Things to do in Albuquerque, NM
Get Your Bearings in Albuquerque
Caution: Best to take a shuttle to the Balloon Fiesta, as individual cars can sometimes wait 2 hours in traffic.
Avoid: Riding the Tramway during Balloon Fiesta - lines are way too long.
Caution: If coming to Albuquerque for balloon fiesta, you must make your reservation many months in advance, as rooms sell out.
Avoid: Lower-priced hotels on Central.
Avoid: The high prices and lackluster service at the High Finance restaurant at the top of the Tramway.
Be Sure to Sample: 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.
Avoid: The bars on Central in the wee hours or major holidays as the crowds can be overwhelming.
Take It or Leave It: 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.