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Albuquerque is sunny and relatively pleasant year-round. Fall is by far the most popular time to visit. On just about any day in late-August through November, big balloons sail across the sharp blue sky and the scent of freshly roasting green chiles permeates the air. Balloon Fiesta brings enormous crowds for nearly two weeks in early October (book hotels at this time as far in advance as possible). But shortly after, the weather's still great and hotel prices plummet. Albuquerque's winter days (usually 10°F warmer than those in Santa Fe) are usually mild enough for hiking, biking, and golf, or simply strolling around Old Town or Nob Hill. The occasional frigid spike usually thaws by morning. Spring brings winds, though plenty of sunshine, too, and rates stay low until the summer crowds flock in. Hot but dry temps in mid-May through mid-July stay well below Phoenix-like extremes, but can soar into the high 90s. This is followed by roughly six to eight weeks of cooler temperatures, a bit more humidity, and the spectacular late-afternoon cloud formations that herald the brief "monsoon" season.