The 10 Best Things to Do in Albuquerque, United States

November 24, 2017 Major Galusha

Whether you're into history, culture, outdoor adventures or just in need of some new and unique scenery, Albuquerque offers exciting attractions for all ages and interests, anytime of the year. In the historic section of Old Town, ancient Indian and Spanish cultures come to life through old churches, quaint shops and piazzas, winding brick paths and adobe benches. Browsers can spend a whole day making their way through the more than 100 stores, boutiques and galleries that sell Southwestern goods as well as unique products from around the world. During the winter holiday season, Old Town is adorned with small lit candles and thousands come to stroll through the streets, listen to live music and celebrate. It is truly a sight to see. But the history doesn't stop there. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Petroglyph National Monument offer a glimpse of old Indian customs and art. Families will find plenty to do at the Albuquerque Biological Park, which features a zoo, aquarium and botanic garden. Outdoor types will find ample opportunities for hiking, biking and golf. After working up an appetite, head to any number of fine restaurants that serve up a choice of hot or even hotter New Mexican cuisine. To top it all off, take a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway for spectacular views of all this vibrant city has to offer.
Restaurants in Albuquerque

1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Presented by Canon

5000 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113 +1 505-821-1000
Excellent
87%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 368 reviews

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Presented by Canon

Imagine over 500 colorful hot air balloons rising up at dawn over the New Mexico landscape… there's truly nothing like it, and the place to experience it is each October at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Spectators and balloon pilots from all over the world gather (some even camping in their RVs) to watch mass ascensions held in the mornings and night events like a 'glowdeo' held in the evening. Music stages are set up during the day and performers stroll through the festival crowds. Every year the Balloon Fiesta kicks off on the first Saturday of October and continues for nine days.

Reviewed By Suzibeaton - Kilwinning, United Kingdom

We found out the information from our hotel about the Balloon festival and were disappointed to find out that we had missed the balloons going up at night. However we were informed that we could see the balloons going up the following morning.

We got up very early at 6.30am! It was freezing so if you are going early in the morning wrap up as i was frozen even with the sun shining. The staff at the hotel advised us that when they watch the balloons they find a street off the freeway and park up and watch the balloons.

We found a car showroom retail park and parked up with a great view of where the balloons would be ascending. It was extremely cold but lovely to see the sun rising. there was no one else parked beside us until bit later.

Disappointingly there was a problem with the ascension as we were watching at the allocated time and nothing happened. We went online and you can get exact information and the wind was the problem. I was worried they wouldn't be able to go up and we were leaving to go onto Gallup. We then saw 1/2 balloons going up and got excited but that was it. After about an hr and half 20 balloons went up and was an amazing sight to see them all going up at different times. There wasn't the mass ascension we were expected butt more and more began to ascend to the skies.

We moved on and had to get petrol and there was a petrol station nearby which was extremely busy with people now watching the ascension which was in mid flow.

I'm glad we got up early and were able to see this amazing sight. Defo worth going to if you can.

2. Explora Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque

1701 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104-1396 +1 505-224-8300
Excellent
80%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 714 reviews

Explora Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque

Explora is an innovative learning place, part science center, part children's museum, providing fun, truly hands-on activities in science, technology, and art for people of all ages, from toddlers to teens to adults. We have an early childhood learning area, including a special area for toddlers to explore, and children and adults enjoy not only our two main floors of exhibit activities, but our outdoor decks with views, giant building blocks, playground patio, and gift shop filled with entertaining and educational items great for at home or travel fun. We offer after-school, home school, and early childhood classes, plus winter, spring, and summer camps for kids. Located in Albuquerque's historic Old Town, Explora has free parking and is perfectly situated for a walk to the nearby park, shops, and restaurants. We close Jan 1, July 4, the week after labor day, Thanksgiving, Dec. 25. We close early at 2pm Dec. 24 & 31.

Reviewed By Helen L - Albuquerque

Explora! is a great place. My only criticism is that the times they acknowledge that adults might want to experience what they offer without having to shove kids aside (no, just kidding, we don't do that) are infrequent.

3. Unser Racing Museum

1776 Montano Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107-3245 +1 505-341-1776
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 307 reviews

Unser Racing Museum

Reviewed By gcleff11 - Cheney, Wa

Loved this place. I grew up watching Bobby, Al, and Junior, but it was really informative reading about the triumph--and tragedy--of the senior Unsers, and Momma Unser's passion for chilli. I knew nothing about them, but came away with a total understanding of the family's intense competitive nature towards open-wheel racing, and fixation on the Indy 500. Add to the history learned, was an incredible display of static vehicles, that made this 50-something fella feel like a wide-eyed 10-year old boy. So cool. I must state it is a bit of a 'dude' place, but also saw a lot of nice spouses patiently accompanying their hubbies while they drooled at all that metal muscle. A great place to visit for a couple of hours, and come away with new knowledge of this famous family...

4. La Luz Trail

2113 Osuna Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113-1001 +1 505-346-2650
Excellent
77%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 186 reviews

La Luz Trail

Reviewed By GRWLR51 - O'Fallon, Illinois

First, be aware that the tram could shutdown while on your way up. This happened to me when apparently it got too windy. I arrived and found out my only choice was to hike back down the 8 mile trek again!! NOOOO!! Fortunately i happened to catch someone just leaving the restaurant work site and they gave me a ride (thank you Lord!)
Don’t let that happen to you. Look at the weather, and watch the times for the Tram.

I’m not much of a hiker but I’m in decent shape. This was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done just because it is so long and the altitude is so high. It took me almost 4 hours to complete the nearly 8 miles and 5,000’ climb. The view all the way up it is just incredible.

There is still quite a bit of snow on the trail so i would definitely suggest something more waterproof than sneakers.

But it’s must try. It’s just beautiful.

5. Sandia Peak Tramway

30 Tramway Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122-2018 +1 505-856-7325
Excellent
71%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Sandia Peak Tramway

The world's longest aerial tram ride takes visitors 2.7 miles to the 10,000-foot peak of the Sandia Mountains.

Reviewed By Deborahh1953 - Backus, Minnesota

Until 4/12/2018. Check their website for details. Meanwhile - - check out Tinkertown for fun and laughter. It’s on the way to the Sandia Peak. The drive to the peak and views from the top are spectacular!

6. ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

2601 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104-1615 +1 505-848-7112
Excellent
69%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 651 reviews

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

Reviewed By Tabitha K - Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

We are ABQ BioPark members. This place is beautiful and amazing. When the weather is nice, we go often. Employees are courteous and friendly.

7. Cibola National Forest

Albuquerque, NM
Excellent
74%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 146 reviews

Cibola National Forest

A 1.5-million-acre park whose elaborate trail system includes La Luz Trail, which climbs over 3,300 feet in nine miles.

Reviewed By Sandi M - Sandia Park, New Mexico

Beautiful terrain and views. Hiking ,mountain biking and sledding and skiing in winter. All on east side of mountain. I do not think it is a good idea if you have breathing problems. I have taken people up there and the altitude made it difficult for them to breath. It is over 10,000 ft in altitude so be aware if you are not use to the altitude just be aware and look for dizziness and breathing problems. Otherwise a magnificent place to visit.

8. Elena Gallegos Park

Off Simms Park Road, Albuquerque, NM 87111
Excellent
75%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 167 reviews

Elena Gallegos Park

Reviewed By 944phyllisk - Albuquerque, New Mexico

While there are lots of picnic areas to enjoy, this seems to be a launch off point for many a hiker. Lots of trails into the Sandias to be found here. There are toilets and a water tap at the start of the Pino Trail. There is a $3 charge per car for entrance.

9. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

2401 12th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104-2302 +1 866-855-7902
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Owned and run by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, this important center showcases the history of the Pueblo people through ancient artifacts, dance demonstrations and art exhibits.

Reviewed By Rosario_it - Brussels

Without doubt the best museum in Albuquerque.
We visited it before leaving Albuquerque and going to Santa Fè.
The museum if quite big and there are several sections to see all dedicated to the Native Americans (several groups) living in this area.
At particular times there are also some spectacles but we didn't had any during our visit.

10. KiMo Theatre

423 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102-3219 +1 505-768-3522
Excellent
74%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 130 reviews

KiMo Theatre

Reviewed By DeanMurphy2020 - Orlando, Florida

KiMo Theatre is arguably the city’s most renowned landmark. Constructed in 1927 in the extravagant Pueblo Revival/Art Deco architectural style, it blends adobe decorative motifs from indigenous cultures and linear elements of Art Deco architecture common in the 1920s. This 3-story adobe structure seeped in native pueblo architecture literally translated from the Tewa language means “mountain lion.” Fifty years after construction, KiMo had fallen into disrepair. It has undergone several restorations returning it to the former glory and is again open for public performances, seating about 650 visitors.

With Halloween approaching, I’d be remiss not to mention that KiMo is allegedly haunted by Robbie Darnall’s ghost. The age six boy was killed in 1951 (the year before my birth) when a water heater in the lobby exploded. The staff now maintains a space in a backstage stairwell for offerings in an attempt to appease the spirit. Wooooo☺

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