If you’re thinking of traveling to Albuquerque for a weekend adventure, the city offers a wide variety of exciting tastes and sites that you can enjoy. When it comes to great eating, flavors of the southwest and Mexico prevail. In addition to all the dining choices, Albuquerque offers an abundance of things to do including great sightseeing, outdoor activities, museums and even an internationally renowned hot air balloon fiesta.

The Best Time to Visit

Summer months are certainly the hottest with temperatures getting quite warm in the mid to high 90s. The best time to visit Albuquerque is in the fall, from September to November, when temperatures cool and outdoor activities are a bit more enjoyable. Skiers and snowboarders alike may want to go closer to winter when Sandia Peak in Albuquerque and Ski Santa Fe are at their best. Whenever you decide to go, you will probably see sunshine as this city averages 310 days of sunshine per year.

Albuquerque Top Eats

Albuquerque is home to a wide variety of great places to grab a bite. Here are a few of our favorite spots in the city:

  • Gardunios – One the cities favorite mexican restaurants offering many classic New Mexican dishes. This restaurant also made an appearance in the hit TV show Breaking Bad!
  • Dions – With a handful of locations around the city, Dions serves up some of the best Pizza in the city.
  • Frontier – Considered by many locals a landmark of the city, Frontier serves up some truly mouth watering New Mexican dishes. This is one restaurant we wouldn’t recommend missing on your next trip to Albuquerque.
  • Fork & Fig – Serving up the best burgers and sandwiches in the city. Here you can try their famous Elk burger, smoked brisket sandwich (known as a Sammy) or a delicious crab and lobster wrap.
  • Sopaipillas – For those not familiar, sopaipillas are a popular local fried pastry that you must try when in Albuquerque. While there are many places in the city serving up sopaipillas, we recommend trying them at Cocina Azul or Perea’s New Mexican Restaurant.

Sightseeing in Albuquerque

For those in search of a great view, you may enjoy taking the gondola ride up to Sandia Peak which offers fabulous views of the city as well as the surrounding terrain and canyons. The tramway starts at the base of the Peak and takes you up the top where you can enjoy the view and snap some pictures. After admiring the amazing views, you can dine at Sandiagos which is a restaurant perched on the top of the peak.

For those in search of some local history, you can visit the first neighborhood in the city, historic Old Town, which offers a variety of shopping, dining and museums. While in Old Town, enjoy dining options that mix Native American, Mexican and Spanish flavors as well as the exquisite taste of the chile pepper; the question that will be asked is, “Red or Green?”. Both types of chile make dining in Old Town an experience not to be missed during your visit.

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Visitors can catch a show at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, located in Old Town, where you can enjoy a meal as well. Traveling exhibits, history and its permanent collection make this a fun adventure during your stay. It is open Tuesday through Sunday so it is great for a weekend traveler. You can also grab something to eat at the Slate Cafe, located at the museum. One very nice perk for visitors; Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, enjoy free admission. The museum also offers free walking tours of Old Town.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

If you are visiting with kids, make sure to stop at this dinosaur focused museum which also has a planetarium. Here you can learn about the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of New Mexico through a variety of fun and exciting exhibits. The museum is open every day of the week and is free to New Mexico residents on the first Sunday of every month.

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Taking place annually in early October, the Balloon Fiesta draws visitors from around the globe. Taking place in Fiesta Park, a mass ascension of colorful hot air balloons take to the sky. You’ll see balloons that depict a variety of favorite characters including Darth Vader and Yoda. For those early birds, you can see balloons as they rise at 7 am, but be prepared for cool morning weather. There are many events going on at the Balloon Fiesta, such as an arts and crafts show. Be prepared for a magical and enchanting event unlike anything else you have ever seen.

Outdoor Sports & Activities

If you visit during the winter, enjoying downhill skiing at Sandia Peak. Take the tramway up or drive up 45 minutes from metro Albuquerque. It is typically not very crowded and will give you a chance to experience some great views. At the mountain, there is a rental shop, snow sports school and a cafe as well.

During the summer months, visitors can hike on Sandia Peak or mountain bike in the foothills. Be sure to check any fire restrictions for Cibola National Forest before you plan to hike on Sandia Mountain. Go fishing or hike the area of Tingley Lake; they rent paddleboats and bicycles there as well.

Another great outdoor activity in the summer is to Paddle board or kayak in the slow and low waters of the Rio Grande near Albuquerque. The Rio Grande is faster moving as it heads north, but in Albuquerque it is ideal for paddling fun. You can also take windsurfing lessons at Cochiti Lake, about an hour north of the city.

Another favorite for a quick hike in the summer is the Petroglyph National Monument, located to the west of Albuquerque. It’s the largest site of petroglyphs, with symbols and designs carved by early Spanish settlers and Native Americans.

A Day Trip to Santa Fe

If you happen to be an art enthusiast or just want to venture out from Albuquerque, take a ride up to Santa Fe for a few hours. The drive to Santa Fe is about an hour or you can take the Rail Runner. The trip takes you through ancient Pueblo lands and as it whisks you towards downtown Santa Fe where shopping and art galleries await.

With so much to see and do in Albuquerque, the above suggestions just represent a slice of what this great city has to offer. If you have any other favorite places or activities you discover during your next trip to Albuquerque, let us know in the comments section below.

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