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Your Guide to the Top Things to Do in Albuquerque

Your Guide to the Top Things to Do in Albuquerque

Discover Albuquerque through my eyes during our snowbird stay. This vibrant city offers a mix of attractions, delicious food, and rich history against a stunning backdrop perfect for every photo enthusiast. Embrace the Native American culture, family-friendly spots, and outdoor activities that make these the top things to do in Albuquerque, a New Mexico gem.

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ABQ Biopark

At the top of my Albuquerque favorites is the ABQ Biopark – an all-in-one experience with an aquarium, botanical garden, zoo, and even fishing lakes at Tingley Beach. The Aquarium’s colorful tanks house fascinating sea creatures (eels, stingrays, sharks, and more), while the Botanical Gardens boast themed displays and a historic farm.

biopark-aquarium

You could seriously spend hours or even days admiring all that there is between these attractions. Spend your day exploring the gardens, petting zoo, and butterfly haven for a memorable experience. My favorite was the botanical gardens, with fantastic displays, themed gardens, and even a 1920s heritage farm.

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Exploring the children’s area (with larger-than-life vegetables), seeing the animals at the heritage farm’s petting zoo, and getting the best photo ops at the butterfly gardens were excellent ways to spend my time.

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The grounds are large, so use a map and make a plan before you take off; you’ll thank me later. You can even bring in a picnic lunch, as many were doing.

The robust Mediterranean and Desert conservatories were my favorite part of the Biopark, with many rare plants and trees.

By the Way: If you like Botanical Gardens, have you seen the one in Huntsville?

Historic Old Town ABQ

For a must-see in Albuquerque, head to Historic Old Town – the heart and most exciting part of the city. Shop for unique Native American crafts, artwork, enjoy local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant artsy atmosphere.

historic-old-town-shops-and-goods

Make a stop at Church Street Cafe for yummy chips and queso and a historic setting. Treat yourself to cookies and sweets from Flying Roadrunner Bakery or sip locally-made wine at Noisy Water Winery. This is also where the Breaking Bad tour begins.

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Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Albuquerque, the Gateway to the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, offers a plethora of must-see attractions. One standout is the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, featuring captivating permanent and rotating exhibits showcasing native dress, artifacts, contemporary artwork, a Pueblo art collection, and 20 stunning murals by Pueblo artists.

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The center’s courtyard hosts cultural dance performances, native artisans displaying their crafts, and a variety of seasonal events. Admission is $12 for adults ($10 for residents), $8 for seniors/students, and $8 for youth aged 5-17. The cultural center is closed on Mondays.

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Don’t miss dining at the Indian Pueblo Kitchen, where you can savor delicious dishes like blue corn Onion Rings and the Monte Cristo with red-chile infused raspberry preserves. This ranked as one of the top meals we had over a two month stay in Albuquerque.

blue-corn-onion-rings

Petroglyph National Monument

For nature enthusiasts, the Petroglyph National Monument is a must see. Hike up the hillside at Boca Negra Canyon to admire ancient petroglyph images etched into basalt boulders by American Indians and Settlers 400 to 700 years ago.

Caution: Be on the lookout for poisonous snakes and tarantulas.

national-park-petroglyph-site-abq

Balloon Museum

Albuquerque is renowned for its hot air ballooning adventures, and the Balloon Museum is where you can learn alot more about them. Explore exhibits detailing the science of hot air ballooning and a fascinating collection of buttons and pins from ballooning events worldwide for an enriching experience.

Admission is only $5 and it serves as a great rainy day activity, too.

balloon-museum-entrance

I had an ultimate hot-air ballooning adventure in Gallup, which you can read about here.

Old Route 66

While strolling through Nob Hill, explore remnants of Route 66, the Mother Road. Although the Albuquerque segment may not be in the safest area, you can still enjoy unique shops, restaurants, and Route 66 memorabilia.

Be cautious as you navigate Central Avenue, where homeless individuals may engage in unsettling behavior, such as kicking and throwing things at cars stopped at the intersection. Despite this, downtown and Old Town areas of Route 66 offer a more relaxed atmosphere to explore, and we had no issues there.

route-66-restaurants-and-sculptures-albuquerque

Play and Bingo at Sandia Resort & Casino

Sandia Resort & Casino offers top-notch gaming with 2,300 slot machines and classic table games like baccarat and blackjack. Indulge in their restaurants and chic guest rooms, or head straight for the exceptional gambling experience.

Don’t miss their luxury spa, award-winning golf course with scenic views, and upcoming concerts by artists like Trevor Noah and Joe Bonamassa. Enjoy bingo in a clean and welcoming hall (as in one of the cleanest I’ve encountered in the country) with complimentary drinks and tasty treats available.

sandia-esort-and-casino-slot-machines

Explore Albuquerque’s Film History

Embark on the Breaking Bad RV tour to visit 17 iconic locations from the series, including Jesse’s house, Superb, and Los Pollos Hermanos. Dive into the vibrant mural scene scattered throughout the city or use murosABQ.com for a mural map guide. Two of my faves were Birds of Burque and Resilience.

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albuquerque-mural

Savor Albuquerque’s Culinary Delights

Embrace the ever-popular breakfast burrito culture in Albuquerque, where these flavorful morning motivators are a must-try. From Hatch green chili variations to quick bites at Blake’s Lotaburger or sit-down meals at Cocina Azul (our #1 pick), relish the diverse breakfast burrito options this southwest city offers.

green-chile-breakfast-burrito-albuquerque

For more of our dining adventures in Albuquerque, read this post.

Pro Tip: I had as good of breakfast burritos at fast food establishments as I did pay double or triple the price at a full-service restaurant.

Sandia Crest Byway/Aerial Tramway

Here are two great reasons to visit the Sandia Crest Byway. First, hop on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway for breathtaking views or take a scenic 50-minute drive to the top. Second, enjoy the 13.6-mile Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, with plenty of photo spots.

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Don’t miss Madrid, a small historic coal mining town with around 40 shops and art galleries, including Gypsy Gem, Maggie’s Diner from the Wild Hogs movie), and Roadrunner Studio & Gallery.

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Looking for more adventurous places to visit? How about these?

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A Grand Canyon Visit via RV

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