New Mexico, also called as the Land of Enchantment, is a state that is true to its moniker. Upon visiting the city, you’ll be surprised to see how beautiful a lot of its area is. It is one of the biggest states in the U.S., in fact, it is the 5th largest. That being said, you may want to plan your trip before you get to the state as there are a lot of tourist spots to choose from. To get you started, we are doing a guide on the city of Albuquerque.

Albuquerque is the county seat of the Bernalillo County and it is also the most populous state in New Mexico. It serves as the central hub for the state and there are a lot of attractions to visit it in. In the entirety of New Mexico, we find Albuquerque as the best city to visit. Before we dive deeper into the city, here’s a short guide on traveling essentials first.

How To Get To Albuquerque

As Albuquerque is the central hub of New Mexico, there are a few options you can take to get there whether you are coming from other cities, other states, and even other countries. If you are coming from somewhere far off, you may want to book a flight that gets you to the Albuquerque Airport. This serves various airlines including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Airline, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, New Mexico Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Volaris.

What’s great is that there are nonstop flights to and from the major cities in the U.S. You can also expect very few ground delays as the airport is very well-managed. To top it all off, there are a lot of rental car services just outside the airport so you can get to your hotel very easily upon arrival.

Alternatively, you can take the Amtrak line to get yo Albuquerque. The city is a major stop on the line between Chicago and Los Angeles so if you are coming from these cities, you can easily get too Albuquerque but be prepared for a long trip. If you are coming from other parts of New Mexico, you can take the Greyhound buses instead. You can also ride the NM Rail Runner express which is a high-speed rail train service that runs through the city as well as Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Los Lunas and Belen.

Getting Around Albuquerque

Getting around Albuquerque is fairly easy as there are many public transportation options to choose from. However, we recommend getting a rental car instead as it is cheaper and more convenient. There are numerous service providers just outside the Albuquerque Airport. Some of the companies that offer great deals are Enterprise Rent-A-Car, E-Z Rent-A-Car and Avis Car Rental. Most of these companies require you to reserve cars in advance so be sure to hit them up days before your flight.

Aside from taxis, there are a multitude of public transportation options for you as well. Locals mostly rely on the ABQ Ride bus service to get around the city and you should too as well. The routes and schedules of the buses are available for viewing as well. Another option is the NM Rail Runner system which is fast, affordable and comfortable.

If these aren’t your preferred modes of transportation, do take note that ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also readily available in Albuquerque.

Budget For Albuquerque

A great thing about traveling to Albuquerque is that the city is relatively cheap to explore. In fact, you will probably get by with $100 per day. If you are a  budget traveler, you can whittle down that budget to at least $70 only. We suggest doing this as you’ll get the most of your time visiting this wonderous city.

For accommodation, you are most likely to spend up to $25 on the room. If you want to save on the room, go for hostels within the city proper. These are generally cheaper. While the rooms themselves are far from grand, you’ll be spending most of your time outside so this wouldn’t matter too much.

One area you are most likely to spend a lot on is on your traveling expenses. Your bus tickets and taxi fares are most likely going to set you back at least $30. We suggest renting a car instead. You can get a rental for at least $6 per day and if including gas, you’ll only need $15. It is the more convenient and budget friendly choice.

Food-wise, you can spend up to $20 on food. Keep in mind that Albuquerque is a huge city and there are many places to dine at. Look for the cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurants so you can get your fill for a small price.

Best Time To Visit Albuquerque

Autumn is generally the best time to visit Albuquerque so you should set your eyes on visiting sometime between September through October. During this season, the weather is more tame at the 70s and 80s. Aside from that, there are a few events and festivals that you should be on the lookout for.

During September, the events you can participate in are Albuquerque Hopfest, iGlobalquerque, New Mexico State Fair, and the Old Town Salsa Fiesta. September is generally a popular time to visit as well because of these events. Do take note however, that hotels are going to take advantage of this months popularity. Watch out for high hotels rates and fully booked establishments. It would be best to plan for this trip months ahead.

Another popular season is winter. The winter is mild in Albuquerque as its plays around the high 40s to mid 50s. During this season, skiers are abundant in the Sandia Mountains because of the snow. In the city itself, rooms will be at standard price. However, if you are anywhere near the ski spots, prepare to pay a little extra.

Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the most talked-about places, especially in the month of October. This is because it is the time of the year where thousands of people – locals and tourists alike – flock the Land of Enchantment to get a chance to witness and/or take part in the International Balloon Festival.

Top-Rated Things to Do in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the most talked-about places, especially in the month of October. This is because it is the time of the year where thousands of people – locals and tourists alike – flock the Land of Enchantment to get a chance to witness and/or take part in the International Balloon Festival.

For starters, it is where people from all over the world get a chance to participate in hot air ballooning events in Albuquerque for more than a week. Tourists and locals of all ages can get to see nearly 600 colorful hot air balloons take the sky. Apart from that, there are food stalls, bands, and other activities to enjoy as well. Visitors can also get a chance to chat with the balloon pilot to take off. And, of course, people can book a private hot air balloon flight too.

But if you’re kind of tired of this kind of activity, here are some more top-rated things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Some are cool and some are uniquely cool so don’t forget to check each one of it out.

1Check out the Old Town Plaza

albuquerque new mexico
San Felipe de Neri Church (Source)

If you want to take a trip down memory lane and see a glimpse of Albuquerque’s past, the Old Town Plaza is a must-visit. It has full of portions of the past; hence touring it makes it one of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque. Its buildings, which are styled with adobe, with shops and restaurants that line the streets alone are a sight to see. It also has San Felipe de Neri Church which is known as one of the oldest building in town. In this area, you can get to see Capilla de Nostra Senora de Guadalupe, a small cross-shaped chapel, as well which was dedicated to Mexico’s first saint.

2Hunt for Ghosts

albuquerque new mexico
The Old Town at night (Source)

Speaking of the Old Town Plaza, this place isn’t just for seeking to see a glimpse of its past but it’s also for those seeking some adventure – a terrifying one. If you feel a little braver and want to experience some chilling adventures, then signing up for ghost tours is one of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque as well. You see, Albuquerque also has a rich history. It hides lots of legends and stories of the past and it also has mysterious avenues and dark alleys for you to explore. This kind of tour isn’t just unique and exciting but it also lets you get to know more stories about the town’s past. It’s not for the faint of heart, though.

3Ride North America’s longest aerial tram

albuquerque new mexico
Sandia Peak’s aerial tram

Riding the longest aerial tram, also known as the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, in North America is one of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque too (for the record it’s so long that the tram ride would take you about 15 minutes to ascend the steep western part of the Sandia Mountains). But its title isn’t the only thing that makes it worth trying. Rather, you’ll also get to see parts of Albuquerque in a different view. Located in the Sandia Foothills, this famous tramway in Albuquerque stretches from the northeast edge of the city up to the crest of the awe-inspiring Sandia Mountains.

4Have a picnic at Elena Gallegos Open Space

albuquerque new mexico
Sandia Mountain showing off its watermelon-like color (Source)

Speaking of the Sandia Mountains, if you will visit its foothills, you can get to have a picnic at its 640-acre park called Elena Gallegos Open Space. Aside from having a picnic, you can also get to witness the beauty of Sandia Mountains even more as this area provides a the best view to see its watermelon-like color that becomes more vivid as the sun sets.

5Get to know the history of balloon flight

Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Source)

Hot air balloons are famous in Albuquerque, thanks to its International Balloon Festival. But wouldn’t it be nicer to learn more about it instead?

Albuquerque has its own balloon museum and exploring it is one of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque that we highly recommend, especially if you’re tired of the huge crowd that flock the town during the International Balloon Festival. Known as the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, this attraction lets you can get to experience high-flying adventures as it educates you about the history of balloon flight through its exhibits. In addition to that, you can also get more insights on how balloons are utilized for a variety of experiments, exploratory missions, adventures, and sporting feats.

6See the exciting world of racing

Some of the cars on display at the Unser Museum (Source)

Speaking of museums, there is another museum in Albuquerque that is also a must to add on the list of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque – and that is the Unser Racing Museum. Whether you are fond of racing and cars or not, you’ll still love it here as it is full of antique cars, trophies, and other fascinating memorabilia on display that gives you a peek of the history, as well as the future of the world of racing as it celebrates the country’s own racing family, the Unsers, at the same time. There are multi-dimensional interactive displays as well that will allow you to feel what it’s like to be a racer.

7Party bike around the town

What the 14-passenger party bike looks like (Source)

If you want to see more of Albuquerque, then riding a bike around town is one of the top-rated things to do in Albuquerque that we can recommend as well. But we’re not just talking about the usual bike that we see. Rather, we’re talking about a 14-passenger bike (from the Duke City Pedaler) that will take you on a cruise around the streets of the land of the enchantment. Aside from the unique sightseeing activity, with this tour, you’ll stop at various bars, restaurants, and pubs that you can find throughout the city too. You don’t have to worry if you can’t pedal a bike as there are four seats available at the rear of the bike that are for non-pedaling guests.

8Bike around Paseo del Bosque

A glimpse of the Paseo del Bosque’s biking trail (Source)

And speaking of biking, you can also bike around the trails that Paseo del Bosque, one of Southwestern United States’ environmental corridors, has to offer. It’s a great place to be, especially if you want to get closer to nature. The best part of it is that it offers a great opportunity to see some wildlife. There are also detour attractions that are worth talking about such as the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park that boasts of its exhibits that introduce the geology, history, and ecology of the Rio Grande Valley to the public.

9Try its extreme rides

A first person POV on one of Cliff’s Amusement Park’s rides (Source)

If you’re in for some top-rated things to do in Albuquerque that are blood-rushing, Cliff’s Amusement Park is a must-visit. This amusement park boasts of it wooden roller coaster called the New Mexico Rattler and its Super Fire Ball ride that spins you 13 times in a minute. These rides will surely keep your heart pumping with excitement. Of course, it also has more rides so better check each one of them out.

10Visit the KiMo Theater

KiMo Theater’s exteriors at night (Source)

The KiMo Theater is also one of the famous architectural landmarks in Albuquerque. With its combination of somewhat a gaudy Pueblo-Revival-Art Deco and adobe architectural styles gorgeous architectural design, this place is totally is worth buzzing about. It also has paintings and images of Native American cultures as well. You can also get to see various amazing performances. You can check out their calendar here. But aside from these, the KiMo Theater is also known to be haunted. See it for yourself and tour the theater. They have both self-guided and guided tours available.

11Explore the Petroglyph National Monument

A glimpse of the images hewn on the rocks (Source)

Albuquerque, indeed, is full of history. And if you want to get to know its past, there are several museums that are worth exploring. But if you want to see some really old stuff, heading to the Petroglyph National Monument is one of the top-rated things in Albuquerque that are worth doing. Located in the westernmost part of the city, this national monument serves as a home to approximately 20,000 ancient images hewn in its volcanic rocks. These images is believed to be made by the continent’s earliest inhabitants. However, these artifacts found on the 7,236-acre park can be accessed via several hiking trails. So if you want to see it, might as well prepare yourself for some hiking.

12Drive into the Musical Highway

The musical highway looking plain that you won’t even know it plays a music if not for the signboard (Source)

This activity isn’t just one of the top-rated things to do but it is also probably the most unique and the coolest. You see, you’ll never get to drive in a highway that plays music anywhere else but in Albuquerque.

Installed in 2014 as a part of a partnership between the National Geographic Channel and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, this road really plays a sound like the song titled America the Beautiful. However, note that you won’t get to hear it if you drive with your own pace. Rather, you’d have to drive at exactly 45 miles per hour to hear it. Be amazed or sing along as you drive, no one’s going to stop you. We we’re fascinated too!

However, some say that the song has already gotten a bit out of tune. But there’s only one way to find out, head eastbound on Route 33 between the mile markers 4 and 5 to see (or hear) it for yourself.


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