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Albuquerque, New Mexico: Come for a Visit and You May Never Want to Leave

Updated on August 22, 2020
Casey White profile image

Mike and Dorothy live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mike is a nature photographer, and Dorothy has written several e-books on wildlife.

The Rio Grande River in front of the Sandia Mountains.  Imagine rafting down this river and seeing various wildlife, such as birds, bats, fish, geese, cranes, and many other critters.
The Rio Grande River in front of the Sandia Mountains. Imagine rafting down this river and seeing various wildlife, such as birds, bats, fish, geese, cranes, and many other critters. | Source

Big City Drawbacks

We love living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Just as in most large cities, there is a significant amount of crime, homeless or down-on-their-luck people begging at every busy intersection, ladies of the evening waving your car down if you get too close to their "corner," and gangs that do whatever gangs do. And, a lot of cars get stolen here (ours was stolen in October of 2019 right out of our driveway) but we still love it because we don't go through the areas of high crime, don't drive by the corners where the hookers hang out, and we don't go into the sections of the town where gangs are known to operate.

Albuquerque is just like every other large city. If you frequent the rough parts of town, you are likely to be a victim of a crime, or at the very least see some things you might want to forget you ever saw.

You can't get away from people holding up signs at major intersections. If you gave each one of them $1, by the end of the day, your billfold would be significantly lighter. Follow your heart and conscience and simply ignore them if you wish. Every now and then, one of them will look particularly needy and we hand them a $5 bill or so but most of them we have to simply drive right on by simply because we can't afford to help all of them.

Now, let's get to the good stuff you should plan to see if you visit this city of diverse cultures.

The Albuquerque BioPark Botanical Gardens

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Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, Aquarium and Bugarium

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The Sandia Mountains

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The Roadrunner: The Official State Bird of New Mexico and the Most Famous Bird in the Southwest

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The Greater Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. It has been credited as having supernatural powers, and is also called the War Bird, Snake Eater, or Medicine Bird. They are a common sight all over New Mexico.Roadrunners are a common sight in all parts of Albuquerque.  This one visits our backyard every day looking for food.This roadrunner was sneaking around the back of our storage shed in an attempt to catch a bird.As you can see, he was successful.
The Greater Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. It has been credited as having supernatural powers, and is also called the War Bird, Snake Eater, or Medicine Bird. They are a common sight all over New Mexico.
The Greater Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. It has been credited as having supernatural powers, and is also called the War Bird, Snake Eater, or Medicine Bird. They are a common sight all over New Mexico. | Source
Roadrunners are a common sight in all parts of Albuquerque.  This one visits our backyard every day looking for food.
Roadrunners are a common sight in all parts of Albuquerque. This one visits our backyard every day looking for food. | Source
This roadrunner was sneaking around the back of our storage shed in an attempt to catch a bird.
This roadrunner was sneaking around the back of our storage shed in an attempt to catch a bird. | Source
As you can see, he was successful.
As you can see, he was successful. | Source

A Personal Note

I was in the middle of writing this article and needed a break so I went out on our back patio and was lying down on a swing when a roadrunner came out from under it. For a split second, it scared me but it didn't take long to realize it was just a harmless roadrunner. He walked around the patio for a minute or so, then strolled around the backyard looking for lizards. In only a few minutes he jumped on the fence and was off to another yard.

Amazing Sculptures Abound in Albuquerque

This chainsaw sculpture by Albuquerque native Mark Chavez is on permanent display at the Pueblo Pueblo Montano Chainsaw Sculpture Garden (it was carved right there from a cottonwood tree trunk).
This chainsaw sculpture by Albuquerque native Mark Chavez is on permanent display at the Pueblo Pueblo Montano Chainsaw Sculpture Garden (it was carved right there from a cottonwood tree trunk). | Source

The Tinkertown Museum

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TripAdvisors.com lists the Tinkertown Museum outside of Albuquerque as one of 12 one-of-a-kind places that should be part of your itinerary when traveling throughout the United States.
TripAdvisors.com lists the Tinkertown Museum outside of Albuquerque as one of 12 one-of-a-kind places that should be part of your itinerary when traveling throughout the United States.
TripAdvisors.com lists the Tinkertown Museum outside of Albuquerque as one of 12 one-of-a-kind places that should be part of your itinerary when traveling throughout the United States. | Source

The Sandia Peak Tramway

When we rode the tram at 7 p.m. we got to see the beautiful Sandia Mountains and the whole city of Albuquerque.  Later, from the observation deck at the top of the mountain, we watched an amazing sunset over the city.
When we rode the tram at 7 p.m. we got to see the beautiful Sandia Mountains and the whole city of Albuquerque. Later, from the observation deck at the top of the mountain, we watched an amazing sunset over the city. | Source
Source

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

This is one of the many murals on display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque where you can see thousands of pieces of pottery, jewelry, textiles, baskets, photographs, prints, paintings, and archaeological artifacts.
This is one of the many murals on display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque where you can see thousands of pieces of pottery, jewelry, textiles, baskets, photographs, prints, paintings, and archaeological artifacts.

The Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is the Most Photographed Event in the World

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The International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, held every October in Albuquerque (2020 event canceled due to COVID-19) draws visitors from around the world.  It is a sight to behold as hundreds of hot air balloons lift off in a mass ascension.Hundreds of hot air balloons drift across the skies for nine days each October. The yearly event is sponsored by Canon.A worker silhouetted against a hot air balloon that had just returned from a flight over Albuquerque.The hot air balloons floating across the mountains of Albuquerque were a breathtaking sight.After the flight, a hot air balloon must be deflated and made ready for transport.
The International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, held every October in Albuquerque (2020 event canceled due to COVID-19) draws visitors from around the world.  It is a sight to behold as hundreds of hot air balloons lift off in a mass ascension.
The International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, held every October in Albuquerque (2020 event canceled due to COVID-19) draws visitors from around the world. It is a sight to behold as hundreds of hot air balloons lift off in a mass ascension. | Source
Hundreds of hot air balloons drift across the skies for nine days each October. The yearly event is sponsored by Canon.
Hundreds of hot air balloons drift across the skies for nine days each October. The yearly event is sponsored by Canon. | Source
Source
A worker silhouetted against a hot air balloon that had just returned from a flight over Albuquerque.
A worker silhouetted against a hot air balloon that had just returned from a flight over Albuquerque. | Source
The hot air balloons floating across the mountains of Albuquerque were a breathtaking sight.
The hot air balloons floating across the mountains of Albuquerque were a breathtaking sight. | Source
After the flight, a hot air balloon must be deflated and made ready for transport.
After the flight, a hot air balloon must be deflated and made ready for transport. | Source

American International Rattlesnake Museum

Rattlesnakes - you will see plenty of them at the American International Rattlesnake Museum, and learn everything there is to know about them in their many exhibits.
Rattlesnakes - you will see plenty of them at the American International Rattlesnake Museum, and learn everything there is to know about them in their many exhibits.

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology

From the Maxwell Museum's archeological collection, which  includes approximately 70,000 individually catalogued objects, and approximately 6,000 boxes of artifacts which were recovered through field research.
From the Maxwell Museum's archeological collection, which includes approximately 70,000 individually catalogued objects, and approximately 6,000 boxes of artifacts which were recovered through field research.

The Corrales Bosque in Infrared

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Source

Albuquerque is a Photographer's Playground

Photographers love to take pictures in Albuquerque because of the many historical buildings, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the cultural events, the Sandia Mountains, the museums, the Rio Grande, and the countless arts and crafts events and festivals.

Two of my husband's favorite places to take pictures are the Corrales bosque and the trails on the Sandia Mountains (photos of both places above and below).

The La Luz Trail on the Sandia Mountains in Infrared

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The Rock Houses on the Sandia Mountains

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Photo of one of the 85-year-old stone houses built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.
Photo of one of the 85-year-old stone houses built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.
Photo of one of the 85-year-old stone houses built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. | Source

Albuquerque Museums

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
2000 Mountain Rd NW
(505) 243-7255
Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum
9201 Balloon Museum Dr NE
(505) 768-6020
J and R Vintage Auto Museum
3650 State Highway 528 NW
(505) 867-2881
Maxwell Museum-Anthropology
1 University Of New Mexico
(505) 277-4405
Meteoritics Meteorite Museum
5301 Central Ave NE
(505) 841-6450
New Mexico Holocoust and Intolerence Museum
616 Central Ave SW
(505) 247-0606
New Mexico Museum of Natural History
1801 Mountain Rd NW
(505) 841-2800
New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society
1833 8th St NW
(505) 246-2926
New Mexico Veterans' Memorial
1100 Louisiana Blvd SE
(505) 256-2042
Oro Fine Art Gallery
200 3rd St NW
(505) 243-1599
Rattlesnake Museum
202 San Felipe St NW
(505) 242-6569
Silver Family Geology Museum
221 Yale Blvd SE
(505) 277-4204
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History
601 Eubank Blvd SE
(505) 245-2137
Unser Racing Museum
1776 Montano Rd NW
(505) 341-1776

Due to COVID-19, we advise that you always contact the museums before you visit. Some are closed completely at this time and others have limited hours or are open by appointment only.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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