Albuquerque -

Get In

By car
Two interstates pass through Albuquerque: I-40 goes east-west and I-25 goes north-south. Albuquerque's Central Avenue is part of old Route 66.

By plane
Albuquerque International Sunport (ABS) has service from all major US airlines and their international partners, and is a major hub for Southwest Airlines. One tip: If you're prone to airsickness, try to get flights into this airport that arrive either before noon or after sundown, particularly during late spring and early summer. The high elevation, hot sun, and spring winds combine to produce thermals that can make afternoon arrivals an extremely bumpy proposition.

There are no major safety issues (the airport's runways are long, owing to the adjacent Air Force base, with no nearby obstacles to run into), but try telling your stomach that! The rough ride is less of a problem with outbound flights. Incidentally, this airport contains a number of attractive displays of New Mexican arts and crafts as well as one good restaurant (a member of the Gardu's chain, see below under "Eat"), and is a more pleasant place than most airports to kill time while waiting for a flight. The major car rental companies are nearby, with a shuttle from the airport to the large new rental center.

By train
Albuquerque is a stop along Amtrak's Southwest Chief daily train route. The depot is at 214 First Street Southwest. Traveling west, the 8203 arrives at 4:08PM and departs at 4:58PM and east, the 8204 arrives at 12:25PM and leaves at 1:10PM.

By bus
Greyhound  serves Albuquerque.


 • Albuquerque Biological Park, which includes the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Aquatic Park.
 • The world's largest ballooning event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held annually in October. The 10-day event begins on the first Friday of October and ends with a farewell mass ascension on the second Sunday. Get your hotel reservations far in advance.
 • In-Line Skating
 • Tramway Blvd
 • The Albuquerque Isotopes play Triple-A baseball in a recently renovated stadium. Seats in the park are both good and cheap, but consider instead getting a ticket for the drive-in area beyond the left-field fence and having a picnic (and maybe collecting a home-run ball or two -- the park is a notorious "launching pad" that drives pitchers nuts).
 • Mountain-biking
 • the Bosque, down by the river
 • Sandia Foothills
 • down-hilling at Sandia Ski Area, the other (East) side of the Sandias
 • UNM sports are big. For a deafening experience in college sports, try to catch a basketball game at "The Pit," the university's semi-underground fieldhouse that has been a house of pain for visiting basketball teams for years. The women's teams have been doing better than the men's lately, and attract crowds every bit as raucous.
 • The Sandia Mountains offer outdoors opportunities ranging from straight hiking (the La Luz trail is popular, perhaps too much so) on to serious, multi-day rock climbing. If less athletically inclined, ride the tram.


 • Antiques, Nob Hill, Central & Carlisle
 • Downtown, Lomas & 4th St NW
 • Furniture District, Menaul & Carlisle
 • Little Asia, Central & San Pedro
 • Old Town, Central & Rio Grande Blvd SW
 • University Area, Lomas & University
 • Uptown, Indian School & Louisiana


 • University of New Mexico
 • Technical Vocational Institute

Stay safe

Albuquerque has a fairly high crime rate compared to some other American cities, but most of it is property crime of more concern to residents than to visitors. "Bad" neighborhoods:

- the South Valley, along the river south of Central Avenue.

- the War Zone, the area surrounding the State Fairgrounds.

Due to its size and mild climate, the streets of Albuquerque are considered home to many people. While not typically a danger, do expect to meet up with beggars and vagrants, particularly around the University of New Mexico.

If you're going to be engaging in outdoor recreation (even as laid-back as watching an Isotopes day game), slather on the sun screen. The elevation of the city is 5000' or higher, and there is usually not much cloud cover, so one can get a bad sunburn in surprisingly short order.

Albuquerque is a city in the central region of the state of New Mexico in the United States. It is New Mexico's largest city, but is often overshadowed as a tourist destination by Santa Fe 60 miles to the north. However, Albuquerque has its own attractions, with pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a spectacular hot-air balloon festival in the fall that is one of the country's most heavily attended festivals.


Albuquerque is in the high desert and has a generally warm, dry climate with four distinct seasons. Spring is sunny, hot and windy, although temperatures at night can be unexpectedly cool. Summers are hot (highs around 100 F are common) and still mainly dry, but monsoonal conditions develop in July or August and produce furious if short-lived thunderstorms. Have rainwear available in the summer, although you won't use it most days. Fall is delightful, with comfortable temperatures and a return to generally dry conditions. Winter can be blustery, with overnight lows below freezing, but subzero temperatures are rare. One winter-weather issue for the traveler: snow, while infrequent and short-lived, does occur, and its relative rarity means that local drivers don't deal with it well. If you happen to be in town for a snowstorm, expect road chaos far out of proportion to the amount of snow that falls.

This is a casual town. Expect shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals to be entirely acceptable almost everywhere. People tend to be friendly. While Albuquerque has a large non-native population, it is predominantly white, Hispanic, and American Indian.

Albuquerque is a heavily planned city. The major roads are lined primarily with businesses with residential mazes on the insides. The "West Side" is rapidly expanding.

If you are traveling through or in the city during the fall and winter of 2005-6, expect traffic delays as several (seemingly endless) major road construction and improvement projects are going on throughout the metro area.

Get around

 ABS RIDE, 505-243-RIDE, is Albuquerque's public transit (bus) system. It covers most areas of interest to the visitor that are within town, plus a few outlying sites (Islet Pueblo, Taylor Ranch). Schedules are reduced during the weekend. Standard fares are $1 per ride, with several discounts possible.
If you're driving, be prepared for frequent road construction. The city government web site gives information on major construction projects, but there are always minor ones going on. Several radio stations try to give traffic reports during morning and afternoon rush hours, but the service tends to come and go, and it's best to inquire locally as to which stations are currently offering it. KNOB-AM, 770 on the dial, seems to be fairly reliable for these reports.

Albuquerque is fairly bikeable, but it's a sprawling Western city and things are spread out. It's hillier than it looks; Old Town and downtown attractions are several hundred feet lower than things in the heights (tramway, etc.). There are few crossings of the Rio Grande, and some involve uncomfortably close contact with car traffic. Plan accordingly.


Some of the nicest sightseeing areas in Albuquerque are downtown and Old Town (located near downtown). Old Town is a place where centuries of history and modern life merge to blend 18th century architecture with narrow brick paths, world famous artwork, the finest in jewelry, delicious food and rare specialty shops.

There are a number of interesting museums in town, including:
 • Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, 2000 Mountain Rd. NW (near Old Town). Open Tues-Sun 9-5 except major holidays, small fee (free first Wednesday of the month). Features Southwest art, with a children's exhibit.
 • International Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe St. Open 10-6 7 days (except opens at 1 p.m. Sundays), small fee. Lots of snakes, skeletons, fossils, etc.
 • National Atomic Museum on Kirtland Air Force Base (a mild pain to get into). Open daily 9-5 except major holidays, small fee. A museum devoted to things nuclear, including replicas of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs dropped on Japan, as well as other weapons, nuclear-capable aircraft and rockets, and displays on arms control and peaceful uses of atomic energy.
 • National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW (downtown area). Tues-Sun 10-5, small fee. Museum, library (closed Sunday), frequent special events.
 • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW (near Old Town). Open daily 9-5 (closed some Mondays), small admission fee, with separate fees for some exhibits. Well-constructed geological and paleontological displays, with a planetarium and IMAX theater.


Dining out in Albuquerque tends to be relatively inexpensive and very casual. Many places offer outdoor seating. Iced tea is the beverage of choice. Area code for all phone numbers is 505. For some free food try looking for cafes where bands are playing (normally on the weekends) and ask amongst the punk kids and see if they'll help.

New Mexican Cuisine
New Mexican cuisine is unique. Be ready for the question "Red or green?" which refers to the chili sauce you want smothering your enchiladas. Red is usually hotter, green tastier, but taste and spiciness vary; inquire at the restaurant. Most meals will include sopaipillas (the characteristic New Mexican fry bread) as a side. The characteristic dessert is flan, a type of pudding.
- Budget

 • Dos Hermanos, 6211 4th St NW, 345-4588; 7600 Jefferson NE, 828-1166; 2435 Wyoming NE, 294-8945; or 5010 Cutler NE, 881-2202. Deli-style New Mexican food. Tends towards the spicy side.
 • Juan's Broken Taco, 8019 Menaul Blvd NE, 296-5211. Used to have "Dr. Slice" in the fountain.
 • Los Cuates, 5016-B Lomas NE, 268-0974 or 4901 Lomas NE, 255-5079. North side location is a newer facility and serves milder chili, South side is an authentic diner experience.
 • Milly's, 7308 Jefferson St NE, 345-9200. Flavorful but not-too-hot chili.
 • Ortega's, Wyoming (north of Comanche). Whole grains, low fat.
 • Perea's, 5801 Central Ave NE, 232-9442. May have the hottest green chili in town.
- Mid-range

 • Garduρo's of Mexico, regional chain, original at 8806 4th Street NW, 898-2772. Consistent, good quality food.
 • Monroe's, 1520 Lomas NW, 242-1111 or 6051 Osuna NE, 505-881-4224. Great carne adovada Indian tacos.
 • Sadie's, 6230 4th St NW, 345-5339. Consistent quality. Often a long wait. Hot chili.
 • Little Anitas, regional chain, original in Old Town on Rio Grande. Consistent, great quality food with great service and atmosphere. Check out the one in Corrales on Alameda and Coors-Bypass. 899-2670.

Non-New Mexican Cuisine
- Budget

 • Que Huong, 7010 Central Ave SE, 262-0575. Vietnamese.
- Mid-Range
 • Cajun Kitchen, 5505 Osuna Rd NE, 344-5355.
 • Dion's, multiple locations. Best pizza in Albuquerque. They also have sandwiches.
 • India Palace, 4410 Wyoming NE, 271-5009. Indian.
 • Slate Street Cafe 515 Slate NW, 243-2210. American.
 • Taj Mahal, 1430 Carlisle Blvd NE, 255-1994. Indian.
- Splurge

 • Emilie's French Restaurant, 6209 Montgomery NE, 881-8104. French.
 • High Finance, atop Sandia Peak, 243-9742 (reservations advised). American. You pay for the view as well as the food, but it's an interesting experience. Lunch and dinner 7 days.
 • Terra American Bistro, 1119 Alameda Blvd. NE 792-1700. American.


 • Billy's Long Bar, 4800 San Mateo Blvd NE, 505-889-0573. Wide variety of beers on tap.
 • Il Vicino Brewing Co. & Tap Room, 4000 Vassar NE, 505-830-4629. Fresh beer and gourmet pizza.
 • The Quarters, 801 Yale Blvd SE, 505-843-7505 or 4516 Wyoming Blvd NE, 505-292-7604. Decent selection of beers on tap.
 • Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, 3755 Southern Blvd, Rio Rancho, 505-994-9497. Fresh beer and greasy pizza.


If you want a nicer -- and pricier -- hotel, then head "uptown" (to the northeast side of the city, which is at higher elevation than "downtown" close to the river). If you don't mind less free stuff, downtown is cheaper. There are some real dives along Central Avenue (old Route 66) near the university, many with unsavory reputations and occasional police raids. Hotels around the airport are generally vanilla-flavored, business-traveler places, but at least are somewhat less expensive than airport hotels in many cities.

Albuquerque is experiencing a massive wave of hotel building, mainly in the "Mid-range" class, as of 2005. This apparently is driven in part by the infamous lodging shortages during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. The result is that during other parts of the year, affordable hotels shouldn't be too hard to find. Even with the growth in the hotel market, lodging can be tight for the Fiesta, so if you're coming then, reserve well in advance -- months rather than days.

For some free lodgings try looking for cafes where bands are playing (normally on the weekends) and ask amongst the punk kids and see if they'll help. Even they, however, may not have much space during the Balloon Fiesta.

 • Crossland Economy Studios, 5020 Ellison St. NE. Tel: 505-343-1100. Fax: 505-343-1102. Tiny rooms, but clean and inexpensive.
 • Sleep Inn Airport, 2300 International Ave. SE, 244-3325. Probably the cheapest of the several cookie-cutter hotels near the Albuquerque airport.

 • Amerisuites Albuquerque Airport Hotel, 1400 Sunport Place SE Albuquerque, NM 87106 Tel: (505) 242-9300. AmeriSuites hotels advertise themselves as "offering guests suites with 25% more space than a traditional hotel room." Indeed, the rooms at this hotel are larger than those of a typical hotel in, say, Uzbekistan. It is close to the airport, to be sure.
 • Amerisuites Albuquerque Midtown Hotel, 2500 Menaul Blvd. N.E. Albuquerque, NM 87107 Tel: (505) 881-0544. "Midtown," in Albuquerquese, is not "downtown," but rather in the middle of the shopping district east of I-25.
 • Amerisuites Albuquerque Uptown Hotel, 6901 Arvada North East Albuquerque, NM 87110 Tel: (505) 872-9000. Also closer to "midtown" than to "downtown."
 • Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, 5151 San Francisco Road NE. Tel: 505-821-3333 or 1-800-262-2043. Fax: 505-838-0230. Next to I-25 north of I-40. Approaches "Splurge" territory.
 • Courtyard by Marriott, 5151 Journal Center Blvd. Tel: 505-823-1919 or 1-877-905-4496. Fax: 505-823-1918. Also close to I-25.
 • Wyndham Albuquerque Hotel 2910 Yale Blvd. SE. Tel: (505) 843-7000. Fax: (505) 843-6307. The closest hotel to the airport, no more than 2 minutes away by shuttle, which runs on the half hour. Reasonable restaurant (Rojo's Grill) on the premises.

Get out

 • Santa Fe, one of the world's great travel destinations, is about 60 miles to the north. The direct route is via I-25, but if you have time and the weather forecast is good, consider taking instead the "Turquoise Trail" (NM SR 14) on the east side of the Sandia Mountains.
 • The pretty Jemez Mountains offer pleasant hiking and fishing in the summer and can be good for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, although snowpack varies greatly from year to year and may be insufficient for winter sports. Take I-25 north to Bernalillo, then US 550 to San Ysidro, where NM 502 takes off through the astonishing red rock of San Diego Canyon and into the Jemez.
 • Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument are also to the north, and about as distant from Albuquerque via the Jemez route as via the Santa Fe route. The beauty and cultural color of north central New Mexico -- Taos, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, etc. -- lie beyond.
 • If heading south rather than north, particularly during the winter, stop at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro and covered in that community's article.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License

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