Albuquerque is a city with a lot to offer. There are hikes for every level of adventurer, from beginner to expert. The museums are world-renowned, and the breweries are some of the best in the country.
There’s something for everyone in Albuquerque. And what’s more, the city is surrounded by natural beauty. The Sandia Mountains offer a stunning backdrop to the city, and there are plenty of opportunities to get out and explore them.
So whether you’re looking for a place to hike, unwind, or just take in some amazing views, check out our guide for the best things to do in Albuquerque:
Best Outdoor Activities in AlbuQuerQue
1) Take the Scenic Route on the Sandia Peak Tramway
Taking a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway is an unforgettable experience. As you ride up to the summit of Sandia Mountain, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding area.
The tramway car makes several stops along the way, so you can take in the scenery at your own pace. At the top of the mountain, there’s an observation deck where you can enjoy even more stunning views. If you’re looking for an adventurous way to spend a day, but don’t necessarily want to go hiking, then riding the Sandia Peak Tramway is definitely the way to go!
2) Hike La Luz Trail of the Sandia Crest
If you’re looking for a more advanced hike, be sure to check out the La Luz Trail. The trial is a strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike that runs from the Sandia Mountains to the Cibola National Forest.
The trailhead is located at the end of the Tramway Boulevard in Albuquerque, and the trail winds its way through the forest before culminating at the 10,678-foot summit of the Sandia Crest. Along the way, hikers will be treated to stunning views of the Rio Grande Valley and the city of Albuquerque. The La Luz Trail is a popular hike, and it is recommended that hikers start early in the day to avoid crowds and heat.
3) Spend Some Time in Petroglyphs National Park
Petroglyphs National Park is one of the most unique and fascinating places in the world. The park is home to over 20,000 petroglyphs, which are ancient rock carvings that were created by the indigenous people of the area.
Today, the petroglyphs are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors from all over the world come to see them. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning, when the sun is just starting to rise. As the sun rises, it illuminates the petroglyphs and makes them glow. It’s an amazing sight, and one that I will never forget.
4) Stroll through the Botanical Gardens
The Albuquerque Botanical Gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The gardens span 35 acres, and feature a diverse collection of plant life, including cacti, roses, and native New Mexico plants.
There are also several walking trails, a children’s garden, and a café on site. The gardens are open year-round, and offer a variety of events and programs throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to learn more about plants or just enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens are sure to please.
Best Museums in Albuquerque
1) Visit the Museum of Natural History
For an informative and interactive experience that’s great for the whole family, be sure to check out the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque. The museum has exhibits on the geology, paleontology, and ecology of the state, as well as a working lab where scientists study fossils and other specimens.
The museum also offers a variety of public programs, including classes on topics such as birding and wildflower identification. Whether you’re a lifelong resident of New Mexico or just visiting for a few days, the Natural History Museum is definitely worth a visit.
2) For a Unique Experience, Check out the RattleSnake Museum
If you’re looking for a quirky and unique experience, the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque is definitely worth a visit.
The museum is home to over 200 live rattlesnakes, as well as a wide variety of preserved specimens. In addition to its impressive collection of snakes, the museum also offers educational programs and snake-handling demonstrations. Whether you’re a fan of snakes or just looking for an unusual attraction, the Rattlesnake Museum is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
3) For Art and History Buffs, go to Albuquerque Museum
The Albuquerque Museum, located in the Old Town Area, is one of the leading art museums in the Southwest. Showcasing over 400 years of Albuquerque and New Mexico history, the museum has everything from centuries-old artwork to colonial artifacts to conquistador armor.
The museum is free to the public on Sundays from 9am to 1pm, and is worth the time if learning more about the region is something that interests you!
4) Visit the San Felipe de Neri
San Felipe de Neri Church is a historic Catholic church located in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded in 1706 by Fray Alonso de Benavides, it is one of the oldest standing buildings in the city.
The church is known for its unique adobe architecture and ornate interior, which features a Baroque altarpiece and an iconic wooden statue of San Felipe de Neri. Visitors to the church can also explore the nearby cemetery, which contains the graves of many early settlers to Albuquerque.
The church is open to the public for Mass and confessions daily, and it offers guided tours on weekdays. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a beautiful place to worship, San Felipe de Neri Church is definitely worth a visit.
5) Check out the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Native Americans who once inhabited New Mexico. The center traces its origins back to the 19th century, when a group of Pueblo Indians founded it as a place to preserve their culture and traditions.
Today, the center is home to a museum, an art gallery, and a theater, all of which offer visitors a glimpse into the rich history of the Pueblo people. In addition, the center hosts a number of educational programs and events throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for both adults and children. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the past or simply enjoy a day out, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is sure to leave you with a new appreciation for the heritage of New Mexico.
6) Spend an Afternoon at the ABQ Biopark
Albuquerque’s Biopark is home to a variety of plant and animal species, making it a perfect destination for a day of exploration. The park includes an aquarium, botanic garden, and zoo, all of which are connected by walking trails.
Visitors can learn about the diverse ecosystem of the Rio Grande Valley while getting up close and personal with some of its residents. The aquarium features fish, reptiles, and amphibians from the Rio Grande, while the zoo is home to animals from all over the world.
The botanic garden showcases the region’s plants, including cacti and succulents. With so much to see and do, Albuquerque’s Biopark is a great place to learn about the natural world.
Special Events Hosted in Albuquerque
1) Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Every fall, Albuquerque plays host to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, attracting visitors from all over the world. For nine days, the skies are filled with colorful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes.
Balloonists take part in numerous competitions and demonstrations, and there is also a wide variety of food and entertainment on offer. The fiesta culminates with the Mass Ascension, when all of the balloons take off at once, creating a truly unforgettable sight. Whether you’re a balloon enthusiast or simply looking for a unique travel experience, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is well worth a visit.
2) Get into the Holiday Spirit at the Albuquerque River of Lights!
The Albuquerque River of Lights is an annual event that draws visitors from all over the state. Held in early December, the River of Lights features over two million lights on a mile-long stretch of the Rio Grande.
The lights are synchronized to music, creating a magical experience for all who see it. Visitors can also enjoy festive food and drink, live entertainment, and Santa Claus himself! Whether you’re young or old, the River of Lights is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
Best areas in Albuquerque
- Nob Hill – Close to the University of New Mexico and lots of cool shops and restaurants!
- Albuquerque Old Town – You’ll find lots of hotels and restaurants in this area.
- Uptown – Known for its huge outdoor shopping center
Best Breweries in Albuquerque
- Bosque Brewing Co
- Marble Brewery
- Boxing Bear Brewing
- Box and Arrow Brewing
- Canteen Taproom
- High and Dry Brewing
Recap of Best things to do in Albuquerque
- Hike through La Luz Trail or Petroglyphs National Park
- Sandia Peak Tramway
- Check out one of the many great museums!
- ABQ Biopark
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
- San Felipe de Neri
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
- River of Lights
- Grab a drink at one of the many great local breweries!
Where to Next?
Looking for a beach vacation and beautiful weather? Check out San Diego!
Looking for another city not too far from Albuquerque with plenty of outdoor activities? Check out Denver!
If you’re looking for a great nightlife scene and live music, be sure to take a look at Austin!