Travel, Dining, Lodging, Things To See And Do

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, and home to the only major International airport -- Albuquerque International Sunport -- although there are smaller airports in other cities. It is also one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded in 1706 by Spaniards. Between the Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo influences, it is also a culturally diverse area, as you will note if you take in some of the historical and cultural events that line its calendar. Located in the central part of New Mexico on the famous Route 66, Albuquerque has fairly mild winter weather compared to much of the nation, and enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year. Summer daytime highs range in the 80's to 90's, although the low humidity makes the heat less noticeable. If you decide to visit Albuquerque, this article serves as a general guide to things to see and do there, options for lodging and dining, and the best ways to get there. There isn't room to do the city justice, so we'll point you to other sources for information to help you plan your Albuquerque Vacation.

Getting There

You can come by car, by bus, by train, or by jet plane. Albuquerque International Sunport is serviced by the following major commercial airlines:
American Airlines, non-stop from Chicago and Dallas-Ft. Worth, with connection flights from other cities
Continental serves Albuquerque nonstop from Newark, NJ and Houston, with other connecting service
Delta features non-stop service from Salt Lake & Cincinnati, connections from other cities
ExpressJet Airlines non stop service from LA-Ontario, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Sacramento, Austin, San Antonio. Other connecting flights available
Frontier flies non-stop from Denver, connections from other cities
Southwest has the most flights, with non-stop service from 22 cities and connections from pretty much every where they fly.
Northwest Airlines flies non-stop from Minneapolis, with other connecting flights
United Airlines has non-stop flights from Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles. Connections available through these hubs from the other cities they serve.
US Airways flies non-stop from Phoenix and Las Vegas, connecting flights offered from other cities.

You should do well to book your flights through one of the online airline ticket services like Expedia, Orbitz, or Travelocity. Note that Southwest does not use any of these services, so go through their web site if you are planning to fly on Southwest.

All The Comforts of Home

Once you've figured out how to get to Albuquerque, you'll probably want to a place to stay and know where you can eat. Here are just a few of the lodging accomodations in Albuquerque.

Quality Inn Suites and Hotel
Located in downtown Albuquerque, is in close proximity to the zoo, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Botanical Gardens, Kirkland Air Force Base, and is minutes from the airport. Free continental breakfast, high speed internet access, fitness center. Offers shuttle service to and from the airport. Average daily rate for a king or two queen room is under $60.

Albuquerque Days Inn
Features complimentary airport shuttle and continental breakfast, wireless internet access, cable tv, outdoor pool. Close to University of New Mexico and Albuquerque Downs racetrack and casino. Room rates start at $50 per night.

Albuquerque Hilton
Rates from $90 a night, amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, all rooms with a view of the Sandia Peak mountains, high speed internet access, two onsite restaurants; located near University of New Mexico, Old Town, and Albuquerque Downs racetrack and casino.

Feeding the Inner Man/Woman

Because of the cultural diversity you'll find in New Mexico, you'll find this diversity apparent in the choices you will have for dining while in Albuquerque. Naturally you'd expect to find Mexican and Western cuisine here. And you'll find help in selecting restaurants from such sites as or EatAlbuquerque for all restaurant types. Not only will you find good Mexican food, but Western style (barbecue's, steaks), you'll find Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Thai, and more. Here are some of the recommendations for each type of food.

Mexican/New Mexican
Getting good reviews in the Mexican or New Mexican category are Padilla's Mexican Kitchen, Casa Grande Restaurant, and Monica's El Portel. El Charrito's is also highly rated.

If you're looking for great American/Western style food, the Casa Grande restaurant is also listed under American cuisine. Other highly rated American/Western restaurants include Spinn's Burgers and Beer, Wranglers, and the Frontier. Looking for great barbecue? Try Rudy's BBQ or JR's Barbecue and Seafood Too. Hankering for a great steak? Try The Cooperage, one of Albuquerque's premier steakhouses.

Sometimes all you want is a great sandwich, especially around lunchtime. Relish Sandwich Shop is located in downtown Albuquerque and is easy to miss, but you won't want to miss it if you can help it. The Model Pharmacy can fool you, because until you go in and wander around a bit, you won't even know there's a sandwich counter in the back.

We want to point out here that if you are looking for a good place to have breakfast, especially if your hotel doesn't offer a freebie for you, the Casa Grande, and El Charritos are also highly rated for good Mexican style breakfasts.

I've Arrived, Have Places To Stay And Eat, Now What!

Now that the important things are taken care of, such as lodging and dining, you're ready to begin exploring Albuquerque and vicinity. There's lots of things to do here, and we'll list as many as we have room for. Albuquerque's Convention and Visitors Guide is just one source for finding things to do.

Hot Air Balloons
Albuquerque is known as the "Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World," and its annual International Balloon Festival takes place in October. You'll see more than 700 hot air balloons in the sky each year. If this is of particular interest to you, don't miss the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, and you may even want to take a ride in one, too.

Route 66 Tour
If you're not familiar with the history of Route 66, there's a brief history available on the Convention and Visitors Guide web site. Briefly, Route 66 is an old road which was completed about 1937, running from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. It is featured in Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath," and made more famous by the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66," as well as an early TV show by that name. It also runs through Albuquerque, and you can tour this route by downloading the tour map from the Visitors Guide web site.

Cultural Events
While Albuquerque, and in fact all of New Mexico, is well known for it's cultural diversity through the Native American and Mexican peoples, Albuquerque is also home to 70 different ethnic groups, all of which are represented by events and sights in Albuquerque. There are art fairs, music festivals, and museums representing the many cultures of New Mexico, both in the city as well as nearby. Be sure to take some of them in, to get a real feel for the people of New Mexico.

Outdoor Recreational Activities
With its 300 plus days of sunshine a year, there's plenty to do out of doors, too. From camping, hiking and biking to golf and swimming, be sure to allow some time for one of these outdoor activities. You can hike or bike on one of the many trails that are found in the Sandia and Manzano mountains, or in the city itself along the 15-mile Paseo del Bosque Bike Trail. Not limited just to bikers, you can walk, run, bike, skate, and even take a horseback ride on this trail.

Sightseeing and Shopping

The landscape of New Mexico is unique, and you're sure to enjoy it as you travel the countryside. The city of Albuquerque is only about a mile above sea level, so you can enjoy hiking among the desert plantlife, or go to the mountains a short distance away to enjoy a forested atmosphere. Nearby is the Petroglyph National Monument, where early New Mexico residents carved their artwork into the rocks. You can ride the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, the world's longest tramway, to the crest of the mountains where you can get a spectacular view of the landscape. If you want to take in some shopping while here, you'll find everything from Native American wares to modern, upscale clothing and other accessories. In historic Old Town you'll find plenty of shops featuring Native American pottery, weavings, art, and jewelry. There are a number of malls in the city where you're sure to find what you're looking for.

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