Planning Your Time
Because Albuquerque’s major historic attractions are few, the city really fares best as the primary focus of a trip, when you have time to enjoy the natural setting and the people. Ideally, you would spend a leisurely week here soaking up a little Route 66 neon, enjoying the downtown entertainment, hiking in the Sandias, taking scenic drives, and bicycling along the Rio Grande.
But given the rich history and scenic splendor farther north, it is difficult to recommend spending more than a couple of days in Albuquerque if you’re also planning to visit Santa Fe and Taos in a limited time. In this case, you’ll probably want to allocate only a couple of days, ideally on your way out, as Albuquerque’s modern, get-real attitude is best appreciated after you’ve been in the adobe dreamland of Santa Fe for a bit.
Spend a day driving west toAcoma Pueblo, then the next relaxing and knocking around Old Town and the shops in Nob Hill. Or if you prefer a last dose of open sky, take the tramway up to Sandia Peak and hike along the crest trail—at the end of your trip, you’ll be able to handle the elevation with no problem.
Any time of year is enjoyable in the city proper—even the winters are quite mild in the basin around the river, though the Sandias start getting snow in December. As elsewhere, summer heat is usually broken by heavy afternoon rainstorms. And because Albuquerque is top on tourists’ lists, there’s rarely a time when major attractions are unpleasantly mobbed. Hotel prices are highest in summer but not a dramatic hike from low-season rates.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition