Things to do in Albuquerque, NM
Get Your Bearings in Albuquerque
Best to take a shuttle to the Balloon Fiesta, as individual cars can sometimes wait 2 hours in traffic.
Riding the Tramway during Balloon Fiesta - lines are way too long.
If coming to Albuquerque for balloon fiesta, you must make your reservation many months in advance, as rooms sell out.
Lower-priced hotels on Central.
The high prices and lackluster service at the High Finance restaurant at the top of the Tramway.
A steak at High Noon in Old Town, the muffaletta at Relish, the queso at El Pinto and the lobster bisque at Marcello's Chophouse.
The bars on Central in the wee hours or major holidays as the crowds can be overwhelming.
The outdoor summer concerts at the Albuquerque Museum are great, but you must have a ticket beforehand, as they sell out and you can't get one at the door.
Things to do in Albuquerque
Albuquerque is known for...
1. Sandia Mountains:
The city is nestled at the base of the Sandia Mountains, a defining visual which always tells you where "east" is. the entire city is built on a slope that stretches toward the desert floor (with volcanos visible on the horizon!). Watching the changing weather at the top of Sandia (which means watermelon in Spanish) is a citywide pasttime.
City residents are devoted to their chile peppers. State legislators even voted for "Red or Green?" as the Official State Question, a query proffered by restaurant servers to determine your preference of chile sauce. (Either can be hotter on any given day; ask which is which) Everything from cheeseburgers to enchiladas is served with chile sauce, but locals just call it chile.
3. Hot Air Balloons:
Fall draws balloon enthusiasts from around the world to Balloon Fiesta, but balloonists practice their sport year-round. It's not surprising to see half a dozen balloons aloft on any given morning. Look west. The unusual air currents in Albuquerque create a "box" in which balloonists can fly and return to near their starting point. The city also has a world-class balloon museum, adjacent to the beautiful Balloon Fiesta fairgrounds. Open year-round, it's full of surprises and fun for all ages. While you're shopping around town, you'll see lots of balloon-themed goods, and with reason. Albuquerque is known around the world as a destination for balloonists and enthusiasts.
4. Route 66:
"America's Highway" plays a big role in Albuquerque's beautifully renovated downtown. Great photo opps await here, and some very funky old motels line the far less glamorous stretch east of UNM. Take a drive and see what you discover.
Large indian reservations surround the city, and over the years each of them has built bigger and better casinos. Sandia Casino & Resort has the full range of live and digital gaming, but also top-notch touring shows, a fabulous rooftop bar, and a beautiful golf course. Isleta Casino, on the city's south side, has partnered with the Hard Rock and provides visitors a more glamorous hotel experience but a similar casino. Many of the casinos are now destinations, drawing patrons for large buffets, poker tournaments and special musical events. But gambling always takes center stage.