Balloon Fiesta (October 5-13, 5500 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy, Albuquerque, NM )
Get ready to rise early and go to the Mass Ascensions where all the hot air balloons take off at once like a patchwork quilt against the sky. My favorite are the bees, which always go up holding hands and gradually drift apart. The last puff from the burner that allows the balloon to rise, the sugary fried funnel cake, and the crisp autumn air are pure exhilaration. Don’t miss the balloon glows that light up the park like gigantic lanterns followed by fireworks.
The tram (30 Tramway Road NE ) will carry you an impressive distance of 2.7 miles over a rugged Albuquerque landscape to the top of Sandia Peak. The observation deck is nestled on the 10,378 foot Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest, offering an 11,000 square-mile panoramic view. After a day of hiking on the La Loose Trail, I love to eat at the High Finance Restaurant and Tavern. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset, during which the Land of Enchantment shows its true colors.
El Pinto (10500 4th St. NW )
I always come here for their famous nachos loaded with beef, cheddar, green chile, and beans. This is one of the most beautiful restaurants in town, serving classic New Mexican food and delivering unparalleled outdoor seating. Family owned since 1962, it sits on 12 acres and has constantly been expanded upon with patios, gardens, and dining rooms to seat 1200 guests. Their meals always start with delicious salsa and tortilla chips and end with hot fresh sopapillas.
Historic Route 66
Also known as the Mother Road or the Main Street of America, this U.S. highway was constructed in November 1926 from Chicago to Los Angeles. It allowed people to migrate West, especially during the Dust Bowl in the 30s. It carried hopes, dreams, and desperation, now replaced by the crawl of downtown traffic and the rush of everyday life. Don’t forget to try the Mud Pie at the 66 Diner and visit the eclectic and trendy Nob hill just down the street.
Old Town (303 Romero St NW Albuquerque, NM 87104)
Founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, Albuquerque’s Old Town consists of about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings surrounding a central plaza. The San Felipe de Neri Church, built in 1793, is the oldest building in the city. Back in the day, the settlers built homes, shops, and government buildings, which today are restaurants, galleries, and shops selling Native American jewelry and local crafts. The flat roofs and rounded corners of the adobe buildings reflect the Pueblo-Spanish influence in Southwestern architecture.
Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm (4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW)
Another aspect of the diverse culture of Albuquerque lies within the farmers whose gift is working the dry desert land. The Los Poblanos Farm features 25 acres of gardens, lavender fields, and cottonwood trees, a unique and relaxing setting for a private stay. In addition to hosting private events and lavender picking days, Los Poblanos offers lectures and information sessions about growing and utilizing lavender. Don’t miss the annual lavender festival in July and you can stop by The Farm Shop for lavender products. You might even glimpse their white peacocks.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.