When I was younger, I was all about exploring Europe and other parts of the world. Now that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 25, I want to see more of what the US has to offer. One region I had yet to explore was the Southwest. So, I was stoked when my boss asked me to go to New Mexico for work. One day in Albuquerque wasn’t enough but I feel like I got a good taste of the city!
Visit Albuquerque Old Town
I was only in town for two days, so my itinerary was jam-packed. Due to meetings and what not, I was left with the equivalent of roughly one full day stretched out over two afternoons. On my first day, I headed to Albuquerque Old Town. The Old Town is relatively small and pedestrian-friendly, so it was easy to cover everything by foot in an hour or two.
San Filipe de Neri Church was the first thing that caught my eye. The church is over 200 years old and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It’s also among the oldest churches in the country!
Next, I hit Church Street Cafe per a colleague’s recommendation. My huevos rancheros with chorizo was so good (I love chorizo a little too much thanks to my stint in Argentina) and so was my Arnold Palmer. Church Street Cafe is known for awesome margaritas as well, but I wasn’t aware of this until afterwards! The cafe is in a historic building that dates back to the 1700’s. No trip to New Mexico is complete without green chile, so make sure you sample some while you’re here!
Old Town is filled with unique stores and boutiques to explore. Look for the smaller alleyways leading to courtyards and patios lined with shops and cafes. These little crannies offer some of the best photo ops! They’re also an awesome backdrop for a cup of coffee or some window shopping.
If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, check out The Candy Lady. She produced all the blue “meth” featured on the show, which is actually just blue rock candy! I’m a sugar fiend and loved Breaking Bad. So, obviously I bought enough bags to make Walter White a few grand!
Check Out ABQ BioPark
Next, I headed to ABQ BioPark. I’ve been to a lot of zoos on my travel (so many that I started skipping them all together). The ABQ BioPark was worth making an exception for, though! The zoo boasts a wide variety of exotic animals housed in conditions reflective of their natural environment. My favorite exhibits were the polar bears, koalas, and elephants.
I spent a day with baby elephants in Thailand and will forever be in awe of these amazing creatures! You can learn more about the zoo and its exhibits here. Don’t miss the botanical gardens either, they’re beautiful!
Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway
The next day, I visited Sandia Peak Tramway. The tramway was my favorite stop on my short visit. If you only have one day in Albuquerque, I personally think the tramway should be at the top of your list! It’s a 2.7 mile journey to the top, which is over 10,000 feet high! I went on a weekday afternoon, so the tram was basically empty and I could move around the car to get the best views.
Be aware that in the summer it can get super crowded. Some people even complained that they could barely enjoy the view from the tram car due to all the people! Layer up because it’s cold and windy at the top. The guide said it’s roughly 20 degrees colder at the top! Wind sent sunglasses and hats flying over the edge as well, so be careful up there! Admission is $25 for adults but is oh so worth it!
See the Petroglyphs
My last stop was the Petroglyph National Monument. The site features petroglyphs by Native Americans and Spanish settlers that date back to 400- 700 years ago. You’ll need to do some hiking and climbing to reach the coolest petroglyphs. It’s one of the largest petroglyph collections in North America and is worth the effort!
One day in Albuquerque wasn’t enough and I’m excited to return soon! When I visit Albuquerque again, I want to check out Santa Fe via the New Mexico Rail Runner. I love scenic train rides and the train from Santa Fe to Albuquerque showcases the state’s stunning desert scenery. How would you spend one day in Albuquerque?