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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Local Details

Learn more about Albuquerque, New Mexico using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Albuquerque, New Mexico so great!

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City Guide

Albuquerque is a city in the central region of the state of New Mexico in the United States. It is New Mexico's largest city, but is often overshadowed as a travel destination by Santa Fe 60 miles to the north. Albuquerque is a sprawling desert metropolis with a metropolitan population of nearly 900,000. Aside from Santa Fe, Albuquerque has its own attractions, with pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a spectacular hot-air balloon fiesta in the fall that is one of the country's most heavily attended festivals.


Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a small spanish settlement on the banks of the Rio Grande and was named for the Duke of Alburquerque (hence Albuquerque's nickname, "The Duke City"). In the 1880s the railroad came to town, and almost overnight a new city grew up around the train tracks a couple of miles away from the original settlement. This "New Town" became the hub of commerce for the state, and the city grew exponentially (eventually the "New Town", which today is Downtown, and the original "Old Town" settlement were joined to become part of the same city). In the 1920s the federal government officially recognized a series of highways that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles as Route 66, and Albuquerque was one of the towns "The Mother Road" passed through. Today, Albuquerque is still a hub of activity and transportation. While Santa Fe is the state capital and the principal tourist destination of New Mexico, Albuquerque is New Mexico's only truly urban area. This is where you'll find the headquarters of the state's businesses, the University of New Mexico, many of New Mexico's largest employers, and the Albuquerque International Sunport, the only major airport in the state.

Albuquerque is in the high desert [35.11N -106.64W (Elev. 4989 ft)] and has a generally warm, dry climate with four distinct seasons. Spring is sunny and windy, although temperatures at night can be unexpectedly cool. Summers are hot (highs average 90-95 degrees, and temperatures near 100 degrees are not rare) and still mainly dry, but monsoonal conditions develop in July or August and produce furious if short-lived thunderstorms. Have rainwear available in the summer, although you won't use it most days. Fall is delightful, with comfortable temperatures and a return to generally dry conditions. Winter can be blustery, with overnight lows below freezing, but subzero temperatures are rare. One winter-weather issue for the traveler: snow, while infrequent and short-lived, does occur, and its relative rarity means that local drivers don't deal with it well. If you happen to be in town for a snowstorm, expect road chaos far out of proportion to the amount of snow that falls.

This is a casual town. Expect shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals to be entirely acceptable almost everywhere. People tend to be friendly. While Albuquerque has a large non-native population, it is predominantly white, Hispanic, and American Indian.

Get in

By car

Two Interstate highways pass through Albuquerque: I-40 goes east-west and I-25 goes north-south. Where they meet is a large intersection called "The Big I". Albuquerque's Central Avenue is part of old Route 66. A minor note of caution: I-25 south of Albuquerque is a "safety corridor" in which state law mandates higher fines for traffic violations. Enforcement is spotty, but take the speed limits seriously anyway.

By plane

Albuquerque's airport, the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), is the major air hub for all of New Mexico. The Sunport has service from all major US airlines and their international partners, and is a major hub for Southwest Airlines. One tip: If you're prone to airsickness, try to get flights into this airport that arrive either before noon or after sundown, particularly during late spring and early summer. The high elevation, hot sun, and spring winds combine to produce thermals that can make afternoon arrivals an extremely bumpy proposition. There are no major safety issues (the airport's runways are long, owing to the adjacent Air Force base, with no nearby obstacles to run into), but try telling your stomach that! The rough ride is less of a problem with outbound flights. Incidentally, this airport contains a number of attractive displays of New Mexican arts and crafts as well as one good restaurant (a member of the Garduño's chain, see below under "Eat"), and is a more pleasant place than most airports to kill time while waiting for a flight. The major car rental companies are nearby, with a shuttle from the airport to the large new rental center. The Sunport has charging stations for electronics and completely free wireless internet access.

By train

Albuquerque is a stop along Amtrak's Southwest Chief daily train route. The depot is at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown, at 214 First Street SW. The westbound train to Los Angeles arrives at 4:10PM and departs at 4:40PM. The eastbound train to Chicago arrives at 12:17PM and departs at 12:40PM.

By bus

Albuquerque has a fine bus depot at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown, 320 First Street SW, which is served by Greyhound and Autobuses Americanos.

Get around

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. Street addresses in Albuquerque take the form "12345 Main Street (NE/NW/SE/SW)" in which the northeast/northwest/etc. 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. 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.

Here's a basic crash course in finding your way around Albuquerque: I-25 runs north-south, I-40 runs east-west, the Sandia Mountains are to the east, and the Rio Grande runs along the bottom of the valley in the western part of the city. Central Avenue is a principal east-west artery, running south (and roughly parallel) of I-40. The interchange of I-25 and I-40 is called "The Big I" and is roughly in the center of the city.

Downtown is just southwest of The Big I. Old Town is at the intersection of Central Avenue and Rio Grande Blvd. just a couple of miles west of Downtown. The University of New Mexico (UNM) is on Central Avenue east of I-25, and south of I-40. The airport is south of UNM on Yale Blvd. and just east of I-25. Uptown is a collection of shopping malls and high-rise buildings in the northeast part of the city, near the intersection of I-40 and Louisiana Blvd. The Heights are the eastern part of town, closer to the Sandia Mountains. The Westside is all the suburbs on the western part of town across the river. Balloon Fiesta Park is far north of downtown, just west of I-25 near the intersections of I-25/Alameda and I-25/Tramway.

By car

If you're driving, be prepared for frequent road construction. The city government web site, gives information on major construction projects, but there are always minor ones going on. Several radio stations try to give traffic reports during morning and afternoon rush hours, but the service tends to come and go, and it's best to inquire locally as to which stations are currently offering it. KKOB-AM, 770 on the dial, seems to be fairly reliable for these reports. Traffic congestion, while not nearly as horrible as some of the other cities in the Western United States, can still get bad during the rush hour and on Saturdays. The two interstates and the river crossings usually have the worst congestion.

Keep in mind that driving while talking on your cell phone is illegal in Albuquerque.

By bus

ABQ RIDE, +1 505 243-RIDE, is Albuquerque's public transit system. Albuquerque is a driving city, and until very recently the city was not trying to make any great strides in its public transit system. So with the exception of Central Avenue, public transit here 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. Schedules are reduced during the weekend.

During the summer months, ABQ Ride operates a "trolley" (a bus dressed up to look like an old trolley) service from Downtown to Old Town.

The Rapid Ride is an express bus service operated by ABQ Ride with two routes: The Route 766 (Red Line) runs from Uptown to the Westside, mostly on Central Avenue, and connects to several major destinations along the way (Uptown, Expo New Mexico fairgrounds, Nob Hill, UNM, Downtown, Old Town, and the Albuquerque Biological Park), with buses running every 11 minutes (22 minutes on Sunday). The Route 790 (Blue Line), which connects the University of New Mexico to the Westside via Lomas Blvd, I-40, and Coors Blvd (with 15-minute service on weekdays), is of less use to tourists unless you intend to visit the Westside. Both routes utilize buses that are longer than a normal city bus and painted bright red (they're pretty hard to miss). The Rapid Ride operates from about 6AM-8PM (7AM-6PM on Sunday), and most of the stops on the 766 Red Line have a LED display telling you when the next Rapid Ride bus will arrive.

Standard fares for all ABQ Ride routes are $1 per ride, with several discounts possible.

By train

A new commuter rail line, the New Mexico Rail Runner, connects the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown Albuquerque to the smaller communities north and south along the Rio Grande, including Belen, Los Lunas, and Bernalillo. There is also special service to the Balloon Fiesta. Two of the stations have bus connections to the airport. The line is scheduled to be extended all the way to Santa Fe by the end of 2008.

Currently the Rail Runner runs on weekdays with some limited weekend service during the summer. Fares are based on how far you ride, a day pass will be in the range of $2-$4.

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 (Tramway, etc.). There are few crossings of the Rio Grande, and some involve uncomfortably close contact with car traffic. Plan accordingly. You can see a bike map on the city's website.


  • Sandia Peak Tramway, Off Tramway Blvd. on the northeast corner of the city, +1 505 856-7325. Runs from a lower terminus in the northeast heights to the top of 10,400-foot Sandia Peak east of the city, and is one of the longest (some sources say the longest) and most spectacular aerial tramways in the world. The first upward tram departs at 9AM (except Tuesdays in the off season), and service continues until early evening. The 15-minute 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 after sunset, and there is a restaurant and 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. $15 round trip for adults, with discounts for children and seniors.
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW (south of downtown), +1 505 246-2261, Tu-Su 10AM-5PM, closed major holidays. A large museum complex dedicated to Hispanic culture and art. There is also a library (closed Sunday), restaurant and gift shop, and frequent special events. $3 adults, $2 seniors, aged 16 and under free.
  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW (just north of I-40), +1 505 843-7270, Every day 9AM-4:30PM, closed on major holidays. Operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, this museum has a large collection of artifacts of the culture and history of the pueblo people. The center also has art galleries, a children's area, photo archives, restaurant and gift shop. Indian Dances are a frquent event. $6 adults, $4 children, under age 5 free.
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE (on the grounds of the Balloon Fiesta), Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Dedicated to the science and history of ballooning, with collections from famous balloonists and an exhibit on ballooning in Albuquerque. $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1 children, age 3 and under free.
  • Albuquerque Biological Park, which includes the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Beach (see below under Do). Combo tickets for the Biological Park can be purchased, and include the price of train rides from the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens to the Zoo.
    • Rio Grande Zoo, 903 Tenth Street SW (just southwest of downtown). Daily, 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. This zoo has most of the "popular" species like polar bears, lions, zebras, giraffes, elephants, and gorillas in nice big exhibits with trees, grasses, water and rockwork. Some of the best exhibit areas you can't miss are the seals & sea lions, the polar bears, a huge Africa area, and the "Catwalk". Seal and sea lion feeding times are 10:30 am and 3:30 pm every day, and the polar bear feeding times are 2:30 pm every day. A small narrow-gauge train runs through the zoo (10AM-3:30PM daily at 20 minute intervals), with a conductor pointing out some of the animals and explaning what goes on behind-the-scenes. A separate train line runs to the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens. There are frequent outdoor concerts and other events at the Zoo. $7 adults, $3 seniors, $3 children, under age 3 free (train rides require separate admission, unless you have a combo ticket).
    • Albuquerque Aquarium / Rio Grande Botanical Garden 2601 Central Avenue NW (just east of the Rio Grande). Daily, 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. The Aquarium has freshwater species from the Rio Grande and saltwater species from the Gulf of Mexico. There are also jellyfish, seahorses, Koi fish, a Gulf shrimp fishing boat, and a creepy eel tunnel. The highlight of the aquarium is a huge shark tank with other ocean species like sea turtles and rays. Divers enter the big tank every day from 2-3PM to feed the fish. The Botanical Garden has 36 acres of gardens, with an emphasis on desert plants. Some of the major exhibits are a huge glass conservatory holds plants from desert and Mediterranean climate zones, an indoor butterfly garden that is open in the summer, and an early 20th century farm, with a farm house and a barnyard petting zoo. There's also a model "Garden" railroad, and a fantastic Children's Fantasy Garden with giant pretend vegetables, garden tools and bugs. A narrow-gauge train runs to the zoo from 10:15AM-3:45PM Tu-Su. $7 adults, $3 seniors, $3 children, under age 3 free (train rides require separate admission, unless you have a combo ticket).

Old Town

Located east of Rio Grande Boulevard in between Central Avenue and Mountain Road (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 to blend 18th century architecture with narrow brick paths, adobe architecture, world famous artwork, fine jewelry, delicious food and rare specialty shops. Old Town has a central plaza with a gazebo and is bordered on the north by the 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.

There are several museums located within easy walking distance of the Old Town plaza. Most of them are on Mountain Road, just a few blocks northeast of the Plaza.

  • Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, 2000 Mountain Rd. NW, Tu-Su 9AM-5PM except major holidays. Guided walking tours of Old Town start here. Loads of exhibits with Southwest art, artifacts from the history of Albuquerque and colonial New Mexico (with some pretty incredible items, like conquistador armor and an antique car), and an outdoor sculpture garden. $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1 children, under age 3 free (admission free first Wednesday of the month and every Sunday 9AM-1PM).
  • American International Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe St (a block south of the Old Town plaza), M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-5PM. This great little museum's claim to fame is the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. There's lots of snakes (and various other reptiles) and snake-related memorabilia, such as artwork and films. $3.50 adults, $2.50 children.
  • National Atomic Museum, 1905 Mountain Road NW. Soon to be renamed the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. Every day 9AM-5PM except major holidays. A museum devoted to things nuclear, including replicas of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs dropped on Japan, as well as other weapons, nuclear-capable aircraft and rockets, and displays on arms control and peaceful uses of atomic energy. Small fee.
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW, +1 505 841-2800, Every day, 9AM-5PM (closed on major holidays, and non-holiday Mondays in January and September). This is a fantastic museum: there are lots of well-constructed geological and paleontological displays, illustrating a "journey through time", with exhibits showing the birth of the planet, the time of the dinosaurs, and the Ice Age, with one massive hall featuring complete dinosaur skeletons. An entire wing of the museum is devoted to astronomical exhibits, and there's also an exhibit about the birth of the personal computer, which happened right here in Albuquerque. A planetarium and an IMAX theater are also in the building. $7 adults, $6 seniors, $4 children, under age 3 free (separate fee required for planetarium and IMAX theater).
  • ¡Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum, 1701 Mountain Road NW, +1 505 224-8300, M-Sa 10AM-6PM and Su noon-6PM except major holidays. Called "one of the best science centers in the country", this museum has 250 interactive children's exhibits teaching science, technology, and art. There are some truly fantastic exhibits here, like a laminar flow fountain(with water jets you can turn on and off), an experiment bar, a high-wire bike(that will surely test your withstanding of heights), and a robotics lab. $7 adults, $5 seniors, $1 children, under age 1 free.

University of New Mexico

Located between Central Avenue, Girard Boulevard, Lomas Boulevard, and University Boulevard (east of I-25).

The main campus makes a very pleasant diversion, with its Pueblo-Revival adobe buildings and abundant plant life. There's a duck pond near the center of the campus, giving you a chance to relax on the lawns or feed the birds.

  • Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, located on the main campus just east of University Blvd between Las Lomas and Dr. M. L. King Jr. Avenue (near the duck pond). +1 505 277-4405, Tu-F 9AM-4PM and Sa 10AM-4PM, closed major holidays. The anthropology department at UNM has been aclaimed as one of the finest in the nation. This museum has changing exhibits and two permanent exhibits. One showcases the evolution of humans from primates, and the other focuses on the prehistoric native cultures in the American Southwest, with a reconstruction of an archaeological dig in Chaco Canyon. Free.
  • University Art Museum, located in the Center for the Arts building (the Jonson Gallery is located at 1909 Las Lomas Road NE in the main campus). +1 505 277-4001, Tu-F 9AM-4PM and Su 1PM-4PM. Art from University of New Mexico students and faculty, with changing exhibitions. Free.
  • Meteorite and Geology Museum, located in the Northrop Hall. M-F 9AM-4PM. A nice little museum with minerals, fossils, and meteorites from New Mexico and others collected by UNM faculty and students. Free.


  • Tingley Beach, Tingley Drive, south of Central Avenue (just east of the Rio Grande). Daily, sunrise to sunset. A facility of the Albuquerque Biological Park. This park, located along the Rio Grande, has fishing ponds for adults and children, a model boating pond, a cafe, and a gift shop where you can buy fishing licenses, fishing gear, or rent a pedal boat for a ride on the central pond. A train station for the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens - Zoo train is located here. Free (separate fee required for train rides).
  • Rio Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria Road NW, +1 505 344-7240. Every day, 10AM-5PM. A very pleasant state park along the banks of the Rio Grande. Visitor Center with a natural pond and exhibits on the native wildlife. Two short trails head into the Bosque from the visitor center. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, like geese, roadrunners, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, and numerous other species. $1 adults, $.50 children.
  • Petroglyph National Monument], on the west side of town, is a new unit of the United States National Parks system, and preserves a number of interesting archaeological sights and objects (including lots of interesting petroglyphs). There are interpretive exhibits and a few short trails. Day use only; $3 fee (Park Pass applies).
  • Cliff's Amusement Park, 4800 Osuna Rd. NE at San Mateo (just south of the Osuna-San Mateo/I-25 interchange), +1 505 881-9373. Open weekends April-September, hours vary by month. This is just about the only amusement park in New Mexico. Fairly small, but with a good amount of rides. Thrill rides (including two roller coasters), family rides, kiddy rides, and a water play area. Ride pass (which includes general admission) is $24 for over 48" tall, $20 for under 48" tall, $17.45 for age 2 and under. (Parking is free)
  • Albuquerque Isotopes, at the corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard (south of UNM), +1 505 924-2255. The Isotopes, Triple-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, play baseball in a beautiful stadium. Seats in the park are both good and cheap--$11 can get you a seat behind home plate. All the concessions and restrooms are located along a big concourse behind the seats, so you don't miss any of the action. For $5 a ticket, you can bring a picnic blanket and find a spot in the grassy "Berm" behind right field that's perfect for kids--they can enjoy the grass and play on the playground on top of the Berm. Beware of foul balls. The park is a notorious "launching pad" for hitters that drives pitchers nuts.
  • UNM sports (the Lobos) are big. For a deafening experience in college sports, try to catch a basketball game at "The Pit," the university's semi-underground fieldhouse that has been a house of pain for visiting basketball teams for years. The women's teams have been doing better than the men's lately, and attract crowds every bit as raucous. Both The Pit and University Stadium, home to the Lobos football team, are located at Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard, south of UNM.
  • Santa Ana Star Center, just off of Unser in neighboring Rio Rancho, +1 505 891-7300. It is home to the Rio Rancho Scorpions ice hockey team. There are also concerts, conventions and other events.
  • 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. If less athletically inclined, ride the tram to the top.
  • During the winter, you can ski or snowboard at Sandia Peak. The ski season is typically mid-December to mid-March, depending on the seasonal amount of snowfall. There are 30 trails with four chairlifts and two surface lifts, and a terrain park. Most of the facilities are at the bottom of the slope (which is accessible by road), including a cafeteria, ski school, the equipment rental shop, and a sports shop. At the top of the hill is access to the Sandia Peak Tramway (see "See" section above) and the High Finance Restaurant (see "Eat" below). The peak can be reached either by taking the tram up (Skiers get a discount on tram tickets, but you have to bring your own equipment. There are a few equipment rental places in Albuquerque) or a 45 minute drive around the mountain. $43 adult full-day lift tickets, $32 children full-day lift tickets (half-day and Beginner Lift Only tickets are also available).
  • Mountain-biking
    • the Bosque, down by the river
    • Sandia Foothills
    • down-hilling at Sandia Ski Area, the other (East) side of the Sandias
  • In-Line skating
    • The Bosque, down by the river
    • Tramway Blvd

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

At Balloon Fiesta Park, located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25 (take either Alameda Boulevard or Tramway Boulevard exit off I-25). $6 adults, children ages 12 and under free (parking is $10 per car).

The world's largest ballooning event and 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 10 days in October, you may 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.

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 even want to consider taking public transit to the fiesta, like the Rail Runner commuter train). Get your hotel reservations far in advance, because everyone fills up around this time of year.

The fiesta begins on the first Friday of October and ends with a farewell mass ascension ten days later, with numerous events in-between. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • 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.
  • On weekend days at about 7AM the Mass Ascension occurs, which is the lift off of all the balloons participating in the fiesta. Not to be missed.
  • On certain evenings 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.
  • The Special Shapes Rodeo happens at 7AM on the second Thursday and second Friday of the month, which is a Mass Ascension for all the "special shapes" balloons. There are also Balloon Glows for the special shapes balloons. Returning favorites include a milk cow, a wagon coach, and twin bees balloons.

These are only the highlights, there's also lots of other events like balloon races and concerts.

Other annual events

  • The New Mexico State Fair takes place annually for two weeks in September. Like any state fair, there's lots of competitions, farm animals, rodeos, carnival rides, art, music, food, etc. There are also some interesting exhibits as well. The state fair is held at Expo New Mexico (on Louisiana between Central and Lomas, east of UNM and south of Uptown).
  • The Native American Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow is an event bringing together Native Americans from across the country together. There are many events, including the powwow, native music, arts, crafts, and food, and Miss Indian World. The event takes place in late April at the University of New Mexico Arena ("The Pit").
  • New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair takes place in June at the Expo New Mexico fairgrounds.


  • University of New Mexico Founded in 1889, UNM is the oldest and largest institution of higher education in New Mexico.
  • Central New Mexico Community College (formerly Technical-Vocational Institute, TVI)


Albuquerque has evolved into a fairly "high-tech" city from the employment point of view. Albuquerque major employers are mostly military and technology based: The Kirtland Air Force Base and the Sandia National Laboratories are the region's largest employers. Intel has a huge plant just outside the city in neighboring Rio Rancho. These are surrounded by spinoffs, support organizations, etc. The University of New Mexico and the medical industry are also major regional employers as well. Unemployment in Albuquerque tends to run below the national average, so jobs are comparatively easy to get. Being bilingual (English/Spanish) is a plus in the retail workplace, although by no means essential.


Upon first glance, it might seem like your only place to shop are the miles and miles of strip malls that line the major arterials. While that's not entirely the case, everything is really spread out, with the exception of the concentrated Old Town-Downtown-Nob Hill area along Central Avenue. So while you can find just about anything you're looking for, you will probably have to drive a ways to get it.

Here are some good places around town to shop:

  • Old Town, at Central & Rio Grande, If you're looking for all the "New Mexican" shops, this is probably the next best thing to Santa Fe. Granted, some of it is tacky souvenir stuff, but there are also plenty of quality gift shops with authentic Native American and Southwestern art. Antiques, art galleries, jewelry, pottery, weavings, clothing stores, specialty shops, there's plenty of it in Old Town.
  • Downtown, particularly along Central Avenue and Gold Avenue (one block south of Central). While downtown has plenty of bars and restaurants, the shopping scene is a bit lacking. However, there are a few interesting shops, like The Man's Hat Shop, 511 Central NW, which has a huge selection of Western hats.
  • Nob Hill, along Central from Girard to Carlisle. A trendy district known for its neon reminiscent of the Route 66 days, Nob Hill is easily one of the best places in the city to window shop. The Nob Hill Business Center, at Central & Carlisle, has some great little shops as well as the La Montanita Food Co-Op (see Grocery stores under "Eat" below).
  • Uptown, centered around Indian School & Louisiana. For the more typical suburban mall experience, Coronado Mall, which is anchored by Macy's, JCPenney, Mervyn's and Sears, will suit your needs. ABQ Uptown, on the other hand, is an outdoor mall with more high-end retail stores, such as Apple Computer, Talbots, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. Most of the major 'Big Box' retailers are also in the general area, in both directions along I-40.
  • Cottonwood Mall, Coors Blvd & Coors Bypass, on the west side of Albuquerque. A typical indoor mall, the surrounding area contains all the typical 'Big Box' retailers (i.e. Walmart Supercenter, Best Buy, Home Depot, Pets Mart, Walgreens, Staples, Circuit City...).

Here are some specific businesses around town that are worth your time:

  • Jackalope, 6400 San Mateo Blvd NE (near the intersection of San Mateo and I-25), +1 505 349-0955. A local chain of stores (there are also locations in Bernalillo and Santa Fe) that sells folk art, pottery, rugs, and furniture from around the world. There is really a lot of fantastic stuff here, and a lot to browse through.
  • Bien Mur Indian Market Center, 100 Bien Mur Drive NE (north of Albuquerque at the Sandia Pueblo, off the intersection of Tramway and I-25), +1 505 821-5400. Owned by the Sandia Pueblo, this huge market has loads of Native American jewelry, pottery, rugs, paintings and folk art. Most of the stuff here comes directly from the artist to the market.
  • Gertrude Zachary is a locally-owned jewelry chain in Albuquerque with plenty of antiques and Southwestern jewelry. There are three locations around the city:
    • Jewelry Showroom, 1501 Lomas NW (between Old Town and Downtown), +1 505 247-4442.
    • Antiques Showroom, 416 Second St SW (in Downtown), +1 505 244-1320.
    • Nob Hill Location, 3300 Central Ave SE, +1 505 766-4700.
  • Page One Bookstore, 11018 Montgomery NE (at the intersection of Montgomery and Juan Tabo), +1 505 294-2026. M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-8PM. The largest independent bookstore in the city. Page One also has a used bookstore, Page One Too, 11200 Montgomery, M-Sa 10AM-8:30PM, Su 10AM-6:30PM, located right across the street from the main bookstore.


Dining out in Albuquerque tends to be relatively inexpensive and very casual. Many places offer outdoor seating. Iced tea is the beverage of choice. Area code for all phone numbers is 505.

Grocery stores

  • Trader Joe's, 8929 Holly Ave NE (at the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Ventura), +1 505 796-0311. Every day, 9AM-9PM. This nation-wide chain of stores has a location in Albuquerque, way up in the far Northeast Heights. Very popular with the locals.
  • Whole Foods Market, 5815 Wyoming Boulevard NE (at the intersection of Wyoming and Academy), +1 505 856-0474. Every day, 7:30AM-9PM. Organic food store chain.
  • Wild Oats Marketplace, another organic food store chain, has three locations in Albuquerque:
    • 2103 Carlisle Blvd. NE (at the intersection of Carlisle and Indian School), +1 505 260-1366. Every day, 7AM-10PM.
    • 11015 Menaul Blvd. NE (at the intersection of Menaul and Juan Tabo), +1 505 275-6660. Every day, 7AM-10PM.
    • 6300 San Mateo NE (at the intersection of San Mateo and Academy), +1 505 823-1933. Every day, 7AM-9PM.
  • Talin Market World Food Fare, 88 Louisiana Blvd SE (at the corner of Central and Louisiana), +1 505 268-0206. M-Sa 8:30AM-8PM, Su 9AM-7PM. International food marketplace.
  • La Montanita Natural Foods Co-Op is a local community-owned co-op offering organic food with two locations in Albuquerque:
    • 3500 Central SE (in the Nob Hill Marketplace at Central and Carlisle), +1 505 265-4631. M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
    • 2400 Rio Grande NW, +1 505 242-8800. M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
  • For your more typical chain groceries, Albertsons, Smith's, and Raley's each have several stores in the city.

New Mexican Dining

New Mexican cuisine is unique. Be ready for the question "Red or green?" which refers to the chile based sauce you want smothering your enchiladas. There are constant arguments as to whether red (ripe) chiles are hotter than green (picked while still immature) chiles, but in fact, spiciness depends much more on the strain of pepper and how the chile is prepared rather than the color, so inquire and experiment. Many meals will include sopaipillas (the characteristic New Mexican fry bread) as a side. The characteristic dessert is flan, a type of pudding.


  • Papa Felipe's Mexican Reataurant, 9800 Menaul Blvd NE, +1 505 292-8877. Home-cooked authentic New Mexican cuisine since 1977.
  • Acapulco, 840 San Mateo Blvd SE (near the Kirtland AFB Truman Gate), other locations in town. Serves excellent New Mexican cuisine from a stand.
  • Dos Hermanos, 6211 4th St NW, +1 505 345-4588; 7600 Jefferson NE, 828-1166; 2435 Wyoming NE, 294-8945; or 5010 Cutler NE, 881-2202. Deli-style New Mexican food. Tends towards the spicy side.
  • Juan's Broken Taco, 2740 Wyoming Blvd NE (NE corner of Wyoming and Candelaria behind Sandia Area Federal Credit Union and next to Bibles Plus), +1 505 296-5211. All plates can be made vegetarian.
  • Los Cuates, 5016-B Lomas NE, +1 505 268-0974 or 4901 Lomas NE, +1 505 255-5079. North side location is a newer facility and serves milder chile, South side is an authentic diner experience.
  • Milly's, 7308 Jefferson St NE, +1 505 345-9200. Flavorful but not-too-hot chile.
  • Ortega's, Wyoming (north of Comanche). Whole grains, low fat.
  • Perea's, 5801 Central Ave NE, +1 505 232-9442. May have the hottest green chile in town.


  • Cervantes, 5801 Gibson Blvd SE, +1 505 262-2253. Excellent menu, ala carte items, full bar, World Record Margarita. Local's favorite!
  • Garduño's of Mexico, regional chain, original at 8806 4th Street NW, +1 505 898-2772. Consistent, good quality food with some Mexican and Arizonan influence to go with the New Mexican standards. The Garduño's at the airport is one of the better airport restaurants you'll find in the United States; unfortunately, its hours are limited.
  • Little Anita's, regional chain, original in Old Town on Rio Grande. Consistent, great quality food with great service and atmosphere. Check out the one in Corrales on Alameda and Coors-Bypass. +1 505 899-2670.
  • Monroe's, 1520 Lomas NW, +1 505 242-1111 or 6051 Osuna NE, +1 505 881-4224. Great carne adovada Indian tacos.
  • Sadie's, 6230 4th St NW, +1 505 345-5339 . Consistent quality. Often a long wait. Hot chile.


Non-New Mexican Dining


  • Frontier Restaurant, 2400 Central Ave SE (at Central & Cornell), +1 505 266-0550. Open 24 hours. One of the most popular restaurants in Albuquerque, a big hangout for the college students at UNM. Good American & New Mexican food, the breakfast burrito here is one of the best in Albuquerque. Casual atmosphere. If you can't make it to the Frontier, you can go to one of the several Golden Pride chain places around Albuquerque, which is owned by the same family and serves much of the same food.
  • Grandma's K and I diner, 2500 Broadway Blvd SE, enjoy some authentic Albuquerque cuisine, restaurant is best known for serving a fry covered, football sized burrito called the Travis. They can be ordered in eighths, quarters, halves or whole; consumption of an entire travis is sometimes used as a fraternity hazing. The breakfast skillet meals are wonderful.
  • Route 66 Malt Shop, 1720 Central SW. Exceptional home-made root beer, burgers, floats, etc.
  • Federico's Mexican Food, 1109 Juan Tabo NE, +1 505 271-6499. Open 24 hours. The place is a little bare-bones, but the food is excellent (and shows the difference between "Mexican" and "New Mexican" cuisine), not to mention cheap. Get a horchata as your drink.
  • Que Huong, 7010 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-0575. Vietnamese.
  • Pho #1, 414 San Pedro Dr SE, +1 505 268-0488. Pho: Vietnamese noodle soup. Also grilled pork / chicken / beef noodle bowl and rice plates. Great friendly service. Don't miss the Vietnamese cold coffee with condensed milk.
  • Bob's Burgers, several locations around town. A home-grown chain of burger stands with a New Mexican flair. The ones west of the river are owned by Bob, the ones east of the river by his son-in-law Clifford. Bob makes some of the hottest green chile sauce in the state; Clifford flat out tries to kill you. A "chile-head"'s paradise. Try a foot-long chile-cheese dog with green sauce instead of traditional red.
  • The Dog House, 1216 Central Ave SW (in between downtown and Old Town), +1 505 243-1019. Daily, 10AM-10PM. American food, but best known for their grilled foot-long hot dogs. Very recognizable place with its dog neon sign. The dining room is very small, you may want to just eat in your car.
  • Saggio's Pizza, 107 Cornell Dr SE (at Central & Cornell, across the street from the Frontier), +1 505 255-5454. Quite possibly the best pizza in Albuquerque. The atmosphere is wonderful, with statues, murals, plants, and televisions everywhere. There is a sports bar in here, but the place is still very kid-friendly.
  • Rudy's Country Store and BBQ, 2321 Carlisle, NE +1 505 884-4000. Casual, relaxed, and wonderful self-serve BBQ. Don't miss the beef brisket!
  • Bangkok Cafe, 5901 Central Ave NE +1 505 255.5036. Some of the best Thai food in town! The larb (meat salad), chicken and basil, and yellow curry are excellent! Basic divey atmosphere but the food can't be beat.


  • Cajun Kitchen, 5505 Osuna Rd NE, +1 505 344-5355.
  • Dion's, multiple locations. Best pizza in Albuquerque? They also have sandwiches.
  • India Palace, 4410 Wyoming NE, +1 505 271-5009. Indian.
  • Slate Street Cafe, 515 Slate NW, +1 505 243-2210. American. They have a nice wine list and a wine bar loft too.
  • Taj Mahal, 1430 Carlisle Blvd NE, +1 505 255-1994. Indian.
  • Flying Star Cafe, multiple locations. Wide variety of salads, sandwiches, entrees, New Mexican food, and superb desserts. Rated 'Best Bakery' in Albuquerque. Daily and weekly specials. Free wi-fi. Vast selection of magazines.
  • Thai Tip 1512 Wyoming, N.E.. Thai. Loyal local following, and for good reason. Friendly owners and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Pars Persian Cuisine, 4320 The 25 Way, Suite 100, +1 505 345-5156. Persian. Cushion seating available, bellydancing on weekend nights. Hookah available for rental. Wonderful Persian classics.
  • Ninja Sushi, 6205 Montgomery Blvd, +1 505 830-2507. Innovative, "avant garde" sushi and Japanese food. Wide selection of sushi and sashimi.
  • County Line BBQ, Tramway Blvd at Tramway Rd, +1 505 856-7477. Spectacular views of the city from the picture windows in the main dining area. For weekend dining, be prepared to wait a bit. Good Texas-style BBQ, relaxed atmosphere and large portions for your dollar.


  • Emilie's French Restaurant, 6209 Montgomery NE, +1 505 881-8104. French.
  • High Finance, atop Sandia Peak, +1 505 243-9742 (reservations advised). American. You pay for the view as well as the food, but it's an interesting experience. Lunch and dinner 7 days.
  • Terra American Bistro, 1119 Alameda Blvd. NE, +1 505 792-1700, American.
  • Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro, 3009 Central Ave. NE, +1 505 254-9462 (reservations advised). Located East of UNM in Nob Hill, Zinc is pleasant and well-appointed inside. American cuisine, with a touch of French; excellent appetizers. Don't miss the wine bar and jazz in the basement. Lunch 7 days (Sunday "brunch"), dinner M-S.
  • The Rancher's Club, Albuquerque Hilton, 1901 University Blvd. NE, +1 505 889-8071. The Rancher's Club is a repeat winner of the prestigious DiRoNA Award. The only AAA 4 Diamond Award Winner in Albuquerque. Serving Prime Aged Beef, Seafood and Poultry grilled over Aromatic Woods. A Truly fine dining experience in an elegant Western setting. Lunch Tu-Fr, Dinner nightly.
  • Prairie Star Restaurant, Bernalillo. 15 minutes north of Albuquerque on I-25, on the Santa Ana Pueblo and just off the road to the Hyatt Tamaya Resort. It shares facilities with the Santa Ana Golf Course but is no Bar and Grill. It has an extensive wine cellar, excellent outdoor patio with views of the Sandias and an inventive menu which changes frequently but is always outstanding. Well worth the drive.
  • Artichoke Cafe, 424 Central SE * Corner of Central & Edith, +1 505 243-0200. American. Great creamy artichoke soup, the salmon was great. Good ambience.
  • Eurasia Bistro, 10701 Montgomery NE, just West of Juan Tabo, Japanese with European influence. Large portions, excellent sushi and sashimi. The ceviche is not to be missed.
  • Tucanos Brazilian Grill, 110 Central Ave. SW, +1 505 246-9900. Roughly $12(lunch)/$20(dinner) per person, all you can eat. Excellent salad bar, and a variety of meats brought to your table.


  • Billy's Long Bar, 4800 San Mateo Blvd NE, +1 505 889-0573. Wide variety of beers on tap.
  • Il Vicino Brewing Co. & Tap Room, 4000 Vassar NE, +1 505 830-4629. Fresh beer and gourmet pizza.
  • The Quarters, 801 Yale Blvd SE, +1 505 843-7505; 4516 Wyoming Blvd NE, +1 505 292-7604; 3700 Ellison Rd NW +1 505 897-3341. Decent selection of beers on tap.
  • Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, 3755 Southern Blvd, Rio Rancho, +1 505 994-9497. Fresh beer and greasy pizza.
  • Kelly's Brewery, 3222 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-2379. Wide variety of beers brewed on site. Good food, friendly wait staff (mostly hot young ladies), and an extensive outdoor patio for people watching.
  • Gecko's Bar & Tapas, 3500 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-1848; 5801 Academy Road NE. Great atmosphere and best patios in Albuquerque for people watching. Gecko's tapas are among the best bar food you will ever stumble upon.
  • Two Fools Tavern, 3211 Central Ave NE, +1 505 265-7447. Irish beers and music abound.
  • Monte Vista Fire Station, 3205 Central Ave NE, +1 505 255-2424. Housed above the Gruet Steakhouse, Monte Vista Fire Station roosts in a converted Depression Era fire house.
  • Stone Face Tavern, 8201 San Pedro Dr NE, +1 505 822-8855. Blue collar and all the character you could even hope for. Live music, outdoor volleyball, and great beer specials.
  • Horse & Angel Tavern, 5809 Juan Tabo Blvd NE, +1 505 299-0225. Very large selection of domestic and imported beers on tap, good food with an excellent human resources department (mostly very attractive UNM girls). Laid back, but not too laid back.
  • Carom Club, 301 Central Ave NW, +1 505 243-6520. Smoke free fine dining and sports lounge in Downtown Albuquerque. Scores of pool tables with in-house instructors. Business casual or urban contemporary dress.
  • Copper Lounge, 1504 Central Ave SE, +1 505 242-7490. Dark dive bar, but extremely friendly patrons. Best beer special in town -- $2 drafts on Wednesday nights.
  • Chama River Brewing Company, 4931 Pan American NE, +1 505 342-1800; 106 2nd St SW, +1 505 842-8329. Fantastic local micro brewery. Pan American location also offers a solid dining experience.
  • Downtown Distillery, 406 Central Ave SW, +1 505 765-1534. Long bar downstairs; pool lounge and bar upstairs.
  • O'Neill's Pub, 4310 Central Ave SE, +1 505 255-6782. Great food, casual atmosphere, and a fantastic patio facing Old Route 66.
  • OPM, 211 Gold Ave SW, +1 505 243-0955. Unique themed nightclub open 9pm - 2am Wednesday through Saturday. One of the few 18+ clubs in town. Thursday nights are Goth/Industrial/Electronic all other nights are House/Hip-hop/R&B.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $75
Mid-range $75 - 175
Splurge $176 and over

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.

Albuquerque is experiencing a massive wave of hotel building, mainly in the "Mid-range" class, as of 2005. 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.

For some free lodgings try looking for cafes where bands are playings (normally on the weekends) and ask amongst the punk kids and see if they'll help. Even they, however, may not have much space during the Balloon Fiesta.


  • 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). Check in: 3:00 PM; Check out: 11:00 AM. Tiny rooms, but clean and inexpensive. $50-$60.
  • Hiway House Motel, 3200 Central Avenue SE (in Nob Hill), +1 505 268-3971. What it lacks in appearance 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 the University of New Mexico. Bus service directly down Central Avenue to Downtown and Old Town. $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: 3:00 PM; Check out: 12:00 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 Avenue SW (between Downtown and Old Town), +1 505 247-1813 (, Check in: 4:00 PM; Check out: 10:30 AM. Only hostel in town. Centrally located, within walking distance of Old Town and Downtown. Dormitories are $18 per night, private rooms start at $24/night.
  • Sleep Inn Airport, 2300 International Ave. SE (off Yale north of the airport), +1 505 244-3325 (, fax: +1 505 244-3312). Check in: 3:00 PM; Check out: 11:00 AM. Probably the cheapest of the several cookie-cutter hotels near the Albuquerque airport. $60-$70.


  • Amerisuites Albuquerque Airport Hotel, 1400 Sunport Place SE (just off I-25 near the airport), +1 505 242-9300 (, fax: +1 505 242-0998). AmeriSuites hotels advertise themselves as "offer(ing) guests suites with 25% more space than a traditional hotel room." Indeed, the rooms at this hotel are larger than those of a typical hotel in, say, Uzbekistan. It is close to the airport, to be sure, and the complimentary breakfast buffet is above average as complimentary breakfasts go. $140.
  • Amerisuites Albuquerque Midtown Hotel, 2500 Menaul Blvd. NE (off I-40 just east of the juncture of I-25 and I-40, known as the 'Big-I'), +1 505 881-0544 (fax: +1 505 881-0380). "Midtown," in Albuquerquese, is not "downtown," but rather in the middle of the shopping district east of I-25. $80.
  • Amerisuites Albuquerque Uptown Hotel, 6901 Arvada Avenue NE (in the Uptown area near Louisiana/I-40, right next door to the ABQ Uptown shopping mall), +1 505 872-9000 (, fax: +1 505 872-3829). $160.
  • 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). Chain motel right near Old Town. $90-$120.
  • Courtyard Albuquerque, 5151 Journal Center Blvd. NE (North I-25/Jefferson area), ''+1 505'' 823-1919 (fax: +1 505 823-1918). $140.
  • Doubletree Hotel Albuquerque, 201 Marquette Avenue NW, +1 505 247-3344 (fax: +1 505 247-7025). Check in: 3:00 PM; Check out: 12:00 Noon. Large downtown hotel, only place directly connected to the Albuquerque Convention Center, via underground passageway. $150-$200.
  • Embassy Suites Albuquerque, 1000 Woodward Place NE (just off the intersection of I-25/Lomas near downtown), +1 505 245-7100 (fax: 1 505 247-1083). Check in: 3:00 PM; Check out: 12:00 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: 3:00 PM; Check out: 12:00 Noon. $80.
  • Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 800 Rio Grande Boulevard NW (just north of Old Town), +1 505 843-6300 (fax: +1 505 842-8426). Wonderful highrise hotel within walking distance of Old Town. Approaching "splurge" territory. $130-$210.
  • Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras Ave NW, 1 505 842-1234 (fax: ''+1 505'' 843-2710). Large hotel right in downtown Albuquerque, in the smaller of the two tallest highrises with the pyramid roof. $150-$180.
  • Los Poblanos Inn, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW, +1 505 344-9297 (, fax: +1 505 342-1302). Located in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (seven miles from downtown Albuquerque) along with the La Quinta Cultural Center. The inn and 25 acre grounds are beautiful, with conference and meeting facilities available. $150-$250.
  • Wyndham Albuquerque Hotel, 2910 Yale Blvd. SE, +1 505 843-7000 (fax: +1 505 843-6307). Check in: 3:00 PM; Check out: 12:00 Noon. The closest hotel to the airport, no more than 2 minutes away by shuttle, which runs on the half hour. Reasonable restaurant (Rojo's Grill) on the premises. $150-$180.


  • Albuquerque Marriott, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard NE (in the Uptown area, at Louisiana/I-40), +1 505 881-6800 (fax: +1 505 888-2982). Highrise hotel located 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). Large hotel in "Aztec pyramid" shaped building. $180-$250.
  • Hyatt Tamaya Resort, located about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, in Bernalillo (see full listing in that article). The inn and grounds are beautiful, with conference and meeting facilities available, nestled close to the Rio Grande with a spectacular view of the Sandia Mountains to the east.


The area code for the city, as well as the entire state, is 505.

The public libraries has internet access but require a library card to use them. There's a few internet cafes around the university area. Also, the local Flying Star Cafe and Satellite Coffee locations offer free wireless internet to customers. The city's Rapid Ride buses also offer wireless connections.

Stay safe

Albuquerque has a fairly high crime rate compared to some other American cities, but most of it is property crime of more concern to residents than to visitors. "Bad" neighborhoods:

  • the South Valley, along the river south of Central Avenue.
  • the War Zone, the area surrounding and south of the State Fairgrounds.

Central Avenue is home to some of Albuquerque's main attractions, but portions of it can be somewhat dangerous after dark. The section from the train tracks (eastern edge of downtown) to University Blvd. can be a little scary in the evening. The Nob Hill district (between University and Carlisle) is perfectly safe at night, but Central gets progressively seedier east of Carlisle. Consider the bus or a cab through these areas after the sun goes down.

Due to its size and mild climate, the streets of Albuquerque are considered home to many people. While not typically a danger, do expect to meet up with beggars and vagrants, particularly around the University of New Mexico.

If you're going to be engaging in outdoor recreation (even as laid-back as watching an Isotopes day game), slather on the sun screen. The elevation of the city is 5000' or higher, and there is usually not much cloud cover, so one can get a bad sunburn in surprisingly short order.

Be forewarned about New Mexican cuisine; if you're not used to green chile, go easy at first. Many first-timers have tried to eat the hottest chile they could find (which is the green sauce at Bob's Burgers, by the way), only to discover six hours later that it was MUCH hotter than they remembered. Be prepared.


The city is divided into four quadrants, with Central Avenue as the North-South dividing line, and the train tracks as the East-West dividing line. Thus, the street address 3600 Menaul NE would be North of Central and East of the tracks. All addresses include a quadrant.

Many Albuquerqueans consider Interstates 40 and 25, which run through the city, to be their own personal expressways. The lack of turn signal usage is a running joke for most Albuquerque drivers, so watch for cars changing lanes without warning. However, Interstate traffic usually flows around the pace of the speed limit.

You may hear reference to "The Big Eye" in local news or traffic reports. Actually, they mean "The Big 'I'", as in interchange; the interchange of I-40 and I-25.

The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System, has a number of branch libraries around the city as well as the Downtown Main Library at 501 Copper NW, +1 505 768-5141. Plenty of information of all kinds: Books, books on tape or CD, music CDs, videos and DVDs. The library also has free wireless internet. However, you need a library card.


  • The Albuquerque Journal ($0.50 daily, $1.50 Sundays) is the state's largest newspaper and talks about issues in the metro area, the state, and the world.
  • The Albuquerque Tribune ($0.50 daily) is a Monday through Saturday paper focused on news and opinions from the Albuquerque metro area.
  • The Alibi (free Wednesday mornings) is a free weekly that discusses issues in the metro area and runs some collumns, but is more focused on the arts scene and has some great movie and restaurant reviews. They also run a number of "best of..." lists, notably the yearly "Best of Burque" awards. Great event listings.
  • The Daily Lobo (free daily) is a daily newspaper (Monday through Fridays in the school year) produced by the students of the University of New Mexico, so it only focuses on events at UNM and is only available at stands on the UNM campus.


There are a number of hospitals in the city:

  • Presbyterian Hospital, 1100 Central Ave. SE (at the interscetion of Central and I-25), +1 505 841-1234. Largest crtical health care hospital in the city. General and acute care hospital and 24 hour emergency rooms. Laboratory, physical therapy, nursing, and X-ray/radiology available. Presbyterian also operates a branch hospital, the Kaseman Hospital, 8300 Constitution Ave. NE (at Wyoming and Constitution), +1 505 291-2000.
  • Lovelace Health System has a couple of facilities in the city:
    • Lovelace Medical Center Downtown, 601 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave NE, +1 505 727-8000.
    • Lovelace Westside Hospital, 10501 Golf Course Rd. NW, +1 505 727-2000.
  • University of New Mexico Hospital, 2211 Lomas Blvd. NE (just north of the UNM campus), +1 505 272-2111.


New Mexico has a state wide ban on smoking in places of business. This includes bars and restraunts. The only exceptions are casinos and cigar bars. In addition to this Albuquerque has banned smoking on all public property except the golf courses.

Get out

North of Albuquerque:

  • Santa Fe, one of the world's great travel destinations, is about 60 miles to the north. The direct route is via I-25, but if you have time and the weather forecast is good, consider taking instead the "Turquoise Trail" (NM SR 14) on the east side of the Sandia Mountains.
  • Madrid is an artist community located along the Turquoise Trail on the eastern side of the Sandia Mountains. There's a small selection of galleries, a glass blower and decent tavern for lunch.
  • Bernalillo is 15 miles north of Albuquerque on I-25 and is connected via the Rail Runner. The Coronado State Monument is a popular attraction, as well as, the Santa Ana Pueblo's casino and golf course, which are right next to Bernalillo.
  • The pretty Jemez Mountains offer pleasant hiking and fishing in the summer and can be good for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, although snowpack varies greatly from year to year and may be insufficient for winter sports. Take I-25 north to Bernalillo, then US 550 to San Ysidro, where NM 4 (502 on some maps) takes off through the astonishing red rock of San Diego Canyon and into the Jemez.
  • Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument are also to the north, and about as distant from Albuquerque via the Jemez route as via the Santa Fe route.
  • Beyond Santa Fe lies the beauty and cultural color of north central New Mexico -- Taos, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, etc.

South of Albuquerque:

  • Isleta Pueblo, off of I-25 just south of the city, is a small native american village with the St. Augustine Church, a large white mission and one of the oldest in the nation. Take the Isleta Pueblo exit (NM 314) and drive south until you reach the village.
  • Belen is located about 30 miles south and makes a good day trip.
  • If traveling south during the winter, be sure to stop at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro and covered in that community's article.

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