and challenging activities, you can hike dormant volcanoes in the area. If you like a more relaxing adventure, consider a horseback ride along the Rio Grande. You can also explore the many parks and trails by bicycle. Albuquerque is a highly progressive green city with some of the best air quality in the country making any trip to Albuquerque even more enjoyable.
The storyline follows a drop of water from the headwaters of the Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico with exhibits highlighting Rio Grande and Gulf environments. Features a 285,000-gallon Shark Tank at 2601 Central Avenue NW. (505) 764-6200.
Rio Grande Zoological Park
Experience a world of wild excitement… Features over 1100 exotic animals in naturalized habitats. You will see rare white tigers, sea lions from an underwater vantage paint, and the new “Elephant Watering Hole”. One of the premier Zoos of the Southwest 903 Tenth St SW ·(505) 764-6200.
Hinkle Family Fun Center
A great place for the whole family to have fun. Featuring Go-Carts, Bumper Boats, 3 holes of Miniature Golf, state-of-the-art Video Games, and redemption games Located at the corner of Indian School Road & Tramway NE (505) 299-3100.
Acoma Sky City
The nation’s oldest continuously inhabited city, located high atop a sandstone mesa. Only one hour west of Albuquerque on 1-40 exit 102 and follow the signs. A bit of history and Enchantment that you won’t want to miss. Take 1-40 west to exit 102. Call (505) 552-6017.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Be enchanted by traditional Indian Dances and Craft Demonstrations held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which is owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico. Enjoy the permanent and changing exhibits of the Pueblo’s history and shop the shops for great buys on Indian Jewelry and Crafts. Try some Native American cuisine. 2401 12th Street NW ~ (505) 843-7270
Sandia Peak Tramway
World’s Longest. Enjoy spectacular views riding from the Rio Grande Valley to the top of Sandia Mountain. Open daily 9 AM – 8 PM except for Wednesday, Wednesday 5 Pm – 8PM Tramway Road (505) 856-7325
Isleta Gaming Palace
Luxurious and modern gaming center. Video gaming, blackjack, craps, binge and pull-tabs with large jackpots. Full-service restaurant and gift shop. Open 24 hours every day for gaming Binge nightly 11000 Broadway SE. (505) 869-2614
DYNAMAX: Giant Screen Theatre
Alaska: Spirit of the Wild will transport you across rugged landscapes, over sweeping snow-mantled peaks, and into the world of the grizzly, wolf, caribou, sea lion and whale. It is the ultimate story of survival, where life triumphs. Experience the raw beauty of Alaska. Showtimes daily, on the hour, 10 am through 5 pm. Runs thru Sept. 25, Super Speedway starts Sept. 26. The Dynamax Theater is at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science in Old Town, 1801 Mountain Road NW. Call (505) 841-2802. Accessible to persons with disabilities.
Sky City Casino
Located one hour west of Albuquerque on 1-40. Sky city has all the games you love to play. Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Poker, Slots, Video Poker, the Big Six Wheel and the area’s first high stakes fiingo. Owned and operated by the Pueblo of Acoma. Take 1-40 west to exit 102. Call 1-800-SKY-4188.
San Felipe Casino Hollywood
Conveniently located on 1-25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe Thousands of players have won millions at Casino Hollywood. Don’t miss your turn to Win! Take exit 252 off 1-25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. (505) 867-6700
Isleta Lakes & Recreation Area
The finest fishing opportunity available and just 15 minutes south of Albuquerque. 3 Fishing Lakes and a Concession Store, Camping, RV Hookups, and Showers. Bass, Catfish, and Trout. Come and relax as and individual or group. Group Discounts and Gatherings. Take 1-25 south to exit 215 to Hwy 47. 877-0370.
“The Southwest’s Oldest Balloon Company”. Over 27 years as New Mexico’s premier balloon ride company and exclusive ride concessionaire for the 1998 Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. You’ll drift freely with the wind over the enchanting New Mexico countryside. We offer group rates and hotel pickup is available at no extra charge. 4800 Eubank NE, (505) 293-6800.
Albuquerque offers every type of cuisine for the choosiest of appetites. Authentic Mexican is what the southwest is primarily known for, but Albuquerque has it all. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, American, French, Greek, and Seafood just to name a few. Whether you are having breakfast, lunch, or dinner you will certainly find a restaurant with the right atmosphere and cuisine to satisfy your desire to dine. Below we have chosen a few restaurants for you to sample. Enjoy!
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is host to an array of exciting events. Nestled in the valley below the Sandia Mountains, the premier event in Albuquerque is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, when hot air balloons from all over the world converge to create a magical sky filled with dazzling color.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Happening in early October every year, the event features the “Dawn Patrol”, an early morning event beginning in the darkness. With balloons flying until the light of day, at approximately 6 a.m., the excitement pervades as the pilots test the winds. Another exciting and fabulous event is the Mass Ascension, a flight of all the balloons, creating a spectacular sight of color, shapes and sound. Fireworks, crafts & art, morning glows, chain saw carving, a car show, competitions, and other events are part of this nine-day festival. Find more information and a schedule here.
Sponsored by the city, this annual event takes place at the Rio Grande Community Farm
during September and October. The Maise Maze is a 7-acre maze of corn, which attracts visitors by the thousands. Paths are cut using GPS technology, making the maze both challenging and fun. Haybale City, farm animals and wildlife, a pumpkin patch and educational activities round out the fun. There is an admission charge, although children under two are admitted free.
Albuquerque Film Festival
This festival happens annually in downtown Albuquerque at the Kimo Theatre. Three days of offbeat film, including cult classics, round out the schedule.
From the summer season until early October, tropical butterflies are active at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. See such beauties as the Blue Morphos, Postman Butterfly and Owl Butterfly. With a wingspan of up to eight inches, a dazzling show of flight by the Blue Morphos will delight everyone. Vines and tropical plants create a setting to which the butterflies descend as the audience gasps in awe.
River of Lights
Holiday time is when the Botanic Garden presents the state’s largest light show with a walk through the electric holiday display, made with thousands of sparkling lights. Musicians, dining, and crafts are all part of the festivities. Stunning lighted displays of such creatures as whales and turtles can be found on the lawn.
Skiing, rafting, shopping, and more can be found in the Albuquerque area, and Old Town, as well as Petroglyph National Monument, are favorite destinations to visit while you are there for these fabulous events.
Landmarks & Museums in Albuquerque
Albuquerque has tons of art galleries, historic centers, and museums for your viewing pleasure. Categories range from the history of atomic development to the evolution of the automobile. If you enjoy American culture there are also many museums depicting the history of Indians as well as the progression of the American Southwest. Below we have highlighted some of the great places for you to visit while you are here.
National Atomic Museum
Tracing the history of the development of the Atomic bomb. Full-scale models of missiles, a 8-52 bomber, and other aircraft. (505) 284-3243.
Wright’s Indian Museum – Started by Mrs. Chernoff and her late husband, Sam, who collected prize pieces from the early years of this country, including artifacts of the Anasazi culture. For an engrossing experience in culture and design, visit Wright’s. (505) 883-6122.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Be enchanted by traditional Indian Dances and Craft Demonstrations held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which is owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico. Enjoy the permanent and changing exhibits of Pueblo’s history and shop the shops for great buys on Indian Jewelry and Crafts. Try some Native American cuisine. (505) 843-7270.
Yesterdave’s Auto Museum
Inspired by the legendary Carroll Shelby, creator of the Cobra, Ford Cobra Mustang, and the Dodge Viper, the museum is home to many celebrities and collector automobiles; from John Lennon’s Rolls Royce, and Elvis Presley’s Mercedes Lime, to Carroll Shelby team race car. (505) 293-0033.
See the world’s largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes. Displayed in beautifully recreated natural landscapes. this exhibit is fascinating to both adults and kids. Also available at the museum store is a large selection of rattlesnake art and artifacts. The T-shirts make excellent souvenirs. (505) 242-6569.
The Albuquerque Museum
Enjoy contemporary and traditional art and history exhibitions. Attend workshops and lectures for children and adults. Relax in the serene sculpture Garden and savor the surroundings. Visit the museum, gift shop, La Tienda. (505) 242-4600.
Museum of Natural History & Science
– Experience billions of years of natural history. Walkthrough an active volcano, explore a cool ice age cave, gaze up at some of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived, and ride in the evaluator time machine. The Dynamax Theater giant screen action. Subway sandwich shop & NatureWorks store Handicapped accessible. (505) 841-2802.
An amazing animated, miniature wood-carved western town and three-ring circus; bottle glass rooms; potter’s studio. (505) 281-5233
Albuquerque Art Galleries
Kiva Fine Arts
Kiva Fine Arts, established in 1989, specializes in Native American art, sculpture, pottery, weaving, and fine art glass. Located in the historic El Centro Building just steps from the Plaza, Kiva features prominent and emerging Indian artists from across the Southwest. (505) 820-7413
Rough Rider Trading Co
Capture the spirit of New Mexico and the Old West at Rough Rider Trading Co., a gallery of furniture, art, jewelry, and interiors. Featuring over 50 artists from the villages of Northern New Mexico, Rough Rider has a diverse selection of painted, carved and rustic furniture as well as colorful, hand-woven rugs and garments, pottery, sculpture, paintings and prints, and other wonderful hand-crafted items to adorn your home or office. (505) 425-0246
Quiet, unpretentious beauty, the essence of Japanese aesthetics is also a dominant feature of the Southwestern landscape. Touching Stone is a new gallery in Santa Fe dedicated to exploring this artistic sensibility. Housed in a 250-year-old adobe just a few blocks south of the Plaza, the gallery showcases Japanese and Southwest arts that share a sense of simplicity. (505) 988-8072
Windsor Betts Fine Art
A fun, informative art brokerage house one-and-a-half blocks from the Plaza where collectors on all levels may purchase “museum art.” Currently representing the estates of Elaine Horwitch, Grand Dame of contemporary art and Vladan Stiha, world-renowned Impressionist painter along with a new, exciting collection of Russian Impressionism. (505) 820-1234