The Getaway
28 Things to See and Do in Albuquerque

Nestled in the Rio Grande Valley at the foot of the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque is a high desert metropolis that welcomes millions of visitors a year. From stunning landscapes made familiar to many by the popular television series Breaking Bad, to museums that highlight the city's Native and Southwestern heritages, Albuquerque offers an abundance of activities and sights for every traveler.


01 Discover sacred Indigenous symbols at Petroglyph National Monument


As the name suggests, the Petroglyph National Monument is a beautiful natural monument that stretches along Albuquerque's West Mesa, a volcanic rock slope that dominates the city's western horizon. One of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, the boulders feature more than 20,000 prehistoric images belonging to the Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers. The stone relics allow those visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico, to share in the cultural heritage of those who lived and traveled through the Rio Grande Valley. Visitors can travel on several different trails, but the one with the most petroglyphs is rather steep and travels up a rocky hill, so be prepared.

Adria Malcolm / Getty Images


02 Albuquerque Museum: A journey through centuries of culture


Dive into centuries of Native American and Spanish culture at the Albuquerque Museum. From 19th-century armor used by Spanish Conquistadors to over 7,000 pieces of art, the museum is a treasure trove of history and creativity. Guided tours and temporary exhibits add to the rich experience. Interactive displays, educational programs, and special events throughout the year make the museum a dynamic space that engages visitors. Whether you're a history buff or an art lover, the Albuquerque Museum offers a deep and enriching exploration of the region's heritage. The museum also hosts different exhibits throughout the year, so each visit always includes something fresh. Often, these exhibits honor culturally impactful artists and their work.

CampPhoto / Getty Images


03 Sail the skies on the Sandia Peak Tramway


Sandia Peak Tramway, the longest aerial tramway in the United States, stretches from the northeast edge of Albuquerque to the crestline of the Sandia Mountains. A trip on the nearly three-mile-long tramway offers breathtaking views of Albuquerque and the New Mexico countryside, including deep canyons and stunning terrain of the Sandia Mountains within the Cibola National Forest. Atop the Sandia Peak, sightseers have the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the Rio Grande Valley from an observation deck as well as to explore miles of hiking trails. The terminal also sits atop the Sandia Peak Ski Area, which provides incredible skiing opportunities in the winter and over 26 miles of mountain biking trails in the summer.

Steve Snowden / Getty Images


04 Learn more about the Pueblo People at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


Owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center showcases the artifacts and history of traditional Pueblo cultures and their contemporary art. The center is best known for its permanent exhibition, "We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story." This exhibit tells the story of the Pueblo people and includes a collection of Pueblo pottery and murals, as well as other handmade artifacts. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center also offers traditional Native American dances every Saturday and Sunday, where visitors can experience dance groups from the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico as well as Plains Style, Apache, Hopi, and Navajo dancers. Art lovers should definitely check the center's schedule and visit during one of the seasonal art markets, which typically occur in late April and early October.

photosbyjim / Getty Images


05 See the American International Rattlesnake Museum's many serpents


Hiding in a quiet corner of historic Old Town is the world's largest collection of different live rattlesnake species. The collection is so large, in fact, that it surpasses the number of snake species found in some of the United States' largest zoos. The animal conservation museum boasts live displays of 34 species, from albino snakes to a Gila Monster. The museum is also home to a unique array of snake-related artwork, artifacts, and memorabilia, including ceramics, jewelry, snakebite kits, and more. Explore and debunk myths or cure your snake phobia at this must-see museum.

ColbyJoe / Getty Images


06 Experience true art at The KiMo Theatre


Route 66 is a legendary road, teeming with historic landmarks—including the KiMo Theatre. Built in 1927 to show both motion pictures and stage productions, the KiMo Theatre sits on the corner of Albuquerque's Central Avenue and Fifth Street. The three-story, light brown stucco building utilizes the Art Deco-Pueblo Revival Style of architecture. It blends adobe building styles with the decorative motifs of ancient American Indian cultures and the sleek and linear verticals common to Art Deco architecture. No theater in the world looks like The KiMo. Stop by for some live music, theatrical plays, or stunning local dancers.

ivanastar / Getty Images


07 The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History


New Mexico was, is, and will forever be a core part of nuclear science. The United States Air Force established the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in 1969 to tell the story of the creation of nuclear weapons. Over the years, the museum has moved and grown, merging with various other organizations to provide a much larger and more comprehensive experience. The museum showcases exhibits and educational programs about nuclear history and science. This includes the historic, scientific, and cultural aspects of the Atomic Age. Permanent exhibits focus on early pioneers of the atom, World War II, the world of espionage, and the design and testing of the world's first atomic bomb.

CUTWORLD / Getty Images


08 Admire the skies during the International Balloon Festival


Every year, Albuquerque makes headlines thanks to its internationally beloved balloon festival. There's nothing like the sight of hundreds of balloons soaring across blue skies over a desert landscape. Each October, balloon pilots and spectators from all over the world visit Albuquerque to witness exactly this at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. For nine days, over 500 colorful hot air balloons ascend above the city each morning. The spectacular event is the largest balloon festival in the world. It is truly a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the fall.

prmoeller / Getty Images


09 Don't miss the San Felipe de Neri Church


Reaching to the heavens on the north side of Old Town Plaza is San Felipe de Neri Church. This historic Catholic Church dates back to 1793 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Albuquerque—in fact, it's the only building in Old Town built during the Spanish colonial period. The structure includes a rectory, a convent, and a school. There is also a small museum that displays religious art and artifacts.

Bryan Steffy / Getty Images


10 Stroll through Old Town Albuquerque


Steve Snowden / Getty Images

Visitors to Albuquerque love the city’s Old Town for its charming architecture and walkability. Spanish settlers in 1706 founded old Town. Old Town is organized with a central plaza anchored by San Felipe de Neri Church. The historic neighborhood is known as a center for art and culture and is home to several museums, including:

  • The National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • The New Mexico Museum of Natural History
  • The American International Rattlesnake Museum

Most of Old Town’s architecture is adobe, in the Pueblo-Spanish style, although numerous Victorian buildings pepper the streets. During the holiday season, residents and tourists flock to Old Town to view its luminaria displays. The Spanish colonial neighborhood also offers an array of restaurants, shops, boutiques, and galleries.


11 Visit Downtown Albuquerque: Travel to the heart of the excitement

Colorful Townhomes in Downtown Albuquerque New Mexico USA benedek / Getty Images

Albuquerque's downtown is where the real magic happens. Known as the main business hub, it's particularly famous for its incredible nightlife. Fancy bars, hip dance clubs, and a range of dining options from upscale Southwestern restaurants to casual noodle shops make it an unforgettable experience. Don't miss the live theater performances at the KiMo Theater or the civic plaza, where the city's pulse beats the loudest. Explore the historic architecture, street art, and local boutiques that add to the downtown charm. Night owls and culture enthusiasts alike will find that Downtown Albuquerque offers a vibrant and diverse experience.


12 ABQ Biopark: A day of adventure and relaxation by the Rio Grande

Spanning 64 acres next to the Rio Grande River, ABQ Biopark is the perfect place to unwind or seek adventure. With a dedicated zoo housing polar bears, kangaroos, and snow leopards, an aquarium with massive tanks, and a nine-foot-high shark tank, there's something for everyone. Don't forget to explore Tingley Beach, connected to the park, for a complete day of fun. The park's design and layout encourage exploration, and seasonal events add to the excitement. If you're a family with kids, a couple looking for a romantic stroll, or even a lone wanderer, ABQ Biopark offers endless possibilities.


13 Rio Grande Botanical Garden is perfect for nature lovers

Gardens Eli Unger / Getty Images

Looking for a laidback stroll through nature's beauty? The 36-acre Rio Grande Botanical Garden offers an experience full of meticulously manicured flowers and exotic plant life that's hard to find elsewhere. Whether you're a botany enthusiast or simply looking to enjoy a peaceful afternoon, the garden's picturesque walkways are sure to enchant you. Seasonal flower shows, educational programs, and themed gardens like the Japanese and Children's Gardens add depth to the experience, making it a top destination for nature lovers of all ages.


14 Tingley Beach is where the fun is

Closeup man fishing in the lake Twenty47studio / Getty Image

Tingley Beach, connecting to ABQ Biopark, is a highlight for visitors. Regardless if you're biking through surrounding trails or building sandcastles near the beach, the summer sun and refreshing breeze make it a delightful spot. Consider buying a full package that includes access to the botanical garden, aquarium, and zoo for a complete experience. Fishing opportunities, picnic spots, and paddle boating add to the beach's appeal, making it a versatile destination for both relaxation and recreation.


15 Albuquerque Museum: A journey through centuries of culture

Senior Female Museum Visitor With Glasses AzmanL / Getty Images

Dive into centuries of Native American and Spanish culture at the Albuquerque Museum. From 19th-century armor used by Spanish Conquistadors to over 7,000 pieces of art, the museum is a treasure trove of history and creativity. Guided tours and temporary exhibits add to the rich experience. Interactive displays, educational programs, and special events throughout the year make the museum a dynamic space that engages visitors. Whether you're a history buff or an art lover, the Albuquerque Museum offers a deep and enriching exploration of the region's heritage.


16 Walter White House: A nostalgic visit to Breaking Bad's Iconic Location.

Fans of the series "Breaking Bad" will recognize the iconic Walter White House. While fans know the address as 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, the actual home sits on 3828 Piermont Drive. A visit to this famous location is a must for enthusiasts of the show, offering a chance to relive some of the series' most memorable moments. While respecting the privacy of the current residents, fans can take photos from the street and even join guided Breaking Bad tours that cover other filming locations in Albuquerque. It's a unique opportunity to step into the world of one of television's most beloved shows.


17 Paseo Del Bosque Trail: Adventure through Albuquerque's green heart

Vibrant yellow autumn leaves of Cottonwood trees at Paseo del Bosque Trail Sanghwan Kim / Getty Images

The Paseo Del Bosque Trail is a 16-mile paved multi-use trail that takes you through the cottonwood Bosque forest. Ideal for walking or biking, it offers scenic routes and connects to Central Avenue and Tingley Beach. A perfect way to explore the city's natural beauty. Along the trail, you'll find interpretive signs, wildlife viewing areas, and public land art like the Flyway Project. From avid cyclists to casual walkers or bird-watching enthusiasts, the Paseo Del Bosque Trail offers a refreshing escape in the heart of Albuquerque.


18 Casa Rondena Winery: Toast to art, architecture, and fine wine

Casa Rondena Winery is more than just a place for wine enthusiasts. With a love for music, art, and architecture, it offers guided tours to learn about wine-making and tasting sessions of award-winning wines. The elegant ambiance and rich flavors make it a memorable visit. Set in a beautiful Spanish-style estate, the winery hosts events, concerts, and wine club gatherings. From the vineyards to the tasting room, every detail reflects a passion for tradition and quality. Casa Rondena Winery invites both wine connoisseurs and casual visitors to savor the essence of New Mexico.


19 Nob Hill is a hip neighborhood with a Route 66 aesthetic

Nob Hill, a bustling neighborhood on Central Avenue, is filled with eccentric shops and dining areas that uphold the iconic Route 66 aesthetic. From its early years growing around the Nob Hill Shopping Center to its neon-splashed era, it's a place where local businesses thrive, offering a taste of Albuquerque's vibrant culture. The neighborhood is also known for its lively festivals, art galleries, and historic architecture. If you're shopping for unique souvenirs, looking to enjoy a gourmet meal, or simply strolling along the iconic Route 66, Nob Hill offers a colorful and eclectic experience.


20 Los Ranchos de Albuquerque: A historic village by the Rio Grande

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, a small village on the outskirts of the Rio Grande, offers a glimpse into the area's agricultural past. Guided tours of historic sites and the closely-knit community of just over 6,000 people provide a unique and charming experience. The village is known for its lavender farms, vineyards, and farmers' markets, offering a tranquil retreat from the city's hustle and bustle. Even if you just plan on driving by, it's well worth the time to see the many million-dollar ranches and estates.


21 Celebrate heritage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

The National Hispanic Cultural Center is dedicated to studying and appreciating Hispanic, Chicano, Latino, and Latin American cultures. Hosting local programs, performing arts, book readings, lectures, and exhibitions, this 20-acre plaza serves as a cultural hub and gathering place. The center's library and genealogy center offer resources for deeper exploration, and the onsite restaurant serves authentic Latin cuisine. Whether you're attending a flamenco performance, exploring the art museum, or participating in a cultural workshop, the National Hispanic Cultural Center offers a rich and immersive experience.


22 University of New Mexico: An educational oasis in the desert

The Duck Pond on the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico campus with pond, geese, and bridge at sunset Raisa Nastukova / Getty Images

The University of New Mexico, founded in 1889, is a public research university boasting impressive greenery throughout its campus. With museums for anthropology, geology, art, and southwest biology, it's a place where education meets exploration. The campus architecture, inspired by Pueblo Indian structures, and the Duck Pond, a popular gathering spot, add to the university's charm. Whether you're attending a lecture, exploring the libraries, or simply enjoying campus life, the University of New Mexico offers a vibrant and enriching experience.


23 Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a sanctuary for nature lovers

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park MaRoPictures / Getty Images

The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park offers exhibits for wetlands, ponds, gardens, and bird watching. With hiking trails that provide scenic routes and educational insights into the city's varying landscape, it's a haven for nature enthusiasts. The park's visitor center offers interpretive exhibits, and guided nature walks are available on weekends. From spotting migratory birds to learning about the local ecosystem, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park offers a peaceful and educational retreat amidst Albuquerque's urban landscape.


24 Steamboat Springs Scavenger Hunt: a playful exploration of the town

Autumn Coloras in the Yampa River Valley Milligan / Getty Images

Embark on a delightful journey through Steamboat Springs with a 2-hour private scavenger tour. This interactive experience allows you to mingle with locals, hunt for art, and delve into the town's rich history. The tour includes a scenic walk or bike ride down the Yampa River, offering an engaging blend of exploration and entertainment. Perfect for all ages, the Steamboat Springs Scavenger Hunt is a fantastic way to see the sights and learn about this quintessential mid-west town in a fun and playful manner.


25 Strawberry Park Hot Springs: a therapeutic retreat

A little girl in green sweater touching water in the hot springs. Olga Whitman / Getty Images

Experience the soothing, therapeutic properties of the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of Steamboat Springs' natural treasures. Maintaining a year-round temperature of 104 degrees, these hot springs offer a rejuvenating retreat, especially during the chilly winter months. Nestled in a secluded location, the hot springs provide a serene environment where you can unwind, soak in the mineral-rich waters, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the surrounding landscape.


26 Steamboat Symphony Orchestra: a harmonious encounter

ORCHESTRA VIOLINIST Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

Founded in 1991 by local musicians, the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra is a testament to the town's vibrant cultural scene. This professional ensemble enriches community events with beautiful live music, captivating audiences with their skill and passion. The orchestra also provides music education opportunities through immersion weekends and mentorship programs, fostering a love for music in the community. Attending a performance by the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra is a must-do for any visitor, offering a harmonious blend of culture and entertainment.


27 Fish Creek Falls: A natural spectacle

Forest landscape in the vicinity Valery Bocman / Getty Images

Just outside downtown Steamboat Springs, in the heart of Fish Creek Canyon, you'll find the breathtaking Fish Creek Falls. Whether you choose a short walk from the parking lot or a more adventurous hike through Upper Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake, the sight of this magnificent waterfall is well worth the journey. In winter, the falls freeze over, creating a stunning spectacle of glass-like ice cascading over the mountainside. Fish Creek Falls offers not only a visual feast but also a chance to connect with nature in its most raw and beautiful form.


28 Yampa River Botanic Park: A green oasis

Yampa River in Steamboat Springs Colorado KarolinaBorkowski / Getty Images

The Yampa River Botanic Park is a verdant haven that offers a peaceful retreat from the bustle of your trip. Open from May to October, this park is not only budget-friendly (as it's free to enter) but also hosts a variety of outdoor events, including concerts, weddings, and other celebrations. The park is home to local wildlife and native wildflowers, offering a glimpse into the region's rich biodiversity. Whether you're seeking respite or looking to attend a vibrant local event, the Yampa River Botanic Park is a must-visit.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.