Being the largest and most populated city in New Mexico, Albuquerque has a lot of different things to offer. Wonderful natural parks, great indoor and outdoor activities, breathtaking museums and some of the best educational venues for youngsters are just a few things for you to consider.
It is a city of great importance to American history, and it is also home to some of the best Native American and Hispanic cultural sites. There are many attractions that you should not miss if you are planning a trip to New Mexico’s capital and here are just 15 of them.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The best way to see the amazing natural surroundings of Albuquerque is to take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. It is 2.7 miles long and it will give you the best view of the Rio Grande Valley. You should bring along your jacket as it gets a little chilly when you reach the top of the tramway. While the tram is adjusted for people in wheelchairs, you are not allowed to bring a pet or bike with you.
Opening hours are from 9 am to 9 pm every day although it will close if the weather is bad. This ride lasts for 15 minutes, and a round trip costs US$25 for an adult with discounts given to seniors, children and military personnel.
The most popular tourist destination in New Mexico with more than 1.5 million tourists per year is ABQ BioPark. In this park, you can walk around the Botanic Garden, Aquarium, the ABQ BioPark Zoo and Tingley Beach. First opened in 1927, the zoo houses more than 900 animal species. Additionally, you can also go through BioPark by taking the park’s train and even rent several of the facilities for your wedding or any other special occasion.
You can buy a combo ticket that costs US$22 for adults, US$12 seniors aged 65 and above and US$8 for children aged 3 to 12. The combo ticket is the best way to see everything that the park offers. ABQ BioPark opens from 9 am to 12 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays and closes on Mondays.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Founded in 1976, with the research center opening a year later, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is truly something you wouldn’t want to miss while in Albuquerque. This center is the only place in North America where you can watch or participate in traditional Native Americans dances every weekend and take part in great community activities, both indoor and outdoor. Of course, modern times bring modern ideas and “rules” which is why you can find a McDonalds, a Starbucks, and a Gift shop within its premises.
First founded with the guidance of the Puebloan Tribal Council, it was first built to preserve, conserve and educate the public on Pueblo culture, history and its importance to the American culture. The center is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. This does not apply to the Pueblo Harvest Café and Shumakolowa Native Arts Shop which have their own opening hours.
Admission is US$8.40 for adults, US$6.40 for seniors aged 62 and above as well as military personnel, 5.40$ for children aged 5 to 17 as well as students and free admission is given to children under 5.
Old town Albuquerque
One of the most amazing places in Albuquerque is The Old town. The moment you enter this town, you will feel like you were taken back in time.
Visitors to the Old Town can see many authentic buildings and even families whose ancestors founded this town still lives there. The San Felipe de Neri Church, built in 1793, is the oldest building in the whole of Old Town. You can also find many restaurants, hotels, shops and museums in the town.
General opening hours for many of them are 10 am to 8 pm from Mondays to Saturdays) and 11 am to 7 pm on Sundays. In addition, there are also several tours that go through the town and you can choose the one that suits you best.
Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum
Opened in 2005, this museum was named after 2 pioneering astronauts from Albuquerque, Maxie Anderson, and Ben Abruzzo. Here at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, you can learn about the art of ballooning and other forms of flight. You get to discover how human aviation with ballooning began as well as walk through the other exhibits. The museum welcomes more than a million tourists from all over the world per year.
Opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. The museum closes on Mondays and Public Holidays. Ticket price is US$6 for adults, US$4 for seniors aged 65 and above and US$3 for children aged 6 to 17. Additionally, you can also rent the museum as a wedding venue.
New Mexico Museum Of Natural History And Science
The New Mexico Museum Of Natural History And Science was established in 1986 and what makes it different from any other natural history museum is that they are constantly changing their exhibits. Here, you can find different fossils and samples from all over the world. Not just that, there is also a replica of the Mars Rover, a moon rock, and of course, dinosaurs.
You can also choose between a wide range of programs catered to both children and adults. If you are a movie lover, there is the wonderful DynaTheater where you can enjoy 3D movies on five-storey screens. Admission is US$8 for adults, US$7 for seniors and US$5 for children aged 3 to 12. This museum is also located next to two other important museums, the Albuquerque Museum and the Explora Science Center.
Unser Racing Museum
The accomplishments of the native racing family Unsere is celebrated in this non-profit museum and its fun for the whole family. Inside the Unser Racing Museum, you can learn about the racing history and try the racing simulator to see how good you are in a race car. Using modern technologies, this multi-dimensional museum can guarantee a great experience for the visitor of all ages. If you want a different place to celebrate any special occasion, you can rent Jerry’s garage which can hold up to 250 guests.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 4 pm every day. Ticket prices are US$10 for adults, US$6 for seniors and military personnel and free admission is given to children under 16.
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
Established in 1969, the National Atomic Museum (as it was originally called) opened at a new location in 2009. It also had its name changed to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. If you are interested in the Atomic Age, this is the best place to learn more about it. You can learn all about nuclear history and science by visiting the museum’s 16 permanent exhibits.
Opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm every day. The museum closes on public holidays. Ticket prices are US$12 for adults, US$10 for seniors aged 65 and above and youth aged 6 to 17, US$8 for US Veterans and US$7 for military personnel. Additionally, you can rent the museum for any special occasion.
Explora Science Center And Children’s Museum Of Albuquerque
If you are searching for an educational center that’s perfect for your kids, well you founded it. Explora Science Center has something to offer for toddlers, teens and even adults. The center’s first two floors include exhibits, playground patio, and a great gift shop. Learning areas for young children and specially designed areas for toddlers guarantees a fun learning day for everyone. Additionally, the center also hosts Summer, Spring and Winter camps for both teens and adults.
Located close to the Old Town Albuquerque, it is easily accessible with a large parking space that is free to use. Admission is $10 for adults, US$6 for children aged 1 to 11 and US$7 for seniors aged 65 and above, military personnel and students. The center is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Mondays to Saturdays, and from 12 pm to 6 pm on Sundays.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
If you love nature then this is the best place for you. This park was opened in 1982 and within 38 acres, you can see over 300 bird species, many mammals, reptiles and insects including 40 different dragonfly species. More than 2/3 of this park is untouched territory with four ponds and many feeding stations.
Visitors can learn more about the flora and fauna of the park by visiting the educational building and visitor centers. You can also hire a guide for bird watching or walks trough amazing bosques. Additionally, visitors can take part in workshops and festivals held in the park. Parking cost US$3 and the whole place is wheelchair accessible.
The Turquoise Museum was founded in 1993 by the Lowry family with the fifth generation currently running it today. In 2019, the museum was moved to the family castle where it was reopened on April 4th. You can learn everything about turquoise and see some of the rarest pieces in the world including The George Washington stone when you visit this museum.
At the gift shop, you can buy beautiful jewellery, souvenirs, and even turquoise imitations. Opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. Ticket prices are US$21.44 for adults and US$16.08 for seniors, military personnel and children under 18.
Petroglyph National Monument
If you are searching for a (light) active holiday with a variety of things to do then a visit to Petroglyph national monument is a must. The site is located right next to the city of Albuquerque. The city of Albuquerque and the federal government currently runs the site. The site is open to visitors every day all year round.
If you like hiking, take one of many trails and explore the site. Officials say that there are more than 23,000 petroglyphs, located in a large area of 11 square miles). With some petroglyphs being more than 12,000 years old, this monument is home to some of the most impressive Native American and Hispano rock art collection. Of course, if you are not that much into hiking, you can always visit the Visitors Centre where you can see a lot of petroglyphs.
This site is accessible by highway or one of the many state roads. There is a non-fee parking but there is just a fee for parking at Boca Negre Canyon. The fee costs US$1 on weekdays and US$2 on weekends.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
Opened in 1990, with 34 rattlesnake species, American International Rattlesnake Museum is one of a kind. In this museum, you can learn everything about snakes, especially rattlesnakes. You’ll be able to see more species of snakes here than in any zoo.
Besides living snakes, you can also visit amazing exhibits of snake related artwork and snake skeletons. In the gift shop, you can buy many snake souvenirs such as skin and fangs, and you can read about them and their history with humans in the library.
Opening hours differ during the seasons. From September to May, opening hours are 11.30 am to 5.30 pm from Mondays to Fridays, from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. During the summer months, opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. Ticket prices are US$6 for adults, US$5 for military personnel, students and teachers and US$4 for children.
Casa Rondeña Winery
If you’re a wine lover, you should pay a visit to the Casa Rondeña Winery in the Village of Los Ranchos. You can taste some of the best-handcrafted wines and take a walk through vineyards to see how fine wines are made.
The Calvin family opened the Winery in 1995 and the Tasting Room in 1997. The family moved out of their home in the winery in 2010 and turned it into the 1629 Club that includes benefits for its members. Casa Rondeña Winery is also home to many social events. The great hospitality provided by its staff makes the winery the perfect venue for a wedding or any other special occasion. Opening hours are from 12 pm to 7 pm every day and wine tasting costs US$10.
Cibola National Forest Albuquerque
Experience a true natural wonder, a forest in the middle of the dessert. The Cibola national forest is 1.6 million acres of land with 4 national forest districts and two National Grassland areas. Here you can find and enjoy 4 different wilderness areas: Sandia Mountain, Manzano Mountain, Withington, and Apache Kid.
Peace and quiet are guaranteed but if dessert temperature is just too much for you, you can always cool and relax at the Bluewater Lake or McGaffey Lake in New Mexico. While relaxing and marvelling at the picturesque lakes, you can always go fishing or canoeing. For the whole experience, camping is also available.