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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Warren

Beyond the tourist traps: Weekend Travel Guide to Albuquerque

Not all vacations have to be one site after another, sometimes you just need a vacation where you take your time to embrace your destination and you get to enjoy everything a little bit more! Spending a weekend in Albuquerque would serve just that!


Foundation in Old Town Albuquerque


Albuquerque Day 1:

Breakfast. Start your morning with a delicious breakfast at the Central Grill & Coffee House. They have a really good breakfast selection. That fuels your morning adventure. The breakfast selection is vast! Make sure you eat well you will need it.


Hike the Sandia Mountains Now it is time to choose your adventure. The Sandia Mountains is managed by the US Forest Service so there are a lot of trails that you can pick to start your adventure. There are a lot of trails that you can pick in the Sandia Mountains but I recommend starting at the Sandia Peak Tramway. I recommend buying a ticket in advance in case it gets busy you don't want to be in line for a long time. You can either hike to the top or ride the tramway. I rode the tramway because we were warned that there was still snow at the peak and I was not dressed for snow. You can also ride the tramway to the top and hike down... Choose your adventure


Tramway Ride in Sandia Mountain


Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway. The Sandia Peak Tramway provides a panoramic view unlike any other. As the world's longest aerial tramway, it took me on a mesmerizing journey over deep canyons and rocky cliffs, showcasing the vastness of the New Mexican landscape. The transition from the desert floor to the alpine environment was an exciting sight to behold, with vegetation changing from cacti to pine trees as we ascended. A bonus feature is that there is a tramway tour guide that points out interesting facts as you descend to the mountain


Views from the Tram Ride in Sandia Mountain


Upon reaching the summit, which sits at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, I was greeted by cool mountain air and expansive vistas stretching across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.


Views from the tram ride to Sandia Mountain

When I got to the top I took one of the trails to the Kiwanis Cabin Interpretive Site. I thought a one-mile hike was not a big deal... wrong! There was ice all over and I again was not ready for the ice. The views however were worth it!


Views from the tram ride to Sandia Mountain


Hungry for lunch? After hiking a couple of trals you might be ready for lunch or refreshments. You can head to Ten3 which is a restaurant at the top of the mountain. You can just come to the top and sit at the restaurant and enjoy some drinks because the restaurant offers some excellent views in a weather-controlled environment.


After your morning adventure, it is probably now a good time to come back to your hotel to chill and relax a bit before your afternoon to evening adventure.


Drinks and Dinner with a view. A highly recommended venue Hotel Chaco offers one of the best views of the city. Whether you want just drinks or you are ready for dinner. Hotel Chaco has something for you.


Go to a ghost tour. You can find a ghost tour at Viator.com that works out for your schedule but they usually start around 8:00 pm. The Old Town Ghost tour is a must. It is a really interesting way to get to know the city. It is good to do this on day 1 because you get the history of the city right at the beginning... there might be some alleyway that you would want to avoid moving forward...


Ghost Tour in Old Town Albuquerque


Albuquerque Day 2:

Eat at Albuquerque Breakfast Institution. The Range is another highly recommended place that you can hit up for breakfast. It is another day of adventure so it is good to fuel up for the day.


Look for Petroglyphs. Although the hike in Sandia Mountain is not the most rigorous hike you might not want to tackle heights for 2 days in a row. I recommend visiting the Petroglyph National Monument. One thing to remember about visiting is that NONE of the trailheads that would allow you to see petroglyphs is connected to the visitor center. All of them involve a drive. So visit their website pick the trail you prefer and head to that trailhead unless you just want to visit the visitor center. BONUS: They allow dogs on their trails so if you have a dog it might be worthwhile to visit the visitor center to get a Bark Ranger badge


Petroglyphs in the Petroglyphs National Monument


Tiny Grocer for lunch. The unimposing Tiny Grocer is a farm-to-table spot that is an awesome stop after your Petroglyphs adventure. The cafe serves delicious sandwiches and salads to satisfy anyone's hunger. If you are looking to refill any provisions the Tiny Grocer has you covered


Take in Some History at the Albuquerque Museum. The Albuquerque Museum is like a cool mashup of art, culture, and history all in one spot. You can wander through time with their collection—from ancient relics to super modern stuff, it’s a trip. They’ve got this rad mix of Native American art and old-school treasures that give you a real feel for Albuquerque's story. Plus, the outdoor sculpture garden is chill; perfect for a lazy afternoon stroll. Whether you're a history geek or just into checking out awesome art, the Albuquerque Museum is a vibe you don’t want to miss.


Dinner with an Interesting Past. I highly recommend the High Noon Restaurant and Salon for dinner. The food is good but that is just part of the charm. First opened in July 1974, the structure, is believed to have been built as a home between 1750 and 1785. Over the years, it's been rumored to have served as a gambling parlor and a brothel. In the late 1960s, two rooms were added, transforming it into a space for a Spanish furniture maker and a retail store. Before High Noon's occupancy, the building was used as an apartment, with its final resident being a Catholic nun.


High Noon Restaurant and Salon entrance


Exploring Albuquerque for a weekend getaway over these two days has been an eye-opening experience. From soaring over the Sandia Mountains to uncovering petroglyphs and delving into the city's vibrant history at the Albuquerque Museum, each moment has been a treasure trove of discovery. And let's not forget the incredible dining spots like High Noon with its intriguing past. Sometimes, the best vacations are the ones where you take your time to soak it all in. Here's to embracing every adventure and savoring every moment in this captivating city!


So if you are looking for a weekend travel guide to Albuquerque I hope you consider this itinerary! TTYL

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