Albuquerque and Santa Fe City Guide

Things to Do

Mandatory

Balloon Fiesta– ABQ- This event is usually held for two weeks in October. I went and it is quite an amazing event. You do have to get up early and you should bring your camera. It is the most photographed event in the United States. Albuquerque will be packed those two weeks, but it is probably one of the best times to visit. (Using hotel points and booking early is probably best)

Sandia Peak Tramway- ABQ- This a tram/Gondola that takes you up 2.7 miles up the Sandia Mountain. It costs $25, but it is well worth it. The views are outstanding as you go up and down, and you can hike around the top. 

Highly Recommended

Meow Wolf- Santa Fe- This place is like a crazy interactive art museum that is owned by Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin. I would allocate at least 3 hours and wear comfortable clothes. 

Taos Ski Valley– Taos is 3 hours north of Albuquerque, but it offers some really great skiing. Taos is not as well known as some of the larger Colorado resorts, but that plays to your advantage since there will be fewer people on the slopes. I recommend staying at the Blake (it can be expensive, but a perfect location) and eating at least one meal at the Bavarian. 

Santa Fe Opera– Santa Fe is one of the top Opera houses in the United States (and a favorite of Supreme Court Justice RBG). It might be worth going if there is one in town when you visit. 

Museum of International Folk Art– The permanent exhibit here is quite amazing and unique. Lots of miniature figurines displaying various scenes. I highly recommend you try to join one of the free tours to understand the background of each scene and the museum. The other exhibits are rotating and only decent compared to the permanent exhibit. 

Recommended

Nuclear Museum- ABQ- I found this museum really interesting because it details the development of the Manhattan Project, which developed the nuclear bomb in New Mexico. They also have several old military planes behind the museum. 


Albuquerque Food and Drink

El Pinto– (New Mexican)- This place is huge and has a great patio. Their tortilla chips are made fresh and quite amazing. I usually get the carne adovada plate. 

Bocadillos– (Sandwiches) The owner of this sandwich shop won an episode of Food Network’s Chopped and is featured in the national new a lot. I especially love the Reuben and Cuban named Cuban. I would also say they have the best breakfast burritos I have ever had (get Chorizo and Green Chile). I went here at least once or twice a week when I lived in Albuquerque for a year and they knew me by name. Now that I moved away, I still crave their food. 

Los Poblanos (Farm to Table)- This place is a little expensive, but the food is delicious and very fresh. Make sure you have reservations (OpenTable is fine) and go to grab a drink and enjoy the amazing view. There is also a hotel on-site with rooms starting around $200 in summer and $150 in winter.

El Modelo (Mexican)- This place is take-out only, but has some of the best and most reasonable priced mexican food in Albuquerque. I am a big fan of their tamale plate, which can feed two people. 

Frontier (Burgers/New Mexican)- The food is pretty good here, but masses of people come here because it is a long standing institution in Albuquerque.  

Mary and Tito’s Cafe (New Mexican)- This restaurant is known for carne adovada. They do have limited hours, so be sure to check before you go. 

Espresso Fino (Coffee)- If you are downtown and want some great espresso drinks, check out Espresso Fino. The guy who runs it is very passionate about coffee and pleasing his customers. 

Albuquerque also has a lot of good breweries including Marble, Tractor, La Cumbre, Bow & Arrow, and Steel Bender.