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Albuquerque, NM

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Sandia Mountains

Sandia Mountains

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Intl Balloon Fiesta

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Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument

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In spite of its urban sprawl, Albuquerque merits a second look, and perhaps a stay of more than a day or two before you journey on to Santa Fe or Taos. Perfectly set as the gateway to other New Mexico wonders like Acoma Pueblo and Chaco Canyon, Albuquerque’s own rich history and dramatic terrain—desert volcanoes, the meandering Rio Grande, and a striking confluence of mountain ranges—have long captured the imagination of folks en route from here to there.Native American populations have left centuries-old traces throughout the verdant Rio Grande Valley, and Albuquerque is no exception. Their trade routes are what drew the Spanish here; the little farming settlement was proclaimed "Alburquerque," after the Viceroy of New Spain—the 10th Duke of Alburquerque—in 1706. By the time Anglo traders arrived in the 1800s, that first "r" had been dropped, but that early settlement, now known as Old Town, was still the heart of town. In the 1880s though, with the railroad in place, the center of town moved east to meet it, in modern-day Downtown. Remnants of all linger today—and may readily be seen by a casual stroller in spectacular outdoor spaces, and in the many museums that explore these elements, present and past. Other snatches of history have contributed to Albuquerque’s development: the Manhattan Project, the birth of desktop computers, and the earliest days of film (one of Edison’s first silent films was shot at nearby Isleta Pueblo).Albuquerque embraces its multicultural population and a wholeheartedly commits to protecting its exquisite Bosque lands along the Rio Grande. A renowned network of bicycle and hiking trails has been developed throughout the city. Prestige microbreweries, a nationally noted Public Art program, world-class museum collections, and its role as a primary hub for the New Mexico Railrunner, which daily transfers commuters and visitors alike to Santa Fe along the scenic Rio Grande corridor, further set this city apart.A bit of quiet attention reveals Albuquerque's subtle beauty—a flock of sandhill cranes overhead; a hot-air balloon, seemingly within reach; vintage Art Deco buildings and the neon motel signs in Nob Hill; Pueblo Revival details on the University of New Mexico campus; the fabulous facade of the KiMO theater; a sudden glimpse across the western desert to a 100-mile distant snow-capped Mt. Taylor; and the Sandia Mountains lit pink by the fading sun.

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Place
Rise Into the Sky on the Sandia Peak Tramway
Rise Into the Sky on the Sandia Peak Tramway

Climb more than 3,800 feet along a 2.7-mile route on one of the world longest tramways. Hiking trails and a restaurant wait at the top.

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Alamy

Place
All About the World of Ballooning
All About the World of Ballooning

If you can’t make the city’s famed October festival, tour the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.

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Alamy

Place
Ancient Art Preserved for Centuries
Ancient Art Preserved for Centuries

More than 20,000 rock-art images are on display at Petroglyph National Monument, which includes several cinder cones created by prehistoric volcanos.

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Alamy

Place
A Trendy Bit of Old Route 66
A Trendy Bit of Old Route 66

The Nob Hill section of Central Avenue is now a strip of restaurants and shops, highlighted by preserved neon signs giving the area a cool retro feel.

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Alamy

Place
This Historic District Invites Relaxed Exploration
This Historic District Invites Relaxed Exploration

Built around a central plaza, the Old Town area dates back to 1706 and includes museums, art galleries, restaurants, shops and a beautiful 1793 church.

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Alamy

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