Surrounded by relentless desert, towering mountains and the mighty Rio Grande River, Albuquerque is a green oasis in the New Mexico landscape. The city expertly blends old and new and has a wealth of quirky museums and roadside attractions which you’ll want to visit all of.
The mixture of Spanish and Pueblo Indian cultures gives the city its own authentic identity and flavor. First-time visitors to the Southwest will surely find the distinct adobe architecture of its historic buildings unlike anywhere else in the United States.
The famous New Mexican cuisine is sure to wake up your taste buds and is sure to delight those who love their food both smoky and with a little heat. Step out of your comfort zone and see how much the city has to see, taste and experience.
Make your way to a rooftop bar and restaurant to score incomparable views of the cityscapes and sweeping mountain ranges — even the spas around these parts make sure they’re kitted with vistas to gasp over.
An amalgamation of culture and creativity; catch a live concert or tick a touring Broadway production off of your Travel Bucket List, and performing arts reign strong in the city.
Here are some of the most fun things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1 – Party in the sky at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
If you are lucky enough to be in Albuquerque during October you have to check out the International Balloon Fiesta. This unique festival has been going on for 50 years and involves over 500 hot air balloons.
The festival takes place over nine days and is something of a paradise for balloonists and photographers offering many opportunities to get that prized shot.
If you can’t be there for the fiesta you can still take an air-balloon flight and see what makes Albuquerque such a great place to try this unusual pastime.
2 – Meet weird and wonderful creatures at ABQ Biopark Zoo
One of the most popular attractions in all of New Mexico, ABQ Biopark has been enchanting visitors since 1927. This huge park has more than 900 resident creatures both native and exotic and includes a zoo, aquarium, botanical gardens and a beach.
See the park’s fantastic flamingos or the incredibly rare axolotl. With so many diverse creatures, including uncommon birds, big cats, primates, marsupials and reptiles everyone is sure to have a great time. A trip to the ABQ Biopark is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Albuquerque, for all the family.
3 – Discover the Historic Old Town on a walking tour
The Old Town of Albuquerque has a very unique feel to it. The district is the historic center of the city, founded in 1706, and its Spanish-Colonial architecture and charming shops and restaurants make it a popular tourist spot.
Old Town Plaza has always been at the center of the historic district. The square itself and the San Felipe de Neri Church date back to the Spanish period but most of the buildings are from the 19th and 20th-centuries. It’s home to some of the cities best events throughout the year, including summer concerts on the Old Town Plaza bandstand.
For a deeper dive into the local culture, it’s good fun to take a guided walking tour of the city.
4 – See the Japanese gardens at ABQ Biopark Botanic Garden
First opened in 1996, ABQ Biopark Botanical Gardens covers 36 acres and is one of the most colorful places in the city. Exploding with nature’s beauty, the gardens include special glasshouses which replicate a range of climates. Visit the hardy plants of the desert one moment and the green foliage of the Mediterranean the next.
See the large collection of native plants from the deserts of North America and the beautiful Sasebo Japanese Garden which features dignified waterfalls and even a garden within a garden. The Botanic Garden also has amazing native creatures such as pollinating birds and 40 species of butterflies.
5 – Learn turtle training at ABQ BioPark Aquarium
Albuquerque’s Biopark Aquarium is home to some of the ocean’s most astonishing creatures. Sharks, eels, stingrays and jellyfish can all be observed in this captivating underwater exhibition. The resident turtles love to play games in order to get their favorite squid treats.
The park also houses two rescued two otters, named Chaos and Mayhem, who can often be seen wrestling or cuddling up together in the sun. Biopark Aquarium is a great place to visit for those who are fascinated by the deep sea. Its underwater environments show what sealife lurks in coral reefs, shipwrecks, saltmarshes and rivers. Check it out while you are in Albuquerque.
6 – Visit Breaking Bad filming locations
Albuquerque’s endless sunny days are great for moviemakers who rarely have to let bad weather postpone a shoot. The city has appeared in many movies and TV series, including Breaking Bad, Stranger Things and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Why not take a movie locations tour while in the city?
Relive your favorite moments from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul with a Breaking Bad RV Tour! Visit the home of Walter White, the RV junkyard, carwash and more all while traveling in an identical RV to the one in the show. This is a must for Breaking Bad fanatics when in Albuquerque
7 – Ride the Fire Ball at Cliff’s Amusement Park
Looking for white knuckle thrills and family entertainment while in Albuquerque? Cliff’s Amusement Park has plenty of both. For classic rollercoaster fans, there are dizzying rides to enjoy such as the New Mexico Rattler, an old-school wooden coaster, and the Fire Ball which propels riders through a series of 13 vertical loops, all in under a minute.
There are also rides for younger kids in the park’s Kiddyland, and space to cool off in Watermania with its splash-tastic slides and fountains. This place is lots of fun for the whole family.
8 – Learn about the Atomic Age at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
New Mexico is an important part of the story of nuclear science, the state was a development and testing ground for early nuclear weapons. The Museum of Nuclear Science and History focuses on the military use of nuclear as well as modern technological uses.
The site has replicas of infamous bombs from the Second World War and exhibits dealing with the morality and after-effects of using nuclear weapons. It also has some more fun exhibits which showcase the effect that the atomic age had on pop culture.
9 – Visit the Petroglyph National Monument
This national monument displays historic rock carvings created by the native Puebloans of the Rio Grande Valley. The carvings, known as petroglyphs, were created with stone hammers and chisels up to 700 years ago. There are approximately 25,000 carvings within this small stretch of land.
The meanings behind many of the petroglyphs are not fully known but they have strong importance to the culture of the tribes who lived here and their modern ancestors. Don’t miss the chance to visit this amazing place while in Albuquerque.
10 – See race-winning cars at Unser Racing Museum
Celebrating the achievements and racing heritage of the Unser family, The Unser Racing Museum is a fun place to visit for motorsports enthusiasts. The museum itself is shaped like a steering wheel and covers four generations of the Unser Families racing pedigree as well as the history of racing in North America.
See cars driven by the family as well as memorabilia and trophies. The museum houses a sizeable collection of restored vintage racecars and Pace cars. Unser Racing Museum is an absolute must for lovers of Indycar racing and motorsports in general.
11 – Walk the Paseo del Bosque at Rio Grande Valley State Park
There are some very unique environments to be found in Rio Grande Valley State Park. The Paseo del Bosque Trail runs through an area of dense forest populated by cottonwood, willow and olive trees which is quite unusual in the arid New Mexico climate.
The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is an educational center and wildlife habitat that attracts lots of wildlife to the area, including Canadian geese and coyotes. It has walking trails that run through a rehabilitated wetland area.
Visitors should also check out the Pueblo Montano Picnic Area and Trailhead which has some impressive chainsaw sculptures.
12 – Explore science at Explora
Explora has to be one of the most fun ways to learn about science, math and technology. This innovative science center has a bunch of interactive experiments and exhibits that will really make you want to play, learn and discover all about them.
The center is great for kids of course but is also a wonderful day out for adults. Experiment with gravity, water and air and find out what these natural forces are capable of or harness the energy of electricity and sound to create powerful reactions. Explora is a great way to learn and have fun.
13 – Visit Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
The city of Albuquerque really loves hot air balloons and its ballon museum attests to that. It follows the history of ballooning from its beginnings in 1783 right up to the modern-day. See replicas of historical balloons and learn about the earliest technology that allowed people to fly.
Discover a world of intrepid explorers and exciting balloon-powered adventures. Discover other uses for balloon technology and why they are still in use today.
14 – See the old west at Tinkertown Museum
If you’re on the lookout for unique attractions in the Albuquerque area, Tinkertown is definitely it. The collection began in the 1960s as a hobby of Ross Ward, who hand-carved figures of old-time American scenes. It extended to encompass his collection of Americana memorabilia and grew to what it is today.
See miniature scenes depicting the usual and unusual scenes of the old west from a blacksmith shop to a traveling circus. Not just a museum to objects, Tinkertown is also a museum to creativity and the inventive spirit that is within us all. Don’t miss out on Tinkertown, one of the most fun things to do in Albuquerque.
15 – Shop at Downtown Growers’ Market, Robinson Park
For the best and freshest foods around you have to stop into Robinson Park’s Downtown Growers Market. It’s the oldest farmers’ market in the city and has been operating for 25 years.
Here you can find ready-to-eat local favorites like burritos, tortas and tacos as well as vegetables, meats and cheeses and fresh-baked products. You can also pick up plants, dried herbs and artisan craft products like jewelry, clothing and ceramics. This is one of the best places to go for high-quality local products.
16 – Traverse the city on a bike tour
Travel the city in style on a guided bike tour and see the spots that others might miss. Not only is traveling by bike the most environmentally friendly way to get around, but it also helps you visit places that cars can’t go.
Hit the cities major sites like the Old Town, Tingley Beach and Los Poblanos Inn. Learn the history of the city and discover the best places to visit, eat and shop from a true local. Cycle the historic streets on these fun and informative tours.
17 – Cure your phobias at Rattlesnake Museum & Gift Shop
Albuquerque’s Rattlesnake Museum is home to the largest collection of live rattlesnakes in the whole world! While this might not be appealing to everyone, the museum is an enthralling place to visit. Not only does it have live snakes to see it also has exhibits that cover myths and the perception of snakes in popular culture.
The museum also has a huge collection of snake-related artwork and artifacts including posters, pottery and even an opium jar. Be sure to call into the gift shop and pick up one of the cool Rattlesnake Museum t-shirts before you leave.
18 – Discover the Turquoise Museum
Turquoise has long been prized in the region for its beauty as well as its assumed mystical powers. The Turquoise Museum covers all aspects of these attractive and precious stones. Visitors can learn about the chemical properties of the gemstone or discover its uses for jewelry and ornamental purposes.
The museum also operates a shop that specializes in turquoise products and related items such as books and mugs.
19 – Ascend the Sandia Peak Tramway
For the best views around Albuquerque, there is only one place to go, Sandia Peak. This is not for those who suffer from vertigo though as the aerial tramway cars are unbelievably high. The highest point of the tramway towers over 4,000 feet from its starting point and offers incredible panoramic views over 11,000 square miles of New Mexico countryside.
At the peak is the TEN 3 restaurant which offers one of North America’s most unique dining experiences with incredible views all around. There are also miles of hiking trails that can be explored starting at the tramway station. Sandia Peak is an absolute must-visit while in the region.
20 – Visit the New Mexico Steam Locomotive
History lovers absolutely have to visit the New Mexico Steam Locomotive, the Sante Fe 2926. This historic engine was built in 1944 just before diesel engine trains took over. It was retired in 1956 and sat in one of the cities parks until a team of volunteers took up the work of restoring it.
The Santa Fe 2926 is now back on the rails and moving under its own steam. Check out this amazing relic of locomotive history and relive the glory days of steam engines.
21 – See the historic San Felipe de Neri Church
One of the oldest buildings in the city, San Felipe de Neri Church was constructed in 1793 on the site of an older church that had been active since 1706. The building was originally overseen by an order of Franciscan Friars then later Italian Jesuits.
The church is still in use today and includes a museum that contains clothing and items from the church’s history as well as a small gift shop. You can’t miss this centerpiece of the historic Old Town while in Albuquerque.
22 – Watch the sun go down at West Bluff Park
Inside the city, West Bluff Park has some of the best views around. This is a great spot to sit and watch the sunset with unobstructed views of the city’s downtown area, as well as the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande River.
Take time to sit and observe the expansive views in this unique part of the country or snap that perfect photograph just as the sky turns red. This is a beautiful spot to visit in Albuquerque.
23 – Meet Spike the dinosaur at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
New Mexico’s San Juan Valley has been the site of some amazing dinosaur discoveries some of which have found their way to the state’s Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque. Visitors can see complete dinosaur skeletons and learn about the lives of these native giants.
A number of other exhibits cover the history of New Mexico and the many changes it has undergone over millions of years. Discover a land of fiery volcanoes, abounding seas and fertile grasslands.
24 – Take a fishing trip to Tingley Beach
For fishing in the city, Tingley Beach is the ideal spot. Open from sunrise to sunset all year long, the ponds are well stocked with rainbow trout and catfish. There is a children’s pond for young anglers a larger central pond and a catch and release pool for fly fishing.
Fishing is not your thing? There are also paddle boats, nature walks, a model boat pond and picnic and bbq areas. There is something here for everyone.
25 – Uncover hidden highlights on a scavenger hunt
Explore the city in a fun and unique way with a self-guided scavenger hunt. Gather together your team and try one of these fun, themed tours in Albuquerque. Want to evade zombies in an apocalyptic quest through the city? Perhaps you want to explore the cities hidden art scene? Scavenger hunts have all of this and more.
Simply download an app and follow directions through the city. Answer questions and follow clues to discover your next location. These tours are great fun for families and groups.
26 – Go hiking in Boca Negra Canyon
If you would like to escape the city for a while and experience New Mexico’s incredible landscape, Boca Negra is a good place to visit. The area has a bunch of gentle hikes that can be completed in an hour.
The trails are within the Petroglyph National Monument and contain about 100 of these markers spread throughout the landscape. This is a great way to see the unspoiled and wild Albuquerque scenery.
27 – Grab your lifejacket for some rafting
Feeling the need for adventure during your time in Albuquerque? Take a day-long rafting excursion down the Rio Grande and see the spectacular sights of the Rio Grande Corridor. Pass by the Rio Grande Gorge and the steep-sided Taos Box on this river ride experience.
Stop for a picnic lunch before you take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard, kayak or raft. Rafting has to be one of the most fun ways to get out in nature while in Albuquerque.
28 – Take a food tour of the city’s best restaurants
Albuquerque’s restaurants are a real treat for anyone who appreciates the unique southwestern characteristics. The blend of Spanish and Native American flavors, especially the region’s chiles, make for heavenly dishes that are a little smoky and a little fiery.
The city has an abundance of great restaurants but some of the best are Farm and Table in the North Valley, Antiquity in the Old Town, Artichoke Cafe in the Downtown area and Prairie Star restaurant at Santa Anan Golf Club.
All offer different takes on local favorites. You won’t have to go far to find delicious food in Albuquerque. To learn more, why not take a food tour of some of the city’s culinary highlights?
29 – Dig a little deeper at Albuquerque Museum
Uncover the city’s deeper history with a trip to the Albuquerque Museum. Learn about 400 years of the city roots as you pass through a number of engaging exhibits which focus on the diverse culture of the region.
The museum’s collection features thousands of artifacts, artworks and photographs that help to illustrate the Spanish and Native American influences of the city’s heritage. As well as the historical exhibitions, the museum also has a sculpture park containing over 50 unique artworks just waiting to be discovered.
30 – Peruse an exhibition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
The 20-acre National Hispanic Cultural Center encompasses a plaza, art museum, three theaters, education center, library and more. The facility promotes and preserves the Hispanic culture through performing arts, exhibitions, lectures and programs and also provides a space for artists to display their work.
The Visual Arts Museum has an impressive fresco called the Mundos de Mestizaje which depicts moments from Hispanic history and covers 4,00 square feet. The center also has delicious dining opportunities with an on-campus restaurant and a Mexican-American-style ice cream shop.
31 – Ski, snowboard and hike at Sandia Peak Ski Area
It might be hard to believe that within parts of the New Mexico desert, it actually does snow! Especially for towns and cities located high up in the mountain ranges in the northern parts (as well as a handful of spots in the south, but this is less common).
Whether you’re seasoned or are attempting the outdoor activity for the very first time, the Sandia Peak Ski Area is an epic one for families, kids, groups of friends and couples. The best part is that to access the facility, simply catch a short tram ride from Albuquerque here.
Arriving at the ski area, head to the rental shop where you can hire out all equipment from skis to boots to snowboards.
Comprising 40 kilometers of slopes and trails to attempt, gear up and hit the snowy hills.
Located in the Sandia Mountains, in the summer when there is no snow production, catch the tram up to Sandia Peak and explore the surroundings on foot during a hike around the area.
There are designated trails trekking through the Cibola National Forest. Some of these include the La Luz Trail (one of the longest), Peak Nature Trail, Kiwanis Cabin, Pino Trail, South Peak and the Domingo Baca trail.
32 – Play laser tag at Main Event Albuquerque
Food, drinks and games, Main Event ticks all the boxes. This restaurant, bar and arcade is a fun place to go in the city if you’re looking for family activities or a night out with friends. With pursuits like bowling, laser tag, gravity ropes and glow-in-the-dark golf to choose from you’ll be spoiled for choice.
The restaurant serves American-style comfort food and creative desserts that will satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
33 – Tee off for a round of golf
Are you itching to get out your clubs for a round or two? Luckily, Albuquerque has some fantastic private and public golf courses. Albuquerque Country Club has an excellent 18-hole course right near the Downtown district.
Other courses worth checking out are Puerto del Sol, which has a lighted driving range, the challenging municipal course of Arroyo del Oso and the compact Los Altos Golf Course. With such an abundance of courses dotted about the city, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
34 – Watch flag football at Tingley Field
If you’re unsure about what flag football is, it’s similar to standard football but rather than tackle their opponent’s players pull a flag from their waist. This fast-paced and non-contact version of football is popular in Albuquerque and the city runs both male and co-ed adult leagues.
Check out a game while you’re in the city and grow to love this exciting offshoot of football.
35 – Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has tons of information on the indigenous Pueblo people and displays a series of related exhibitions and artifacts. Discover artworks and crafts created by the 19 Indian Pueblo tribes that reside throughout New Mexico but once were spread as far as Arizona and Colorado.
Explore the museum and gallery and find some educational reading in the facility’s library. Try traditional dishes in the restaurant or buy food products and artworks in the shop.
36 – Attend an event at Albuquerque Convention Center
The Albuquerque Convention Center hosts a fun-packed calendar of events all year round. These include comedy gigs, dance shows and live music as well as trade meetings and get-togethers.
It also hosts track and field events and its state-of-the-art track puts on regular national events. You can check out the website for a detailed list of upcoming events.
37 – Battle 3D zombies at Hinkle Family Fun Center
It’s all there in the name right! Hinkle Family Fun Center is everything it says it is. With a whole bunch of joyous attractions including bumper cars and boats, laser tag, go-karts and mini-golf, there is so much entertainment to be found here.
Take your first climbing experience on The Rock or encounter the unique and interactive Light Space room. Battle animated zombies on the park’s 7D interactive ride, the XD Dark. Hinkle Family Fun Center also has a games room and restaurant, It really is good fun!
38 – Travel back in time at Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
Presenting 2.5 million years of human history is no easy feat. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology preserves and showcases millions of artifacts in its collection, most of which are from the Southwest United States. Follow the story of our early ancestors and discover what made them unique among Earth’s creatures.
Explore exhibits that focus on the Southwest region, its people and the land and see how it feels to be an archeologist by visiting a recreation dig. This is a must-see for history lovers.
39 – Try out the mobile rock climbing wall
Push your limits on the city’s 25-foot climbing wall! The parks and recreation department of Albuquerque operate a mobile climbing wall that is free to use. The wall has beginner, intermediate and challenging routes and can accommodate four climbers at a time.
Keep an eye out when you’re in the city and go along to an event. You can check out the website for more details.
40 – Meet bobcats at Wildlife West Nature Park
The Wildlife West Nature Park is a sanctuary for rescued animals, taking in native creatures that have been in accidents or mistreated. The park has all kinds of fuzzy and feathered creatures including bobcats, coyotes, black bears and eagles.
This is a great place to get up close to creatures that are elusive or nocturnal and which you would not normally see in the wild. The park also puts on fun days and events. Wildlife West can be found in the town of Edgewood, just a 20-minute drive from Albuquerque.
41 – Take a Santa Fe day trip
About an hour north of Albuquerque, Santa Fe is the state capital of New Mexico and is jam-packed with traditional southwestern-style architecture, interesting museums and great restaurants.
Some of the United States’ oldest religious buildings can be found in the city, including the San Miguel Chapel, the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Santa Fe Plaza. Hiking and skiing are popular draws to the area, as well as numerous local fiestas and the Folk Art Market which takes place in July.
In a city where art thrives, there are plenty of galleries and exhibitions to discover. Dedicated to the first female modernist in America, for any fans of the late artist, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a special experience.
Talk about a spooky, or rather, quirky situation! The creativity doesn’t end in Santa Fe and the Meow Wolf: House of Eternal Return is unlike any other spot in town. Comprising 70 rooms of immersive art, make your way through the most imaginative spaces, incorporating art in some shape or form.
Stop by Float Cafe and Bar inside and order their specialty meowgarita cocktail topped with a cloud of cotton candy!
42 – Go on ghost tours… if you dare!
Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural? Unlike any excursions around town, a ghost tour is one of the most unique things to do in Albuquerque.
Truly feel like a ghost hunter during one of these eerie expeditions which take place in Albuquerque Old Town, and start in the evening at either 6 PM or 8 PM, spanning 1.5 to two hours.
Home to the famed Old Town Plaza — the site where Albuquerque was first established in 1706 — it’s a known fact that many men and women have died around this central area, yet their ghoulie souls are believed to linger on here.
In fact, if you ask some of the locals, people have even been witness to seeing ghosts and figure-less spirits roaming around the buildings and alleyways of the Old Town, before disappearing into thin air.
Learn interesting titbits like this and more during a bone-chilling tour, and guided by a local pro, hear of the stories behind the dead along the way. Be shown hidden spots where phantoms lurk and specters loom in the shadows.
Guided by a dim, ambient lantern light, there are apparently 13 major ghosts to “meet” and some travelers have even managed to capture apparitions on camera!
43 – Get inspired at the University of New Mexico Art Museum
Housing the state’s largest collection of art, the University of New Mexico Art Museum is the go-to place for those seeking creative inspiration. The museum has extensive photography, painting and sculpture collections and also houses the Tamarind Institute’s lithography archive.
Wander through the galleries and take in the Raymond Johnson collection, including 600 works by the artist himself. The museum is open to the public and admission is free of charge.
44 – Go wildlife spotting at Mariposa Basin Park
Fancy getting out in the open while in Albuquerque? The small Mariposa Basin Park has some nice walking trails to enjoy, all of which are less than a mile throughout the park.
The park also has a playground for younger children, ponds and sports fields so it’s a great place to go and burn off some energy. Birdwatchers can take advantage of the shaded hide that is provided to try and spot the enthralling, local and migratory bird species.
45 – Visit the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Gellert Center for Education
Founded by Holocaust survivors who made their home in New Mexico, this museum aims to educate the public on the problems that prejudice and intolerance can cause.
Though the majority of the museum focuses on the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe, the space also addresses other genocides and human rights issues that have occurred throughout the globe, including the Armenian Genocide and slavery.
46 – Fly model aircraft and drones
Its clear blue skies and ever-present sunshine make Albuquerque ideal for ballooning but also flying model aircraft. There are a few sites around the city where it is permitted to fly drones and model airplanes throughout the year.
These include the soccer field at Arroyo del Oso Park, Balloon Fiesta Park and Maloof Airpark. Visitors should definitely check these areas out for a fun day of miniature aviation.
47 – Taste local wines on a winery tour
Escape the city for a while for a peaceful afternoon of wine tasting. Try samples of different New Mexico wines and see what makes them stand out among all the other domestic wine varieties. Learn about the wine culture of the region, which dates back to 1629, and its most celebrated varieties.
48 – Be a stuntman for a day at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
Gravity-defying fun for the whole family, Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park has lots of activities to try. More than a trampoline park, Urban Air has climbing areas, rope courses, dueling platforms and ball pits to keep you busy for hours.
Compete in a Ninja-style obstacle course against family members or create your own freestyle tricks in the trampoline park. Urban Air is, without a doubt, one of the most fun places to visit in Albuquerque.
49 – Take a historic High Road to Taos on a day trip
Discover the intermingling of Spanish and Pueblo cultures on a journey along the iconic High Road to Taos route. See the remnants of Spanish traditional architecture in the plazas and churches of Chimayo, Talpa and Ranchos de Taos. Discover beautiful adobe buildings constructed of earth and straw that are still standing today.
Visit the millennia-old settlement of Taos Pueblo and pick up some delicious food. Next hit the sights of Rio Grande Gorge and marvel at its natural beauty.
50 – See antique cars at Wheels Museum
Wheels Museum is apparently an acronym of We Have Everything Everyone Loves Spinning, and by that they mean vehicles. The museum has historic vehicles from all over New Mexico, including vintage firetrucks, aircraft, automobiles and carts.
It specializes in the history of Albuquerque transport and is even located on the famous Albuquerque railroad site where steam locomotives were once repaired. This is a must-visit for fans of antique vehicles and a fun day out for the whole family.
51 – Take a dip at West Mesa Aquatic Center
To beat the New Mexico heat, why not take a dip at West Mesa Aquatic Center. The center is great for serious swimmers and casual splashers alike. Its new Olympic-size pool is perfect for those who like a real workout when they take a swim. it has two-dozen lanes so you’ll be sure to find space to swim.
For the rest of us, it also has indoor and outdoor recreational pools with a bunch of fun water slides and areas to chill and catch some rays.
52 – Catch a show at the performing arts theater, Popejoy Hall
If it’s always been a dream of yours to watch a live Broadway theater production, but you’ve yet to travel to NYC or London’s West End, you can still tick a Broadway show off of your bucket list when traveling to Albuquerque!
Fiddler on the Roof and Hamilton are some prime examples of shows to see here fresh off of Broadway, or its past repertoire includes the likes of Jersey Boys, Dirty Dancing, To Kill a Mockingbird, Motown, The Lion King and more.
Not only limited to theatrical plays and touring Broadway musicals but the stage also gets set for a multitude of performing arts from dance performances in all genres, from ballet to contemporary dance, to music concerts to comedy nights.
Opening its doors back in 1966, Popejoy Hall underwent a restoration in 1996, and again in 2007. It can seat up to 1,985 audience members and retains an air of old-school classic charm.
53 – See Norton County at the Institute of Meteoritics Meteorite Museum
Impactites, moon rocks and Martian meteorites, The Meteorite Museum has a large collection of space rocks. One of the highlights of the museum is a one-ton rock known as Norton County which was discovered in Kansas in 1948. The collection features meteorites found all over the world from Canada to Australia.
Uncover the many different types of meteorites and where they came from. Kids and adults alike will be in awe of these extra-terrestrial entities. Admission is free of charge.
54 – Take a picnic at El Oso Grande Park
Many people go to El Oso Grande Park just for the spectacular scenery alone. The views here extend across the city and all the way to the Sandia Mountains. The park is a popular local spot to play sports, it has soccer fields, barbecue and stroll as there are a number of gentle trails to enjoy.
It has a small playground too and plenty of grass to run around on, kick a ball and burn off some energy. Check it out if you’re in the area.
55 – Play interactive games at Electric Playhouse
Okay, you’ve probably never been anywhere quite like the Electric Playhouse before. This huge facility was built with one purpose in mind, fun! It uses digital projections to create unique experiences and activities. Want to try yoga in space or dance on a floor that responds to your movements, done.
This place also hosts unique digital art events, music performances and even has a fantastic cafe. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Albuquerque, you need to visit the Electric Playhouse!
56 – Take a Dinner Detective Murder Mystery
Dinner is good, but a Dinner Detective Murder Mystery is even better! Join in an evening of immersive entertainment where you get to play detective and enjoy a four-course meal. These comedic and lighthearted shows are set in the present day and everyone is under suspicion, even you.
Solve clues to discover who among you is the perpetrator of the most monstrous of crimes, murder! This is a really fun thing to do in Albuquerque.
57 – Jog around USS Bullhead Memorial Park
Named after a lost World War II Submarine, USS Bullhead Memorial Park is a great place to go for a picnic in the city. The park has 44-acres of landscaped gardens, sports fields, barbecue grills and picnic tables. It also has plenty of trees that offer much-appreciated shade from the desert sun.
It is also one of the best spots to visit in the city with your dog as it has a fenced-in area and large grassy fields for them to run free.
58 – Watch sports events at these venues!
Calling all sporting maniacs, get your complete fill of sports events, whether it’s basketball, hockey or baseball, and catch a sporting match/game live at any three of the city’s sporting arenas.
Referred to as “The Lab” by locals, the Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park is the city’s prime location to watch a baseball game and the ballpark is home to the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Featuring state-of-the-art amenities with a seating capacity of 11,124 spectators, the stadium is always vibey when its baseball match-time season (from late March through to early October). If you’re traveling with the little ones and they’re not too interested in the game, there is also a Fun Zone here with games and carnival rides!
If basketball is more your style, book courtside tickets for a game of ball at The Pit. Mostly hosting the University of New Mexico Lobo basketball team’s playoffs and games, the venue was renamed Dreamstyle Arena in 2017.
Witness players of the New Mexico Ice Wolves team tear up the ice and whack balls across the glistening surface, sliding through the goalposts at the Outpost Ice Arenas where ice hockey is the main star of the show — but the rink is also utilized for ice skating.
59 – Discover the Telephone Museum of New Mexico
This New Mexico museum is dedicated to a revolutionary invention that may soon be a thing of the past, the humble telephone! Follow the history of the telephone from its invention in 1796 to the present day.
The Museum is housed in the city’s original telephone company building, which was constructed in 1906, and contains hundreds of items including telephones, switchboards and communications equipment. The museum offers info-packed guided tours and the admission price is very reasonable.
60 – Watch a movie at Kimo Theatre
You won’t see many buildings quite like the KiMo Theatre. Its design is a unique “Pueblo Deco” style, built in the 1920s when exotic theatres were very much in fashion. With decor features like Native American-styled war drum chandeliers and rows of glowing buffalo skulls.
The KiMo is a popular stop on Route 66 and is still hosts regular touring live music acts, dance productions and movies. Visitors to Albuquerque shouldn’t miss this iconic landmark of the city.
61 – Unwind with a spa session
Taking inspiration from its natural surroundings, Green Reed Spa boasts some of the most stunning views to unwind to, thanks to the spa’s location at the foot of the Sandia Mountains and overlooking the river below. Choose between luxe massages, facials, soaks, wraps and more.
When booking one of The Remedy Day Spa’s massages, such as a traditional Thai massage, their signature The Cure massage and a stress-less CBD massage, you have the option to add enhancements to your treatment like hot stone therapies, cupping or a Mind-Mint Scalp Massage, for example.
Apart from the usual massages, facials, exfoliations and wraps, Betty’s Bath & Day Spa also offers awesome hydrotherapy. Book out one of the saltwater outdoor baths, then finish it with a sauna and a cold shower.
Named after the local native Tamayame people (from the Santa Ana region), Tamaya Mist Spa & Salon is a stylish spa that taps into local healing principles. Book a reflexology massage, Tamaya Signature Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, or one of their amazing facials including a Gentlemen’s Custom facial or Age Defying Facial.
62 – Watch horse racing at the Downs
In the mood for a wager or just looking for a fun day out? A trip to The Downs Racetrack and Casino could be just what you’re looking for. Place your bets at the historic horseracing track which hosts live on-site racing as well as simulcast events from around the world.
Next, you can visit the casino and try your luck with over 750 slot games for you to sample. The Downs also has three separate dining areas and hosts regular live entertainment and dancing so you’ll be well and truly entertained.
63 – Stay at the Isleta Resort & Casino
Built on an imposing site overlooking the RioGrande Bosque with impressive desert vistas right outside the door, Isleta Resort is a fantastic place to stay while in Albuquerque. This resort and casino has everything you might need during your stay in the city.
Take some time to relax by one of the pools or hit up the games room for some family fun. For golf lovers, there is the Isleta Golf Club course and a fitness center for those who like to stay in shape. The resort has no less than seven different eateries to sample during you stay.
64 – Listen to live music
Sit back, relax and enjoy the show, or more specifically, a few solid hours of sweet, sweet melodies for the soul at one of Albuquerque’s live music hot spots.
Once a grocery store turned film house, today the El Rey Theater acts as a concert hall as well as a nightclub where local and international artists, bands and DJs woo over the crowds.
Located downtown, the building is considered a historic feature and has managed to maintain much of its original architectural finishings, like a hardwood dance floor, adding ambiance to the whole outing.
From the likes of Snoop Dogg to The Strokes to Coheed and Cambria to Deadmau5 (with a list that goes on and on), the Sunshine Theater has seen some major stars in its time grace the stage.
Also found in the downtown area, the music venue is inside a six-floor worn-out yellow brick building (hence its name) that was constructed in 1924. Originally a movie theater until the 1970s, it closed in the 80s but survived after a renovation in the 90s.
Established in 1997, Launchpad is the place to be for all sorts of alternative gigs whether it’s bands or disc jockeys. More intimate than other venues, established artists as well as up-and-coming musicians across all genres play here.
Keep an eye out for one of their epic party nights when the space transforms into a club.
65 – Cruise Route 66
The famous Route 66 runs right through Albuquerque, though it has changed a little over the years. Along the way you can find plenty of roadside curiosities, buzzing neon and unique landmarks. The retro-styled 66 Diner is a fun place to visit en-route for some spiced-up fast food and a selfie.
Pass through Nob Hill and Old Town and call in at the KiMo Theatre before checking out the Route 66 sign on the corner of Central Avenue and Coors Boulevard Southwest. It’s kitsch, it’s fun, go get your kicks!
66 – Grab a drink at the top bars or take a brewery tour and beer tasting
There’s probably a bar to suit your mood in Albuquerque. The Q Bar in Old Town is on the fancier side of things and has a piano lounge and a large drinks menu to choose from. If you like it a little rowdier, check out Burt’s Tiki Lounge for live bands on the alternative rock & roll spectrum.
For great views of the city and old-school cocktails, The Apothecary Lounge cannot be beaten and for a low-key easy-going vibe Billy’s Long Bar is a solid bet. There are also some great breweries that offer beer tastings and tours such as Tumbleroot and the Marble Brewery.
67 – Revel in traditional dance and dinner with a night at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque
Although flamenco dance originated in Spain, it’s widely celebrated all over the world, particularly in Central America and South American countries where Spanish culture reigns strong.
Based in the New Mexico region, it’s no surprise you can enjoy the traditional dance performance here and the Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque is one of the prime locales to do so.
Prepare to be blown away by these dinner shows — happening on Friday and Saturday nights only, or book tickets for Sundays for the matinee show where you can enjoy fine wine and spirits throughout the performance.
There is standard seating available (including a community table, banquette seating and tables by the open-air patio options). For some of the best seats in the house (and the most intimate experience to witness the spectacle), the premium tables are right in the middle at the front. The VIP area overlooks the stage.
Dancers and artists from Spain and the US hit the stage for a show like none other!
68 – Grab drinks and a bite to eat at the rooftop bars & restaurants
For sure there are plenty of incredible places to eat or grab drinks, but why not step things up and notch and head to some of the city’s top rooftop bars and restaurants where you can drink and dine with views to boot? Here are some of the best around.
Boasting both indoor and outdoor seating options, the stylish Apothecary Lounge is a romantic option for sundowners, specializing in seasonal craft cocktails. Order a signature, for example, the Prohibition-era classic, ‘The Sazerac.’
Level 5 rooftop restaurant and bar overlooks the blazing red mountains, perched above the luxe Hotel Chaco. It sports a refined and contemporary look and feel, with dedicated individual cocktail and wine menus.
Bright and open, arrive for tapas plates, delicious vino and artisanal cocktails at Ibiza Urban Rooftop Lounge. Open from Thursday to Sunday only, from 5 PM onwards, it operates on a first-come-first-serve basis, and you cannot make a reservation prior. For this spot, you don’t want to arrive underdressed either — just throwing it out there.
Head to Bien Shur Lounge in time for sunset hour and sip back on fine wines, cold drafts, wine and bubbly (available by the glass) paired with a cheese and meat charcuterie board with rolling hillsides as your backdrop.
How to get to Albuquerque?
For travelers arriving at Albuquerque International Sunport, consider pre-organizing airport transfers before your holiday even begins, so that you have nothing to worry about upon landing.
Forget about haggling down prices with taxi drivers, or waiting for a car to arrive only once you exit the airport, instead, this way, everything is taken care of.
Once you’ve landed and are ready to leave, your private driver awaits you outside the gates, holding a placard with your name on it. Hop into your private, air-conditioned vehicle and travel directly and comfortably to your accommodation in Albuquerque.
Airport transfers are available on your way back to the airport as well.
Where to stay in Albuquerque?
Oozing charm and picturesque landscapes, ensure you have the best time ever in Albuquerque and stay at some of the city’s top hotels.
Sleek, contemporary and clean, the extra-large rooms at the Hotel Chaco have everything you need — and then some! The mix of natural elements adds the finishing touches.
Feel like you’ve been swept away to a villa when staying at Hotel Parq Central, and far from the hustle and bustle, the overall environment is very relaxing. Rooms and suites are decked in warm tones, adding a homely, cozy feel and comfort.
Outdoor rooftop pool with hot tubs? Check. Fitness studio? Check. Find all the on-site facilities at The Clyde Hotel and spot the luxurious, rich finishings and furniture a mile away, like marble bathroom countertops and city views.
If you’re hunting down a unique and authentic type of stay, the set of linked casita-style cottages built in 1938 at Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn will win you over. Designed to replicate a small traditional Spanish home, the boutique bed and breakfast is favored by couples, as well as for its location.
As one of the oldest hotels in Albuquerque, the Hotel Andaluz Albuquerque, Curio Collection By Hilton has managed to retain its original makeup, yet the historic stay has still kept up with the modern times in terms of amenities and is well-maintained.
Do you prefer picking a place that has it all, and is more in tune with a big-resort vibe? Including a multitude of restaurants, a casino, a shopping complex, pool and a spa, you’ll find it all at Isleta Resort.
Visiting Albuquerque on a budget?
There’s nothing wrong with saving where you can when traveling, in fact, it’s a smart way to do things. Enjoy extra dollars to spend on shopping and dining out when you opt for an Unbelievable Pass, which includes “free” entrance to certain must-see attractions, landmarks and monuments.
Valid for three, six or 12 months, save up to $1,000 when you purchase the pass that gives you automatic entry to tours and things to do like World Balloon hot air balloon rides, Del Sol Aviation flights, True REST Float Spa, National Museum of Nuclear Science & History and Breaking Bad RV Tours.
Where to go next?
After your time in Albuquerque is up, consider some of these other options to travel to and explore next.
Make your way west and explore the state of Arizona (also just over six hours from Albuquerque) where there are plenty of incredible towns and cities to discover around these parts.
There are many things to do in Sedona from seeing ancient ruins to breathtaking hiking trails, with a keen sense of spirituality in the air. Whilst you’re in this area, tick the Grand Canyon off of your bucket list, and you can reach the national treasure in under six hours.
From the weird and wonderful to the sweeping desert landscapes to the unique culture, this city is one to add to your USA Bucket List for sure!
Have you traveled to New Mexico before? What were some of your favorite things to do in Albuquerque (if you’ve been here before) and other cities nearby?
Share your memories and favorite moments in the comments, we love hearing from our readers.
As always, happy and safe travels.