Albuquerque City Guide
Albuquerque is the largest city in the US state of New Mexico. Located on the banks of the Rio Grande River, within the upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert, it has one of the highest elevations, though the effect of this elevation is greatly tempered by the city’s southwesterly continental position.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Ranchos de Albuquerque and was named after Spain’s 10th Duke of Albuquerque.
Present-day Albuquerque retains much of its historical Spanish cultural heritage even though it is a bustling modern city home to the University of New Mexico (UNM) and prominent high-tech institutions like the Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.
Albuquerque becomes the cynosure of all eyes every year in the fall when it hosts the International Balloon Fiesta over two weeks every October and offers the wondrous sight of 100’s of hot air balloons sailing past. Vacations planned around these times can surely get you the best of the city.
If you are planning to travel for work, on a sight-seeing trip to Albuquerque or for the famous balloon festival, you may try our offerings of cheap hotels in Albuquerque and save a lot of money.
Where to stay in Albuquerque
Albuquerque hotels can be found all over the city and are not limited to one neighborhood. Depending on your reason for being in Albuquerque, you can choose to stay in any of its many neighborhoods like the Historic Old Town, which has been the heart of Albuquerque ever since the city was founded in 1706. It is the city's cultural center and home to seven museums and more than 100 shops, galleries and restaurants.
Downtown Albuquerque is currently being revitalized and is located along the city’s main thoroughfare of Central Avenue or Route 66. This downtown area of Albuquerque features nightclubs, theaters, restaurants and hosts the Albuquerque Convention Center which is surrounded by various major hotels. It is no wonder then that downtown Albuquerque is quite a popular accommodation choice in the city.
Nob Hill, which is located just east of the University of New Mexico, is yet another vibrant neighborhood in Albuquerque that is populated with eclectic shops, swank dining, and chic nightspots and locally owned shops, galleries as well as hotels.
Other popular accommodation choices in the city include the Albuquerque airport area, which is home to Albuquerque's world-renowned airport, major sport stadiums and arenas, as well as Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories.
Myriad hotels, guest houses and other budget accommodation options are situated in the city’s Midtown/University area, which is centered on the University of New Mexico campus and the I-25/I-40 (Big I) interchange.
The Uptown area of Albuquerque attracts its own share of visitors as it home to a major business center, the EXPO NM. The business center is home to the New Mexico State Fair, one of the largest State Fairs in the country. The Expo NM also functions as a major venue for sporting events, festivals and concerts. The city’s lush green North Valley/Los Ranchos/Corrales neighborhood located along the Rio Grande valley is also popular with visitors as it hosts several resort and spa hotels.
Places to see in Albuquerque
Albuquerque offers a whole host of diverse attractions that have something for every type of visitor.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The Sandia Peak Ariel Tramway is the world’s longest continuous jig back passenger tramway and provides access to the summit of the Sandia Crest. This summit affords gorgeous views of Albuquerque and beyond. This tramway heads to the top of the Sandia Crest from the desert foothills in about 20 minutes.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, located in the historic Old Town area of Albuquerque, was set up to provide an insight into New Mexico's rich Native American cultural heritage and the 19 individual pueblo communities of the State. The Pueblo Cultural center features a recreation of Pueblo Bonito, a ruined Indian village in the Chaco Culture National Historic Park that dates back to the 9th century. Further, the center also encompasses a museum that offers exhibits of early photographs, artifacts, artworks and a restaurant that serves traditional fare and features traditional dance performances
American International Rattlesnake Museum
The fascinating American International Rattlesnake Museum is an animal conservation effort that provides an exciting educational experience as well as aims to show the role rattlesnakes play in our day to day lives. The museum naturally hosts a large collection of live rattlesnakes that are housed in recreated natural habitats.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
This exciting museum must be considered a must-visit place if you are planning vacations to Albuquerque with your children since it chronicles the evolution of the universe from its origin 12 billion years ago up until current times. It features exhibits of the ice-ages, the dinosaur ages, a fossil center, an aquarium, a planetarium and a giant screen theater amongst others.
The Albuquerque Museum located on the edge of the city’s Old Town catalogues New Mexico’s rich cultural history and offers exhibits of numerous Spanish colonial artifacts that illustrate this history. The museum also offers interactive exhibits and a theater. The museum runs walking tours of the Old Town during spring, summer and fall at 11 am every day.
Balloon Fiesta Park
The 360 acre Balloon Fiesta Park hosts the spectacular annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October every year. The park hosts other attractions like the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, Albuquerque Golf Training Center and the Albuquerque Golf Training Center. The park, additionally, has facilities for various recreational activities like ballooning, field sports, golf, walking, jogging, biking, running and more.
Best time to visit Albuquerque
Best time to plan and visit Albuquerque depends on a visitor’s individual preference as the city offers both summertime and wintertime recreational activities.
The summer months in Albuquerque are quite warm and dry and are characterized with temperatures that rise to well over 90ºF (32ºC) on most days, particularly during the months of June and July.
Winters in Albuquerque are often cold and daytime temperatures often plummet to below freezing in months of December and January; though the city doesn’t receive any snowfall. Snow, however, does fall in the Sandia Peak area and this enables it to offer skiing facilities during the winter months.
Additionally, the city also experiences a short rainy season during the months of July and August when afternoon thunderstorms are a common occurrence. Albuquerque typically receives a huge influx of tourists in the first two weeks of October when it hosts the renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Hotel rates usually rise during this time.
If you are making your Albuquerque hotel reservations through our services at Fare Buzz, you don’t need to worry as you can be assured of getting attractive hotel rates for all destinations at all times of the year even during peak tourist seasons.
Getting around in Albuquerque
Until you stay close enough to the city and can drive to it, you may want to try the various domestic flights options available from top airlines. With Fare Buzz, you can access discounted domestic flight throughout the year and have some savings straightaway.
To ensure a nice start, you can arrange rented cars from the airport itself or enquire whether the pick-up service is provided by the hotel or not.
Albuquerque is equipped with a public bus system but the service is not very extensive and it doesn’t serve many of the city’s main attractions. In addition to these buses, the city is also equipped with metered taxis, which are easily available outside main transport terminals and the city’s major hotels. One of the easiest ways to get around Albuquerque, however, is to go for car rentals and drive as the sprawling city is quite well laid out and easily navigable.
Where to shop in Albuquerque
Albuquerque offers a wealth of shopping options at its many eclectic stores. The product offerings at these stores include native art, pottery, soft furnishings furniture, unique jewelry, accessories and novel gift items sourced from the southwest, as well as various other parts of the globe.
Stores like Skip Maisel(Indian jewelry and craft), Yucca Art Gallery, New Mexico Bead and Fetish(native American crafts and jewelry making supplies),Peacecraft(fair trade products sourced from around the world), the Turquoise Museum (native American jewelry) and Sumner and Dene (lifestyle products and gifts) attract both locals and visitors alike with their varied, one of a kind delights that make great gifts and souvenirs too.
However, if you rather shop at familiar stores for the offerings of recognized brands, you will not be disappointed as Alburqueque also hosts large malls and shopping centers, like ABQ Uptown, the Coronado Center and the Cottonwood Mall. These malls host several outlets of well-known, big name brands like Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Gap, Bebe, the Apple store and many more.
Where to eat in Albuquerque
Albuquerque’s multi-cultural heritage is showcased by way of its diverse restaurant offerings. Eateries in this ancient New Mexican city serve up a smorgasbord of cuisines including the region’s native fare that displays distinct Mexican, Native American and even Spanish influences.
Well-regarded dining spots in Albuquerque, which are worth a try currently include eateries like Guava Tree Café (Latin American and Caribbean fare), Sakura Sushi and Grill and Kokoro (both Japanese), Sadie’s on fourth, Frontier Restaurant (both New Mexican), Tacqueria Mexico (Mexican), San Pedro Middle East Restaurant, Jennifer James 101 (both New American), Saigon Far East (Vietnamese) and Café Jean Pierre (French).
Nightlife in Albuquerque
Albuquerque offers an abundance of nightlife options that cater to all tastes and preferences. Casinos, bars, dance clubs, breweries, cocktail lounges ensure that visitors to Albuquerque never experience a dull moment during their stay in the city. Albuquerque’s casinos like the Hard Rock hotel and Casino, the Sandia Resort and Casino, the Santa Ana Star Casino in addition to gambling options like gaming tables, poker and slot machines also host shows and live-music concerts.
Other popular nightlife haunts in the city include hotspots like the Launchpad and the Effex night clubs, the One Up Elevated lounge, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Ibiza (a roof top lounge), Chama River Microbar, Miss Saigon Bar and Grill, the Library Bar and Grill, and Blackbird Buvette (all bars).
Also recommended is the KiMo Theater, a prominent performing arts venue in the city that routinely hosts music shows and various other performances.