36 Hours in Albuquerque

In this New Mexico city, fall is a colorful affair, with the yearly Balloon Fiesta, flamenco, Pueblo culture and forest hikes.

Comments: 35

  1. The focus on Old Town and the museums are fine but IMHO, eat at Sadie’s, take the evening ghost tour at the Plaza and visit Petroglyph National Monument I love Abq! http://www.sadiesofnewmexico.com

  2. At the expense of being low-brow *eat once at Lot of Burger. Basic cheap burgers and fries *Frontier , On Central across from UNM. Crazy coffee shop with a mix of food and customers if you can go to The Arabian Horse Show. It draws some big money and even stars

  3. @FerCry'nTears I also recommend the Frontier for local color. The bottomless steaming pots of "Christmas" chili are the best.

  4. @a little bird Yes! Most people rave over their cinnamon rolls but it's the chicken adobo that I like the best; besides the people watching

  5. Duran's Central Pharmacy also supplies curanderas, as well as those who need huevos rancheros. Modelo's is good - but the loss of the Albuquerque Sanitary Tortilla Factory is not something to be overlooked.

  6. Albuquerque is becoming much more interesting as Santa Fe continues to transition into an expensive retirement community that's in bed by nine. Los Poblanos is a real treat. ABQ can be a bit warm in the summer, but not sweaty hot like Austin.

  7. The retirement fantasy I cannot let go of. There is nothing so beautiful as the NM sky!

  8. Great piece by a highly respected travel writer. Coincidentally, I just led a 4-day Albuquerque tour September 12-15 for 6 of us “Sisters of the Road,” a subset of Santa Fe’s Newcomer’s Club. (Few people ever leave the club, exemplified by the fact that I have lived in Santa Fe for 4 years.) We Santa Fe residents tend to make the hour’s drive to Albuquerque and back for a specific event. But by staying overnight and having several days, we were able to further explore this vital city. To Ms. Glusac’s excellent sites menu, I suggest these additions: 1. Spend Sunday morning at “Chatter Sunday” ($10) for 1 hour of live classical music performance poetry FREE espresso coffees & pastries—all experienced in a former warehouse called Las Puertas (https://www.chatterabq.org/sunday/). 2. Dive into great Greek food at Yanni’s, in the Nob Hill neighbored on Central Avenue (aka Route 66). https://www.yannisandlemoni.com 3. Until November 10, 2019, you can still see “Brain: The Inside Story,” a traveling exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/exhibits/exhibits/brain-inside-story). 4. Don’t miss The Range Café for a last-all-day brunch at the ORIGINAL location in nearby Bernallio. https://rangecafe.com/ 5. Re Ms. Glusac’s reference to restaurant Ten3 (at 10,300 feet altitude), which opened in August 2019: reserve a table weeks in advance. But don’t miss it, including the spectacular 15-minute Sandia Mountains tram ride up to it.

  9. que lastima. the map that accompanies this article does not show any retail, food and beverage, or cultural draws in nob hill, just further evidence that the ill-conceived albuquerque rapid transit (a.r.t.) project has decimated the once-thriving route 66 neighborhood. life copies art and we're breaking bad.

  10. All this and you didn't try the Chile Relleno plate at Monroes? (With green chile sauce, of course!) You need to go back and get it right.

  11. Congratulations, to -both- Ms. Glusac and Mr. Burcham on an excellent piece. World-class journalism, indeed.

  12. I used to live in New Mexico. I miss it so much. No hurricanes. But plenty of skiing, great food, friendly people, hiking, cool, dry air, caves, canyons, mountains, deserts, clear skies, UFOs, and things like the pictured balloon fest. It is the Land of Enchantment. As to Albuquerque, it’s much less expensive than Santa Fe, yet it’s home to an excellent university and a highly educated population, many of whom work for national labs. I do regret that the first atomic bomb was built in NM. But then it was sure to have been built by someone somewhere. Science had already created its foundation. But I digress. Go to Albuquerque! You won’t regret it.

  13. You must eat at least once at 2010 James Beard “American Classics” winner Mary and Tito’s. Best red chile enchiladas anywhere !

  14. The Albuquerque Historical Society offers a free walking tour every Saturday. I appreciate the author is traveling with a work budget, but it would be nice if they could mention a free publicly funded alternative when promoting a $75 direct competitor. Still wonderful that at least it’s a walking tour and not a bus tour for the $75!

  15. I have been visiting my family in Albuquerque since 1965. First by car, then train and then plane. The cultural offerings and diversity have increased. A first class zoo and natural history museum can be added to the offerings here. The Pueblo Cultural Center is world class. Going to a Pueblo or two is essential. Chaco Canyon is a great place to visit Santa Fe deserves a day. Balloon Fiesta is unique fun.

  16. Worth a side note here is Cervantes Restaurant, a local favorite, which bottles its fabulous salsa and chile sauces for sale on the premises and online. Just be sure you can handle the heat if you go for anything other than mild. My family moved there in 1970, and since then this city has definitely grown up. The future looks bright for Albuquerque.

  17. Finally! Albuquerque and environs have so, so much to offer! Durans Pharmacy is the one place I insist my out-of-town visitors go if they want an authentic taste of New Mexico. Best tortillas in town!

  18. Seeing that photo of hot air balloons brought tears to my eyes because my brother made that yearly autumn trek to New Mexico to attend and bask in the beauty and glory of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He and his wife had plans to retire there in 6 months. However, the guy upstairs called him home, unexpectedly from our point of view, and that dream of his never happened. Thank you for the wonderful article about Albuquerque and for the peaceful yet lonesome reminder of my brother.

  19. On Friday night I recommend heading to Marble Brewing . Free live music from touring bands on the patio , great beer , and the liveliest scene in Burque.

  20. My wife and I moved here 6 years ago and fell in love with New Mexico, after the transition from the San Francisco to the Albuquerque pace and mañana sensibility. It's obvious to friends from the Bay Area who've come to visit why we made this our new home.

  21. @Bill Slatkin Oh dear.... the 'Fornies coming to ruin New Mexico along with Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Utah....

  22. I was there a few years ago and it struck me that it is one of those places (like my hometown, see above) that it is more pleasant to live in than to visit. Having said that, the Hampton Inn near the intersection of the two interstates is one of the best-run hotels I have encountered. The parks by the river are great and there is a quirky vibe that some might appreciate. Santa Fe, on the other hand, is one of the most appealing cities in the country.

  23. My wife and I have grown to appreciate and enjoy Albuquerque. It is an unpretentious city with an interesting history and culture. Lots to see and do. The food in New Mexico is delicious and distinctive. The Balloon Fiesta is on our bucket list.

  24. Wonderful list! And I'd add 66 Acres (across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center) for great food and wonderful craft cocktails. And if staying at El Vado, right across the street from the Botanical Gardens and aquarium. Then there's all the breweries and great coffee houses. I could go on - it's a truly wonderful city! And you can still simply "run up" to Santa Fe (even take the train.) Then there are all the day trips possible.

  25. Barela's Coffee House on 4th Street for Huevos Rancheros. The real thing.

  26. Locals know that no visit to Albuquerque is complete without stopping for a good, inexpensive meal at the Frontier on Central (across from UNM).

  27. We live in Rio Rancho (NJ transplants) and are equidistant to ABQ and SF. Both have so much to offer. We LOVE it here.

  28. Yes! Thank you! Seems like everything I read about my city has to do with crime. It's not that scary here. In fact, its beautiful. Thank you so much for publishing this very well written piece!

  29. Used to have family living in Quigly Park and we came yearly as a jump-off point for our western vacations. The city and area have nice people and the dry air is a welcome escape from southern humidity.

  30. We decided to take a scenic drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and ended up getting stuck in the mud. A kind farmer hauled our car out and his goats attempted to herd us while we waited. We then proceeded to the interstate to complete our trip. Had a great time in both cities and I always laugh when I think of our little mishap.

  31. Across the street from Duran's Central Pharmacy is a great place called Vinaigrette. Delicious salads with a great vibe. The same owner also has Modern General and The Feel Good just a couple of blocks east of Vinaigrette. Highly recommended restaurants. If you have a chance to take in an event at the Kimo Theatre on Central, the place is historic and amazing. And on Saturday mornings through fall, take in the Downtown Grower's Market. It's the place to be on Saturdays mornings.

  32. I live in Santa Fe, but for me, the very best New Mexican food in the universe happens to be at Padilla's in a strip shopping center on a residential section of Girard, not too far from the airport. Cash only. The real deal.

  33. My family is New Mexican going back 10 generations (give or take) and I consider it home. I love when people visit and appreciate the place for its unique food, vistas, architecture, etc. I go back three or four times a year and it never disappoints. Must sees for me, Sadie’s on North 4th, Blake’s Lotaburger, Nate & Hannah’s in Corrales, MAS tapas, and for old times sake, La Placita. Love the Pueblo Cultural Center and of course, Albuquerque Museum, Atomic Museum, and the gift shop at San Felipe! I’m going there in a few weeks to pick up my red chile ristras and roasted green chile. I refuse to tell you the name of the farm stand my family has gone to forever because I don’t want it to run out before I get there!

  34. If you've got kids, be sure and visit Explora Museum, a hands-on science museum. And Valle de Oro, the nation's only urban wildlife refuge is a wonderful place to walk among the cottonwoods along the Rio Grande. In the late fall and winter, its grasslands are full of geese and sandhill cranes.