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Visit Albuquerque, New Mexico

Famous for the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, visitors flock to Albuquerque, New Mexico every October to watch hot air balloons from all over the world glow, take off and float through the air. But, there is a lot more to do in Albuquerque than just Balloon Fiesta. In this video, we take you along as we explore the City of Albuquerque and discover some of the fun beyond Balloon Fiesta Park.

And believe us when we say that there is A LOT to do in the largest city in New Mexico and the Ballooning Capital of the World. Join us as we visit Albuquerque!


Fun Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Petroglyph National Monument - Yes, there is a national monument in the city of Albuquerque! The hikes to see ancient petroglyphs also provide views from above the west side of town. You can find trail maps at the park's visitor center. Petroglyph viewings are available in three areas: Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, and Piedras Marcadas Canyon. You can also see ancient volcanic rock and learn about the Native Americans who called this place home and created the petroglyphs.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center - One of our favorite attractions in Albuquerque, the Cultural Center includes a museum focusing on Native American culture, a gift shop and several great restaurants. During our visit they also hosted traditional dances and local artists. In our opinion, this is a must-visit in the American Southwest. Be sure to enjoy a meal at Indian Pueblo Kitchen or 12th Street Tavern.

Bow and Arrow Brewing Company - The first Native American Woman-owned brewery in the USA! This brewery has indoor and outdoor seating and hosts food trucks regularly.

Sandia Peak Tramway - For a unique experience and amazing views, take a ride over the Cibola National Forest to the top of Sandia Peak on the tramway. From the 10,378-foot crest of the Sandia Mountains, they say you can see 11,000 square miles on a clear day. The almost 3-mile route makes the Sandia Peak Tramway North America's longest aerial tramway.

Exploring Petroglyph National Monument
Exploring Petroglyph National Monument

Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum - Located on the grounds of the world-famous Balloon Fiesta, but open year round, the Balloon Museum tells the story of the history of hot air ballooning. Be sure to set aside at least two hours for your visit.

Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball - Albuquerque's minor league baseball team plays at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park. They are currently the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

ABQ BioPark - A one-stop collection of wildlife and plant life, the BioPark includes the Albuquerque Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Aquarium and Tingley Beach.

National Museum of Nuclear Science - A Smithsonian affiliated museum, the Museum of Nuclear Science features permanent and temporary exhibits focusing on atomic history and nuclear technology.

National Hispanic Cultural Center - On our list to visit on our next trip to Albuquerque, this cultural center features an art museum and and live performances at their performing arts center.

Albuquerque Museum - Learn more about the history and art of Albuquerque in this museum which offers free admission on Sunday mornings (except during Balloon Fiesta). The Albuquerque Museum also hosts the historic Casa San Ysidro in nearby Corrales NM.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science - Located near Old Town Albuquerque, this museum focuses on dinosaurs, fossils and a planetarium.

American International Rattlesnake Museum - This small museum in Old Town Albuquerque is all about rattlesnakes including conservation and education. While we don't know if this is the largest collection of live rattlesnakes, it is home to more than 30 species of rattlesnakes, as well as other snakes and reptiles.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - The premier event in this area, the annual Balloon Fiesta is a gathering of more than 500 global hot air balloon enthusiasts, and is the only place in the world where you can walk amongst the hot air balloons as they inflate to get an up-close view. You can even participate in hot air balloon rides to experience the thrill of floating flight first hand. Thousands of visitors attend this event every year, so be sure to plan well in advance for your visit.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The very awesome Unser Racing Museum unfortunately closed its doors in 2023. The entire collection from the Unser Museum is being moved to the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is scheduled to be on display there in 2024. I guess we'll be making a trip to Lincoln soon!

Free Things to Do in Albuquerque NM

Stroll the streets of historic Old Town Albuquerque to enjoy the oldest buildings in Albuquerque. Be sure to visit the beautiful San Felipe de Neri Church (The oldest church in Albuquerque began serving the community in 1706. The current building was built in 1793.) and the awesome Romero Street Gallery (featuring rooms and rooms of local art!).

On our next trip to Albuquerque, we'll be checking out another interesting historic community: Nob Hill. This area became part of Route 66 in 1937 and is said to be home to food, arts, nightlife and neon.

Train enthusiasts might want to check out the restoration site of the 1944 steam locomotive that used to sit in Coronado Park. The New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society restoration worksite is open to the public a couple of days a week.

Get some exercise on the 16-mile paved Paseo del Bosque Trail. This north - south multi-use trail is uninterrupted by roads. It is open to walkers, runners, bicyclers, inline skaters and equestrians.

The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology is located on the campus of the University of New Mexico. This free museum features the archaeological and anthropological history of the area.

As of the writing of this post, the Albuquerque Museum offers free admission every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the first Wednesday of every month.

Exploring Old Town
Exploring Old Town

Tips for Visiting Albuquerque NM

Set aside plenty of time to wander through Old Town. Be sure to look at the floors, walls, ceilings, doors and windows of the old buildings. We really enjoyed the historic architecture of this area as well as the interesting art galleries, shops and restaurants.

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is an amazing event and definitely bucket list worthy. But, if you would like to enjoy Albuquerque during a less crowded time, consider visiting outside of the nine days of Fiesta.

Albuquerque is a foodie town. The city was named one of the Best Cities in the World to Travel To in 2023 by Eater Magazine. The only other US city on the list is another of our favorite destinations: Asheville, North Carolina.

Speaking of food, New Mexican cuisine often features your choice of red or green chiles. We were taught by Albuquerque locals that the best way to order when faced with this decision is "Christmas" which gets you both red AND green chiles. Yes, please!

How Did Albuquerque Get Its Name?

Spanish explorers arrived in this area somewhere around 1540. In 1706, Spanish settlers established an official colony here and named it La Villa de Alburquerque after the Duke of Alburquerque in Spain. Somewhere along the way through the generations, the first "r" was omitted and the villa, later city, became known as Albuquerque.

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Where is Albuquerque, New Mexico?

You'll find Albuquerque at the intersection of Interstate 25 and Interstate 40 in New Mexico. The Rio Grande River runs through the west side of town and the Sandia Mountains sit to the east.

What Makes Albuquerque Special?

Locals say that their city is the birthplace of the breakfast burrito, saying that the origins of the delicious and hearty breakfast are tied to the early days of Balloon Fiesta. Based on the breakfast burritos we have enjoyed during our 2 visits to Balloon Fiesta (2015 and 2022), we believe this 100%.

A typical year in Albuquerque brings 310 days of sunshine.

With elevations ranging from 4,500 to over 6,500 feet above sea level, Albuquerque is one of the highest elevation major cities in the USA.

Albuquerque has been named to a bunch of lists as a top travel destination over the years including one of the Best Small Cities, Top Underrated US Destinations and Best Pet-Friendly Vacation Spots in America.

Our Basecamps for This Visit

We stayed in 3 locations during this visit to Albuquerque:

πŸ“ Indian Pueblo Cultural Center - The Cultural Center is not normally a place to RV camp. However, during Balloon Fiesta, they open up one of their parking lots to allow folks to dry camp on their property. For more information on dry camping at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center during Balloon Fiesta, check with the Accomodations page of the cultural center's website.

πŸ“ Balloon Fiesta Grounds - One of the toughest RV reservations to get in the entire USA! Reserving a campsite on the Balloon Fiesta grounds often requires participating in an RV rally at the Fiesta or being one of the lucky few to get reservations when they open in January. We weren't able to get reservations in advance, but were chosen to fill-in when someone else canceled their Balloon Fiesta camping reservations.

πŸ“ Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post - Located on Interstate 40 on the west side of Albuquerque, this has been our go-to RV park in Albuquerque since 2015.

For More Information on Visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico

Check out the Visit Albuquerque website.

Albuquerque NM Fun Facts

Approximate Population



4,500' to over 6,500'

Year Founded


Average Summer Temperatures

61Β° - 93Β°

Average Winter Temperatures

25Β° - 55Β°

Geographic Area

189 square miles

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A Few Photos from Our Visit to Albuquerque

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
San Felipe de Neri
Historic San Felipe de Neri
The Unser Museum
The Unser Museum was AWESOME!
Hiking for Petroglyphs
Hiking for Petroglyphs
Breakfast at Indian Pueblo Kitchen
Breakfast at Indian Pueblo Kitchen
Finding Our Wings at Old Town Cafe
Finding Our Wings at Old Town Cafe
Civil War Era Cannons
Replica Civil War Era Cannons in Old Town
Our Campsite at Enchanted Trails
Our Campsite at Enchanted Trails
Our Balloon Fiesta Campsite
Our Balloon Fiesta Campsite
Our Fiesta Campsite at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Our Fiesta Campsite at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

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Tom and Stacie

Tom and Stacie Langland
"RV America Y'all"

Hey y'all! We are Native Texans and (since 2018) Full-Time RVers sharing the adventures, challenges, and joys of RV life as we travel. We love camping and hiking in State and National Parks, discovering history, visiting interesting and quirky places, and exploring small towns. We're on a mission to experience life, not just live it with our dog, Star, and our cat, Astro. You can also find us on our original RV travel website, Thanks for joining us as we RV America Y'all!

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