View from the top of Sandia Peak, one of the top things to do in Albuquerque

A Weekend in Albuquerque

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Sleepy Albuquerque isn’t high on many travelers’ lists, but it should be. Often overlooked in favor of neighboring Denver or artsy Santa Fe, Albuquerque provides a unique gateway into southwestern culture. There are many fun things to do in Albuquerque and it makes a great weekend getaway.

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Fun Things to Do in Albuquerque

Fly up Sandia Peak Tramway

The city of Albuquerque is nestled at the bottom of the Sandia Mountains, which are just to the east of the city. Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of the mountain offers views of a third of the state of New Mexico. The tramway has one of the longest spans in the world and is only supported by two towers.

Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway

The city of Albuquerque is nestled at the bottom of the Sandia Mountains, which are just to the east of the city. Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of the mountain offers views of a third of the state of New Mexico. The tramway has one of the longest spans in the world and is only supported by two towers.

From the summit, visitors can go hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. As someone who doesn’t do well with heights, the trip up the mountain wasn’t nearly as terrifying as some of the other tram rides we’ve taken in the world.

View from top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque

Relax in Nob Hill

Just east of the University of New Mexico along Central Avenue/Route 66 is a strip of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs called Nob Hill. This is where folks come out to party, visit a club, or grab dinner.

The stores in the funky Nob Hill neighborhood in Albuquerque
The funky Nob Hill neighborhood

Nob Hill feels like a hipster paradise, but it’s really a great melting pot as people from different social circles mix and enjoy life.

Visit Stores and Galleries in Old Town

Albuquerque’s Old Town neighborhood dates by to the Spanish colonial period and was founded in 1706. These days, Old Town Albuquerque is filled with restaurants and southwest art galleries.

The San Felipe de Neri church in Old Town Albuquerque

The highlight is the San Felipe de Neri Chruch dating from 1793, which dominates the square.

Explore the Petroglyph National Monument

The West Mesa forms the edge of the Rio Grande River valley. Along the mesa’s rim, over 24,000 Native American petroglyph carvings created by the Pueblo tribe are visible. Created in 1990, the Petroglyph National Monument protects these cultural treasures.

A rock drawing in the Petroglyph National Monument during a weekend in Albuquerque

We enjoyed spending a morning hiking along the valley and up the mesa to see these ancient carvings. A visit here is one of the most unique things to do in Albuquerque.

Sip at D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro

New Mexico isn’t exactly known as a wine destination, but it actually shares a lot of characteristics as the Mediterranean wine regions. Near Deming, New Mexico, the D.H. Lescombes/St. Clair Winery has a sprawling 180-acre complex of vines.

Wine glasses and bottles at the D.H. Lescombes/St. Clair Winery & Bistro

The winery has opened a tasting room and restaurant in Albuquerque that is a few blocks from Old Town. D.H. Lescombes is a must-visit in Albuquerque.

Imbibe at the Hotel Andaluz

The Spanish-inspired Hotel Andaluz was originally built by Conrad Hilton and was one of the most expensive hotels built. The Hotel Andaluz lobby is a thing of beauty where alcoves surround a large central fountain.

Having cocktails in the lobby lounge at the Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque

Having cocktails in the hotel lobby is a top Albuquerque experience.

Breakfast at Frontier Restaurant

The Frontier Restaurant has been an icon across from the university for over 40 years. Frontier is a diner across the street from the university and serves all manner of New Mexican cuisine: green chile cheeseburgers, enchiladas with red and green chile sauce, and massive cinnamon rolls.

The exterior Frontier Restaurant, an Albuquerque favorite for breakfast

Frontier is an Albuquerque institution! Make sure a visit here is on your list of things to do in Albuquerque.

Breaking Bad Tour

Breaking Bad was the highest rated TV show of all time. The show, which was set and filmed here, aired from 2008-2013. Fans of the show can take a tour of Breaking Bad film sites while riding in an authentic motor home. Alternately, they can explore on their own.

Walter White's house in Albuqerque
Walter White’s House (Photo by Ayleen Gaspar; CC by 2.0)

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4 thoughts on “A Weekend in Albuquerque”

  1. I wish I’d seen this article before I went to Albuquerque on a 30 hour layover last week! Definitely have to take a Breaking Bad tour next time.

  2. Wow the views from that cable car is incredible!! Had no idea where Albuquerque was, so thanks for opening my eyes to this destination!

  3. I’ve wanted to get to Albuquerque for a long time now as I have a friend who comes from there, trouble was by the time I was able to go, she’d moved to Houston Texas so my annual hol is to Texas rather than Albuquerque, but you’ve rekindled my wish to go again! Thank you for a great post!

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