A Day In Albuquerque: Local Flavors, Sky-High Fun
Among the Spanish Pueblo buildings of Albuquerque, N.M., lies an amazing amalgam of Mexican, American and bygone Spanish cultures. That unique blend evokes stunning architecture, delicious food and a bevvy of unique sites to see.
Sitting at the crossroads of Interstate 40 and Interstate 25, Albuquerque, N.M., is overflowing with things to do. And hovering between 60 and 70 degrees, spring and late fall are ideal times to make the trip.
For a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch before a day of Albuquerque adventure, The Grove Café and Market is a gastronomic goldmine. Serving up food that supports local and sustainable farming, the restaurant is a perfect way to capture the local flavor.
The Croque Madame is a local favorite and consists of a slice of black forest ham, tomato, mustard and gruyere cheese over fresh local bread and topped with an egg. Served with a side of fresh fruit, it’ll keep you feeling lively until lunch. The breakfast burrito is another staple if you’re looking for a good, hearty breakfast. It’s packed with goat cheese, sausage and green chile — just in case you missed the green goodness on the way into town.
The Grove Café & Market is also one of the best places for coffee in Albuquerque. And don’t forget to pick up a few of their gorgeous macaroons for a snack later.
After a bite and a bit of caffeine, it’s time to explore!
Most everyone has heard of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but if you’re not around for the fall event, you can always brush up on your aeronautical history.
The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is a great spot to learn more about the unique history of balloon flight. The museum can be traversed in a few hours, but it is well worth the stop for anyone interested in the famous fiesta.
From the first air balloon flights in 1783 to stunning videos of the modern fiesta, the museum covers it all. Kids will love the bright colors and big exhibits, and history buffs will love the various glimpses into ballooning history. If you’re thinking of visiting, be sure to check the website beforehand. The museum often features discounted or free admission during certain times.
If you’re inspired to take to the sky yourself, the museum is just blocks away from Rainbow Ryders; which offers balloon rides high above Albuquerque.
Another sky-high attraction in the area is the amazing Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum.
The cultural center and museum are located atop 367-foot stone bluff in what is known as the Acoma Pueblo. The site lies about 70 scenic miles from Albuquerque, and is well worth the trip.
The ancient settlement is a marvel in it’s own right. Adobe brick, timber and everything else was dragged to the top of the stone plateau long before any kind of modern machinery. The architectural prowess and strong but simple elements have stood the test of time. Many of the mud-brick houses erected around the year 1150 still stand strong today.
At its peak, the pueblo was home to thousands of people. Today, despite no electricity or running water, some 30 people still call the pueblo home and many families still return to their ancient homesteads on the weekends.
Visitors can look forward to a guided tour of the pueblo homes and the historic San Estevan Del Rey Mission Church; which was built in 1641. The Haak’u Museum offers a detailed look at the history of the pueblo and features the stunning pottery of the Acoma people. Travelers can also have an authentic lunch at the pueblo and buy some of that famous pottery crafted with ancient tradition.
Anyone looking to make the trip should be sure to prepare for dry, sunny conditions — so pack sunscreen and a water bottle! A reservation for guided tours and photography permits are required.
On the way back to Albuquerque proper, there is a fantastic RV park just off Highway 40 on the west side of the metro. American RV Park offers all the amenities you’d expect for a top-tier RV facility. It also has easy access to the Sandia Peak Tramway, casinos and would make an ideal basecamp for the famous hot air balloon fiesta.