Native American–Themed Lodge in Mountain Foothills
Hints of ancient indigenous culture are still evident throughout New Mexico; cliff dwellings and etched rocks still stand, and in Albuquerque, feast-day celebrations honor Native American ancestors with festive dances in colorful vestments. Nativo Lodge looks to immerse its visitors in the area's rich heritage throughout their stay: in the two-tiered lobby, Navajo rugs with geometrical patterns flank paneling with hand-carved American Indian symbols. River rocks jut out of the walls and bar in the lounge area, and guests gather outside beneath a teepee for special events and regular hookah parties. Private balconies overlook the city or nearby Sandia Mountains in each guest room, and historical Native American photographs bedeck the walls alongside hanging woven baskets and framed dream catchers. All rooms are pet-friendly. At Nativo Lodge's Spirit Wind's Café, chefs craft a southwestern-style menu using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Amid pillars depicting scenes from Native American lore, nosh on the included breakfast in the morning and appetizers such as blue-corn-chip nachos during lunch or dinner.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Pedestrian-Friendly Town with New Mexico’s Flagship University
Located about 65 miles southwest of Santa Fe, Albuquerque is neatly divided by the Rio Grande. On the river’s east side, the University of New Mexico features a collection of Pueblo Revival buildings, which makes for a scenic stroll. To delve into the city’s past, wander the pedestrian-friendly streets of Historic Old Town Albuquerque, home to more than 150 stores and art galleries as well as the iconic 18th-century San Felipe de Neri Parish.
On the north side of town, the 360-acre Balloon Fiesta Park is a popular site for launching hot-air balloons, which use the 47-acre Northern Field as a bird’s-eye landmark. All year round, you can see the colorful balloons rising high into the air, whether you’re practicing golf shots on the park's course or hiking along its neatly gardened trails.