11 Things You Must Do Before Leaving Albuquerque

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment for its gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, along with its stunning desert landscape and the classic stucco architecture that was traditionally used in native adobe houses. We’re considered a ‘melting pot’ of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds, particularly in our biggest city, Albuquerque. Because of this, we have something that everyone could enjoy.

Prefer the great outdoors or enjoy landscape photography? Great! New Mexico is nearly 21% forest land, and we have 13 national parks, but if you want to stay closer to the city, I suggest these places:

  • The Sandia Tramway and Peak
    • Take the Tramway up to the peak and enjoy the views, nature, and hiking that the Sandia Mountains have to offer. It’s a 2.5-mile ride and only takes fifteen minutes to get from the bottom (at an elevation of about 5,312’) to the top ( an elevation of 10,378’)
  • Visit our BioParks Botanical Garden! 
    • Ranked number 10 on Forbes list of beautiful botanical gardens, our garden features an enclosed space to walk with butterflies (seasonal), see bugs in the bug emporium and witness different types of plants from areas all over the world.
  • Tingly Beach
    • If you don’t want to pay for admission, visit Tingly Beach! Enjoy picnics by one of two ponds and watch the ducks and geese play in the water. Just a short walk away is the Bosque and the Rio Grande River. It’s a great place for hiking, running, walking or just enjoying the moment.

Would you rather eat or go out to drink coffee? Albuquerque has several local places its residents swear by. The Coffee shops are eccentric and unique, while our local food chains capture our New Mexican charm in a bittersweet type of way.

  • Coffee Shops: Little Bear Coffee (Where I’m writing this, actually), Humble, Satellite Coffee, Flying Star, or Trifecta.
  • Food:
    • Blakes Lotta Burger:
      • With several locations, it’s hard not to see at least one of these around Albuquerque. Known for their breakfast burritos, the Green Chili breakfast burrito won’t disappoint.
    • The Frontier/Golden Pride:
      • The Frontier is located by The University of New Mexico, and they have amazing sweet rolls, green chili stew, and tortillas. They have an awesome dining area in a very convenient spot on Central. Golden Pride has award winning breakfast burritos for several years in a row and multiple locations.
    • The Range:
      • With a laid-back kind of atmosphere, The Range is one of the best sit-down restaurants in Albuquerque. It’s a great environment for families and they have an amazing menu selection.

Are you more scientifically inclined? Me too. New Mexico has two main national labs, the Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs, as well as the Kirtland Air-force Base. New Mexico has also been home to some pretty crazy advancements in science, such as the Manhattan Project. Because of all this, we have some awesome science museums.

Explora from the outside
  • Explora:
    • For families with young kids or people who just want a fun learning experience, I suggest Explora. This crazy fun interactive museum helps kids explore some more of the basic principles of science but can be fun for all ages. I personally love this place, even as an adult.
  • Albuquerque Natural History and Science Museum:
    • Located right across the street from Explora, the Natural History and Science museum has more of a traditional type of museum feel. Here, you can explore a full range of history and science. For a few dollars extra, visit the planetarium as well!
  • The Nuclear Science Museum:
    • Inside, there’s a full history of nuclear development, and outside are real life retired planes and fighter jets. It is the Nation’s only Congressionally charted Nuclear Museum.

Finally, if you prefer fine art and live performances, we have you covered. Check out the schedules of these really cool places:

  • Pope Joy Hall:
    • Located on The University of New Mexico’s campus (and right across from The Frontier), Pope Joy Hall hosts all kinds of different performances, including ballets, plays, musicals, and concerts.
  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center:
    • Not only do they have a museum dedicated to the history, culture, and art of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, but they also have cultural dances in their courtyard every weekend and regularly host other performances in their auditorium inside.
  • The Kimo Theater:
    • On top of the more traditional plays that are shown here, Kimo also partakes in more modern performances too. The Kimo Theater is a staple to Albuquerque and is supposedly haunted…
Post card of the Kimo

No matter who you are or where you come from, Albuquerque welcomes you and has something for you to enjoy. Enjoy your stay in our city and be safe!

~An Albuquerque local