Being the largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque does a lot! With a wealth of history, beautiful cafes and some stunning natural places right in front of the city, it is a place that is amazing for a city vacation. In fact, there are a bunch of the best things to do in Albuquerque that is perfect to include as part of a wider journey into exploration The best places in New Mexico.
We absolutely enjoyed our trip through New Mexico and had the best time exploring the state! From sightseeing all the aliens Roswell for a visit to Flagstaff and the excellent open air, the state is a species that has something for every type of traveler.
That’s why I wanted to share some totally epic places to visit in Albuquerque that you really shouldn’t miss.
Check out the best things you can do in Albuquerque below. Have fun!
1.) Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
It is held annually, International Balloon Fiesta is one of the best things to do in Albuquerque if you are visiting in early October. You see, it’s the biggest balloon festival in North America (if not the world) with hundreds of balloons soaring into the sky above the city.
During the 9-day festival, you will be able to ride balloons, see the most amazing fireworks and watch the mass ascent (which is amazing).
While don’t fret if you’re not visiting in October, you can still fix the balloon by heading towards Albuquerque Balloon Museum. Inside, you can learn everything you can know about ballooning, from its history to its development as a modern sport. There is even a balloon flight simulator with which you can fly and test your ability to fly a balloon.
Although, if at all possible, try to schedule a trip around the annual Albuquerque garden fiesta, you won’t be disappointed!
2.) Petroglyph National Monument
About 15 minutes drive from the center of Albuquerque, The Petroglyph National Monument is a cult place of famous petroglyphs in New Mexico that you really can’t miss.
Created by carving designs into the stone walls of western Mesa Albuquerque, a volcanic rock on the west side of the city, century-old petroglyphs can be explored by hiking the trails that cross this national park.
However, keep in mind that some trails can be quite long. Be sure to research and choose the right trail (and intensity) that is perfect for you; we loved the Rinconada canyon trail.
Oh, and pack a lot of water and sunscreen; there is little shadow!
With about 15,000 prehistoric petroglyphs to see, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
3.) Top of Sandia
For some of the best views in the region, head to the top of Sandia!
Of course, there are many routes (like the Sandia Man Cave Trail and the Domingo Baca Canyon trail) to see some epic views of the region, but the tram is a complete favorite of ours.
Without strenuous climbs, the Sandia Peak tram will take you more than ten thousand meters looking at Albuquerque and beyond. The views are stunning.
Also, if you’re a fan of winter sports, be sure to visit when the ski slopes at the top of Sandia are open. In addition, they have a rental service, so you don’t have to cart all your equipment Albuquerque!
4.) American International Rattle Museum
Located in the old town of Albuquerque, the Rattle Snake Museum is an animal welfare museum dedicated to educating the public and raising awareness about rattlesnakes in the United States.
It’s not for everyone this weirder museum place where you can learn more about rattlesnakes and their habitats, the different species and ecosystems they support.
Then head on your way to The Candy Lady for their domestic cat that is too tasty to miss. With caramels, chocolate, licorice, caramel and brittle, Candy Lady is the jewel of Albequeue!
5.) Albuquerque Museum
One of the best things about Albuquerque, the museum is a must visit while exploring the city. Placing thousands of exhibits, it focuses on the rich history of the American Southwest and the wider region around Albuquerque itself.
You may even see some of their exhibitions featuring works of art by great greats; Frida Khalo and modernist art that is so amazing to see.
Honestly, you can easily spend the whole day here, so plan your time wisely. You won’t want to rush here.
6.) Rio Grande Nature Center
The Rio Grande Natural Center is within easy reach of downtown Albuquerque and is completely easy to visit within hours of the streets.
When you get here, you will be able to explore the park and learn more about the ecosystem and ecology of this truly special place.
Now, although the park may seem quite small (something like 40 acres), it has a bunch of trails that pass through and are easily explored on foot or by bike. For example, the Paseo del Bosque trail is completely easy to jump in from the center of nature that stretches for more than fifteen miles.
Plus, it’s really easy to team up with a trip to the Petroglyph National Monument which is just one step away!
7.) Indian Cultural Center Pueblo
Owning 19 Indian Pueblos from New Mexico, visiting the Indian Cultural Center Pueblo is one of the best things in Albuquerque.
Take a tour of the frescoes, learn about the Indian history of Pueblo, as well as the history of New Mexico, soak up the Greek ancient Greek art and watch traditional dance performances. It’s such a great way to learn more about the history of Native Americans and its importance.
Located on the edge of the old town of Albuquerque, it is completely easy to visit.
8.) Church of San Felipe de Neri
Perhaps Alberquerue’s oldest (still existing) building, San Felipe de Neri is a place you must visit if you are interested in the city’s centuries of history.
You see, San Felipe de Neri was built back in the 1700s and was the first Catholic church erected in the city.
To this day, the church is still used for daily Mass, but it also holds tours to get inside. It is amazing to see and worth exploring while you are in the Old Town.
9.) Taos Pueblo
Okay, so Taos Pueblo may not be in Albuquerque, but it’s worth a day trip to this historic city!
Located about 2.5 hours from the center of Albuquerque, Taos Pueblo is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 1 millennium of history.
Today, it is a community of Native Americans that is still present and active in maintaining the history and culture of Taos Puebla and is a great place to learn more about the broad and long history of Native Americans in New Mexico.
Once here, be sure to wander the city, visit independent stalls and businesses and learn more through the morning trails. It’s amazing.
After that, don’t forget to take the gander up Church of San Francisco de Asis which has stood for centuries. It is about a 15 minute drive from the houses of Hlaum and Hlaukwim of Taos Puebla and is really easy to spot.
10.) A small area of a small square
Located in the heart of Albuquerque’s old town, Poco A Poco Plaza is a great little place to enjoy a stroll through the streets of the historic center.
Here you will find a combination of galleries, cafes and small little things that are too good to miss.
In addition, you can easily combine this with a wider trip to the Natural History Museum or the nearby Explora Museum.