Things to Do in Albuquerque
Visitors seeking enriching cultural experiences need go no further than the middle Rio Grande valley. The Albuquerque area offers all the art and cultural experiences of a city three times Albuquerque’s size, and adds a large dollop of distinctive New Mexico flavor as well.
Albuquerque features a world-class symphony orchestra; theatre experiences that range from Shakespeare in the park to Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Hiland Theatre; art galleries featuring the work of artists like Amado Pena, Doug West, R.C. Gorman and N.C. Wyeth; museums that educate visitors about everything from the geologic history of New Mexico to modern-day New Mexico art and culture; not to mention ballet and opera companies, chamber music festivals, a children’s museum, an award-winning zoo, aquarium and botanical garden complex, art-house movie theatres…the list goes on and on.
Just about any artistic enrichment experience imaginable can be found in Albuquerque – although most residents wouldn’t recommend trying to experience all the arts Albuquerque has to offer on the same day (or even in the same week!).
Top 12 Sights to See in Albuquerque
- Petroglyph National Monument
- ABQ BioPark – Zoo
- Old Town
- Sandia Peak Tramway
- Cibola National Forest
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
- ABQ BioPark – Botanic Garden
- Cliff’s Amusement Park
- Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
- Sandia Peak Ski & Tram
- Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
- National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
The Great Outdoors – Clean Air & Majestic Mountains
New Mexico draws visitors from all around the world who come anxious to experience the clean air, majestic mountains, and wide open spaces of the state. Albuquerque is located in the middle Rio Grande valley next to two mountain ranges, the Sandias and the Manzanos. In the mountains surrounding the city, outdoors enthusiasts can hike and mountain bike in the summertime and ski and snowboard at Sandia Peak Ski Resort in the winter. Central New Mexico has become a haven for skiers and snowboarders in recent years. Albuquerque is located only an hour from the Santa Fe Valley’s many ski areas and less than two hours from the world-renowned slopes at Taos Ski Valley.
Many of the state’s picturesque lakes and campgrounds are located just a few hours’ drive from Albuquerque, including Conchas Lake, a fisherman’s paradise, and the deep lakes of Santa Rosa, which draw scuba divers from all over the Southwest.
The city of Albuquerque also offers a long network of bike, walking trails that stretch from the far Northeast Heights on one end of the city to the Rio Grande river on the opposite side. Recent efforts by the city and several community groups have focused on preserving and maintaining the hundreds of miles of continuous bosque, or riverbank, that line the Rio Grande on each side. Trails through the bosque allow outdoor enthusiasts to come face-to-face with New Mexico’s exotic wildlife and lush natural vegetation.
There are many great places to spend a night or a week in Albuquerque. Accommodations range from small bed and breakfasts in Old Town to the large, luxury chain hotels of Uptown, and everything in between. There are several hotels located close to the Albuquerque International Sunport, and every area of the city has an assortment of lodging options to choose from.
To really feel Albuquerque’s pulse, however, Downtown is the place to be. With several hotels, including the Albuquerque Hyatt Regency, the Doubletree Hotel, and the Hotel Blue, Downtown is a great place to base an Albuquerque visit, with fine restaurants, a 12-screen movie theatre, museums and live musical entertainment only a few minutes’ walk from Downtown hotels.
Downtown is also the place to find some of Albuquerque’s best restaurants. Although most people associate New Mexico with Mexican-style food, the discerning diner can find almost any cuisine he or she is looking for in Albuquerque: New Mexican fusion, Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish, Cuban, Brazilian, Italian, German, French, and more. Albuquerque is also a great place to find rib-stickin’ barbecue, fiery Cajun food and great burgers, or have a romantic dinner over some elegant traditional American cuisine accompanied by a bottle of New Mexico-produced fine wine (Albuquerque alone boasts several wineries). And after dinner, you can head to Downtown or the Northeast Heights to dance the night away or hear live local musicians play everything from salsa to traditional jazz to rock-and-roll.
Art and Culture in Albuquerque
Whether a visitor wants to find out more about the cultural history of Albuquerque, the natural and physical history of the Rio Grande Valley, the arts of the Southwest or encourage a child to learn more about science and nature, there’s a museum in Albuquerque to satisfy those wishes. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Old Town Albuquerque recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, which added a planetarium and observatory to the facility.
The Natural History Museum offers exhibits explaining the geologic history of the area and showcasing some of the dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals that made New Mexico their home millions of years ago. The Albuquerque museum takes visitors through hundreds of years of New Mexico history, from the time of the Spanish conquistadors to the present day. The Explora! Children’s museum offers hands-on exhibits that teach kids about scientific phenomena and the world of nature.
The Albuquerque Biopark, comprised of a zoo (featuring native New Mexico wildlife as well as sea lions, polar bears, African animals and reptiles), an aquarium and a botanic garden, is a place where visitors can spend an afternoon or a couple of days learning about animals and their habitats.