Albuquerque

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Travel Guide North America USA Western United States New Mexico Albuquerque

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Introduction

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico with well over half a million inhabitants in the city itself and around 850,000 in the metropolitan area. It's located in the central parts of the state along the Rio Grande. It was actually a pretty sleepy town until after World War II when the city sprang to life in the middle of the desert. It is a strong mix of traditional native cultures, hispanic and white culture.

Cradled in the Rio Grande Valley beneath the Sandia Mountains, it is by far the largest city in the state, acting as the media, educational, and economic center of New Mexico, as well as the home of the state's only major airport, making it a common entry point into New Mexico. Despite this, Albuquerque is often overshadowed as a tourist destination by Santa Fe, 60 mi (97 km) to the north.

But any visit to New Mexico would be incomplete without taking in what Albuquerque has to offer, as New Mexico's only major city has pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a wealth of great attractions in its own right. Here, in a setting that has been made familiar to many by the television series Breaking Bad, you'll find many excellent museums, colorful neon signs along old Route 66, the naturalistic beauty of the Rio Grande and the Sandia Mountains, and a spectacular hot-air balloon festival in the fall.

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Sights and Activities

Old Town

The Old Town is east of Rio Grande Boulevard in between Central Ave. and Mountain Rd. (west of downtown). A nice sightseeing area, Old Town is where the city was founded in 1706 and is a place where centuries of history and modern life merge; 18th century architecture with narrow brick paths is blended with adobe architecture, and there are lots of little nooks and crannies, small restaurants, and specialty shops. At the center of the district is the pleasant 10 Old Town Plaza, which has a gazebo, historic exhibits, and is bordered on the north by the 11 San Felipe de Neri Church, the oldest building in Albuquerque. In Christmas time, thousands of luminarias (paper bags filled with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle) line the streets. Guided tours of Old Town are available from a private operator or from the Albuquerque Museum. There are several museums within easy walking distance of the Old Town Plaza. Most of them are on Mountain Rd., just a few blocks northeast of the Plaza.

Other Sights and Activities

  • National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, 601 Eubank Blvd SE (at Southern Blvd, near the Kirtland Air Force Base), ☎ +1 505 245-2137. 9AM-5PM daily except major holidays. A museum devoted to things nuclear, with extensive exhibits on the history of nuclear weapons including replicas of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs dropped in World War II as well as other weapons and displays on arms control and uses of atomic energy. Even for those who are skeptical of the merits of nuclear arms and power, a visit to this museum makes for an interesting experience; a particularly illuminating exhibit is a guestbook where visitors are invited to share their thoughts regarding the use of atomic bombs on Japan, and as one might expect, such a controversial matter invites a wide variety of strong opinions. Outside the museum is a collection of nuclear-capable aircraft standing alongside rockets, missiles, and even a cannon designed to fire nuclear bombs. $12, $10 seniors/youth, $8 veterans, $7 active military, age 5 and under free.
  • Sandia Peak Tramway, off Tramway Blvd on the NE corner of the city, ☎ +1 505 856-7325. Operates every 20-30 min from 9AM until evening (no morning rides on off-season Tu), with closures in April and November for maintenance. Runs from a lower terminus in the northeast heights to the top of 10,400-foot (3169 m) Sandia Peak east of the city, and is one of the longest and most spectacular aerial tramways in the world. The first upward tram departs at 9AM (except Tu in the off season), and service continues until early evening. The 15-min ride to the top is incredible, bringing you right up to the rocky face of the Sandias. The view of the city from Sandia Peak is tremendous (especially after sunset), and there is a visitor center at the top. Closed for two weeks in spring and fall for "maintenance," but spring winds are so intense that you really don't want to be on an aerial tram then anyway. $25 round trip for adults, $20 round trip for seniors/military/students (age 13-20), $15 round trip for children, free for children under 5.
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, 9201 Balloon Museum Dr NE (on the grounds of Balloon Fiesta Park), ☎ +1 505 768-6020. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Overlooking the balloon launch field is this very interesting museum dedicated to the science and history of ballooning, with exhibits on hot air balloons and other lighter-than-air craft (including a couple of historic craft occupying the expansive hall), collections and memorabilia from famous balloonists, and extensive exhibits on ballooning in Albuquerque. If you can't make it to the Balloon Fiesta, this is next best thing, and if you can make it to the Balloon Fiesta, this makes for an excellent complement to a morning spent at a mass ascension. $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1 children, age 3 and under free (Sunday mornings free).
  • ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden, 2601 Central Ave NW (just east of the Rio Grande). 9AM-5PM daily, except major holidays. Next door to the Aquarium, this expansive botanical garden is one of Albuquerque's real gems. The place is an oasis with a variety of gardens to explore, with an emphasis on high desert plants but also with many highlight exhibits that are great for children: an indoor conservatory with lush Mediterranean plants, an insectarium with plenty of creepy-crawlies, an indoor butterfly pavilion that's open in the summer, a large Japanese garden with a koi pond and a waterfall, a recreation of an early 20th-century farm with a barnyard petting zoo, a model railroad, and a fantastic children's "Fantasy Garden" made to look as if you've shrunk down to a bug's size, with giant pretend vegetables, garden tools and bugs. $12.50, $5.50 seniors, $4 children, under age 3 free (includes admission to Aquarium; train rides require separate admission, unless you have a combo ticket).
  • Petroglyph National Monument, visitor center at 6001 Unser Blvd NW, ☎ +1 505 899-0205 ext 331. Daily 8AM-5PM. On the west side of town, Petroglyph is a unit of the United States National Park System and preserves a significant archaeological site with an impressive number of petroglyphs. Despite their proximity to an urban center, the petroglyphs are in good condition with very little vandalism or theft. The monument has a visitor center with some interpretive exhibits and a few short trails that lead past numerous petroglyphs. Also within the monument are a series of volcanic cinder cones overlooking the city, accessible by hiking trails from Atrisco Vista Blvd along the backside of the monument. Free, parking at Boca Negra Canyon trailhead $1 weekdays/$2 weekends.
  • Rio Grande Valley State Park. A very pleasant state park running along the banks of the Rio Grande through Albuquerque. The park encompasses almost the entirety of the bosque (cottonwood forest) in the city, which is home to much wildlife, such as geese, roadrunners, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, and numerous other species. Numerous trails criss-cross the park, most notably the Paseo del Bosque paved bike/walk trail which runs the length of the park and offers a scenic walk or bike ride. The park's trails are also utilized by an active equestrian community in the area. There are also several picnic areas and wetland areas, with the two most prominent listed below. Free.
  • The Sandia Mountains offer outdoors opportunities ranging from straight hiking (the La Luz trail is popular, perhaps too much so) on to serious, multi-day rock climbing. Mountain biking is also really popular, and there are great trails in the foothills as well as at a ski area on the other side of the mountains during the summer. If less athletically inclined, ride the Sandia Peak Tramway (see "See" section above) to the top. At the base of the mountains, near the tramway, you can find magnificent views of the city and mountains and access trails into the mountains, especially around the 6 Elena Gallegos Picnic Area. During the winter, the Sandia Peak Ski Area serves skiers and snowboarders; see Cedar Crest for details. The ski area can be reached either by taking a 45 min. drive around the mountain to the base lodge or by taking the tramway up to the top of the mountain—presuming there's enough snow at the top (skiers get a discount on tramway tickets, but you have to bring your own equipment).

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Events and Festivals

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

© All Rights Reserved BillLehane

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held every year in the Balloon Fiesta Park (north of Alameda Blvd, one mile (1.6 km) west of I-25, take either Alameda Blvd or Tramway Blvd exit off I-25). $10, children ages 12 and under free (parking $15 per car). The Fiesta is the world's largest ballooning event and one of the most photographed events in the world. A cultural landmark for Albuquerque (and indeed, all of New Mexico), this festival gives you a first-hand look at the world of ballooning. For nine days in October, you can walk out onto a large field where balloonists from around the world set up, inflate, launch, and possibly land their balloons. Mass ascensions of balloons with hundreds of different colors and shapes create an often stunning and magnificent sight. It's one of the most heavily attended festivals in the entire U.S. Balloons fly best in cooler conditions, so many of the events take place early in the morning. Traffic is pretty bad around the festival; expect a long, long line of cars (you may want to seriously consider taking park-and-ride to beat the traffic). Get your hotel reservations far in advance, because everyone fills up around this time of year. If the event is rained or snowed out, there are no refunds on prices. Most years the weather works in favor of the balloonists, so this shouldn't be a problem, though. The event begins on the first Saturday of October and ends with a farewell mass ascension on the Sunday of the following weekend, with numerous events in-between, such as concerts and balloon races. Here are a few of the highlights of the fiesta:

  • Dawn Patrol. Every day there's a Dawn Patrol at around 6AM, where a few balloons take off before the sun rises. These balloons test the conditions before other balloons take off.
  • Mass Ascension. On weekend days at about 7AM the Mass Ascension occurs, which is the lift off of all the balloons participating in the fiesta, usually in two waves. Not to be missed.
  • Balloon Glow. On weekend evenings (except for the final day of the event) a Balloon Glow takes place, when the balloons don't lift off the ground, but are illuminated by the light of their propane burners going off.
  • Morning Glow. The same as the balloon glow but early in the morning (may not always occur).
  • Special Shapes Rodeo. Happens at 7AM on the Thursday and Friday of the event, which is a Mass Ascension for all the "special shape" balloons. There are also Balloon Glows called Glowdeos (a portmanteau of "glow" and "rodeo") for the special shape balloons. The special shapes are the balloons in forms other than the standard balloon shape, and are very popular with kids; expect to see animals, cartoon characters, clowns, and many other colorful creations. Returning favorites include a milk cow, a wagon coach, and a trio of bees.

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Weather

Albuquerque has a semi-arid climate. Albuquerque is in the northern tip of the Chihuahuan Desert, near the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The average annual precipitation is less than half of evaporation, and no month averages below freezing.

Albuquerque's climate is usually sunny and dry, with an average of 3,415 sunshine hours per year. Brilliant sunshine defines the region, averaging 278 days a year; periods of variably mid and high-level cloudiness temper the sun at other times. Extended cloudiness is rare. The city has four distinct seasons, but the heat and cold are mild compared to the extremes that occur more commonly in other parts of the country.

Winters are rather brief, with December, the coolest month, averaging 2.4 °C, although low temperatures bottom out in January, and the coldest temperature of the year is typically around -12 °C. There are 2.8 days where the high is at or below freezing.

Spring is windy, sometimes unsettled with some rain, though spring is usually the driest part of the year in Albuquerque. March and April tend to see many days with the wind blowing at 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 km/h), and afternoon gusts can produce periods of blowing sand and dust. In May, the winds tend to subside.

The summer heat is relatively tolerable for most because of low humidity, except for some days during the North American Monsoon. There are 2.7 days of 38 °C+ highs annually, mostly in June and July and rarely in August due in part to the monsoon; an average 60 days see 32 °C+ highs.

Fall sees less rain than summer, though the weather can be more unsettled closer to winter.

Albuquerque averages around 9 inches of snow per winter, and experiences several accumulating snow events each season. Locations in the Northeast Heights and Eastern Foothills tend to receive more snowfall due to each region's higher elevation and proximity to the mountains.
The mountains and highlands beyond the city create a rain shadow effect, due to the drying of air ascending the mountains; the city usually receives very little rain or snow, averaging 8–9 inches (216 mm) of precipitation per year. Most rain occurs during the summer monsoon season (also called a chubasco in Mexico), typically starting in early July and ending in mid-September.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max8.2 °C11.9 °C16.3 °C21.6 °C26.5 °C32.2 °C33.6 °C31.7 °C27.7 °C21.7 °C14.1 °C8.6 °C
Avg Min-5.7 °C-3.1 °C0.1 °C4.2 °C9.2 °C14.6 °C18 °C17 °C12.9 °C6.1 °C-0.4 °C-4.9 °C
Rainfall11.2 mm11.7 mm13.7 mm13.2 mm12.7 mm15 mm34.8 mm41.7 mm25.4 mm22.6 mm10.9 mm12.7 mm
Rain Days2.432.822.62.66.36.44.43.72.82.7

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Getting There

By Plane

Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) is the main gateway. Southwest Airlines offers most flights, including to/from Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle and Tucson.
Several other airlines serve San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Denver, Cleveland, Atlanta, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and (the only international flight) Chihuahua in Mexico.

By Train

The Southwest Chief, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago and Los Angeles, stopping in Albuquerque, among other places.

A commuter rail line, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, connects Albuquerque to Santa Fe and to the smaller communities north and south along the Rio Grande, including Belen, Los Lunas, and Bernalillo. The main station is at the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown, which has regular bus connections along Central Avenue and to the airport. The Rail Runner runs daily, although service can be limited outside the weekday rush hour periods. Fares are based on how far you ride; a day pass will usually be in the range of $4–10. Tickets can be purchased online or from ticket agents on the train.

By Car

Albuquerque is at the crossroads of the north-south Interstate 25 from Colorado towards the border with Mexico and the east-west Interstate 40 between Amarillo, Texas and Flagstaff, Arizona. The last one roughly lies on the location of the historic Route 66, parts of which run through downtown Albuquerque.

By Bus

Albuquerque has a fine bus depot at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown, 320 First St SW, which is served by Greyhound +1 505 243-4435, and Autobuses Americanos which provides bus service to many points in Mexico. The depot has a small cafeteria.

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Getting Around

By Car

Albuquerque is a heavily planned city. In much of the city, the major roads are lined primarily with businesses with residential mazes on the insides. The city is divided into four quadrants, with street addresses taking the form "12345 Main Steet (NE/NW/SE/SW)" in which the NE/NW/SE/SW suffix denotes the quadrant of the city containing the address. The railroad tracks, which run parallel to I-25, are the east–west dividing line, and Central Avenue is the north–south dividing line. Thus, the street address 3600 Menaul NE would be north of Central and east of the railroad tracks. This nomenclature, while useful in helping you with maps and directions, has the drawback that you can't tell whether a street runs north–south or east–west simply by looking at the address.

By and large it's difficult to get truly lost in Albuquerque, thanks in large part to the looming presence of the Sandia Mountains to the east. If you can also remember that I-25 runs north–south, I-40 runs east–west, and the Rio Grande runs along the bottom of the valley in the western part of the city, you should be able to make your way around the city without too many problems.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

ABQ RIDE, +1 505 243-RIDE, is Albuquerque's public transit system. Despite some recent strides in the development of its public transit system, Albuquerque is still primarily a driving city, so with the exception of Central Avenue public transit is still for the most part very underdeveloped. Most of ABQ Ride's routes spur out of the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown at Central Avenue & First Street, which also serves as Albuquerque's Amtrak station and Greyhound depot as well as a Rail Runner station. Bus service is reduced during the weekend.

The Rapid Ride is an express bus service operated by ABQ Ride which runs frequently, utilizing bright red articulated buses. There are three Rapid Ride routes: the #766 (Red Line) and #777 (Green Line) each run very frequently and almost entirely on Central Avenue, serving attractions such as the BioPark, Old Town, Downtown, UNM, Nob Hill, the fairgrounds, and Uptown; the #766 runs between Uptown and Unser/Central on the Westside, while the #777 runs between Downtown and Tramway/Central on the eastern edge of the city. Additionally, the #790 (Blue Line) connects UNM to the Cottonwood Mall area on the Westside, but runs less frequently than the Central Avenue lines and is geared more towards commuters. Local routes that are useful for visitors include the #50, which runs Monday-Saturday between the airport and Downtown; and #40 (the "D-Ride"), a free shuttle which circulates around Downtown on the weekdays.

Standard fares for ABQ Ride routes are $1 per ride, with discounts for seniors and children available (cash only; exact change required). A day pass costs $2. A day pass is included in the price of a Rail Runner Express day pass, so visitors who ride the Rail Runner train to Albuquerque can also ride the bus for free using their train ticket.

By Bike

Albuquerque is fairly bikeable, but it's a sprawling Western city and things are spread out. It's hillier than it looks; Old Town and Downtown attractions are several hundred feet lower than things in the heights on the eastern side of the city; plan accordingly. Getting around by bike can be a mixed bag in Albuquerque: street cycling can be risky as drivers may not always be aware and most major streets lack bicycle lanes (and even those that do have lanes may require uncomfortably close proximity to fast traffic). On the other hand, Albuquerque has a very proactive cycling community and a splendid paved trail network which is undergoing an expansion phase.

The crown jewel in this network is the Paseo del Bosque Trail, which runs along the east side of the Rio Grande and offers lovely riverside scenery. Another backbone to the trail network is the North Diversion Channel Trail which runs from UNM north to Balloon Fiesta Park, and while not nearly as scenic as the Bosque trail (it runs along a concrete drainage channel and past some industry) it offers the occasional grand vista of the city. Another fun ride is the paved trail along Tramway Boulevard on the eastern edge of the city, which offers excellent views of the city and access to the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. You can find a complete bike map of all the trails, lanes, and recommended routes on the city's bicycling website.

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Eat

Dining out in Albuquerque tends to be relatively inexpensive and very casual. Many places offer outdoor seating. New Mexican cuisine is unique. Be ready for the question "Red or green?" or in Spanish "¿Rojo o verde?" which refers to the chile based sauce included in or used to smother various menu items. There are constant arguments as to which is hotter, the ripe and often dried red chile, or the immature green chile; however, spiciness depends much more on the strain of pepper and how the chile is prepared rather than the color, and varies greatly by restaurant, so inquire and experiment. Many meals will include sopaipillas, the characteristic New Mexican fry bread, as a side. The characteristic desserts are flan, a type of custard, or Natillas, closer in texture to pudding.

  • Barelas Coffee House, 1502 4th St SW, ☎ +1 505 843-7577. 6AM-3PM daily. This place, for those who know how to find it (it is tucked in a corner) is a local favorite, serving menudo, chile, and a wide range of other both Mexican and New Mexican foods. They are also locally known for their tea, a blend of chamomile teas, always served hot and fresh. Also, as you are about to pay, make sure and check out the candy table right in front of the cash registers, as you might just spot an old favorite such as Sugar Daddys and Nik-L-Nips! $12+ (varies on party size, and do tip well. If you come back, the servers will literally run for you!).
  • Cervantes, 5801 Gibson Blvd SE, ☎ +1 505 262-2253. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9:30PM. Excellent menu, ala carte items, full bar, World Record Margarita. Local favorite.
  • El Pinto, 10500 4th St NW, ☎ +1 505 898-1771. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10:30AM-9PM (Sunday brunch 10:30AM-2PM). Lovely ambiance and a great menu. Their nachos are fantastic, and the restaurant is also the purveyor of a popular local brand of salsa.
  • Garduño's of Mexico, 2100 Louisiana Blvd NE (alternate location at Cottonwood Mall), ☎ +1 505 880-0055. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10:30AM-9PM. Consistent, good quality food with some Mexican and Arizonan influence to go with the New Mexican standards.
  • Monroe's, 1520 Lomas NW (alternate location at 6051 Osuna NE), ☎ +1 505 242-1111. M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa-Su 9AM-9PM. Great carne adovada Indian tacos. $4–11.

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Drink

  • Anodyne, 409 Central Ave NW, ☎ +1 505 244-1820. Downtown hipster bar. 100 different icy beers, pool tables galore and a killer jukebox.
  • Burt's Tiki Lounge, 313 Gold Ave SW, ☎ +1 505 243-2878. W-Sa 8:30PM-2AM. Eclectic doesn't even begin to describe Burt's. Popular nights: Monday, Geeks Who Drink pub trivia -- $2 drafts; Thursday, $.75 Pabst's Blue Ribbon 'til midnight.
  • Chama River Microbar, 106 2nd St SW, ☎ +1 505 842-8329. Daily 4PM-midnight. No food (other than bags of potato chips), only really good beer from one of the finer microbreweries in the region. Outstanding featured seasonal beers rotate in and out, house beers include a really tasty IPA.
  • Downtown Distillery, 406 Central Ave SW, ☎ +1 505 765-1534. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM. Long bar downstairs; pool lounge and bar upstairs. Jaeger specials, to say the least.
  • Ibiza, 125 Second Street NW (in the Hotel Andaluz), ☎ +1 505 242-9090. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM. Rooftop bar and dining with nightly themes.
  • Launchpad, 618 Central Ave SW, ☎ +1 505 764-8887. Hours vary; check ahead for concert schedule. Well established music venue and rock bar and perhaps the best place to see live music in town.
  • Library Bar & Grill, 312 Central Ave SW, ☎ +1 505 242-2992. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su noon-midnight. School girl dress bartenders serve bikers by day and club goers by night.
  • Lotus, 211 Gold Ave SW, ☎ +1 505 243-0955. W-Sa 9PM-2AM. Themed nightclub. One of the few 18+ clubs in town. Thursday nights are Goth/Industrial/Electronic all other nights are House/Hip-hop/R&B.
  • Marble Brewery, 111 Marble St NW, ☎ +1 505 243-2739. M–Sa 1PM–midnight, Su 1PM–10:30PM. Fine local micro brewery in Albuquerque's industrial heart. Limited food selection, but in a taproom -- that's the point.

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Sleep

If you want a nicer - and pricier - hotel, then head east on I-40 to "uptown" (in the northeast side of the city, which is at higher elevation than "downtown" close to the river) or north on I-25. If you don't mind less free stuff, Central Avenue (old Route 66) is cheaper. However, there are some real dives along Central Avenue, many with unsavory reputations and occasional police raids. Hotels around the airport are generally vanilla-flavored, business-traveler places, but at least are somewhat less expensive than airport hotels in many cities. There are a few nice highrise hotels in the Downtown/Old Town area. Lodging Per Diem is $75.

Albuquerque is experiencing a massive wave of hotel building, mainly in the "Mid-range" class. This apparently is driven in part by the infamous lodging shortages during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. The result is that during other parts of the year, affordable hotels shouldn't be too hard to find. Even with the growth in the hotel market, lodging can be tight for the Fiesta, so if you're coming then, reserve well in advance - months rather than days.

  • Crossland Economy Studios, 5020 Ellison St NE (North I-25 area, near the intersection of Ellison-San Antonio/I-25), ☎ +1 505 343-1100, fax: +1 505 343-1102, e-mail: AQN@extendedstay.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Tiny rooms, but clean and inexpensive. $50-60.
  • Days Inn Midtown Albuquerque, 2120 Menaul Blvd NE (near the intersection of I-40 and I-25), ☎ +1 505 884-0250, fax: +1 505 883-0594. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Shuttle service to and from airport and convention center from 7AM-11PM daily. $40-60.
  • Hiway House Motel, 3200 Central Ave SE (Nob Hill), ☎ +1 505 268-3971. What it lacks in appearance and amenities it makes up for with location. Right in the middle of the Nob Hill area, next door to Kelly's Brewery, in walking distance to restaurants, pubs, shops, and UNM. $40–60.
  • Microtel West Albuquerque, 9910 Avalon Rd NW (western edge of town, near the intersection of I-40 and 98th St), ☎ +1 505 836-1686, fax: +1 505 831-2450. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Basic chain motel on the edge of town. Stay if you're just passing through on I-40 or heading out of town the next day, but not if you're going to be exploring Albuquerque. $60-70.
  • Route 66 International Hostel, 1012 Central Ave SW (between Downtown and Old Town), ☎ +1 505 247-1813. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Only hostel in town - it's a cozy little place with friendly staff and a nice patio. Centrally located, within walking distance of Downtown and fairly close to Old Town. Dormitories $25, private rooms $30-45 plus $10 per additional guest.
  • Sleep Inn Airport, 2300 International Ave SE (off Yale N of the airport), ☎ +1 505 244-3325, fax: +1 505 244-3312, e-mail: hotelhelp@choicehotels.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Probably the cheapest of the several cookie-cutter hotels near the Albuquerque airport. $60-70.
  • Suburban Extended Stay, 2401 Wellesley Dr, ☎ +1 505 883-8888, fax: +1 505 883-2830, e-mail: hotelhelp@choicehotels.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. In a business district near the midtown area of Albuquerque. $60-70.
  • Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast, 1124 Major Ave NW (off 12th Street south of Candelaria), ☎ +1 505 344-1310, e-mail: info@adobenido.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A comfortable and relaxing Southwest style adobe inn with jetted tubs in all rooms and an outdoor Finnish sauna. Healthy full breakfast every morning. $129-239.
  • Best Western Rio Grande Inn, 1015 Rio Grande Blvd (north of Old Town at the intersection of I-40/Rio Grande), ☎ +1 505 843-9500, fax: +1 505 843-9238, e-mail: reservations@riograndeinn.com. Basic chain motel which has the advantage of being right near Old Town. $90–120.
  • Bottger Mansion of Old Town, 110 San Felipe St NW (S of the Plaza), ☎ +1 505 243-3639, e-mail: info@bottger.com. Check-in: 3-6PM, check-out: 11AM. This historic house, now a bed-and-breakfast, is shaded by massive 100-yr old trees and is just steps away from the Old Town plaza. $115-179.
  • Courtyard Albuquerque, 5151 Journal Center Blvd NE (North I-25/Jefferson area), ☎ +1 505 823-1919, fax: +1 505 823-1918. Chain motel in the North I-25 area. $140.
  • Courtyard Albuquerque Airport, 1920 Yale Blvd, ☎ +1 505 843-6600. In the airport area. Well lit work desks and complimentary high-speed internet.
  • Doubletree Hotel Albuquerque, 201 Marquette Ave NW, ☎ +1 505 247-3344, fax: +1 505 247-7025. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A luxury downtown highrise hotel with many amenities, not to mention the only place directly connected to the Albuquerque Convention Center. $150-200.
  • Embassy Suites Albuquerque, 1000 Woodward Pl NE (just off the intersection of I-25/Lomas near downtown), ☎ +1 505 245-7100, fax: +1 505 247-1083. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Great hotel overlooking downtown. $120-170.
  • Hawthorn Suites Albuquerque Airport, 1511 Gibson Blvd SE (just off I-25 near the airport), ☎ +1 505 242-1555, fax: +1 505 242-8801. Check-in: 3M, check-out: noon. Good airport hotel. $80.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Albuquerque Uptown, 6510 Americas Pkwy NE (just off I-40/Louisiana in Uptown area), ☎ +1 505 944-0300. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Highrise hotel in the Uptown area. $145-165.
  • Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 800 Rio Grande Blvd NW (just north of Old Town), ☎ +1 505 843-6300, fax: +1 505 842-8426. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. A luxury hotel near Old Town approaching "splurge" territory. On-site restaurant, business center, outdoor swimming pool & Jacuzzi, fitness center, and elegant event space. $140-$200.
  • Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport, 1400 Sunport Pl SE (just off I-25 near the airport), ☎ +1 505 242-9300, fax: +1 505 242-0998, e-mail: gm.albuquerque.airport@amerisuites.com. Great airport hotel. $140.
  • Hyatt Place Albuquerque Uptown, 6901 Arvada Ave NE (in the Uptown area near Louisiana/I-40), ☎ +1 505 872-9000, fax: +1 505 872-3829, e-mail: shehnaz.mehta@hyattselect.com. Nice chain motel in the Uptown area, across the street from the ABQ Uptown mall. $140.
  • Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras Ave NW. Large hotel right in downtown Albuquerque, in the smaller of the two tallest highrises with the pyramid roof. $150–180.
  • Mauger Estate Bed & Breakfast, 701 Roma Ave NW (Downtown, corner of 7th and Roma), toll-free: +1-800-719-9189, fax: +1 505-842-8835, e-mail: maugerbb@aol.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A cozy bed & breakfast near Downtown in a lovely old Victorian house. Pet-friendly. $99-205.
  • Residence Inn Albuquerque, 3300 Prospect Avenue NE, ☎ +1 505 881-2661. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Near downtown and the Airport. Complimentary breakfast buffet and high-speed internet.
  • Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel, 2910 Yale Blvd SE, ☎ +1 505 843-7000, fax: +1 505 843-6307. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The closest hotel to the airport, no more than 2 min. away by shuttle, which runs on the half hour. However, a management transfer has left the hotel in shambles. Poor value for the money spent - give it a miss and go with other nearby airport hotels instead. Reasonable restaurant (Rojo's Grill) on the premises. $150-180.
  • Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, 2600 Louisiana Blvd NE (at Louisiana and Menaul), ☎ +1 505 881-0000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $100-200.
  • Albuquerque Marriott, 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (in the Uptown area, at Louisiana/I-40), ☎ +1 505 881-6800, fax: +1 505 888-2982. Highrise hotel in the Uptown shopping area off I-40. $180–200.
  • Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, 5151 San Francisco Road NE (North I-25/Jefferson area), ☎ +1 505 821-3333, fax: +1 505 828-0230, e-mail: abqmc@jqh.com. Large hotel in "Aztec pyramid" shaped building. $180–250.
  • Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second Street NW (at Copper), ☎ +1 505 242-9090. The closest thing Albuquerque has to a grand old hotel, this downtown spot is a historic and lavishly-decorated hotel, with Moroccan and Spanish-inspired architecture throughout, very elegant ballrooms, and some luxuriously appointed rooms. A Mediterranean restaurant and a rooftop lounge are also on the premises. $165–275.
  • Hotel Parq Central, 806 Central Avenue SE (just west of I-25), ☎ +1 505 242-0040, e-mail: info@hotelparqcentral.com. A boutique hotel in the downtown area, in a lovely old building with gardens and a rooftop bar with excellent views. The accommodations themselves are wonderful, with high ceilings, large windows, and nice furnishings. $150–300.
  • Los Poblanos Inn, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW, ☎ +1 505 344-9297, fax: +1 505 342-1302, e-mail: nfo@lospoblanos.com. In the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (7 mi/11 km from downtown Albuquerque), the inn and 25 acre grounds are beautiful, set near the Rio Grande bosque with conference and meeting facilities available. $150–315.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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References

  1. 1 2009 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Population
528,497[1]
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 35.080371
  • Longitude: -106.627085

Accommodation in Albuquerque

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Contributors

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This is version 41. Last edited at 20:57 on Jan 24, 19 by bigleap.abg. 21 articles link to this page.

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