Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that offers a wide range of attractions and activities. If you’re a local to Albuquerque, or thinking about moving and currently browsing Redfin to rent an apartment or buy a home, you’re in for a treat. To make the most of your time in this enchanting city, we’ve compiled the ultimate Albuquerque bucket list. From scenic outdoor adventures to mouthwatering culinary experiences, here are the must-see and must-do activities that will make your time in Albuquerque truly unforgettable.
1. Reach new heights on the Sandia Peak Tramway
Experience breathtaking views of Albuquerque and its surrounding landscapes by taking a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. As one of the world’s longest aerial tramways, it will transport you to the top of the Sandia Mountains. Enjoy the stunning panoramas, hike along the nature trails, or simply savor a meal at the mountaintop restaurant. The Sandia Peak Tramway is an exhilarating adventure that offers a unique perspective of Albuquerque’s beauty.
“Take a breathtaking ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway and reward yourself with a delicious meal at Ten 3, a casual and fine dining restaurant 10,300 feet above sea level – the Tram is the only way to get there,” states blogger Emily Pecoraro of Emily Enchanted.
2. Partake in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Every October, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe. Witness the sky filled with vibrant hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes as they ascend into the heavens. The fiesta also offers live music, food vendors, and fireworks, creating a festive atmosphere that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you take a hot air balloon ride or watch the mass ascension from the ground, this event promises an unforgettable experience.
“When wondering what to do in Albuquerque, the first idea that floats into my head is hot air ballooning,” divulges travel expert Stacey Wittig. “The city is the home to Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot-air ballooning event. However, you need not wait for October to check ballooning off your bucket list. Albuquerque’s dry, sunny weather is perfect for year-round hot air adventuring.” “We loved our Rainbow Ryders ballooning expedition,” shares the publisher of UnstoppableStaceyTravel.com. “We felt safe, well cared for and Albuquerque is so enchanting from an aerial perspective.”
3. Immerse yourself in the rich history of old town
Explore the charming adobe buildings, browse the shops for unique souvenirs, and sample traditional New Mexican cuisine at the local restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the San Felipe de Neri Church, one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city. Old Town Albuquerque is a vibrant hub of art, culture, and heritage, offering a delightful experience for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Albuquerque, check out TourABQ. They offer daily Best of ABQ City Tours on an open-air Trolley, twice a day, 10am and 12pm, every day except Mondays. TourABQ is also home to Albucreepy Ghost Walk Tours and the Duke City Pedaler, a 14-passenger Party Bike.
4. Visit the Petroglyph National Monument
For nature lovers and history enthusiasts, a visit to the Petroglyph National Monument is a must. This vast expanse of volcanic rock is adorned with ancient petroglyphs, which are rock carvings created by Native Americans and early Spanish settlers. Embark on a hike along one of the monument’s trails and marvel at the intricate designs and symbols etched into the rocks. The Petroglyph National Monument is not only a scenic wonder but also a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the region.
“You don’t have to travel far to check a unique National Monument off your list,” shares Brooke Johnson, founder of Tumbleweed Travel Co. “Located in Albuquerque city limits is the Petroglyph National Monument, stretching 17 miles along the city’s West Mesa. This volcanic basalt escarpment dominates the western horizon of Albuquerque and is home to over 24,000 images created by Puebloans, Navajos, and early Spanish settlers over the past 200 to 700 years. The monument encompasses four separate areas, including Boca Negra Canyon, the Volcano Day Use Trails, Rinconada Canyon, and Piedras Marcadas Canyon. Among these, Rinconada Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon are visitor favorites.”
5. Spend the day at Albuquerque BioPark
The Albuquerque BioPark is a trifecta of attractions that includes the Rio Grande Zoo, the Albuquerque Aquarium, and the Botanic Garden. Spend a day exploring diverse ecosystems and wildlife from around the world. Admire the vibrant fish species at the aquarium, get up close to exotic animals at the zoo, and wander through beautifully manicured gardens at the botanic garden. The BioPark is a friendly destination that combines education, entertainment, and conservation in one remarkable place.
According to Photographer Delaney Van of Aperture Adventure, “ABQ BioPark, a remarkable destination that encompasses a diverse zoo, aquarium, and enchanting botanic garden. With its unique blend of attractions catering to all ages, this must-visit park promises unforgettable adventures and captivating encounters with the natural world.”
6. Go on a Breaking Bad RV tour
Fans of the hit TV series “Breaking Bad” can delve into the show’s iconic locations by taking the Breaking Bad RV Tour. Visit Walter White’s house, Jesse Pinkman’s apartment, Los Pollos Hermanos, and other significant sites that played a role in the series. The tour offers behind-the-scenes stories and insights, allowing you to immerse yourself in the world of “Breaking Bad” and discover the filming locations that made the show so memorable.
“If you enjoy Breaking Bad then Alburquerque is the right place for you. I suggest going on the “Breaking Bad Tour,” visiting Mister Car Wash (9516 Snow Heights Circle NE), or checking out the newly installed bronze statues of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman at the Albuquerque Convention Center”, says Mark, The New Mexico Travel Guy
7. Get a taste of new mexican cuisine
No visit to Albuquerque is complete without savoring the unique flavors of
New Mexican cuisine. From delicious green and red chile dishes to mouthwatering enchiladas and sopaipillas, the local food scene is a paradise for food lovers. Sample traditional dishes at iconic restaurants or explore the vibrant food truck culture offering innovative twists on classic favorites. Immerse yourself in the flavors of New Mexico and experience the culinary delights that make Albuquerque a true gastronomic destination.
“When in Albuquerque I highly recommend trying some authentic New Mexican food,” states travel and lifestyle blogger Jessica Lynn of Jessica Lynn Writes. “It’s completely different from Tex-Mex or even Mexican food. You’ll be asked if you want your meal served with chile, specifically “red or green” chile. If you’re new to New Mexican chile, always ask for it on the side, because it can be very spicy. But if you’re feeling bold you can order “Christmas,” which means both red and green chile together. For a couple of tried, true, and delicious New Mexican restaurants, my favorites are Papa Felipe’s, La Salita, and Gardunos.”
8. Take a trip down Route 66
Visiting Route 66 in Albuquerque is an unforgettable journey through iconic Americana. As you travel along this historic highway, you’ll be immersed in the vibrant spirit of the Mother Road. Albuquerque’s stretch of Route 66 is lined with quirky roadside attractions, vintage motels, and nostalgic diners, offering a glimpse into the golden era of cross-country road trips. The route also showcases stunning views of the New Mexico landscape, with its sweeping desert vistas and majestic mountains.
“Located along Central Avenue, this historic highway cuts through some of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods. Route 66 showcases Albuquerque’s eclectic shops and restaurants. Nob Hill, the University area, Downtown, and Historic Old Town are all places where you can experience an authentic fusion of old and new along Route 66,” shares travel blogger Nikki Webster of Brit on the Move. “One of the most photographed and famous spots is the Route 66 Neon Sign. This neon archway sign is on Albuquerque’s west side, at the intersection of Route 66 and Coors Blvd. A trip down Route 66 is not complete without this 50’s legend.”
Albuquerque offers a wealth of experiences that cater to various interests and passions. From natural wonders to cultural landmarks, the city’s diverse attractions ensure that every visitor finds something to cherish. So, bring your adventurous spirit, and embark on an Albuquerque bucket list journey that will leave you with lifelong memories.