Albuquerque: Wikis


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—  City  —
A view of downtown Albuquerque.


Nickname(s): The Duke City[1]
Location in the state of New Mexico
Albuquerque is located in the USA
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°06′39″N 106°36′36″W / 35.11083°N 106.61°W / 35.11083; -106.61
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Bernalillo County
Founded 1706 as: Alburquerque
Incorporated 1891 as: Albuquerque
 - Type Mayor-council government
 - Mayor Richard J. Berry
 - City Council
 - State House
 - State Senate
 - U.S. House
 - City 181.3 sq mi (469.5 km2)
 - Land 180.6 sq mi (467.9 km2)
 - Water 0.6 sq mi (1.7 km2)
Elevation 5,312 ft (1,619.1 m)
Population (2008)[2][3]
 - City 521,999
 Density 2,796.0/sq mi (1,079.9/km2)
 Metro 845,913 (MSA)
 - Demonym Albuquerquean
 - Ethnicities[4]
49.9% Caucasian
39.9% Hispanic
4.9% American Indian
4.3% Multiracial
3.1% African American
0.6% Vietnamese
14.8% Others
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Zip Code(s) 87101–87125, 87131, 87151,
87153, 87154, 87158, 87174,
87176, 87181, 87184, 87185,
87187, 87190–87199
Area code(s) 505
FIPS code 35-02000
GNIS feature ID 0928679
Primary Airport Albuquerque International Sunport-
ABQ (Major/International)
Secondary Airport Double Eagle II Airport-
KAEG (Public)

Albuquerque (pronounced /ˈælbəkɜrkiː/; is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 521,999 as of July 1, 2008, according to U.S. census estimates,[2] and ranks as the 34th-largest city in the U.S. As of June 2007, the city was the sixth fastest-growing in America.[5] With a metropolitan population of 845,913 as of July 1, 2008,[3] Albuquerque is the 59th-largest United States metropolitan area. The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Roughly half the people in New Mexico live in the Albuquerque area.

Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM), Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and Petroglyph National Monument. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south.



Early settlers

The city was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Ranchos de Alburquerque[citation needed], and present-day Albuquerque retains much of its historical Spanish cultural heritage.

It is generally believed that the growing village was named by the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in honour of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. One of de la Cueva's aristocratic titles was Duke of Alburquerque, referring to the Spanish town of Alburquerque.

The Alburquerque family name dates from pre-12th century Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and is habitational in nature (de Alburquerque = from Alburquerque). The Spanish village of Alburquerque is within the Badajoz province of Extremadura region, and located just fifteen miles (24 km) from the Portuguese border. Cork trees dominate the landscape and Alburquerque is a center of the Spanish cork industry.[6] Over the years, this region has been alternately under both Spanish and Portuguese rule. It is interesting to note that the name of the New Mexico city of Albuquerque follows the Portuguese spelling with only one 'r'. Historically, the land around Alburquerque was invaded and settled by the Moors (711 AD) and the Romans (218 BC) before them. Thus, the word Alburquerque may be rooted in the Arabic (Moorish) 'Abu al-Qurq', which means "father of the cork oak", or "land of the cork oak" (the land as father – fatherland). Alternately, it may be Latin (Roman) in origin and from 'albus quercus' or "white oak" (the wood of the cork oak is white after the bark has been removed). The seal of the Spanish village of Alburquerque is a white oak tree, framed by a shield, topped by a crown.[7]

Western folklore offers a different explanation, tracing the name Alburquerque to the Arabic 'Al-Barquq', meaning "the plum", and the derivative Galician (Galicia = northwest Spanish Province) word 'albaricoque', the "apricot". The apricot was brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers, possibly as early as 1743. As the story goes, the settlement of La Ciudad de Albaricoque was established near an apricot tree. As frontiersmen were unable to correctly pronounce the Spanish (Galician) word, they warped it to "Albuquerque."[8]

Albuquerque was a farming community and strategically located military outpost along the Camino Real. Spain established a Presidio (miltary garrison) in Albuquerque in 1706. After 1821, Mexico also had a military garrison there. The town of Alburquerque was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern: a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church. This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce. It is referred to as "Old Town Albuquerque" or simply "Old Town." "Old Town" was sometimes referred to as "La Placita" ("little plaza" in Spanish).

Following the American occupation of New Mexico, Albuquerque had a Federal garrison and quartermaster depot, the Post of Albuquerque, from 1846 to 1867. During the Civil War Albuquerque was occupied in February 1862 by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley, who soon afterwards advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. During his retreat from Union troops into Texas he made a stand on April 8, 1862, at Albuquerque and fought the Battle of Albuquerque against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby. This day-long engagement at long range led to few casualties.

When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1880, it bypassed the Plaza, locating the passenger depot and railyards about 2 miles (3 km) east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town. To quell its then rising violent crime rate, gunman Milt Yarberry was appointed the town's first Marshal that same year. New Albuquerque was incorporated as a town in 1885, with Henry N. Jaffa its first mayor, and incorporated as a city in 1891.[9]:232–233 Old Town remained a separate community until the 1920s when it was absorbed by the City of Albuquerque. Albuquerque High School, the city's first public high school, was established in 1879.

Early 20th century

Depiction of Central Avenue, circa early 20th century

New Albuquerque quickly became a tidy southwestern town which by 1900 boasted a population of 8,000 inhabitants and all the modern amenities including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established University of New Mexico campus on the East Mesa. In 1902 the famous Alvarado Hotel was built adjacent to the new passenger depot and remained a symbol of the city until it was torn down in 1970 to make room for a parking lot. In 2002, the Alvarado Transportation Center was built on the site in a manner resembling the old landmark. The large metro station functions as the downtown headquarters for the city's transit department, and serves as an intermodal hub for local buses, Greyhound buses, Amtrak passenger trains, and the Rail Runner commuter rail line.

New Mexico's dry climate brought many tuberculosis patients to the city in search of a cure during the early 1900s, and several sanitaria sprang up on the West Mesa to serve them. Presbyterian Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital, two of the largest hospitals in the Southwest, had their beginnings during this period. Influential New Deal-era governor Clyde Tingley and famed southwestern architect John Gaw Meem were among those brought to New Mexico by tuberculosis.

Decades of growth

Albuquerque at dusk in 2007.

In June 2007, Albuquerque was listed as the 6th fastest growing city in America by CNN and the US Census Bureau.[5]

The first travelers on Route 66 appeared in Albuquerque in 1926, and before long, dozens of motels, restaurants, and gift shops had sprung up along the roadside to serve them. Route 66 originally ran through the city on a north-south alignment along Fourth Street, but in 1937 it was realigned along Central Avenue, a more direct east-west route. The intersection of Fourth and Central downtown was the principal crossroads of the city for decades. The majority of the surviving structures from the Route 66 era are on Central, though there are also some on Fourth. Signs between Bernalillo and Los Lunas along the old route now have brown, historical highway markers denoting it as Pre-1937 Route 66.

The establishment of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s, and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949, would make Albuquerque a key player of the Atomic Age. Meanwhile, the city continued to expand outward onto the West Mesa, reaching a population of 201,189 by 1960. In 1990 it was 384,736 and in 2007 it was 518,271.

Albuquerque's downtown entered the same phase and development (decline, "urban renewal" with continued decline, and gentrification) as nearly every city across the United States. As Albuquerque spread outward, the downtown area fell into a decline. Many historic buildings were razed in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for new plazas, high-rises, and parking lots as part of the city's urban renewal phase. Only recently has downtown come to regain much of its urban character, mainly through the construction of many new loft apartment buildings and the renovation of historic structures like the KiMo Theater, in the gentrification phase.

New millennium

During the 21st century, the Albuquerque population has continued to grow rapidly. The population of the city proper is estimated at 521,999 in 2008, up from 448,607 in the 2000 census.[2] The metropolitan area population is estimated at 845,913 in 2008, up from 729,649 in the 2000 census.[3]

During 2005 and 2006, the city celebrated its tricentennial with a diverse program of cultural events.

Mesa del Sol is a new large master-planned community currently being developed in Albuquerque, that is projected to bring in 100,000 residents and 40,000 more jobs.[10]

Urban trends and issues

Aerial photo of Albuquerque as seen from I-40 and I-25 interchange northeast of downtown area. Rio Grande River shown in background

Government leaders and many citizens in the city have actively pursued urban projects taken on by cities many times larger[citation needed]. This has resulted in the successful revitalization of downtown, creating restaurants, offices, and residential lofts. The strip of Central Avenue between First and Eighth streets has become a hub of urban life. Alvarado Station provides convenient access to other parts of the city via ABQ RIDE, the city bus system. The city wants to provide better public transportation opportunities to ease the city's growing traffic woes. A streetcar is being considered and would initially extend up the Central Avenue corridor from the westside, through downtown, past UNM and the Nob Hill district, and into the Uptown Area.[11]

Many citizens fear Albuquerque may be growing beyond its means. A majority of residents want to avoid increasing crime and traffic, worsening air quality, stressing water supplies, and encroaching on the natural environment. Many feel these are the negative consequences of persistent sprawl development patterns.[citation needed]

On March 23, 2007, the city's mayor Martin Chavez announced his plan to brand the city "the Q". Despite various opinions as to what the city's nickname should be, Mayor Chavez is continuing to push his initiative.

Soy de Burque, "I am from Burque", is one response to the mayor's vision of a "hip" reincarnation".[12] This group of Albuquerque’s residents feels it is unnecessary to spend taxpayer money to hire marketing companies to brand their city with a more palatable nickname, recognizing the city already has a brand and nickname. This selling of a city’s cultural identity to marketing and advertising firms to brand and sell has been dubbed by Soy de Burque as culture branding. One central issue to their response is the branding campaign was never voted on, but rather declared by Mayor Chavez,[13] and outsourced to marketing and advertising firms.

The passage of the Planned Growth Strategy in 2002–2004 marked the community's strongest effort to create a framework for a more balanced and sustainable approach to urban growth.[14]

"A critical finding of the study is that many of the 'disconnects' between the public's preferences and what actually is taking place are caused by weak or non-existent implementation tools - rather than by inadequate policies, as contained in the City/County Comprehensive Plan and other already adopted legislation."

Urban sprawl is limited on three sides by the Pueblo of Sandia to the north, the Pueblo of Isleta and Kirtland Air Force Base to the south, and the Sandia Mountains to the east. Suburban growth continues at a strong pace to the west beyond the Petroglyph National Monument, once thought to be a natural boundary to sprawl development.[15]

Because of cheaper land and lower taxes, much of the growth in the metropolitan area is taking place outside of the City of Albuquerque itself. In Rio Rancho to the northwest, the communities east of the mountains, and the incorporated parts of Valencia County, population growth rates approach twice that of the city. The primary cities in Valencia County are Los Lunas and Belen, both of which are home to growing industrial complexes and new residential subdivisions. The Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG), which includes constituents from throughout the Albuquerque area, was formed to insure that these governments along the middle Rio Grande would be able to meet the needs of their rapidly rising populations. MRCOG's cornerstone project is the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.


Sandia Peak Ski Area on the Sandia Mountains.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Albuquerque has a total area of 181.3 square miles (469.6 km²). 180.6 square miles (467.8 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (0.35%) is water. The metro area has over 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) developed.[citation needed]

Albuquerque lies within the northern, upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, based on long-term patterns of climate, associations of plants and wildlife, and landforms, including drainage patterns. Located in central New Mexico, the city also has noticeable influences from the adjacent Colorado Plateau Semi-Desert, Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, and Southwest Plateaus and Plains Steppe ecoregions, depending on where one is located. Its main geographic connection lies with southern New Mexico, while culturally, Albuquerque is a crossroads of most of New Mexico.

Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the United States, though the effects of this are greatly tempered by its southwesterly continental position. The elevation of the city ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande (in the Valley) to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. At the airport, the elevation is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.

The Rio Grande is classified, like the Nile, as an 'exotic' river because it flows through a desert. The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande lies within the Rio Grande Rift Valley, bordered by a system of faults, including those that lifted up the adjacent Sandia and Manzano Mountains, while lowering the area where the life-sustaining Rio Grande now flows.

Albuquerque is located at 35°6′39″N 106°36′36″W / 35.11083°N 106.61°W / 35.11083; -106.61 (35.110703, -106.609991).[16]


Albuquerque's climate is usually sunny and dry, with low relative humidity. Brilliant sunshine defines the region, averaging more than 300 days a year; periods of variably mid and high-level cloudiness temper the sun at other times. Extended cloudiness is rare. The city has four distinct seasons, but the heat and cold are mild compared to the extremes that occur more commonly in other parts of the country.

Winters are rather brief but definite; daytime highs range from the mid 40s to upper 50s Fahrenheit, while the overnight lows drop into the low 20s to near 30 by sunrise; nights are often colder in the valley and uppermost foothills by several degrees, or during cold frontal passages from the Great Basin or Rocky Mountains. The occasional snowfall, associated with low pressure areas, fronts and troughs, often melts by the mid-afternoon; over half of the scant winter moisture occurs in the form of light rain showers, usually brief in duration. In the much higher and colder Sandia Mountains, moisture falls as snow; many years have enough snow to create decent skiing conditions at the local ski area.

Spring time starts off windy and cool, sometimes unsettled with some rain and even light snow, though spring is usually the driest part of the year in Albuquerque. March and April tend to see many days with the wind blowing at 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 km/h), and afternoon gusts can produce periods of blowing sand and dust. In May, the winds tend to subside, as temperatures start to feel like summer.

Summer daytime highs range from the upper 80s to the upper 90's, while dropping into the low 60s to low 70s overnight; the valley and uppermost foothills are often several degrees cooler than that. The heat is quite tolerable because of low humidity, except during the late summer during increased humidity from surges in the monsoonal pattern; at that time, daytime highs drop slightly but the extra moisture in the air can cause nighttime temperatures to increase.

Fall sees mild days and cool nights with less rain, though the weather can be more unsettled closer to winter.

The city was one of several in the region experiencing a severe winter storm on December 28–30, 2006, with locations in Albuquerque receiving between 10.5 and 26 inches (27 and 66 cm) of snow.[17]

Albuquerque's climate is classified as arid (BWk or BWh, depending on the particular scheme of the Köppen climate classification system one uses), meaning average annual precipitation is less than half of evaporation, and the mean temperature of the coldest month is above freezing (32F). Only the wettest areas of the Sandia foothills are barely semi-arid, where precipitation is more than half of, but still less than, evaporation; such areas are localized and usually lie above 6,000 feet (1,800 m) in elevation and often in arroyo drainages, signified by a slightly denser, taller growth of evergreen oak–juniper–pinon chaparral and rarely, woodland, often mixed with taller desert grasses. These elevated foothill areas still border arid areas, best described as desert grassland or desert shrub, on their west sides.

Traveling to the west, north and east of Albuquerque, one quickly rises in elevation and leaves the sheltering effect of the valley to enter a noticeably cooler and slightly wetter environment. One such area is still considered part of metro Albuquerque, commonly called the "East Mountain" area; it is covered in savannas or woodlands of low juniper and pinon trees, reminiscent of the lower parts of the southern Rocky Mountains, which do not actually contact Albuquerque proper.

Those mountains and highlands beyond the city create a "rain shadow" effect, due to the drying of descending air movements; the city usually receives very little rain or snow, averaging 8–9 inches (216 mm) of precipitation per year. Valley and west mesa areas, farther from the mountains are drier, averaging 6–8 inches of annual precipitation; the Sandia foothills tend to lift any available moisture, enhancing precipitation to about 10–17 inches annually. Most precipitation occurs during the summer monsoon season (also called a chubasco in Mexico), typically starting in early July and ending in mid-September.

Climate data for Albuquerque, New Mexico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
Average high °F (°C) 48
Average low °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) -17
Rainfall inches (mm) 0.49
Snowfall inches (mm) 2.5
% Humidity 53.0 51.5 43.5 36.0 33.0 32.5 38.5 46.5 46.5 45.5 46.5 53.0 51.0
Source: March 17, 2010


Satellite image of Albuquerque taken by NASA.

The Sandia Mountains are the predominant geographic feature visible in Albuquerque. "Sandía" is Spanish for "watermelon", and is popularly believed to be a reference to the brilliant coloration of the mountains at sunset: bright pink (melon meat) and green (melon rind). The pink is due to large exposures of granodiorite cliffs, and the green is due to large swaths of conifer forests. However, Robert Julyan notes in The Place Names of New Mexico, "the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Pueblo Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo."[18] He also notes that the Sandia Pueblo Indians call the mountain Bien Mur, "big mountain."[18]

The Sandia foothills, on the west side of the mountains, have soils derived from that same rock material with varying sizes of decomposed granite, mixed with areas of clay and caliche (a calcareous clay common in the arid southwestern USA), along with some exposed granite bedrock.

Below the foothills, the area usually called the "Heights" consists of a mix of clay and caliche soils, overlain by a layer of decomposed granite, resulting from long-term outwash of that material from the adjacent mountains. This bajada is quite noticeable when driving into Albuquerque from the north or south, due to its fairly uniform slope from the mountains' edge downhill to the valley. Sand hills are scattered along the I-25 corridor and directly above the Rio Grande valley, forming the lower end of the Heights.

The Rio Grande valley, due to long-term shifting of the actual river channel, contains layers and areas of soils varying between caliche, clay, loam, and even some sand. It is the only part of Albuquerque where the water table often lies close to the surface, sometimes less than 10 feet (3.0 m).

The last significant area of Albuquerque geologically is the West Mesa: this is the elevated land west of the Rio Grande, including the sandy terrace immediately west and above the river, and the rather sharply defined volcanic escarpment above and west of most of the developed city. The west mesa commonly has soils often referred to as "blow sand", along with occasional clay and caliche and even basalt, nearing the escarpment.


Tingley Beach in downtown Albuquerque, along the Rio Grande river.

Albuquerque's drinking water presently comes from a delicate aquifer that was once described as an "underground Lake Superior". The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) has developed a water resources management strategy, which pursues conservation and the direct extraction of water from the Rio Grande for the development of a stable underground aquifer in the future.[19][20]

The aquifer of the Rio Puerco is too saline to cost-effectively use for drinking purposes.

Much of the rainwater that Albuquerque receives does not recharge its aquifer. It is diverted through storm drains called arroyos, to the Rio Grande. The water flowing in the Rio Grande was thought to recharge Albuquerque's aquifer, however, it is actually separated from the rest of the water table.

Of the 62,780 acre feet (77,440,000 m3) per year of the water in the upper Colorado River basin entitled to municipalities in New Mexico by the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, Albuquerque owns 48,200. The water is delivered to the Rio Grande by the San JuanChama Project. The project's construction was initiated by legislation enacted by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and completed in 1971. This diversion project transports water under the continental divide from Navajo Lake to Lake Heron on the Rio Chama, a tributary of the Rio grande. Presently, this water is resold to downstream owners in Texas. These arrangements will end in 2008 with the completion of the ABCWUA's Drinking Water Supply Project.[21]

This project will, using a system of adjustable height dams, skim water from the Rio Grande into sluices which will lead to water treatment facilities for direct conversion to potable water. Some water will be allowed to flow through central Albuquerque, mostly to protect the endangered Rio Grande Silvery Minnow. Treated effluent water will be recycled into the Rio Grande to the South of the city. The ABCWUA expects river water to comprise up to seventy percent of its water budget in 2060. Groundwater will still be used. One of the policies of the ABCWUA's strategy is the acquisition of additional river water.[20][22] :Policy G, 14


A panoramic view of the City of Albuquerque.


Albuquerque Plaza is the headquarters to Bank of Albuquerque, 15 law firms and the Hyatt Hotel.
Albuquerque Petroleum Building is the southwestern headquarters to Bank of the West.
The Gold Building is the headquarters of the New Mexico Bank & Trust.
10 tallest buildings in Albuquerque
Name Height Floors
Albuquerque Plaza 351 feet (107 m) 22
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque 256 feet (78 m) 21
Compass Bank Building 238 feet (73 m) 18
Albuquerque Petroleum Building 235 feet (72 m) 15
Bank of the West Tower 213 feet (65 m) 17
Gold Building 203 feet (62 m) 14
Dennis Chavez Federal Building 197 feet (60 m) 13
PNM Building 184 feet (56 m) 12
Simms Building 180 feet (55 m) 13
Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse 176 feet (54 m) 7

John Gaw Meem, credited with developing and popularizing the Pueblo Revival style, was based in Santa Fe but received an important Albuquerque commission in 1933 as the architect of the University of New Mexico. He retained this commission for the next quarter-century and developed the University's distinctive Southwest style.[9] :317

Due to the nature of the soil in the Rio Grande Valley, the skyline is lower than might be expected in a city of commensurate size elsewhere.[citation needed]

Albuquerque boasts a unique nighttime cityscape. Many building exteriors are illuminated in vibrant colors. The Wells Fargo Building is illuminated green. The DoubleTree Hotel and the Compass Bank building are illuminated blue. The rotunda of the county courthouse is illuminated yellow, while the tops of the Bank of Albuquerque and the Bank of the West are illuminated reddish-yellow.

Albuquerque has expanded greatly in area since the mid 1940s. During those years of expansion, the planning of the newer areas has considered that people drive rather than walk. The pre-1940s parts of Albuquerque are quite different in style and scale from the post 1940s areas. These older areas include the North Valley, the South Valley, various neighborhoods near downtown, and Corrales. The newer areas generally feature four to six lane roads in a 1 mile (1.61 km) grid. Each 1 square mile (2.59 km²) is divided into four 160-acre (0.65 km2) neighborhoods by smaller roads set 0.5 miles (0.8 km) between major roads. When driving along major roads in the newer sections of Albuquerque, one sees strip malls, signs, and cinderblock walls. The upside of this planning style is that neighborhoods are shielded from the worst of the noise and lights on the major roads. The downside is that it is virtually impossible to go anywhere from home without driving.


Albuquerque is geographically divided into four quadrants which are officially part of the mailing address. They are NE (northeast), NW (northwest), SE (southeast), and SW (southwest). The north-south dividing line is Central Avenue (the path that Route 66 took through the city) and the east-west dividing line is the BNSF Railway tracks.

The Pueblo Deco style KiMo Theater is one of Albuquerque's best-known landmarks.
Northeast Quadrant

This quadrant has been experiencing a housing expansion since the late 1950s. It abuts the base of the Sandia Mountains and contains portions of the Sandia Heights neighborhoods, which are situated in or near the foothills and are significantly higher, in elevation and price range, than the rest of the city. Running from Central Ave. and the railroad tracks to the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram, this is the largest quadrant both geographically and by population. The University of New Mexico, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Uptown area which includes Coronado Center, Winrock Town Center, and the newly completed ABQ Uptown (outdoor shopping and fine dining), Journal Center (with over 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) of office space), Balloon Fiesta Park, and Albuquerque Academy are all located in this quadrant. Some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city are located here, including High Desert, Primrose Pointe, Tanoan, Glenwood Hills, Sandia Heights, and North Albuquerque Acres. (Parts of Sandia Heights and North Albuquerque Acres are outside the city limits proper.) A few houses in the farthest reach of this quadrant lie in the Cibola National Forest, just over the line into Sandoval County.

Northwest Quadrant

This quadrant contains historic Old Town Albuquerque, which dates back to the 1700s, as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The area has a mixture of commercial, low-income, middle-income, and some of the more expensive homes in the city. Northwest Albuquerque includes the largest section of downtown, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the Bosque ("woodlands" Cottonwood forest), the Petroglyph National Monument, Double Eagle II Airport, the historic Martineztown neighborhood, the Paradise Hills Area, and Cottonwood Mall. Additionally, the "North Valley" area, which includes some small ranches and upscale residential homes along the Rio Grande, is located in this quadrant. The City of Albuquerque engulfs the village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque and borders Corrales in the northwest valley. The rapidly developing area on the west side of the river is known as the "westside" and consists primarily of traditional residential subdivisions. Here the city proper is bordered on the north by the City of Rio Rancho.

Southeast Quadrant

Eclipse Aviation, Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, the Central New Mexico Community College main campus, the Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque Studios, University Stadium, Isotopes Park, and University Arena ("The Pit") are located in the Southeast (SE) quadrant.

The Nob Hill and East Downtown (EDo) neighborhoods lie along Central Avenue, the border between the Southeast and Northeast quadrants. The expensive residential developments of Four Hills, nestled in the Manzano foothills, Volterra, Willow Wood, and Ridgecrest are also located in this quadrant. In sharp contrast to these upscale developments, some of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the city are also located in Southeast Albuquerque. During the past two decades, parts of the SE quadrant, mainly around Gibson Blvd. and Central Ave., have become high crime areas. However, recent developments in the neighborhood such as the Cesar Chavez Community Center, Veterans' Memorial, and the renovated Talin Market have shown that this area is reestablishing itself as one of many cultural centers in the city. In fact, the area surrounding Talin Market was named the 'International District' by the city in 2009.

Southwest Quadrant

Traditionally consisting of agricultural and rural areas, the Southwest quadrant is often referred to as the "South Valley". Although the city limits of Albuquerque do not include all of the area, the South Valley is considered to extend all the way to the Isleta Indian Reservation. This includes the old communities of Atrisco, Los Padillas, Kinney, Mountainview, and Pajarito. The south end of downtown Albuquerque and the Bosque ("woodlands" cottonwood forest), the historic Barelas neighborhood, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Rio Grande Zoo (which is part of the City's Albuquerque Biological Park system), and Tingley Beach are also located here.

The southwest area is currently undergoing rapid and controversial development, including large retail stores and quickly built subdivisions.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 3,785
1900 6,238 64.8%
1910 11,020 76.7%
1920 15,157 37.5%
1930 26,570 75.3%
1940 35,449 33.4%
1950 96,815 173.1%
1960 201,189 107.8%
1970 244,501 21.5%
1980 332,920 36.2%
1990 384,736 15.6%
2000 448,607 16.6%
Est. 2008 521,999 [2] 16.4%
Sources: 1890–1990,[23] 2000[24]

Census 2000 data

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 448,607 people, 183,236 households, and 112,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,483.4 people per square mile (958.9/km²). There were 198,465 housing units at an average density of 1,098.7/sq mi (424.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.59% White, 3.09% Black or African American, 3.89% Native American, 2.24% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 14.78% from other races, and 4.31% Multiracial (from two or more races). 39.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 183,236 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,272, and the median income for a family was $46,979. Males had a median income of $34,208 versus $26,397 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,884. About 10.0% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.

2008 estimates

Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area's July 1, 2008, populations were estimated at 521,999 and 845,913 respectively by the United States Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program.[2][3]

At the 2005–2007 U.S. Census American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, the city had 488,416 persons of a single race, divided as: White, 342,324 (70.1%); Black, 17,072 (3.5%); American Indian or Alaskan Native, 24,891 (5.1%); Asian, 12,848 (2.6%); Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 793 (0.2%); and some other race, 90,488 (18.5%).

There were 17,162 (3.4% of the population) of two or more races. There were 221,175 (43.7% of the population) Hispanics (of any race).[26]


Albuquerque lies at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech private companies and government institutions along the Rio Grande. Larger institutions whose employees contribute to the population are numerous and include Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the attendant contracting companies which bring highly educated workers to a somewhat isolated region. Intel operates a large semiconductor factory or "fab" just outside the city boundaries of suburban Rio Rancho, in neighboring Sandoval County, with its attendant large capital investment. Northrop Grumman is located along I-25 in northeast Albuquerque, and TempurPedic is located on the West Mesa next to I-40.

The solar energy and architectural-design innovator Steve Baer located his company, Zomeworks, to the region in the late 1960s; and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory cooperate here in an enterprise that began with the Manhattan Project. In January 2007, Tempur-Pedic opened an 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2) mattress factory in northwest Albuquerque. SCHOTT Solar, Inc., announced in January 2008 they will open a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) facility manufacturing receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP) and 64MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Forbes Magazine rated Albuquerque the best city in America for business and careers in 2006[27] and the 13th best (out of 200 metro areas) in 2008.[28]

Arts and culture

Albuquerque is home to 300 visual arts, music, dance, literary, film, ethnic, and craft organizations, museums, festivals and associations. Those with international and national appeal include:

Albuquerque Studios, a 28-acre city-operated campus includes eight sound stages, production office space, mill space, and an ample back lot. The lot sits on a 9,000-acre development on Albuquerque’s southeast mesa which incorporates the best practices of planned and sustainable urban development.[29] A government web site has info on filming in Albuquerque.[30]

Baila! Baila! Dance Company is an internationally renowned Mexican folkloric dance company that has appeared at Epcot Center, Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Olympics.[31]

The Flamenco Program at the University of New Mexico is the only program in the United States to offer a fully developed curriculum in Flamenco technique and choreography and a minor in Flamenco.[32] Every year in June, the Program’s director, Eva Encinias-Sandoval, organizes the two-week Festival Flamenco Internacional, including master classes with guest artists from Spain and the U.S., a children’s component, and a series of performances in venues around Albuquerque.[33]

Gathering of Nations PowWow is one of the largest in the western hemisphere, attracting over 3,000 dancers, singers and drummers from 500 tribes across Canada, the U.S., Central America and South America. The event includes the Miss Indian World pageant, and the Indian Traders’ Market. It is held on the last weekend in April at a University of New Mexico sports arena.[34]

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center showcases the arts and culture of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, including a museum, excellent gift shop, travel center, restaurant and outdoor performance area for multiple Indian dance presentations throughout the year. The Center offers information about visiting the pueblos, with a calendar of feast days and events. It also features exhibits of weaving, pottery, jewelry, clothing and photography.[35]

National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico is the largest cultural center of its kind in the United States, with programs in the visual, performing and literary arts, as well as year-round family programming through its acclaimed education program. The Center is home to an 11,000 square foot art museum, state-of-the-art performing arts center, genealogy center and library, gift shop and restaurant. Part of the State of New Mexico’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Center sits on 50+ acres in the historic Albuquerque neighborhood of Barelas.[36]

Outpost Performance Space has, for 20 years, presented hundreds of performances and classes on jazz (from dixie to avant-garde), folk, blues and roots music, experimental music, classical music, international music, poetry and spoken word, theater and performance art, featuring local, regional, national and international established and emerging artists.[37]

The Tamarind Institute was founded in 1960 to train fine art lithographers who have, in turn, created important print shops throughout the country.[38]

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon gathering in the world, held in early October. Founded in 1972 with 13 balloons, today it hosts 700 balloons in a variety of ascensions and activities in this 9-day event attracting thousands. Its new balloon museum is a major attraction. The Fiesta is one of the most photographed events in the world.[39]

Those with regional and local appeal include:

ArtStreet, art for the homeless, operated by Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless.[40]

516 ARTS, an independent nonprofit venue for contemporary visual and literary art, film/video and music dedicated to featuring local artists in a museum-style gallery in downtown Albuquerque. New Mexico has a multitude of visual artists working in as many media. 516 ARTS offers adventurous programs that address current issues in world culture, presenting innovative and interdisciplinary exhibitions, events and educational activities.[41]

Los Reyes de Albuquerque is a band of seven musicians headed by Roberto Martinez, winner of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Heritage Fellowship. The group is dedicated to presenting, preserving, and perpetuating traditional New Mexican and Mexican folk music. Since 1962, the group has performed in nursing homes and homeless shelters throughout New Mexico, as well as at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festivals and in films like Robert Redford’s 1988 “Milagro Beanfield War.”[42]

Mariachi Spectacular, a five-day celebration of mariachi music held in several indoor and outdoor venues around Albuquerque, featuring mariachi groups from Mexico, New Mexico and across the nation. Workshops, competitions, concerts, a mass, and more.[43]

National Dance Institute of New Mexico is the largest arts education organization in New Mexico, providing outstanding dance instruction and performance experience to thousands of school children around the state. NDI was founded by famed dancer Jacques d’Amboise, who has a home in Santa Fe.[44]

New Mexico Ballet Company was founded in 1963 to provide training and performances to hundreds of dancers and to provide audiences with traditional and contemporary repertoire while serving as a launching point for dancers seeking careers in dance.[45]

New Mexico Jazz Workshop an Albuquerque institution presenting a variety of performances and educational programs, including Salsa Under the Stars, Jazz Under the Stars, Summer Music Festival, Women’s Voices, Blues Fest, Jam sessions, and Yule Struttin’, among others.[46]

New Mexico Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Guillermo Figueroa, reaching 130,000 audience members annually, including a large music education program.[47]

Duke City Improv Festival is Albuquerque's only national improv festival. Hosted yearly by The Box Performance Space this festival has included teams from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Albuquerque and brings a variety of formats and styles. Having completed its third year the festival is growing in scope and popularity.[48]

Teatro Nuevo Mexico, Albuquerque’s only Latino theater company presents standard repertoire and contemporary works by local and regional playwrights, as well as zarzuela (Spanish musical theater) utilizing national and international performers.[49]

Blackout Theatre Company is Albuquerque's only "Full Spectrum" theatre company, providing a wide range of productions. Past productions have included Improvisation, Sketch Comedy, previously published works, original scripted works and original ensemble created works. Blackout is the Theatre Company in Residence at The Box Performance Space.[50][51]

Tricklock Theater Company is an international theater organization founded in 1993 to create, tour and produce theatrical performances as a permanent resident company committed to artistic risk, physicality, absurdism and poetic work.[52]

Other Albuquerque music groups specialize in Baroque music, New Mexico traditional music, girl choir, boy choir, chamber music, folk music festival, youth symphony, music in hospitals, wind quintet, barbershop music, pipes/drums, mariachi, cathedral music, men’s chorus, gay men’s chorus, women’s chorus, Balkan chorus, renaissance choir, jazz band, hand bells, gamelan music, concert band, guitar, gospel, piano, taiko drummers, Medieval/Renaissance music, old time fiddling, world music, klezmer/Judaic music, blues band, jug band and amateur orchestra.

Dance groups include ballet, airdance, folk dance, Mexican folkloric, New Mexican dance, contemporary dance, Aztec dance, Scottish dance, belly dance, Eagle dance, flamenco/Spanish dance, Indian dance, Japanese folk dance, dance for persons with disabilities, Irish dance, Step dance, children’s dance, Greek dance, jazz dance and tango.

Theater groups include two opera companies, one musical theater company, eight theater companies, two bilingual companies (Spanish/English), a Shakespeare project, five theaters companies for and by children and young people, storytellers association, and one theater guild.

Literary organizations include a center for book arts, poetry slams, press women association, mystery writers, romance writers, National Pen Women, Book Co-op, Southwest Writers, Universal Writers Group, Writers to Writers Workshop, Women in Communication, Soc. Of children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology

Visual arts: Albuquerque is home to 30 arts associations, artists’ cooperatives and other organizations that support artists.

Crafts: Albuquerque is home to 22 craft guilds and associations.

Museums: New Mexico Holocaust & Intolerance Museum, Albuq. Museum of Arts and History, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Balloon Museum, Explora! Science Center and Children’s Museum, National Atomic Museum, UNM Art Museum, Alice Hoppes African American Pavilion

Festivals not listed above: Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival, Albuquerque Wine Festival, Albuquerque Folk [music] Festival, State Fair, New Mexico Wine Festival,

There is a complete list of arts organizations and cultural activities in Albuquerque.[53]

A Panoramic View of the 2007 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Other points of interest

Albuquerque contains a variety of museums, galleries, shops and other points of interest. Some of these include the Albuquerque Biological Park, Museum of Natural History and Science, and Old Town Albuquerque.

The majority of locally owned boutiques and fine dining establishments are scattered throughout Downtown, Old Town, and Uptown. Old Town features an intriguing ghost tour performed by the Southwest Ghosthunters Association.

The Sandia and Manzano Mountains to the east offer interesting trails, open spaces, and rock climbing. Climbs from one to 10 pitches can be found at all ability levels.

The Sandia Peak Tramway, located adjacent to Albuquerque is the world's longest passenger aerial tramway. It also has the world's third longest single span. It stretches from the Northeast edge of the city to the crestline of the Sandia Mountains.

References in popular culture

Bill Gates' mugshot from a traffic violation in 1977
  • Bugs Bunny cartoons often feature Bugs getting lost while traveling underground. When this occurs, he tends to remark, while consulting a map, "I knew I should've taken that left turn at Albuquerque."
  • The Simpsons episode "Hungry Hungry Homer" involves the Springfield Isotopes baseball team considering relocating to Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Isotopes are now a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.[54][55]
  • In another episode of The Simpsons titled "E Pluribus Wiggum" Krusty states that the presidential candidates have more hot air than the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a song for his Running with Scissors album called "Albuquerque," an 11-minute ode to his (fictional) life in the city.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movies "High School Musical", "High School Musical 2" and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" are all set in Albuquerque, though none of them were filmed there. The main characters attend East High School. Although it is not a fictitious school, and was filmed at the actual East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • In "Little Miss Sunshine" the family travels from Albuquerque to the pageant. The film, as with High School Musical above, was not filmed in New Mexico, but rather in parts of Arizona and California. (As a semi-interesting contrast, "Hamlet 2" which "took place" in Tucson, Arizona, was in fact filmed in and around Albuquerque.)
  • Neil Young wrote a song called "Albuquerque" for his album Tonight's the Night from 1975.
  • The city of Albuquerque is mentioned in the American pop song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" written by songwriter Jimmy Webb
  • The Partridge Family had a song called "Point Me In the Direction of Albuquerque" that was played in one of the episodes of the show.
  • Ethel Mertz, a fictional character played by Vivian Vance in the 1950s sitcom "I Love Lucy" is from Albuquerque, which is featured in the episode "Ethel's Hometown". Vance, like her character, hails from Albuquerque.
  • Prefab Sprout mentions Albuquerque in the chorus of their song "The King of Rock 'N' Roll".
  • In his song "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats," Frank Zappa tells a story set in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • The show Breaking Bad (2008–) on AMC is filmed and takes place in and around Albuquerque.
  • Albuquerque was mentioned by Johnny Cash in the song "Wanted Man" he wrote with Bob Dylan.
  • The USA Show In Plain Sight takes place in Albuquerque, and prominently features many local landmarks.
  • The 1976 movie Track Of The Moonbeast was filmed in Albuquerque.[56] Early in the movie you can see the old (west) entrance into the St. Joseph Healthcare hospital. St. Joe's is now called Lovelace Medical Center.
  • The 2009 movie "Sunshine Cleaning" featured and was filmed almost entirely in Albuquerque
  • The city of Albuquerque is mentioned in the American rock and roll classic "Promised Land" written and recorded by Chuck Berry.
  • Bill Gates' mugshot picture taken in Albuquerque in 1977 is frequently shown in popular culture when referencing to him.
  • Albuquerque is mentioned in the song Everywhere by American country music artist Tim McGraw.
  • Albuquerque is mentioned in the song Bring Em Out by American rapper T.I.


Isotopes Baseball Park
Club Sport League Venue Capacity
Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball AAA PCL Isotopes Park 12,500
Albuquerque Thunderbirds Basketball NBA D-League Tingley Coliseum 11,200
New Mexico Scorpions AA minor league ice hockey CHL Santa Ana Star Center 8,000
New Mexico Wildcats Arena football AIFA Santa Ana Star Center 8,000
University of New Mexico Lobos NCAA Division I Football Mountain West Conference University Stadium 41,000
University of New Mexico Lobos NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Mountain West Conference University Arena (also known as The Pit) 18,018

Parks and recreation

A tramway car ascending the Sandia Mountains

Albuquerque has numerous parks, bike paths, and hiking areas scattered throughout the metro area. Most of the city's best biking and hiking areas are concentrated in and around the Sandia and Manzano foothills.

The city was ranked #1 as the fittest city in the United States, according to a March 2007 issue of Men's Fitness magazine. The critera used in the study included the availability of gyms and bike paths, commute times, and federal health statistics on obesity-related injuries and illnesses.


Albuquerque City Council[57][58]
President Isaac Benton (since 2008).[59]
Vice-President Vacant until 2010
District 1 Ken Sánchez
District 2 Debbie O'Malley
District 3 Isaac Benton
District 4 Bradley Winter
District 5 Dan Lewis
District 6 Rey Garduño
District 7 Michael D. Cook
District 8 Trudy Jones
District 9 Don Harris
The Pete Domenici Federal Courthouse on Lomas Blvd.

Albuquerque is a charter city[60][61] City government is divided into an executive branch, headed by a Mayor[60]:V and a nine-member Council that holds the legislative authority.[60]:IV The form of city government is therefore mayor-council government. The mayor is Richard J. Berry, who was elected in 2009.

The Mayor holds a full-time paid elected position with a four-year term.[62] The Council members hold part-time paid positions and are elected from the nine Council districts for four-year terms, with four or five Councilors elected every two years.[63] Elections for Mayor and Councilor are nonpartisan.[60]:IV.4[61] Each year in December one of the Council members is elected by the members of the Council to be the Council President, and one is elected to be the Vice-President.[62] On December 1, 2008, Isaac Benton was elected President of the Council for the next year and Sally Mayer was elected Vice-President.[59]

The Council is the legislative authority of the city, and has the power to adopt all ordinances, resolutions, or other legislation.[63] The Council meets two times a month, with meetings held in the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers in the basement level of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center.[64] Ordinances and resolutions passed by the Council are presented to the Mayor for his approval. If the Mayor vetoes an item, the Council can override the veto with a vote of two-thirds of the membership of the Council.[60]:XI.3

Each year, the Mayor submits a city budget proposal for the year to the Council by April 1, and the Council acts on the proposal within the next 60 days.[60]:VII


University of New Mexico

The city is home to the University of New Mexico, one of two large state universities in New Mexico. UNM includes a School of Medicine which was ranked in the top 50 primary care-oriented medical schools in the country.[65] Albuquerque is also home to the National American University, Trinity Southwest University, and the University of St. Francis College of Nursing and Allied Health Department of Physician Assistant Studies. The Central New Mexico Community College serves most of the area, as do several technical schools including ITT Technical Institute and the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, The Art Center Design College offers bachelor's degrees in Graphic and Interior Design, animation, illustration, Photography as well as several other disciplines. Albuquerque Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the nation, provides educational services to over 87,000 children across the city.


Albuquerque is a media hub for much of New Mexico. The city is served by one major newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, and several smaller daily and weekly papers. Albuquerque is also home to numerous radio and television stations that serve the metropolitan and outlying rural areas. Many small public relations and advertising firms are headquartered in Albuquerque. During the past decade, various national magazines have ranked Albuquerque amongst their top ten cities to live in. Albuquerque was voted once again as the best place in 2009, based on a list of factors including the climate and state of the local economy.[66]



Main highways

Interchange between I-40 and I-25, known as Big I

Some of the main highways in the city include:

  • Pan-American Freeway[67]:248 – More commonly known as Interstate 25 or "I-25", it is the main north–south highway on the city's eastern side of the Rio Grande. It is also the main north–south highway in the state (by connecting Albuquerque with Santa Fe and Las Cruces) and a plausible route of the eponymous Pan American Highway. Since Route 66 was decommissioned in the 1980s, the only remaining US highway in Albuquerque, unsigned US-85, shares its alignment with I-25. US-550 splits off to the northwest from I-25/US-85 in Bernalillo.
  • Coronado Freeway[67]:248 – More commonly known as Interstate 40 or "I-40", it is the city's main east–west traffic artery and an important transcontinental route. The freeway's name in the city is in reference to 16th century conquistador and explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado.
  • Paseo del Norte – Concurrent with State Highway 423, Paseo del Norte connects two parts of Albuquerque that are separated by the North Valley and by Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Paseo del Norte is a freeway from Jefferson Street to Eagle Ranch Road, as it crosses the Rio Grande. A controversial extension of this road through Petroglyph National Monument was finally opened in 2007. Roughly parallel to Interstate 40 and approximately five miles to the north, Paseo Del Norte connects Interstate 25 and Coors Boulevard.
  • Coors Boulevard – Coors is the main north-south artery to the west of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. There is one full interchange where it connects with Interstate 40. The rest of the route has stoplights, sidewalks and bike lanes. To the north of Interstate 40, part of the route is numbered as State Highway 448, while to the south, part of the route is numbered as State Highway 45.
  • Central Avenue – Central is one of the historical routings of Route 66, it is no longer a main through highway, its usefulness having been supplanted by Interstate 40.[67]:248
  • Tramway Boulevard – Serves as a bypass around the northeastern quadrant, the route is designated as NM-556. Tramway Boulevard starts at I-25 near near Sandia Pueblo, and heads east as a two-lane road. It turns south near the base of the Sandia Peak Tramway and becomes a divided highway until its terminus near I-40 and Central Avenue by the western entrance to Tijeras Canyon.
  • Paseo Del Volcan - Connects I-40 to Double Eagle II Airport and provides access to Volcanoes Park on the West Mesa. Currently a two-lane road, Paseo Del Volcan will eventually be incorporated into the planned Northwest Loop Highway that, when built, will provide a direct freeway link between I-40 and I-25 north of Bernalillo via Rio Rancho.

The interchange between I-40 and I-25 is known as the "Big I".[67]:248 Originally built in 1966, it was rebuilt in 2002.

Numerous major intersections of the city have been outfitted with red-light cameras to issue fines for running red lights as well as speeding.[68]


There are six road bridges that cross the Rio Grande and serve the municipality on at least one end if not both. The eastern approaches of the northernmost three all pass through adjacent unincorporated areas, the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, or the North Valley. In downstream order they are:

  • Alameda Bridge
  • Paseo del Norte Bridge
  • Montano Bridge
  • I-40 Bridge
  • Old Town Bridge
  • Barelas Bridge

Two more bridges serve urbanized areas contiguous to the city's perforated southern boundary.


Rail Runner Express Downtown Albuquerque station train platform.

The state owns most of the city's rail infrastructure which is used by a commuter rail system, long distance passenger trains, and the freight trains of the BNSF Railway.

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Southwest Chief, which travels between Chicago and Los Angeles, serves the Albuquerque area daily with one stop in each direction at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown.

Commuter rail

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express, a commuter rail line, began service between Sandoval County and Albuquerque in July 2006 using an existing BNSF right-of-way which was purchased by New Mexico in 2005. Service expanded to Valencia County in December 2006 and to Santa Fe on December 17, 2008. Rail Runner now connects Santa Fe, Sandoval, Bernalillo, and Valencia Counties with eleven station stops, including three stops within Albuquerque.[69] The trains connect Albuquerque to downtown Santa Fe with eight roundtrips per weekday. The section of the line running south to Belen is served less frequently.[70]

Local mass transit

New intermodal transportation hub in downtown Albuquerque.

ABQ RIDE is the local transit agency in the city. ABQ RIDE operates a variety of bus routes, including the Rapid Ride express bus service.

In 2006 the City of Albuquerque under the mayorship of Martin Chavez had planned and attempted to "fast track" the development of a "Modern Streetcar" project. Funding for the US$270 million system was not resolved as many citizens vocally opposed the project. The city and its transit department maintain a policy commitment to the streetcar project.[71] The project would run mostly in the southeast quadrant on Central Avenue and Yale Boulevard.

Albuquerque was one of two cities in New Mexico to have had electric street railways. Albuquerque's horse-drawn streetcar lines were electrified during the first few years of the twentieth century. The Albuquerque Traction Company assumed operation of the system in 1905. The system grew to its maximum length of 6 miles (9.7 km) during the next ten years by connecting destinations such as Old Town to the west and the University of New Mexico to the east with the town's urban center near the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway depot. The Albuquerque Traction Company failed financially in 1915 and the vaguely named City Electric Company was formed. Despite traffic booms during the first world war, and unaided by lawsuits attempting to force the streetcar company to pay for paving, that system also failed later in 1927, leaving the streetcar's "motorettes" unemployed.[72]:177-181

Bicycle transit

Albuquerque has a well developed bicycle network.[73] In and around the City there are trails, bike routes, and paths that provide the residents and visitors with alternatives to motorized travel. The city was recently reviewed as having a major up and coming bike scene in North America.[74] The City of Albuquerque also recently opened its first Bicycle Boulevard on Silver Avenue.[75] There are plans for more investment in bikes and bike transit by the city in the coming years.


Albuquerque is served by two airports, the larger of which is Albuquerque International Sunport. It is located 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the central business district of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque International Sunport served over 6,000,000 passengers in 2008.[76] Double Eagle II Airport is the other airport. It is primarily used as an air ambulance, corporate flight, military flight, training flight, charter flight, and private flight facility.[77]



PNM Resources, New Mexico's largest electricity provider, is based in Albuquerque. They serve about 487,000 electricity customers statewide.

New Mexico Gas Company provides natural gas services to more than 500,000 customers in the state, including the Albuquerque metro area.


The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is responsible for the delivery of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater.


Albuquerque is the medical hub of New Mexico, hosting numerous state-of-the-art medical centers. Some of the city's top hospitals include the VA Medical Center, Presbyterian Hospital, Heart Hospital of New Mexico, and Lovelace Women's Hospital. University of New Mexico Hospital is the only level I trauma center in the state.

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities

Banner at the Albuquerque International Sunport listing Albuquerque's sister cities

Albuquerque has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


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  26. ^ "American FactFinder: Albuquerque city, New Mexico: ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2005-2007". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  27. ^ "Best Places For Business And Careers 2006". Forbes Magazine. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 20 Jan 2009. 
  28. ^ "Best Places For Business And Careers". Forbes Magazine. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  29. ^ Albuquerque Studios
  30. ^ Albuquerque Film Office
  31. ^ Baila Baila Inc.
  32. ^ University of New Mexico, UNM College of Fine Arts
  33. ^ Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque
  34. ^ Gathering of Nations
  35. ^ Indian Pueblo
  36. ^ National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC)
  37. ^ Outpost Performance Space
  38. ^ Tamarind Institute, College of Fine Arts, University of New Mexico
  39. ^ Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
  40. ^ ArtStreet
  41. ^ 516 ARTS
  42. ^ Los Reyes de Albuquerque
  43. ^ Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque
  44. ^ National Dance Institute of New Mexico
  45. ^ New Mexico Ballet Company
  46. ^ New Mexico Jazz Workshop
  47. ^ New Mexico Symphony Orchestra
  48. ^ Duke City Improv Festival
  49. ^ Teatro Nuevo México
  50. ^ Blackout Theatre Company & Cardboard Playhouse Productions
  51. ^ Blackout
  52. ^ Tricklock Company
  53. ^ The Albuquerque Arts Organizations Directory
  54. ^ "Doh! Go Isotopes!". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Corporation): p. C8. 2003-05-13. 
  55. ^ Latta, Dennis (2002-09-05). "Team President Throws Isotopes Name Into Play". Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque Publishing Company): p. A1. 
  56. ^ Track Of The Moon Beast at the Internet Movie Database
  57. ^ "Mayor Martin J. Chávez". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  58. ^ "Albuquerque City Councilors". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  59. ^ a b "Unanimous Election for Council President Isaac Benton". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  60. ^ a b c d e f "Charter of the City of Albuquerque". American Legal Publishing Corporation.$fn=document-frameset.htm. Retrieved 10 December 2009. "this link should work after going to home page" 
  61. ^ a b "Charter of the City of Albuquerque [PDF"]. City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  62. ^ a b "Council - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - City of Albuquerque". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  63. ^ a b "Albuquerque City Council". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  64. ^ "City Council Meetings Schedule". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  65. ^ "America's Best Graduate Schools 2008". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  66. ^ Best Places
  67. ^ a b c d Bryan, Howard (1989). Albuquerque Remembered. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0826337821. OCLC 62109913. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  68. ^ Location of Cameras, City of Albuquerque
  69. ^ "New Mexico Rail Runner Express: Stations listed North to South". New Mexico Rail Runner. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  70. ^ "New Mexico Rail Runner Express Monday–Friday Schedule" (PDF). New Mexico Rail Runner Express. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  71. ^ Gisick, Michael (December 4, 2006). "Council: Streetcar project rushed". Albuquerque Tribune. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  72. ^ Myrick, David F (1970). New Mexico's Railroads --- An Historical Survey. Golden, Colorado: Colorado Railroad Museum. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 70-116915. 
  73. ^ "Biking in Albuquerque". City of Albuquerque. 
  74. ^ Eric Smillie (April 27, 2009). "Sorry, Portland". Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  75. ^ Jeremy Jojola; Joshua Panas (January 14, 2009). "Bike Boulevard to run through ABQ". KOB New Mexico. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  76. ^ "Sunport Facts & Figures". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  77. ^ "Double Eagle II Airport". City of Albuquerque. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 

External links

Coordinates: 35°06′39″N 106°36′36″W / 35.110703°N 106.609991°W / 35.110703; -106.609991

Related information

City of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Flag of Albuquerque, New Mexico Richard J. Berry, Mayor

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

A sky full of balloons at the 2006 International Balloon Fiesta
A sky full of balloons at the 2006 International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque [1] is a vibrant, sprawling desert metropolis near the center of New Mexico.

Although it is the largest city in the state, Albuquerque is often overshadowed as a tourist destination by Santa Fe, 60 miles to the north. But Albuquerque has a number of great attractions in its own right, with pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a spectacular hot-air balloon fiesta in the fall.


Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a small Spanish settlement on the banks of the Rio Grande and was named for the Duke of Alburquerque (hence Albuquerque's nickname, "The Duke City"). In the 1880s the railroad came to town, and almost overnight a new city grew up around the train tracks a couple of miles away from the original settlement. This "New Town" became the hub of commerce for the state, and the city grew exponentially (eventually the "New Town", which today is Downtown, and the original "Old Town" settlement were joined to become part of the same city). In the 1920s the federal government officially recognized a series of highways that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles as Route 66, and Albuquerque was one of the towns "The Mother Road" passed through. Today, Albuquerque is still a hub of activity and transportation. While Santa Fe is the state capital and the principal tourist destination of New Mexico, Albuquerque is New Mexico's only truly urban area with a metropolitan population of nearly 900,000. This is where you'll find the headquarters of the state's businesses, the University of New Mexico, many of New Mexico's largest employers, and the Albuquerque International Sunport, the only major airport in the state.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 47 53 61 70 79 89 92 89 82 71 57 48
Nightly lows (°F) 23 27 33 41 50 59 64 63 56 44 31 24
Precipitation (in) 0.5 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.6 1.3 1.7 1.1 1 0.6 0.5

Check Albuquerque's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Albuquerque is in the high desert [35.11N -106.64W (Elev. 4989 ft)] and has a generally warm, dry climate with four distinct seasons. Spring is sunny and windy, although temperatures at night can be unexpectedly cool. Summers are hot (highs average 90-95 degrees, and temperatures near 100 degrees are not rare) and still mainly dry, but monsoonal conditions develop in July or August and produce furious if short-lived thunderstorms. Have rainwear available in the summer, although you won't use it most days. Fall is delightful, with comfortable temperatures and a return to generally dry conditions. Winter can be blustery, with overnight lows below freezing, but subzero temperatures are rare. One winter-weather issue for the traveler: snow, while infrequent and short-lived, does occur, and its relative rarity means that local drivers don't deal with it well. If you happen to be in town for a snowstorm, expect road chaos far out of proportion to the amount of snow that falls.

This is a casual town. Expect shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals to be entirely acceptable almost everywhere. People tend to be friendly. While Albuquerque has a large non-native population, it is predominantly white, Hispanic, and American Indian.

  • Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, with visitor centers in Old Town at the Plaza Don Luis and in the Albuquerque International Sunport on the Baggage Claim Level, +1 800 284-2282 or +1 505 842-9918, [2].

Get in

By car

Two Interstate highways pass through Albuquerque: I-40 goes east-west and I-25 goes north-south. Where they meet is a large intersection called "The Big I". Albuquerque's Central Avenue is part of old Route 66. A minor note of caution: I-25 south of Albuquerque is a "safety corridor" in which state law mandates higher fines for traffic violations. Enforcement is spotty, but take the speed limits seriously anyway.

By plane

Albuquerque's airport, the Albuquerque International Sunport (IATA: ABQ) [3], is the major air hub for all of New Mexico. The Sunport has service from all major US airlines and their international partners, and is a major hub for Southwest Airlines. One tip: If you're prone to airsickness, try to get flights into this airport that arrive either before noon or after sundown, particularly during late spring and early summer. The high elevation, hot sun, and spring winds combine to produce thermals that can make afternoon arrivals an extremely bumpy proposition. There are no major safety issues (the airport's runways are long, owing to the adjacent Air Force base, with no nearby obstacles to run into), but try telling your stomach that! The rough ride is less of a problem with outbound flights. Incidentally, this airport contains a number of attractive displays of New Mexican arts and crafts, and is a more pleasant place than most airports to kill time while waiting for a flight. The major car rental companies are nearby, with a shuttle from the airport to the large new rental center. The Sunport has charging stations for electronics and completely free wireless internet access.

Airlines and destinations from Albuquerque International Sunport [4]

Main Terminal
  • AeroMexico: Chihuahua.
  • American: Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth.
  • Continental: Houston George Bush Intercontinental.
  • Delta: Atlanta, Salt Lake City.
  • Frontier: Denver.
  • Northwest: Minneapolis/St. Paul.
  • Southwest: Baltimore, Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Denver, El Paso, Houston Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland (Oregon), St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tucson.
  • United: Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington Dulles.
  • USAirways: Phoenix.
Commuter Terminal
  • Great Lakes Airlines: Clovis, Silver City.
  • New Mexico Airlines: Alamogordo, Carlsbad, El Paso, Hobbs.

By train

Albuquerque is a layover stop along Amtrak's Southwest Chief [5] daily train route. The depot is at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown, at 214 First Street SW (in the same building as the Greyhound depot). The westbound train to Los Angeles is scheduled to arrive at 3:55PM and departs at 4:45PM. The eastbound train to Chicago arrives at 12:12PM and departs at 12:55PM. The station has a small cafeteria.

A commuter rail line, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express [6], connects Albuquerque to Santa Fe and to the smaller communities north and south along the Rio Grande, including Belen, Los Lunas, and Bernalillo. There are three stations in Albuquerque: the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown, one in the South Valley on Rio Bravo Blvd, and one in the North Valley/Los Ranchos area just off of Paseo del Norte. The Downtown station has bus connections to the airport. The Rail Runner runs daily, although service can be limited outside the weekday rush hour periods. Fares are based on how far you ride; a day pass will usually be in the range of $5-$9. Tickets can be purchased online [7] or from ticket agents on the train.

By bus

Albuquerque has a fine bus depot at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown, 320 First Street SW, which is served by Greyhound +1 505 243-4435, [8] and Autobuses Americanos [9]. The depot has a small cafeteria.

Map of Albuquerque
Map of Albuquerque
Map of Downtown/Old Town Area
Map of Downtown/Old Town Area
Map of UNM/Nob Hill Area
Map of UNM/Nob Hill Area

Albuquerque is a heavily planned city. In much of the city, the major roads are lined primarily with businesses with residential mazes on the insides. Street addresses in Albuquerque take the form "12345 Main Street (NE/NW/SE/SW)" in which the northeast/northwest/etc. suffix denotes the quadrant of the city containing the address. The railroad tracks, which run parallel to I-25, are the east/west dividing line, and Central Avenue is the north/south dividing line. This nomenclature, while useful in helping you with maps and directions, has the drawback that you can't tell whether a street runs north-south or east-west simply by looking at the address.

Basically, if you remember that I-25 runs north-south, I-40 runs east-west, the Sandia Mountains are to the east, and the Rio Grande runs along the bottom of the valley in the western part of the city, you should be able to make your way around the city without too many problems. Here are some basic terms that will come in handy when asking for directions or looking at a map:

  • Central Avenue is a principal east-west artery, running roughly parallel to I-40,
  • The interchange of I-25 and I-40 is called "The Big I" and is roughly in the center of the city,
  • Downtown is just southwest of "The Big I",
  • The University of New Mexico (UNM for short) is on Central Avenue east of downtown,
  • The "Heights" are the eastern part of town closer to the Sandia Mountains,
  • "Uptown" is a business district located in the Heights at I-40 and Louisiana Boulevard,
  • The "North Valley" and "Los Ranchos de Albuquerque" (technically a separate community from Albuquerque) encompass the area north of I-40 between I-25 and the river,
  • The "South Valley" is the area west of I-25 south of downtown,
  • And the "Westside" is all the suburbs on the western part of town across the river.

By car

If you're driving, be prepared for frequent road construction. The city government web site, [10], gives information on major construction projects, but there are always minor ones going on. Several radio stations try to give traffic reports during morning and afternoon rush hours, but the service tends to come and go, and it's best to inquire locally as to which stations are currently offering it. KKOB-AM, 770 on the dial, seems to be fairly reliable for these reports. Traffic congestion, while not nearly as horrible as some of the other cities in the Western United States, can still get bad during the rush hour and on Saturdays. The two interstates and the river crossings usually have the worst congestion.

Keep in mind that driving while talking on your cell phone is illegal in Albuquerque unless you use a hands-free system.

By bus

ABQ RIDE, +1 505 243-RIDE, [11], is Albuquerque's public transit system. Albuquerque is a driving city, and until very recently the city was not trying to make any great strides in its public transit system. So with the exception of Central Avenue, public transit here is still for the most part very underdeveloped. Most of ABQ Ride's routes spur out of the Alvarado Transportation Center (in downtown at Central Avenue & First Street), which also serves as Albuquerque's Amtrak station and Greyhound depot. Bus service is reduced during the weekend.

The Rapid Ride is an express bus service operated by ABQ Ride which runs frequently and utilizes buses that are longer than a normal city bus and painted bright red (they're pretty hard to miss). There are three Rapid Ride routes: the Route 766 (Red Line) and Route 777 (Green Line) each run very frequently and almost entirely on Central Avenue, with the 766 running from Uptown to Unser/Central, while the 777 runs from Tramway/Central to Downtown. The Route 790 (Blue Line) connects UNM to the Cottonwood Mall area on the Westside, running less frequently than the Red and Green Lines.

Standard fares for all ABQ Ride routes are $1 per ride, with several discounts possible. A day pass is $2.

By bike

Albuquerque is fairly bikeable, but it's a sprawling Western city and things are spread out. It's hillier than it looks; Old Town and downtown attractions are several hundred feet lower than things in the heights (Tramway, etc.). There aren't many crossings over the Rio Grande, and some involve uncomfortably close contact with car traffic. Still, there are some great paved trails, particularly the Paseo del Bosque Trail which runs along the east side of the Rio Grande, and the North Diversion Channel Trail which runs from UNM north to Balloon Fiesta Park. Plan accordingly. You can find a complete bike map on the city's bicycling website [12].

By horse

A principal corridor for equestrian use is the Paseo del Bosque Trail. Trailhead parking lots are large and one, at the Los Ranchos open space in the North Valley, has a feed store, Miller's Feed.

  • Albuquerque Biological Park, +1 505 768-2000, [13], which includes the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Beach (see below under Do). Combo tickets for the Biological Park can be purchased, and include the price of train rides on a small narrow-gauge train running between the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens and the Zoo. The train runs Tu-Su from around 10AM-4PM at 30 minute intervals.
    • Rio Grande Zoo, 903 Tenth Street SW (just southwest of downtown). Daily, 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. It may not be as big as the zoos you see in a big city, but this zoo has most of the "popular" species you can expect at any good zoo: polar bears, lions, zebras, tigers, giraffes, elephants, gorillas, etc. The animals are in nice exhibits with trees, grasses, water and rockwork. The best exhibit areas are the seals, the polar bears, a large Africa area, and the "Catwalk". Every day there are scheduled feedings of the seals and the polar bears; during the warmer months more feeding times, activities, and shows are scheduled. A small narrow-gauge train runs through the zoo (Tu-Su 10AM-3:30PM at 20 minute intervals), with a conductor pointing out some of the animals and explaining what goes on behind-the-scenes. A separate train line runs to the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens. During the warmer months there are frequent outdoor concerts, activities, more feeding times, and other events at the Zoo. $7 adults, $3 seniors, $3 children, under age 3 free (train rides require separate admission, unless you have a combo ticket).
    • Albuquerque Aquarium / Rio Grande Botanical Garden, 2601 Central Avenue NW (just east of the Rio Grande). Daily, 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. Albuquerque's small but pleasant Aquarium is focused on saltwater species from the Gulf of Mexico. You'll see jellyfish, seahorses, eels, and plenty of reef fish. The highlight is a huge shark tank with other ocean species like sea turtles and rays. Divers enter the big tank every day from 2-3PM to feed the fish. The Botanical Garden has plenty of gardens to explore, with an emphasis on desert plants. The highlights are a glass conservatory with plants from desert and Mediterranean climate zones, an indoor butterfly garden that is open in the summer, a Japanese garden, a recreated early 20th century farm with a barnyard petting zoo, a model railroad, and a fantastic children's "Fantasy Garden" with giant pretend vegetables, garden tools and bugs. $7 adults, $3 seniors, $3 children, under age 3 free (train rides require separate admission, unless you have a combo ticket).
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE (on the grounds of the Balloon Fiesta), +1 505 768-6020, [14]. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. A very interesting museum dedicated to the science and history of ballooning, with exhibits on balloons and other lighter-than-air craft, collections and memorabilia from famous balloonists, and extensive exhibits on ballooning in Albuquerque. $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1 children, age 3 and under free (Sunday mornings free).
  • Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW (just north of I-40), +1 505 843-7270, [15]. Every day 9AM-4:30PM, closed on major holidays. Operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, this complex has a small museum with a collection of artifacts of the culture and history of the pueblo people. The center also has an art gallery, a children's area, a restaurant, and a large gift shop. Indian dances are a frequent event. $6 adults, $4 children, under age 5 free.
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW (south of downtown), +1 505 246-2261, [16]. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM, closed major holidays. A large complex of buildings dedicated to Hispanic culture, with a small but very interesting art museum. There is also a library (closed Sunday), restaurant and gift shop, and frequent special events. $3 adults, $2 seniors, aged 16 and under free.
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, 601 Eubank Blvd SE (at Southern Blvd, near the Kirtland Air Force Base), +1 505 245-2137, [17]. Every day 9AM-5PM except major holidays. A museum devoted to things nuclear, including replicas of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs dropped on Japan, as well as other weapons, nuclear-capable aircraft and rockets, and displays on arms control and uses of atomic energy. The surrounding park includes a large aircraft collection, with planes, rockets, missiles, and even cannons. $8 adults, $7 seniors/youth, $6 military, age 5 and under free.
The Sandia Peak Tramway rises above Albuquerque
The Sandia Peak Tramway rises above Albuquerque
  • Sandia Peak Tramway, Off Tramway Blvd. on the northeast corner of the city, +1 505 856-7325, [18]. Operates every 20-30 minutes from 9AM until evening (no morning rides on off-season Tuesdays), with closures in April and October for maintenance. Runs from a lower terminus in the northeast heights to the top of 10,400-foot Sandia Peak east of the city, and is one of the longest (some sources say the longest) and most spectacular aerial tramways in the world. The first upward tram departs at 9AM (except Tuesdays in the off season), and service continues until early evening. The 15-minute ride to the top is incredible, bringing you right up to the rocky face of the Sandias. The view of the city from Sandia Peak is tremendous (especially after sunset), and there is a restaurant and a visitor center at the top. Closed for two weeks in spring and fall for "maintenance," but spring winds are so intense that you really don't want to be on an aerial tram then anyway. $17.50 round trip for adults, $15 round trip for teens and seniors, and $10 round trip for children (discounts for riders with reservations for the restaurant at the top and for skiers).
  • Unser Racing Museum, 1776 Montano Rd NW, +1 505 341-1776, [19]. Daily 10AM-4PM. Operated by the local Unser racing family, this museum is dedicated to the racing legacy of the Unsers as well as to the sport of auto racing in general. $7 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children, age 6 and under free.

Old Town

Located east of Rio Grande Boulevard in between Central Avenue and Mountain Road (west of downtown).

A nice sightseeing area, Old Town is where the city was founded in 1706 and is a place where centuries of history and modern life merge to blend 18th century architecture with narrow brick paths, adobe architecture, delicious food, and specialty shops. Old Town has a central plaza with a gazebo which is bordered on the north by the San Felipe de Neri church, the oldest building in Albuquerque. In Christmas time, thousands of luminarias (paper bags filled with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle) line the streets. Guided tours of Old Town are available from a private operator [20] or from the Albuquerque Museum [21].

There are several museums located within easy walking distance of the Old Town plaza. Most of them are on Mountain Road, just a few blocks northeast of the Plaza.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
¡Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum
¡Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum
  • Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, 2000 Mountain Rd. NW, +1 505 243-7255, [22]. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM except major holidays. Guided walking tours of Old Town start here. Loads of exhibits with Southwest art, artifacts from the history of colonial New Mexico and Albuquerque through the years (with some pretty neat items, like conquistador armor and an antique car), and an outdoor sculpture garden. The Albuquerque Museum also operates the historic home of Casa San Ysidro [23] in nearby Corrales for tours. $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1 children, under age 3 free (admission free first Wednesday of the month and every Sunday 9AM-1PM).
  • American International Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe St (a block south of the Old Town plaza), +1 505 242-6569, [24]. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-5PM. This great little museum's claim to fame is the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. There's lots of snakes (and various other reptiles) and snake-related memorabilia, such as artwork and films. $3.50 adults, $2.50 children.
  • ¡Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum, 1701 Mountain Road NW, +1 505 224-8300, [25]. M-Sa 10AM-6PM and Su noon-6PM except major holidays. Called "one of the best science centers in the country", this museum has lots of interactive children's exhibits teaching science, technology, and art. There are some truly fantastic exhibits here, like a laminar flow fountain (with water jets you can turn on and off), an experiment bar, a high-wire bike (that will surely test your withstanding of heights), and a robotics lab. $7 adults, $5 seniors, $1 children, under age 1 free.
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW, +1 505 841-2800, [26]. Every day, 9AM-5PM (closed on major holidays, and non-holiday Mondays in January and September). This splendid museum has well-constructed geological and paleontological displays which illustrate a "journey through time", covering everything from the birth of the planet to the Ice Age. There's plenty of dinosaurs around, from the statues outside the main entrance, to a T. rex in the atrium, to one massive hall with several complete (and massive) dinosaur skeletons. Additionally, an entire wing of the museum is devoted to astronomical exhibits, and there's also an exhibit about the birth of the personal computer, which happened right here in Albuquerque. A planetarium and an IMAX theater are also in the building. $7 adults, $6 seniors, $4 children, under age 3 free (separate fee required for planetarium and IMAX theater).
  • Turquoise Museum, 2107 Central Ave NW (in the strip mall on the NW corner of Central and Rio Grande), +1 505 247-8650, [27]. M-F 9:30AM-5PM, Sa 9:30AM-4PM. While the location isn't ideal (located in a strip mall near Old Town, rather than in the historic district itself), this small gift shop/museum has some interesting exhibits about turquoise and its manufacture, history, and mythology. $4 adults, $3 children.
UNM during a rare winter snowfall
UNM during a rare winter snowfall

Located between Central Avenue, Girard Boulevard, Lomas Boulevard, and University Boulevard (east of I-25). [28]

The main campus makes a very pleasant diversion, with its Pueblo-Revival adobe buildings and abundant plant life. There's a duck pond near the center of the campus, giving you a chance to relax on the lawns or feed the birds.

  • Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, located on Redondo Drive just east of University Blvd between Las Lomas and Dr. M. L. King Jr. Avenue. +1 505 277-4405, [29]. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, closed Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays. The anthropology department at UNM has been acclaimed as one of the finest in the nation. This museum has changing exhibits and two permanent exhibits; one showcasing the evolution of humans from primates, and the other focuses on the prehistoric native cultures in the American Southwest, with a reconstruction of an archaeological dig in Chaco Canyon. Free.
  • Meteorite and Geology Museums, located in the Northrop Hall, on the Yale walkway just north of Central Avenue, +1 505 277-4204, [30]. M-F 9AM-4PM. Two nice little museums (located just down the hall from each other) with minerals, fossils, and meteorites from New Mexico and other places collected by UNM faculty and students. Free.
  • University Art Museum, located in the Center for the Arts building, on the Cornell walkway near the bookstore, just north of Central Avenue. +1 505 277-4001, [31]. Tu-F 9AM-4PM and Sa-Su 1PM-4PM. Changing exhibitions of art, with a focus on New Mexico and UNM artists. Free.
Isotopes Park, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes
Isotopes Park, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes
  • Albuquerque Isotopes, at the corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard (south of UNM), +1 505 924-2255, [32]. The Isotopes, Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, play baseball in a beautiful stadium. Seats in the park are both good and cheap—$11 can get you a seat behind home plate ($13 if you buy your ticket on gameday). All the concessions and restrooms are located along a big concourse behind the seats which is open to the field, so you don't miss any of the action. For $6 a ticket, you can bring a picnic blanket and find a spot in the grassy "Berm" behind right field that's perfect for kids—they can enjoy the grass and play on the playground on top of the Berm. Beware of foul balls—The park is a notorious "launching pad" for hitters that drives pitchers nuts. $6-$24.
  • Cliff's Amusement Park, 4800 Osuna Rd. NE at San Mateo (just south of the Osuna-San Mateo/I-25 interchange), +1 505 881-9373, [33]. Open weekends April-September, hours vary by month. This is just about the only amusement park in New Mexico. Fairly small, but with a good amount of rides. Thrill rides (including two roller coasters), family rides, kiddy rides, and a water play area. Ride pass (includes general admission and all rides) is $24 for over 48" tall, $20 for under 48" tall, $17.45 for age 2 and under (Parking is free).
  • Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Blvd, +1 505 897-8831, [34]. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. The center for the city's open space program, which encompasses land from around the city to preserve for environmental and recreational use. The visitor center has exhibits on the natural and cultural resources of the area, an art gallery, a nature area, and views of the bosque and mountains. Free.
  • Outpost Ice Arena 9530 Tramway Blvd NE, 505-856-7595, [35]. Located near the base of the Sandia Peak Tram. Has four rinks under one roof. A great place to sharpen your figure skating or hockey skills or just skate for fun.
  • Petroglyph National Monument, visitor center at 6001 Unser Blvd, NW, +1 505 899-0205 ext. 331, [36]. On the west side of town, Petroglyph is a unit of the United States National Parks system, and preserves a significant archaeological site with an impressive number of petroglyphs. Despite their proximity to an urban center and the fact that the monument is of recent origin, the petroglyphs are in good condition with very little vandalism or theft. There are interpretive exhibits and a few short trails. Day use only; $3 fee (Park Pass applies).
  • Rio Grande Valley State Park, [37]. A very pleasant state park running along the banks of the Rio Grande through Albuquerque. The park encompasses almost the entirety of the bosque (cottonwood forest) in the city, which is home to much wildlife, such as geese, roadrunners, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, and numerous other species. Numerous trails criss-cross the park, most notably the Paseo del Bosque paved bike/walk trail which runs the length of the park [38]. There are also several picnic areas and wetland areas. Free.
    • Rio Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria Road NW, +1 505 344-7240, [39]. Every day, 10AM-5PM. The bosque provides a tranquil setting for this small visitor center, with its nature pond and exhibits on the native wildlife. Two short trails head into the bosque from the visitor center. $1 adults, $0.50 children.
Hiking in the Sandia Mountains
Hiking in the Sandia Mountains
  • The Sandia Mountains offer outdoors opportunities ranging from straight hiking (the La Luz trail is popular, perhaps too much so) on to serious, multi-day rock climbing. Mountain biking is also really popular, and there are great trails in the foothills as well as at the ski area on the other side of the mountains during the summer. If less athletically inclined, ride the tram to the top. At the base of the mountains, near the tramway, is the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area [40], which offers magnificent views of the mountains as you enjoy your meal and provides access to some of the trails of the Sandia Mountains. For a map of Sandia Mountain trails, see the Cibola National Forest website [41].
  • During the winter, you can ski or snowboard at Sandia Peak, +1 505 242-9052, [42]. The ski season is typically mid-December to mid-March, depending on the seasonal amount of snowfall. There are 30 trails with four chairlifts and two surface lifts, and a terrain park. Most of the facilities are at the bottom of the slope (which is accessible by road), including a cafeteria, ski school, the equipment rental shop, and a sports shop. At the top of the hill is access to the Sandia Peak Tramway (see "See" section above) and the High Finance Restaurant (see "Eat" below). The peak can be reached either by taking a 45 minute drive around the mountain to the base lodge or by taking the tramway up to the top of the mountain -- presuming there's enough snow at the top (Skiers get a discount on tramway tickets, but you have to bring your own equipment. There are a few equipment rental places in Albuquerque). $43 adult full-day lift tickets, $32 children full-day lift tickets (half-day and Beginner Lift Only tickets are also available).
  • Santa Ana Star Center, just off of Unser in neighboring Rio Rancho, +1 505 891-7300, [43]. It is home to the New Mexico Scorpions [44] ice hockey team. There are also concerts, conventions and other events. Scorpions tickets $15-$40.
  • Tingley Beach, Tingley Drive, just south of Central Avenue (just east of the Rio Grande), [45]. Daily, sunrise to sunset. A facility of the Albuquerque Biological Park. This park, located along the Rio Grande, has fishing ponds for adults and children, a model boating pond, a cafe, and a gift shop where you can buy fishing licenses, fishing gear, or rent a pedal boat for a ride on the central pond. A train station for the Aquarium/Botanical Gardens - Zoo train is located here. Free (separate fee required for train rides).
  • UNM sports (the Lobos), Avenida Cesar Chavez / University Boulevard (south of UNM), +1 505 925-5626, [46]. The Lobos are big. For a deafening experience in college sports, try to catch a basketball game at "The Pit," the university's semi-underground fieldhouse that has been a house of pain for visiting basketball teams for years. The women's teams have been doing better than the men's in past years, and attract crowds every bit as raucous - when the teams are doing really good, games will sell out. Right across the street is University Stadium, home of the immensely popular Lobos football team. Football tickets $14-$27 adults, $8-$17 children. Basketball tickets $8-$22 adults, $4-$8 children (women's game tickets are cheaper than men's). UNM Students are free, guests of students can get sometimes a discount.
  • Popejoy Hall, in the Center for the Arts building on the UNM campus, +1 505 277-3824, [47]. Hosts a schedule of live performances year-round, including Broadway musicals, live theater, dance and music.
  • KiMo Theater, 423 Central Ave NW, +1 505 768-3522, [48]. This historic and beautiful downtown building is a vibrant setting for the local preforming arts community, as well as a venue for some traveling shows.
  • Journal Pavillion, 5601 University Boulevard SE, +1 505 452-5100, [49]. Located in south Albuquerque, this is the city's primary concert venue.
  • The Cell, 700 1st St. NW, +1 505 766-9412, [50]. Home to the Fusion Theater Company, a local performance group.
  • Albuquerque Little Theater, 224 San Pasquale SW, +1 505 242-4750, [51]. Hosting local performances throughout the year.
  • The Box Performance Space, 1025 Lomas Blvd. NW, +1 505 404-1578, [52]. Featuring sketch comedy, improv, children's shows, and other works. Home to Cardboard Playhouse Productions and Blackout Theatre Company.
Albuquerque Tricentennial balloon at the 2006 International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque Tricentennial balloon at the 2006 International Balloon Fiesta

At Balloon Fiesta Park, located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25 (take either Alameda Boulevard or Tramway Boulevard exit off I-25), [53]. $6 adults, children ages 12 and under free (parking is $10 per car).

The Fiesta is the world's largest ballooning event, largest annual international event in North American, and one of the most photographed events in the world. A cultural landmark for Albuquerque (and indeed, all of New Mexico), this festival gives you a first-hand look at the world of ballooning. For nine days in October, you may walk out onto a large field where balloonists from around the world set up, inflate, launch, and possibly land their balloons. Mass ascensions of balloons with hundreds of different colors and shapes create an often stunning and magnificent sight. It's one of the most heavily attended festivals in the entire United States.

Balloons fly best in cooler conditions, so many of the events take place early in the morning. Traffic is pretty bad around the festival; expect a long, long line of cars (you may want to seriously consider taking park-and-ride or the Rail Runner commuter train to beat the traffic). Get your hotel reservations far in advance, because everyone fills up around this time of year.

The event begins on the first Saturday of October and ends with a farewell mass ascension on the Sunday of the following weekend, with numerous events in-between, such as concerts and balloon races. Here are a few of the highlights of the fiesta:

  • Every day there's a Dawn Patrol at around 6AM, where a few balloons take off before the sun rises. These balloons test the conditions before other balloons take off.
  • On weekend days at about 7AM the Mass Ascension occurs, which is the lift off of all the balloons participating in the fiesta, usually in two waves. Not to be missed.
  • On weekend evenings (except for the final day of the event) a Balloon Glow takes place, when the balloons don't lift off the ground, but are illuminated by the light of their propane burners going off.
  • The Special Shapes Rodeo happens at 7AM on the Thursday and Friday of the event, which is a Mass Ascension for all the "special shape" balloons. There are also Balloon Glows called Glowdeos (a portmanteau of "glow" and "rodeo") for the special shape balloons. Returning favorites include a milk cow, a wagon coach, and twin bees balloons.

And if you want to do more than watch the balloons, there are several local companies which provide balloon rides year-round: Rainbow Ryders, +1 505 823-1111, [54] is the only one which operates directly from Balloon Fiesta Park during the Balloon Fiesta, but there's also Above and Beyond Affordable Balloon Rides, +1 505 293-0000, [55], Above It All Balloon Rides, +1 505 861-3386, Aliens Aloft, +1 505 864-8871, [56], Beautiful Balloons Co., +1 800 367-6625 [57], Private Balloon Flights, +1 505 550-2677, [58], and Skyspan Adventures, +1 505 250-2300, [59].

Other annual events

Besides the Balloon Fiesta, there are numerous festivals and celebrations which take place in Albuquerque on an yearly basis. Here are some of the major ones:

  • New Mexico State Fair, +1 505 265-EXPO, [60]. The state fair takes place annually for two weeks in September. Like any state fair, there's lots of competitions, farm animals, rodeos, carnival rides, art, music, food, etc. There are also some interesting exhibits as well, showing off the pride and character of New Mexico, such as the Indian Village, the Villa Hispana, and much more. The state fair is held at Expo New Mexico (on Louisiana between Central and Lomas, east of UNM and south of Uptown). $9 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children, children 2 & under free.
  • The Native American Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow [61] is an event bringing Native Americans from across the country together. There are many events, including the powwow, native music, arts, crafts, and food, and Miss Indian World. The event takes place in late April at the University of New Mexico Arena ("The Pit").
  • New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair [62] takes place in June at the Expo New Mexico fairgrounds.
  • Around Christmas time, thousands of luminarias (a paper bag half-filled with sand with a lit candle placed inside) line the streets of Old Town. If you come to the city during this time of year you are also likely to see electric luminarias (a string of lights designed to resemble authentic luminarias) lining the roofs of many buildings in the city. You may also see luminaria displays in some of the city's residential neighborhoods, on the UNM campus, and on many a individual's front yard, but Old Town provides the most accessible and dramatic display.
  • University of New Mexico, [63]. Founded in 1889, UNM is the oldest and largest institution of higher education in New Mexico, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of programs.
  • Central New Mexico Community College (formerly Technical-Vocational Institute, TVI), [64]. A two-year college with a few branch campuses. The main campus is on University Boulevard just south of the main UNM campus.


Albuquerque has evolved into a fairly "high-tech" city from the employment point of view. Albuquerque major employers are mostly military and technology based: The Kirtland Air Force Base and the Sandia National Laboratories are the region's largest employers. Intel has a huge plant just outside the city in neighboring Rio Rancho. These are surrounded by spinoffs, support organizations, etc. The University of New Mexico and the medical industry are also major regional employers as well.

Recently, the film industry has hit New Mexico (and Albuquerque in particular) in a big way, with new movie studios being built and some big-name films being produced in the area. Keep your eyes open; you may be able to find an interesting job.

Unemployment in Albuquerque tends to run below the national average, so jobs are comparatively easy to get. Being bilingual (English/Spanish) is a plus in the retail workplace, although by no means essential.


Upon first glance, it might seem like your only place to shop are the miles and miles of strip malls that line the major arterials. While that's not entirely the case, everything is really spread out, with the exception of the concentrated Old Town-Downtown-Nob Hill area along Central Avenue. So while you can find just about anything you're looking for, you will probably have to drive a ways to get it.

Here are some good places around town to shop:

  • Old Town, at Central & Rio Grande, [65]. If you're looking for all the "New Mexican" shops, this is probably the next best thing to Santa Fe. Granted, some of it is tacky souvenir stuff, but there are also plenty of quality gift shops with authentic Native American and Southwestern art. You can also find plenty of antiques, art galleries, jewelry, pottery, weavings, clothing stores, and other specialty shops.
    • Amapola Gallery, 205 Romero Street NW, +1 505 242-4311, [66]. Co-op of 40 contemporary artists selling a wide variety of southwestern arts and crafts.
    • Andrews Pueblo Pottery & Art Gallery, 303 Romero Street NW, +1 505 243-0414, [67]. A great collection of works from traditional native artists.
    • Old Town Emporium, 204 San Felipe NW, +1 505 842-8102, [68]. M-Sa 9AM-8PM, Su 9AM-6PM. A very large gift shop with all the typical tourist kitsch, which certainly has its charm.
    • R.C. Gorman/Nizhoni Gallery, 323 Romero Street NW, +1 505 843-7666, [69]. Featuring works by several popular artists, including noted local painter R.C. Gorman.
    • Tanner Chaney Gallery, 323 Romero Street NW, +1 505 247-2242, [70]. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 12PM-6PM. A long-standing business selling native arts & crafts.
  • Downtown, particularly along Central Avenue and Gold Avenue (one block south of Central). While downtown has plenty of bars and restaurants, the shopping scene is a bit lacking. However, there are a few interesting places:
    • The Man's Hat Shop, 511 Central Ave NW, +1 505 247-9605, [71]. Tu-F 9:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Has a huge selection of Western hats.
    • Patrician Design, 216 Gold Ave SW, +1 505 242-7646, [72]. M-F 8AM-6PM. A retail boutique with art, jewelery, and some nifty around-the-home accessories.
    • Skip Maisel’s, 510 Central Ave SW, +1 505 242-6526, [73]. Indian jewelry, arts, and crafts in a lovely building dating back to the heyday of Route 66.
    • Sumner & Dene, 517 Central Ave NW, +1 505 842-1400, [74]. Fine art, jewelery, and furnishings.
    • 2 Time Couture, 600 Central Ave SE (2 Blocks west of I-25, in the "EDo" neighborhood), +1 505 242-3600, [75]. An upscale designer consignment boutique offering top quality clothing, accessories and handbags.
  • Nob Hill, along Central from Girard to Carlisle, [76]. A trendy district known for its neon reminiscent of the Route 66 days, Nob Hill is easily one of the best places in the city to window shop. The Nob Hill Business Center, at Central & Carlisle, has some great little shops as well as the La Montanita Food Co-Op (see Grocery stores under "Eat" below).
    • The Herb Store, 107 Carlisle Blvd SE, +1 505 255-8878, [77]. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-5PM. Stock up on all your herb supplies and herbal remedies here.
    • Objects of Desire, 3225 Central Ave NE, +1 505 232-3088, [78]. Fine furnishings and accessories.
    • Old World Imports, 3019 Central Ave NE, +1 505 265-0433, [79]. M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Carpets, textiles, jewelry and furnishings.
  • Uptown, centered around Indian School & Louisiana. For the more typical suburban mall experience, Coronado Mall [80], which is anchored by Macy's, JCPenney, Mervyn's and Sears, will suit your needs. ABQ Uptown [81], on the other hand, is an outdoor mall with more high-end retail stores, such as Apple Computer, Talbots, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. Most of the major 'Big Box' retailers are also in the general area, in both directions along I-40.
  • Cottonwood Mall, Coors Blvd & Coors Bypass, on the west side of Albuquerque, [82]. A typical indoor mall, the surrounding area contains all the typical 'Big Box' retailers (i.e. Walmart Supercenter, Best Buy, Home Depot, Pets Mart, Walgreens, Staples, Circuit City...).

Here are some specific businesses around town that are worth your time:

  • Bien Mur Indian Market Center, 100 Bien Mur Drive NE (north of Albuquerque at the Sandia Pueblo, off the intersection of Tramway and I-25), +1 505 821-5400, [83]. Owned by the Sandia Pueblo, this huge market has loads of Native American jewelry, pottery, rugs, paintings and folk art. Most of the stuff here comes directly from the artist to the market.
  • Gertrude Zachary [84] is a locally-owned jewelry chain in Albuquerque with plenty of antiques and Southwestern jewelry. There are three locations around the city:
    • Jewelry Showroom, 1501 Lomas NW (between Old Town and Downtown), +1 505 247-4442.
    • Antiques Showroom, 416 Second St SW (in Downtown), +1 505 244-1320.
    • Nob Hill Location, 3300 Central Ave SE, +1 505 766-4700.
  • Jackalope, 6400 San Mateo Blvd NE (near the intersection of San Mateo and I-25), +1 505 349-0955, [85]. A local chain of stores (there are also locations in Bernalillo and Santa Fe) that sells folk art, pottery, rugs, and furniture from around the world. There is really a lot of fantastic stuff here, and a lot to browse through.
  • Mama's Minerals, 1100 San Mateo NE (at the intersection of Lomas and San Mateo), +1 505 266-8443, [86]. M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A wonderful store with an extensive collection of minerals, geologic specimens, gems, beads, supplies for the geologist, information about local geology, and more. You could spend a lot of time here.
  • Page One Bookstore, 11018 Montgomery NE (at the intersection of Montgomery and Juan Tabo), +1 505 294-2026, [87]. M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-8PM. The largest independent bookstore in the city.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget $10 or less
Mid-range $10 - 20
Splurge $20 or more

Dining out in Albuquerque tends to be relatively inexpensive and very casual. Many places offer outdoor seating. Iced tea is the beverage of choice.

New Mexican dining

New Mexican cuisine is unique. Be ready for the question "Red or green?" or in Spanish "¿Rojo o verde?" which refers to the chile based sauce included in or used to smother various menu items. There are constant arguments as to which is hotter, the ripe and often dried red chile, or the immature green chile; however, spiciness depends much more on the strain of pepper and how the chile is prepared rather than the color, and varies greatly by restaurant, so inquire and experiment. Many meals will include sopaipillas, the characteristic New Mexican fry bread, as a side. The characteristic dessert is flan, a type of custard.


  • Acapulco, 840 San Mateo Blvd SE (near the Kirtland AFB Truman Gate), +1 505 268-9865; 2617 Wyoming Blvd NE, +1 505 237-8044. Serves excellent New Mexican cuisine from a stand.
  • Church Street Cafe, 2111 Church St NW (in Old Town behind the church), +1 505 247-8522, [88]. Th-Sa 8AM-8PM, Su-W 8AM-4PM. A cozy little restaurant with good New Mexican food tucked away down a side alley of Old Town. $6-$15.
  • Dos Hermanos, 6211 4th St NW, +1 505 345-4588; 7600 Jefferson NE, +1 505 828-1166; 2435 Wyoming NE, +1 505 294-8945; or 5010 Cutler NE, +1 505 881-2202, [89]. M-Sa 7AM-3PM, Su 9AM-3PM (Wyoming location opens at 6:30AM M-Sa, and Cutler location closes at 8PM on Friday and Satruday). Deli-style New Mexican food. Tends towards the spicy side. $5-$9.
  • Durans Central Pharmacy, 1815 Central Ave NW, +1 505 247-4141. An inexpensive lunch counter in the back of a pharmacy serving cheap, hearty New Mexican cuisine. $5-9. No reservations needed.
  • Juan's Broken Taco, 2740 Wyoming Blvd NE (NE corner of Wyoming and Candelaria behind Sandia Area Federal Credit Union and next to Bibles Plus), +1 505 296-5211, [90]. M-F 11AM-7:45PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. All plates can be made vegetarian. $3-$8.
  • Little Anita's, regional chain, original in Old Town at 2105 Mountain Rd NW, +1 505 242-3102, [91]. Daily 7AM-8PM. Consistent, great quality food with great service and atmosphere. Check out the one in Corrales on Alameda and Coors-Bypass. $3-$7.
  • Los Cuates, 5016-B Lomas NE, +1 505 268-0974; 4901 Lomas NE, +1 505 255-5079; 8700 Menaul NE, +1 505 237-2800, [92]. Every day, 11AM-9PM (4901 Lomas location opens at Noon). 4901 Lomas and Menaul locations are newer facilities and serves milder chile, 5106 Lomas is an authentic diner experience. $4-$10.
  • Milly's, 7308 Jefferson St NE, +1 505 345-9200. Flavorful but not-too-hot chile. $3-$8.
  • Ortega's, 3617 Wyoming Blvd NE (north of Comanche), +1 505 298-0223. Whole grains, low fat.
  • Papa Felipe's Mexican Restaurant, 9800 Menaul Blvd NE, +1 505 292-8877, [93]. Every day, 11AM-9PM. Home-cooked authentic New Mexican cuisine since 1977. $5-$10.
  • Pericos, 109 Yale Blvd SE (near the intersection of Yale and Central), +1 505 247-2503. Has possibly the most delicious burritos in town.
  • Perea's, 5801 Central Ave NE, +1 505 232-9442. Every day, 7AM-2PM. May have the hottest green chile in town.
  • Sadie's, 6230 4th St NW, +1 505 345-5339, [94]. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Consistent quality. Often a long wait. Hot chile. $5-$9.


  • Barelas Coffee House, 1502 4th St SW, +1 505 843-7577. Daily 6AM-3PM. This place, for those who know how to find it (it is tucked in a corner) is a local favorite, serving menudo, chile, and a wide range of other both Mexican and New Mexican foods. They are also locally known for their tea, a blend of chamomile teas, always served hot and fresh. Also, as you are about to pay, make sure and check out the candy table right in front of the cash registers, as you might just spot an old favorite such as Sugar Daddys and Nickle Nips! $12+ (varies on party size, and do tip well. If you come back, the servers will literally run for you!)
  • Cervantes, 5801 Gibson Blvd SE, +1 505 262-2253. Excellent menu, ala carte items, full bar, World Record Margarita. Local's favorite!
  • El Pinto, 10500 4th Street NW, +1 505 898-1771. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 10:30AM-9PM (Sunday brunch 10:30AM-2PM). Lovely ambiance and a great menu. Their nachos are fantastic.
  • Garduño's of Mexico, regional chain, original at 8806 4th Street NW, +1 505 898-2772, [95]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Consistent, good quality food with some Mexican and Arizonan influence to go with the New Mexican standards.
  • Monroe's, 1520 Lomas NW, +1 505 242-1111; 6051 Osuna NE, +1 505 881-4224, [96]. Great carne adovada Indian tacos. $4-$11.

Non-New Mexican dining


  • Bob's Burgers, several locations around town. Daily 10:30AM-9PM. A home-grown chain of burger stands with a New Mexican flair. The ones west of the river are owned by Bob, the ones east of the river by his son-in-law Clifford. Bob makes some of the hottest green chile sauce in the state; Clifford flat out tries to kill you. A "chile-head"'s paradise. Try a foot-long chile-cheese dog with green sauce instead of traditional red.
  • The Dog House, 1216 Central Ave SW (in between downtown and Old Town), +1 505 243-1019. Daily, 10AM-10PM. American food, but best known for their grilled foot-long hot dogs. Very recognizable place with its dog neon sign. The dining room is very small, you may want to just eat in your car. Cash only.
  • Federico's Mexican Food, 1109 Juan Tabo NE, +1 505 271-6499; 640 Coors NW, +1 505 352-2120; 5555 Zuni SE, +1 505 255-1094, [97]. Open 24 hours. The place is a little bare-bones, but the food is excellent (and shows the difference between "Mexican" and "New Mexican" cuisine), not to mention cheap. Get a horchata as your drink. $3-$6.
  • Frontier Restaurant, 2400 Central Ave SE (at Central & Cornell), +1 505 266-0550, [98]. Daily 5AM-1AM. One of the most popular restaurants in Albuquerque, a big hangout for the college students at UNM. Good American & New Mexican food, the breakfast burrito here is one of the best in Albuquerque. Casual atmosphere. If you can't make it to the Frontier, you can go to one of the several Golden Pride chain places around Albuquerque, which is owned by the same family and serves much of the same food. $2-$9.
  • Grandma's K and I diner, 2500 Broadway Blvd SE, +1 505 243-1881. Enjoy some authentic Albuquerque cuisine, restaurant is best known for serving a fry covered, football sized burrito called the Travis. They can be ordered in eighths, quarters, halves or whole; consumption of an entire travis is sometimes used as a fraternity hazing. The breakfast skillet meals are wonderful.
  • Lee's Bakery, 230-C Louisiana Blvd SE, +1 505 232-0085. Excellent Vietnamese sandwiches. Get the #6, grilled pork on a French style baguette with French-inspired style mayo (aioli), cucumber, cilantro, strips of pickled carrots, and slices of jalapenos. Bakery also carries various Vietnamese desserts, steamed sweet/glutinous rice with mung beans, and Vietnamese steamed pork sausages.
  • Pho #1, 414 San Pedro Dr SE, +1 505 268-0488. Pho: Vietnamese noodle soup. Also grilled pork / chicken / beef noodle bowl and rice plates. Great friendly service. Don't miss the Vietnamese cold coffee with condensed milk.
  • Que Huong, 7010 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-0575. Vietnamese.
  • Route 66 Malt Shop, 1720 Central SW, [99]. Exceptional home-made root beer, burgers, floats, etc. $3-$6.
  • Rudy's Country Store and BBQ, 2321 Carlisle NE, +1 505 884-4000; 10136 Coors NW, +1 505 890-7113, [100]. Daily, 10AM-10PM. Casual, relaxed, and wonderful self-serve BBQ. Don't miss the beef brisket! $3-$6.
  • Saggio's Pizza, 107 Cornell Dr SE (at Central & Cornell, across the street from the Frontier), +1 505 255-5454, [101]. Su-Th 8AM-10PM, F-Sa 8AM-11PM. Some of the best pizza in Albuquerque. The atmosphere is wonderful, with statues, murals, plants, and televisions everywhere. There is a sports bar in here, but the place is still very kid-friendly.
  • 66 Diner, 1405 Central Ave NE (between I-25 and University Boulevard), +1 505 247-1421, [102]. M-F 11AM-11PM, Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-10PM. A Route 66 themed restaurant serving classic American dishes. Big portions, great atmosphere. $5-$9.


  • Bangkok Cafe, 5901 Central Ave NE +1 505 255.5036, [103]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-9:30PM, Sa Noon-9:30PM, Su Noon-9PM. Some of the best Thai food in town! The larb (meat salad), chicken and basil, and yellow curry are excellent! Basic divey atmosphere but the food can't be beat. $4-$12.
  • Cajun Kitchen, 4500 Osuna Rd NE, +1 505 344-5355. Good Cajun food.
  • County Line BBQ, Tramway Blvd at Tramway Rd, +1 505 856-7477, [104]. Spectacular views of the city from the picture windows in the main dining area. For weekend dining, be prepared to wait a bit. Good Texas-style BBQ, relaxed atmosphere and large portions for your dollar. $10-$20.
  • Dion's, multiple locations, [105]. Su- Th, 10:30AM-10PM, F-Sa, 10:30AM-11PM. Best pizza in Albuquerque? They also have sandwiches.
  • India Palace, 4410 Wyoming NE, +1 505 271-5009. Indian.
  • Flying Star Cafe, multiple locations, [106]. Su-Th 6AM-10PM, F-Sa 6AM-11PM. Wide variety of salads, sandwiches, entrees, New Mexican food, and superb desserts. Rated 'Best Bakery' in Albuquerque. Daily and weekly specials. Free wi-fi. Vast selection of magazines. $3-$11.
  • Ninja Sushi, 6205 Montgomery Blvd, +1 505 830-2507. Innovative, "avant garde" sushi and Japanese food. Wide selection of sushi and sashimi.
  • Pars Persian Cuisine, 4320 The 25 Way, Suite 100, +1 505 345-5156, [107]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Persian. Cushion seating available, bellydancing on weekend nights. Hookah available for rental. Wonderful Persian classics. $4-$20.
  • Rasoi, 110 Yale Blvd SE (just south of Central), +1 505 268-5327, [108]. Lunch daily 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner daily 5PM-9PM. An excellent Indian restaurant with a lovely atmosphere and delicious food. The dishes are referred to by their actual Indian names. You can order from the menu, or you can go for the buffet (all you can eat, around $9). $8-$18.
  • Slate Street Cafe, 515 Slate NW, +1 505 243-2210, [109]. Breakfast/Lunch M-F, 7:30AM–3PM, Brunch Sa, 8AM–2PM, Wine Loft W–Sa 4PM-10PM, Dinner Tu–Th 5PM-9PM, F–Sa 5PM-10PM. American. They have a nice wine list and a wine bar loft too.
  • Taj Mahal, 1430 Carlisle Blvd NE, +1 505 255-1994, [110]. Lunch 11AM-2:30PM, Dinner 5PM-10PM. Indian. $3-$15.
  • Thai Tip 1512 Wyoming NE, +1 505 323-7447. Thai. Loyal local following, and for good reason. Friendly owners and relaxed atmosphere.


  • Artichoke Cafe, 424 Central SE (corner of Central & Edith), +1 505 243-0200, [111]. American. Great creamy artichoke soup, the salmon is great. Good ambience. $9-$30.
  • Emilie's French Restaurant, 6209 Montgomery NE, +1 505 881-8104. Lunch Tu-Sa 11AM-2PM, Dinner Tu-Sa 5PM-9PM. French.
  • Eurasia Bistro, 10701 Montgomery NE (just west of Juan Tabo), +1 505 299-9898. Japanese with European influence. Large portions, excellent sushi and sashimi. The ceviche is not to be missed.
  • High Finance, atop Sandia Peak, +1 505 243-9742 (reservations advised), [112]. American. You pay for the view as well as the food, but it's an interesting experience, especially since the only way there is via the Tramway (listed above under "See"). Lunch and dinner 7 days. $7-$29.
  • The Rancher's Club, Albuquerque Hilton, 1901 University Blvd. NE, +1 505 889-8071, [113]. Lunch, Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM, Su 5:30PM-9PM. The Rancher's Club is a repeat winner of the prestigious DiRoNA Award. The only AAA 4 Diamond Award Winner in Albuquerque. "American" cuisine, serving prime aged beef, seafood and poultry grilled over aromatic woods.
  • Terra American Bistro, 1119 Alameda Blvd. NE, +1 505 792-1700, [114]. Lunch Tu-F 11AM-2PM, Dinner Tu-Sa 5:30PM-close. American. $7-$25.
  • Tucanos Brazilian Grill, 110 Central Ave SW, +1 505 246-9900, [115]. Excellent salad bar, and a variety of meats brought to your table. $12(lunch)/$20(dinner) per person, all you can eat.
  • Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro, 3009 Central Ave. NE, +1 505 254-9462 (reservations advised), [116]. Lunch M-F 11AM-2:30PM, Dinner M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Sunday brunch 11AM-2:30PM. Located in Nob Hill, Zinc is pleasant and well-appointed inside. American cuisine, with a touch of French; excellent appetizers. Don't miss the wine bar and jazz in the basement. $8-$27.
  • La Montanita Natural Foods Co-Op [117] is a local community-owned co-op offering organic food with two locations in Albuquerque:
    • 3500 Central SE (in the Nob Hill Marketplace at Central and Carlisle), +1 505 265-4631. M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
    • 2400 Rio Grande NW, +1 505 242-8800. M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-10PM.
  • Pro's Ranch Market, 4201 Central Avenue NW (at Central and Atrisco, on the west side of the Rio Grande), +1 505 833-1765, [118]. Daily 6AM-11PM. A California-based grocery chain geared toward the Hispanic market.
  • Sunflower Market, organic food 3 locations in Albuquerque. [119].
    • 10701 Corrales Blvd NW # 2, +1 505 890-7900‎. Daily 7:30AM-10PM.
    • 5112 Lomas Blvd NE (Lomas and San Mateo), +1 505 268-5127‎. Daily 7AM-10PM.
    • 6300 San Mateo Blvd (San Mateo and Academy), +1 505 821-7000‎.
  • Talin Market World Food Fare, 88 Louisiana Blvd SE (at the corner of Central and Louisiana), +1 505 268-0206, [120]. M-Sa 8:30AM-8PM, Su 9AM-7PM. International food marketplace.
  • Trader Joe's, [121]. This nation-wide chain of stores has two locations in Albuquerque. Very popular with the locals.
    • 8929 Holly Ave NE (at the intersection of Paseo del Norte and Ventura), +1 505 796-0311. Daily 9AM-9PM.
    • 2200 Uptown Loop NE (next to ABQ Uptown mall), +1 505 883-3662. Daily 9AM-9PM.
  • Whole Foods Market, organic food store chain with two locations in Albuquerque:
    • 5815 Wyoming Boulevard NE (at the intersection of Wyoming and Academy), +1 505 856-0474, [122]. Every day, 7:30AM-9PM.
    • 2103 Carlisle Blvd. NE (at the intersection of Carlisle and Indian School), +1 505 260-1366, [123]. Every day, 7AM-10PM.
  • For your more typical chain groceries, Albertsons [124] and Smith's [125] each have several stores in the city.



  • Anodyne, 409 Central Ave NW, +1 505 244-1820. Downtown hipster bar. 100 different icy beers, pool tables galore and a killer jukebox.
  • Atomic Cantina, 315 Gold Ave SW, +1 505 242-2200, [126]. Great bar if you like a little Rock with your drinks.
  • Burt's Tiki Lounge, 313 Gold Ave SW, +1 505 243-2878, [127]. M-Sa 8PM-2AM. Eclectic doesn't even begin to describe Burt's. Popular nights: Monday, Geeks Who Drink pub trivia -- $2 drafts; Thursday, 75 cent Pabst's Blue Ribbon 'til midnight.
  • Downtown Distillery, 406 Central Ave SW, +1 505 765-1534. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM. Long bar downstairs; pool lounge and bar upstairs. Jaeger specials, to say the least.
  • Launchpad, 618 Central Ave SW, +1 505 764-8887, [128]. Well established music venue and rock bar.
  • Library Bar & Grill, 312 Central Ave SW, +1 505 242-2992. School girl dress bartenders serve bikers by day and club goers by night.
  • Lotus, 211 Gold Ave SW, +1 505 243-0955, [129]. W-Sa 9PM-2AM. Unique themed nightclub. One of the few 18+ clubs in town. Thursday nights are Goth/Industrial/Electronic all other nights are House/Hip-hop/R&B.
  • Marble Brewery, 111 Marble St NW, +1 505 243-2739, [130]. Fine local micro brewery located in Albuquerque's industrial heart. Limited food selection, but in a taproom -- that's the point.
  • One Up, 301 Central Ave NW, +1 505 242-1966, [131]. M-Th 11AM-Midnight, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 3PM-2AM. Fine dining lounge in Downtown Albuquerque. Business casual or urban contemporary dress.

Nob Hill & UNM

  • Coaches Sports Grill, 1414 Central Ave SE, +1 505 242-7111. Dozens of televisions and pitchers of beer -- perfect place to quench a post Isotope or Lobo game thirst.
  • Copper Lounge, 1504 Central Ave SE, +1 505 242-7490. Dark dive bar, but extremely friendly patrons. Best beer special in town -- $2.50 drafts on Wednesday nights.
  • Gecko's Bar & Tapas, 3500 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-1848; 5801 Academy Road NE, +1 505 821-8291, [132]. M-Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 11AM-Midnight. Great atmosphere and best patios in Albuquerque for people watching. Gecko's tapas are among the best bar food you will ever stumble upon.
  • Imbibe, 3103 Central Ave NE, +1 505 255-4200. Cigar bar with Vegas styling. Rooftop bar and patio.
  • Kelly's Brewery, 3222 Central Ave SE, +1 505 262-2379, [133]. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-Midnight. Wide variety of beers brewed on site. Good food, friendly wait staff (mostly hot young ladies), and an extensive outdoor patio for people watching.
  • Monte Vista Fire Station, 3205 Central Ave NE, +1 505 255-2424, [134]. M-Sa Noon-2AM, Su, Noon-Midnight. Housed above the Gruet Steakhouse, Monte Vista Fire Station roosts in a converted Depression Era fire house.
  • Nob Hill Bar & Grill, 3128 Central Ave SE, +1 505 266-6872, [135]. Urban-chic bar in the heart of the Nob Hill District.
  • O'Neill's Pub, 4310 Central Ave SE, +1 505 255-6782, [136]. M-Sa 11:30AM-2AM Su 11:30AM-Midnight. Great food, casual atmosphere, and a fantastic patio facing Old Route 66.
  • Two Fools Tavern, 3211 Central Ave NE, +1 505 265-7447, [137]. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-Midnight. Irish beers and music abound. $3.75 bottled beer, $5-$16 wines, scotches, whiskeys.

North I-25 Corridor & Heights

  • The Barley Room, 5200 Eubank NE, +1 505 332-0800, [138]. Wide selection of domestic and imported beers. Good food and nice atmosphere. Live music almost every weekend. Being located in the far Northeast Heights and right next door to a mortgage company, it tends to attract an older, classier crowd.
  • Billy's Long Bar, 4800 San Mateo Blvd NE, +1 505 889-0573. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su Noon-Midnight. Wide variety of beers on tap.
  • Chama River Brewing Company, 4931 Pan American NE, +1 505 342-1800, [139]. Fantastic local micro brewery which also offers a solid dining experience. $3.75 16-ounce.
  • Horse & Angel Tavern, 5809 Juan Tabo Blvd NE, +1 505 299-0225. Very large selection of domestic and imported beers on tap, good food with an excellent human resources department (mostly very attractive UNM girls). Laid back, but not too laid back.
  • Il Vicino. Brewing Co. & Tap Room: 4000 Vassar NE, +1 505 830-4629, [140]. M-Tu: Noon-5PM, W-F Noon-7PM. Restaurants: 3403 Central NE, +1 505 266-7855. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-Midnight, and 11225 Montgomery NE, Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. [141] Fresh beer and gourmet pizza.
  • The Quarters, 801 Yale Blvd SE, +1 505 843-7505; 4516 Wyoming Blvd NE, +1 505 292-7604; 3700 Ellison Rd NW +1 505 897-3341. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa Noon-9PM. Decent selection of beers on tap.
  • Stone Face Tavern, 8201 San Pedro Dr NE, +1 505 822-8855. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-Midnight. Blue collar and all the character you could even hope for. Live music, outdoor volleyball, and great beer specials.


  • Knuckleheads Bar & Grill, 3230 Coors Blvd NW, +1 505 839-8660. A sports bar for the barfly.
  • Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, 3755 Southern Blvd, Rio Rancho, +1 505 994-9497, [142]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su Noon-9PM. Fresh beer and greasy pizza. $3.75 bottled beer.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $75
Mid-range $75 - 175
Splurge $176 and over

If you want a nicer -- and pricier -- hotel, then head east on I-40 to "uptown" (in the northeast side of the city, which is at higher elevation than "downtown" close to the river) or north on I-25. If you don't mind less free stuff, Central Avenue (old Route 66) is cheaper. However, there are some real dives along Central Avenue, many with unsavory reputations and occasional police raids. Hotels around the airport are generally vanilla-flavored, business-traveler places, but at least are somewhat less expensive than airport hotels in many cities. There are a few nice highrise hotels in the Downtown/Old Town area. Lodging Per Diem is $75 for FY2008.

Albuquerque is experiencing a massive wave of hotel building, mainly in the "Mid-range" class. This apparently is driven in part by the infamous lodging shortages during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. The result is that during other parts of the year, affordable hotels shouldn't be too hard to find. Even with the growth in the hotel market, lodging can be tight for the Fiesta, so if you're coming then, reserve well in advance -- months rather than days.

For some free lodgings try looking for cafes where bands are playing (normally on the weekends) and ask amongst the punk kids and see if they'll help. Even they, however, may not have much space during the Balloon Fiesta.

  • Crossland Economy Studios, 5020 Ellison St. NE (North I-25 area, near the intersection of Ellison-San Antonio/I-25), +1 505 343-1100 (, fax: 1 505 343-1102), [143]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. Tiny rooms, but clean and inexpensive. $50-$60.  edit
  • Days Inn Midtown Albuquerque, 2120 Menaul Blvd NE (near the intersection of I-40 and I-25.), +1 505 884-0250 (fax: +1 505 883-0594), [144]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Shuttle service to and from airport and convention center from 7AM to 11PM daily. $40-$60.  edit
  • Hiway House Motel, 3200 Central Avenue SE (in Nob Hill), +1 505 268-3971, [145]. What it lacks in appearance and amenities it makes up for with location. Right in the middle of the Nob Hill area, next door to Kelly's Brewery, in walking distance to restaurants, pubs, shops, and the University of New Mexico. Bus service directly down Central Avenue to Downtown and Old Town. $40-$60.  edit
  • Microtel West Albuquerque, 9910 Avalon Rd. NW (western edge of town, near the intersection of I-40 and 98th St.), ''+1 505'' 836-1686 (fax: +1 505 831-2450), [146]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Basic chain motel on the edge of town. Stay if you're just passing through on I-40 or heading out of town the next day, but not if you're going to be exploring Albuquerque. $60-$70.  edit
  • Route 66 International Hostel, 1012 Central Avenue SW (between Downtown and Old Town), +1 505 247-1813 (), [147]. checkin: 4:00 PM; checkout: 10:30 AM. Only hostel in town. Centrally located, within walking distance of Old Town and Downtown. Dormitories are $20 per night, private rooms start at $25/night.  edit
  • Sleep Inn Airport, 2300 International Ave. SE (off Yale north of the airport), +1 505 244-3325 (, fax: +1 505 244-3312), [148]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. Probably the cheapest of the several cookie-cutter hotels near the Albuquerque airport. $60-$70.  edit
  • Suburban Extended Stay, 2401 Wellesley Drive, +1 505 883-8888 (, fax: +1 (505)883-2830), [149]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. Located in a business district near the midtown area of Albuquerque, perfect for business travelers. $60-$70.  edit
  • Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast, 1124 Major Ave NW (Center of Abuquerque, I-40 & I-25), +1 505 344-1310 (), [150]. checkin: after 3PM; checkout: 11AM. A comfortable and relaxing Southwest style adobe inn with jetted tubs in all rooms and an outdoor Finnish Sauna. Healthy breakfast every morning. $119-$239.  edit
  • Albuquerque Grand Airport Hotel (Formerly Wyndham Albuquerque Hotel), 2910 Yale Blvd. SE, +1 505 843-7000 (fax: +1 505 843-6307), [151]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 Noon. The closest hotel to the airport, no more than 2 minutes away by shuttle, which runs on the half hour. Reasonable restaurant (Rojo's Grill) on the premises. $150-$180.  edit
  • Best Western Rio Grande Inn, 1015 Rio Grande Blvd. (north of Old Town at the intersection of I-40/Rio Grande), +1 505 843-9500 (, fax: +1 505 843-9238), [152]. Basic chain motel which has the advantage of being right near Old Town. $90-$120.  edit
  • Bottger Mansion of Old Town, 110 San Felipe St NW (South of the Plaza), ''+1 505'' 243-3639 (), [153]. checkin: 3 - 6PM; checkout: 11AM. This western Victorian house, now a bed-and-breakfast, is shaded by massive 100-year old trees and is just steps away from the Old Town plaza. $155-$179.  edit
  • Comfort Inn Airport, 2300 Yale Boulevard SE, +1 505 243-2244, [154]. $80-$100.  edit
  • Courtyard Albuquerque, 5151 Journal Center Blvd. NE (North I-25/Jefferson area), ''+1 505'' 823-1919 (fax: +1 505 823-1918), [155]. Chain motel in the North I-25 area. $140.  edit
  • Courtyard Albuquerque Airport, 1920 Yale Boulevard, +1 505 843-6600, [156]. Located in the airport area. Well lit work desks and complimentary high-speed internet.  edit
  • Doubletree Hotel Albuquerque, 201 Marquette Avenue NW, +1 505 247-3344 (fax: +1 505 247-7025), [157]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 Noon. A luxury downtown highrise hotel with many amenities, not to mention the only place directly connected to the Albuquerque Convention Center. $150-$200.  edit
  • Embassy Suites Albuquerque, 1000 Woodward Place NE (just off the intersection of I-25/Lomas near downtown), +1 505 245-7100 (fax: 1 505 247-1083), [158]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Great hotel overlooking downtown. $120-$170.  edit
  • Hawthorn Suites Albuquerque Airport, 1511 Gibson Blvd. SE (just off I-25 near the airport), +1 505 242-1555 (fax: +1 505 242-8801), [159]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Good airport hotel. $80.  edit
  • Hilton Garden Inn Albuquerque Uptown, 6510 Americas Parkway NE (just off I-40/Louisiana in Uptown area), +1 505 944-0300, [160]. checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. Highrise hotel located in the Uptown area. $145-$165.  edit
  • Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 800 Rio Grande Boulevard NW (just north of Old Town), +1 505 843-6300 (fax: +1 505 842-8426), [161]. Wonderful highrise hotel within walking distance of Old Town. Approaching "splurge" territory. $130-$210.  edit
  • Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport, 1400 Sunport Place SE (just off I-25 near the airport), +1 505 242-9300 (, fax: +1 505 242-0998), [162]. Great airport hotel. $140.  edit
  • Hyatt Place Albuquerque Uptown, 6901 Arvada Avenue NE (in the Uptown area near Louisiana/I-40), +1 505 872-9000 (, fax: +1 505 872-3829), [163]. Nice chain motel located in the Uptown area, right across the street from the ABQ Uptown mall. $140.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras Ave NW, [164]. Large hotel right in downtown Albuquerque, in the smaller of the two tallest highrises with the pyramid roof. $150-$180.  edit
  • Los Poblanos Inn, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW, +1 505 344-9297 (, fax: +1 505 342-1302), [165]. Located in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (seven miles from downtown Albuquerque) along with the La Quinta Cultural Center. The inn and 25 acre grounds are beautiful, with conference and meeting facilities available. $150-$250.  edit
  • Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, 2600 Louisiana Boulevard NE (at Louisiana and Menaul), +1 505 881-0000, [166]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. $170-$210.  edit
  • Albuquerque Marriott, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard NE (in the Uptown area, at Louisiana/I-40), +1 505 881-6800 (fax: +1 505 888-2982), [167]. Highrise hotel located in the Uptown shopping area off I-40. $180-$200.  edit
  • Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, 5151 San Francisco Road NE (North I-25/Jefferson area), +1 505 821-3333 (, fax: +1 505 828-0230), [168]. Large hotel in "Aztec pyramid" shaped building. $180-$250.  edit


The area code for the city is 505.

Every branch of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System [169] provides wireless internet free for those with an Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Public Library card; otherwise, they charge $2 for an internet access card good for one year, but they require a library card to use it. The Downtown Main Library is at 501 Copper NW, +1 505 768-5141. There are also a number of free Wi-Fi hot spots provided by the city, mainly around Civic Plaza in Downtown, the Sunport, and the Old Town Plaza [170]. The city's Rapid Ride buses also offer wireless connections. A large portion of UNM's main campus offers free Wi-Fi; try the Student Union Building in the middle of the campus.

Generally, there aren't very many wireless cafes in the city, but there is a good concentration around the UNM/Nob Hill area. The local Flying Star Cafe and Satellite Coffee [171] locations offer free wireless internet to customers.

Stay safe

Albuquerque has an average crime rate compared to some other American cities, but most of it is property crime of more concern to residents than to visitors.

Central Avenue is home to some of Albuquerque's main attractions, but portions of it can be somewhat dangerous after dark. The section from the train tracks (eastern edge of downtown) to University Blvd. can be a little scary in the evening. Even in Downtown, while Central Avenue is passable, smaller nearby streets such as Copper Street can be scary after dark. The Nob Hill/UNM district (between University and Carlisle) is perfectly safe at night, but Central gets progressively seedier east of Carlisle, and can get quite scary around the Fairgrounds. Consider the bus or a cab through these areas after the sun goes down.

Due to its size and mild climate, the streets of Albuquerque are considered home to many people. While not typically a danger, do expect to meet up with beggars and vagrants, particularly around the University of New Mexico.

If you're going to be engaging in outdoor recreation (even as laid-back as watching an Isotopes day game), slather on the sun screen. The elevation of the city is 5000 feet or higher, and there is usually not much cloud cover, so one can get a bad sunburn in surprisingly short order.

Be forewarned about New Mexican cuisine; if you're not used to green chile, go easy at first. Many first-timers have tried to eat the hottest chile they could find, only to discover six hours later that it was MUCH hotter than they remembered. Be prepared.

Downtown Albuquerque
Downtown Albuquerque

The city is divided into four quadrants, with Central Avenue as the North-South dividing line, and the train tracks as the East-West dividing line. Thus, the street address 3600 Menaul NE would be north of Central and east of the tracks. All addresses include a quadrant.

Many Albuquerqueans consider Interstates 40 and 25, which run through the city, to be their own personal expressways. The lack of turn signal usage is a running joke for most Albuquerque drivers, so watch for cars changing lanes without warning. However, Interstate traffic usually flows around the pace of the speed limit.

You may hear reference to "The Big Eye" in local news or traffic reports. Actually, they mean "The Big 'I'", as in interchange; the interchange of I-40 and I-25.

  • The Albuquerque Journal [172] ($0.50 daily, $1.50 Sundays) is the state's largest newspaper and talks about issues in the metro area, the state, and the world.
  • The Alibi [173] (free Wednesday mornings) is a free weekly that discusses issues in the metro area and runs some columns, but is more focused on the arts scene and has some great movie and restaurant reviews. They also run a number of "best of..." lists, notably the yearly "Best of Burque" awards. Great event listings.
  • The Daily Lobo [174] (free daily) is a daily newspaper (Monday through Fridays in the school year) produced by the students of the University of New Mexico, so it focuses on events at UNM and is only available at stands on the UNM campus.


There are a number of hospitals in the city:

  • Presbyterian Hospital, 1100 Central Ave. SE (at the interscetion of Central and I-25), +1 505 841-1234, [175]. Largest critical health care hospital in the city. General and acute care hospital and 24 hour emergency rooms. Laboratory, physical therapy, nursing, and X-ray/radiology available. Presbyterian also operates a branch hospital, the Kaseman Hospital, 8300 Constitution Ave. NE (at Wyoming and Constitution), +1 505 291-2000.
  • Lovelace Health System [176] has a couple of facilities in the city:
    • Lovelace Medical Center Downtown [177], 601 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave NE, +1 505 727-8000.
    • Lovelace Westside Hospital [178], 10501 Golf Course Rd. NW, +1 505 727-2000.
  • University of New Mexico Hospital, 2211 Lomas Blvd. NE (just north of the UNM campus), +1 505 272-2111, [179].


New Mexico has a state-wide ban on smoking in places of business. This includes bars and restaurants. The only exceptions are casinos and cigar bars. In addition Albuquerque has banned smoking on all public property except the golf courses.

Get out

North of Albuquerque:

  • Santa Fe, one of the world's great travel destinations, is about 60 miles to the north. The direct route is via I-25, but if you have time and the weather forecast is good, consider taking instead the "Turquoise Trail" (NM SR 14) on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. If you'd rather not drive, you can also take the Rail Runner commuter train straight into the heart of the city.
  • If taking the Turquoise Trail, stop at Madrid, an artist community located along the way. There's a small selection of galleries, a glass blower and decent tavern for lunch. Another attraction on the route is the Tinker Town Museum [180], which contains a large collection of wood carvings and Americana. Its off Highway 536 on the Turquoise Trail about 20 minutes from Albuquerque. Its open April 1st - November 1st.
  • Bernalillo is 15 miles north of Albuquerque on I-25 and is connected via the Rail Runner commuter train. The Coronado State Monument [181] is a popular attraction, as well as the Santa Ana Pueblo's casino and golf course, which are right next to Bernalillo.
  • There are several Native American pueblos between Albuquerque and Santa Fe just off I-25. Some of them offers attractions and a chance to explore the area. If you have a few hours to kill, consider a detour to Cochiti Pueblo and the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument [182]. This little known monument, open for day use ($5/vehicle), contains some gorgeous natural scenery and geologic formations, such as a narrow slot canyon you can hike through. To get there, get off at the Santo Domingo Pueblo exit (Exit 259) and follow the signs up SR 22 and onto a gravel road to the monument.
  • The pretty Jemez Mountains offer pleasant hiking and fishing in the summer and can be good for skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, although snowpack varies greatly from year to year and may be insufficient for winter sports. Take I-25 north to Bernalillo, then US 550 to San Ysidro, where NM 4 (502 on some maps) takes off through the astonishing red rock of San Diego Canyon and into the Jemez.
  • Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument are also to the north, and about as distant from Albuquerque via the Jemez route as via the Santa Fe route.
  • Beyond Santa Fe lies the beauty and cultural color of north central New Mexico -- Taos, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, etc.

South of Albuquerque:

  • Isleta Pueblo, off of I-25 just south of the city, is a small Native American village with the St. Augustine Church, a large white mission and one of the oldest in the nation. Take the Isleta Pueblo exit (NM 314) and drive south until you reach the village.
  • Belen is located about 30 miles south and makes a good day trip.
  • Mountainair, about a 90 minute drive southeast of Albuquerque, is the home of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, a superb collection of pueblo and Spanish mission ruins.
  • If traveling south during the winter, be sure to stop at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro and covered in that community's article...and while you are down there, consider visiting the Very Large Array, one of the worlds biggest radio telescope arrays.
Routes through Albuquerque
Santa FeBernalillo  N noframe S  Los LunasLas Cruces
GallupGrants  W noframe E  EdgewoodTucumcari
GallupGrants  W noframe E  EdgewoodTucumcari
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALBUQUERQUE, a city and the county-seat of Bernalillo county, New Mexico, U.S.A., situated in the central part of the territory, about 325 m. S. by W. of Denver, on the E. bank of the Rio Grande, at an altitude of 4950 ft. Pop. (1890) 3785; (1900) 6238, of whom 956 were foreign-born and 226 were negroes. In 1900 Albuquerque was the largest city in the territory. It is the connecting point of two main lines of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway system. A short distance E. of the city is the university of New Mexico, under territorial control, founded in 1889 and opened in 1892; in 1908 it had a college of letters and science, a school of engineering, a school of education, a preparatory school and a commercial school. Albuquerque is also the seat of the Harwood Industrial School (Methodist) for Mexican girls, of the Menaul Mission School (Presbyterian) for Mexican boys, and of a government Indian training school (1881) for boys and girls. The city has a public library. The excellent climate has given Albuquerque and the surrounding country a reputation as a health resort. The city is an important railway centre, has extensive railway repair shops and stock-yards, and exports large quantities of live-stock, hides and wool. The largest industrial establishment is the American Lumber Company's plant, including a saw-mill, a sash, door and blind factory and a box factory. The timber used, chiefly white pine, is obtained from the Zuni mountains. The city has also flour and woollen mills, breweries and ice factories. The old Spanish town of Albuquerque (pop. in 1900 about 1200) lies about i m. W. of the present city; it was founded in 1706, and was named in honour of the duke of Albuquerque, viceroy of New Spain from 1702 to 1710. During the Civil War it was occupied, late in February 1862, by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley (1816-1886), who soon afterwards advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. In his retreat back into Texas he made a stand on the 8th of April 1862 at Albuquerque, where during the whole day there was a fight at long range and with few casualties against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby (1819-1873). The modern city dates its origin from the completion of the first railway to Albuquerque in 1880.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. Largest city in New Mexico, USA

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