Albuquerque’s heritage is influenced by both its Native American and Hispanic/Latino peoples who have been in this area for centuries. From the architecture, cuisine and cultural centers here you can see their influence. Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a Spanish colony named after the 8th Duque De Alburquerque. It is also known as The Duke City. The first ‘R” was dropped along the way, but no one knows for sure why. Most think because of the pronunciation. It must be noted that Native American history dates back more than 12,000 years making them the first peoples to inhabit this land. Although it is referred to as a city intermingling Native American & Hispanic/Latino culture, Albuquerque has over 70 different ethnicities sharing the city.

Where to start

There are 8 unique neighborhoods in Albuquerque that all have their own restaurants, cultural events, and shopping. There are also a lot of things you can find in the city, such as a zoo, aquarium, and even an amusement park. It really depends on what you are interested in, whether the culture, the outdoor activities or any other number options here as to where you should spend your time. Below I listed 10 of what I think are the best things to do while in visiting Albuquerque, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to spend here.

1. Old Town

This was where Albuquerque began. The Spanish built there colony here and since then Albuquerque has grown in leaps and bounds. As you walk through Old Town you see the rich history of the Puebloan and Spanish architecture and narrow brick streets. The gazebo in the center of the plaza is a great place to take in this great part of the city. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping here, so plan to spend a little time.

2. San Felipe De Neri Church

While in Old Town, make sure you check out this church. It was built in 1706 and still has some of the original adobe walls. It is one of the oldest buildings in Albuquerque. There is a museum here also.

3. Albuquerque Museum

This museum has a rich history of the city covering over 400 years. It has artwork, pottery and exhibits. If you love history, this should be a must on your bucket list.

4. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

This is one of my favorite places to visit here. I really enjoy learning about the history of Native Americans, and they have lots of information here. They have one permanent exhibit and a couple rotating exhibits along with an extensive art gallery. If you can make it on a weekend, local tribes do dances here for the public to watch.

5. Nob Hill

This neighborhood is better known for its uniqueness and Route 66 themed buildings. It has a very eclectic atmosphere and is a lot of fun. There are both restaurants here to take those hunger pangs away and plenty of stores to shop in for yourself and souvenirs to bring home for friends and family.

6. Albuquerque Trolly Tour

If you want to get a good overview of the city taking one of the trolley tours is a great way to do it. There are a few different tours to choose from that cover different areas, so be sure to see which one meets your needs the best.

7. Breaking Bad Tour

Now obviously, this won’t be for everyone since not everyone watched this show, but if you are a fan you should check out the tour of Breaking Bad sites in the city. There is a company called Breaking Bad RV tours that will take you to all of these sites or you can do them on your own. A must see is The Candy Lady candy store that supplies the blue rock candy seen in Breaking Bad.

8. American International Rattlesnake Museum

I will be the first to say that I hate snakes and I really wasn’t all that excited about going here, but I gave in since the people I was with wanted to go. It actually was pretty informative, and I was surprised by all of the snakes they had here. Didn’t know there were that many rattlesnake species. If you’re looking for something a little different, check this out.

9. Sandia Peak Tramway

This is a definite must do! The views from the top are absolutely amazing and just beautiful. If you enjoy hiking, which we really don’t anymore, I’m told there are some great hiking trails up here. The tram ride takes about 15 minutes to go the 3 miles up the Sandia Mountains. There is a restaurant at the top and places to overlook the mountains and get some great pictures.

10. Balloon Rides and Balloon Festival

Albuquerque is probably best known for its balloon festival. Seeing all the balloons in the sky is a truly amazing sight. The festival is held in October and can be a really fun experience but keep in mind that not only is it really crowded, but hotel rooms are also more expensive during the festival. Now, I’m not saying don’t go during this time, just keep in mind how busy it gets. You can visit Albuquerque almost anytime during the year and see many of the colorful balloons in the air. You can also take balloon rides through a couple different companies. No matter when you go, just keep your eye to the sky to see these wonderful colorful balloons.

Extras

If you want to head out of the city a way, there are plenty of things to do. You can go to some of the many casinos, visit some of the pueblos or go to Petroglyph National Monument which is 15 minutes west of Albuquerque. You may also want to visit El Malpais National Monument or El Morro National Monument. If you have a few more days to explore, Santa Fe is only an hour north of Albuquerque.

Conclusion

As with any place you visit, there are plenty of things to keep you busy, the key is to investigate before you go to see what a place has to do that piques your interest. The things I mentioned above are things that either interest me or that are known to be places of interest to many tourists. Maybe you just want to enjoy the beauty of the area and relax. You could plan a spa weekend here. Whatever you choose to do here, this city is a great place to have an adventure. We hope to get people excited about traveling to a new place and see what it has to offer. You never know what you might find. Even if you just do a day trip close to home, there is always something new to discover.

By Greg and Peggy

We are two people who love to travel, thrift and play slot machines. We love going to new places, especially if there is a casino! We just want to share our adventures with people and hope to inspire them to explore and have fun!

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