Albuquerque is one of the top travel destinations in New Mexico. It’s a major city filled with tourist sights and attractions for immersing in the city’s history, Native American Heritage, and scenic mountain and desert landscape.
Visit Albuquerque to explore a unique side of New Mexico with a lot of the traditional ambiance blended with modern living. From the historical sites in Old Town to hiking excursions in the Sandia Mountains, it’s a destination for all ages.
Our guide gives you the highlights of things to do in Albuquerque, where to stay, and the best time to visit so that you can plan out the perfect trip.
Things to Do:
- Old Town Plaza
Old Town Plaza is a must-see landmark in Albuquerque – it’s where the city was founded in 1706. It’s located in the historical zone and preserved for its heritage.
The Plaza is the central hub for the Albuquerque Old Town, a stretch of ten blocks characterized by traditional adobe-style architecture. It’s one of the busiest tourist areas surrounded by landmarks such as the San Felipe de Neri Church; also, boutique shops, art galleries, and street vendors selling handicrafts and souvenirs.
Take a walk around the Plaza to enjoy the local atmosphere and immerse into the local New Mexican culture with great places to eat or stay.
- Sandia Peak Tramway
The Sandia Peak Tramway gives one of the best viewpoints of Albuquerque. The tramway extends from the city limits to the top of the Sandia Mountains, reaching an elevation of over 10,000-feet. The 15-minute ride is perfect for scenic views and arriving at exciting attractions in the mountains.
Built in 1966, the Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest aerial tram in the United States. The updated tram cars have space for up to 50 people and provide 360-degree views during the trip. You’ll get to see the vast city of Albuquerque and the surrounding landscape while narrated by an expert guide.
Some things to do include dining at the restaurant, hiking, biking, and skiing in the winter.
- Petroglyph National Monument
New Mexico has many archaeological sites, but one of the best to see is the Petroglyph National Monument located outside Albuquerque. It features approximately 24,000 rock art carvings created by early Native American civilizations and settlers in the region – some art is over 3,000 years old!
Petroglyph National Monument is a volcanic landscape shaped by multiple volcanoes, but the most attractive feature is the petroglyph art. Various images carved into the rocks depict humans, animals, and other symbols.
You can stop by the visitor center to see an informational film before choosing one of the several hiking trails to explore around the site.
- ABQ BioPark
Experience the natural wonders of Albuquerque at the ABQ BioPark, an environment museum complex consisting of four attractions: zoo, aquarium, beach, botanic garden. Visit one or more of the attractions to explore the major conservation efforts.
The Rio Grande Zoo is home to over 250 species of animals from around the world. Some of the favorite animals include lions, elephants, polar bears, gorillas, African wild dogs, and Tasmanian devils.
The Albuquerque Aquarium houses marine life from the Gulf of Mexico. Its popular features include the massive shark tank holding several species and seeing the coral reef, sea horses, stingrays, eels, and sea turtles.
Tingley Beach was formed from rerouted water from the Rio Grande and is now a popular fishing spot. Other activities include picnics, paddle boating, and nature trails.
The ABQ BioPark Botanic Gardens covers 36 acres with designated zones for desert and Mediterranean plant life.
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Pueblo Indian culture is a very prominent Native American group from New Mexico and very influential in Albuquerque. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center was established in 2976 to preserve the heritage, art, history, and more.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is where visitors can delve into the Pueblo Indians’ cultural heritage through various activities – exhibitions, festivals, live music, and dance performances. The center hosts classes for adults and children every weekend for an interactive learning experience.
During your visit, stop by the restaurant to taste authentic Native American cuisine.
Where to Stay in Albuquerque?
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, so there are several areas where you can stay to maximize your experience. It’s best to plan out the things you want to see to make it easier to stay nearby the attractions.
The favorite areas to stay in Albuquerque are:
- Old Town
- Route 66
Old Town is the center for tourism that has many hotel options nearby. Bed and Breakfast are a popular accommodation trend to give an authentic old town stay. You’ll have options such as Casas de Suenos and Bottger Mansion that offer a delicious New Mexican-style breakfast and within walking distance to the Old Town sights.
The historic Route 66 passes directly through Albuquerque, making it a popular stop for road trippers journeying the route. You can get a sense of nostalgia by staying at one of the heritage accommodations along the route, such as the Monterey Motel or the Route 66 Casino Hotel.
Albuquerque is a favorite outdoor activity destination – the great weather is ideal for enjoying activities all year long. It has several nearby campgrounds that also provide easy access to the urban sights. Stay at the Albuquerque KOA Journey or the Kirtland RV Park for a blended experience.
Best Time to Visit Albuquerque?
The best time to visit Albuquerque is during the fall season when the weather is perfect for enjoying the outdoors, and lots of festivals happen around town.
The busy travel season in Albuquerque starts from the summer into the late fall. The city is a metropolis situated in the New Mexican desert, so the summer heat and daily sunshine can be too hot for spending long hours outside. In the fall, however, the temperatures cool slightly so that you can make the most of the attractions.
Many famous festivals occur during the fall season – the New Mexico State Fair annually in September, the ABQ International Balloon Festival, and Dragon Lights (Lantern) Festival in October.