"Albuquerque" Albuquerque by goodfish

Albuquerque Travel Guide: 771 reviews and 1,595 photos

In the Shadow of the Sandias

Albuquerque is one of those big cities, like Phoenix and Las Vegas, that we try like the devil to avoid on our trips to the Southwest. We have to fly into them but are usually there just long enough to snatch the luggage, race to the car rental office and scamper off to the nearest canyon, national park or favorite outpost as fast as speed limits allow. On a return trip to the northern New Mexico area in 2008, we saw that there were a few points of interest within spittin' distance from Albuquerque plus we were scheduled for an early morning flight out of there so, OK, we'll bite.

We were only here two days (3 nights) and split one of them between Acoma Pueblo and crawling around Petroglyph National Monument but we ate like puercos, drank like peces (gotta love New Mexican green chiles and margaritas), explored part of old Route 66, strolled Old Town, and hiked a bit of Sandia Crest in the time that remained. Sure, it was fun. Sure, I'd do it again.

Here's some trivia about Albuquerque:

• At around 840,00 residents, it's the largest city in New Mexico

• The town was established by a handful of Spanish settlers in 1706 - making it one of the oldest in the US

• It was christened for Viceroy Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva, Duke of Alburquerque (note the extra r). Albuquerque comes from the Latin "albus" and "quercus", meaning "white oak."

• The Navajo call it Bee'eldííldahsinil. Do not ask me to pronounce it; there is a reason why WWII Navajo Code Talkers were so successful. That very long word roughly translates to "large metal objects above" or "bell up in place", probably in reference to a long-lost mission bell tower.

• The average city altitude is higher than "Mile High" Denver's

• It's only 60 miles from my favorite U.S. capitol city of Santa Fe

• It averages 304 sunny days a year; reason enough to go!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not as expensive as many major cities, lots of day-tripping opportunities
  • Cons:Noise and congestion of any big city
  • Intro Updated Jan 13, 2013
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Reviews (8)

Comments (4)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Lovely photos of the Sandia Mountains and the Acoma Pueblo. The Aztec Motel sounds intriguing. From the photo it looks a bit lopsided, as though it was built that way.

  • Feb 25, 2012 at 5:43 AM

    Great story on Albuquerque, I learned a few things, and I live here!!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Excellent page Kate, one I enjoyed reading very much, especially about Route 66, so interesting!
    I bet you were glad you stopped, as you saw some fabulous scenery, and it sound's like you enjoyed your short time here

  • JamesABQ's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Good tips on Albuquerque Kate. I like your pictures also. The Sandia mountain one especially.


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