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Top Things To Do In Albuquerque

Albuquerque is a bustling hub of southwestern culture, cuisine, and art. Some of the top activities in the Duke City include visiting ABQ Uptown for high-end shopping and dining, strolling through the galleries of historic Old Town, and hopping between downtown bars. Albuquerque is also home to the largest hot air balloon launch in the world and the longest aerial tram in the United States. Scroll down for information about popular tourist attractions, hidden gems, and more.

Albuquerque is best known for its mountains, the annual Balloon Fiesta, and delicious New Mexican food. It’s also home to the only theatre in the state that hosts popular musicals like Wicked, the Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables. Some of the best things to do near Albuquerque include:

  • Watching the glow of a hundred hot air balloons taking off at the crack of dawn
  • Gazing down on the city from the top of Sandia Peak
  • Ordering something with Hatch green chile at Sadie’s of New Mexico
  • Experiencing a theatrical performance in Popejoy Hall on the UNM campus
  • Shopping ‘til you drop in the upscale ABQ Uptown shopping center

Albuquerque is known for being one of the most affordable getaway destinations in the Southwest. A variety of free hikes, generous happy hours, and scenic neighborhoods make it easy to experience the city’s best features without breaking the bank. A few cheap things to do near Albuquerque include:

  • Buying the carne adovada lunch special at Golden Pride Mexican Restaurant
  • Strolling through the streets and alleyways of historic Old Town
  • Ordering $1 street tacos at Papa Felipe’s on Taco Tuesday
  • Watching the sunset at Tingley Beach near the ABQ biopark
  • Listening to the New Mexico Philharmonic orchestra perform at the zoo

It’s one thing to explore a city by foot — wait until you see Albuquerque until you’ve seen it from 10,378 feet in the air. For the absolute best views of the city, take a tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak. Fans of Breaking Bad can also tour several locations from the hit show. Other popular attractions near Albuquerque include:

  • The cinnamon rolls from The Frontier Restaurant, a local favorite near UNM
  • The hot air balloon exhibits at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Museum
  • The shops and boutiques in Nob Hill, a historic neighborhood on Route 66
  • The slot machines, amphitheater, and gold course at Sandia Resort & Casino
  • The green chile cheeseburger at the Route 66 Diner
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Groupon Editors

Round up your crew and enjoy a few outdoor activities. Check out our master list things to do this summer that will suit everyone's interests.

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Albuquerque is home to a more than satisfying blend of national chains and local business. For high-profile restaurants and shopping visit the Northeast Heights near the Coronado Mall. A few other exciting activities near Albuquerque include:

  • Ordering a latte and freshly baked pastry from Satellite Café
  • Kicking back at Frank’s Chicken & Waffles with a jar of purple Kool-Aid
  • Watching the latest blockbuster at the Century Rio 24 near restaurant row
  • Getting a strike at Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl in central Albuquerque
  • Thrift store shopping at Buffalo Exchange in Nob Hill

As the largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque is home to some of the hottest nightlife in the state. Downtown Albuquerque features a string of eclectic bars. For sports and food, visit the Library. For pool and strong drinks, head to Anodyne, and for live music, stop by Sister. Other nighttime activities near Albuquerque include:

  • Listening to live music at Shady Tree Café in Nob Hill
  • Showing off your trivia skills during Geeks Who Drink at O'Neill's Pub
  • Watching some hilarious stand-up comedy at The Box in downtown Albuquerque
  • Experiencing a concert at the historic Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque
  • Dancing the night away at Effex Nightclub

Weekends are the best time to explore Albuquerque’s historic neighborhoods, locally owned restaurants, and diverse shopping centers. Some of the most popular weekend activities near Albuquerque include:

  • Starting your day with brunch and a mimosa from the Grove
  • Experiencing a full English tea time at St. James Tea Room
  • Shopping from local farmers and vendors at the Railyard Market
  • Feasting on freshly grilled meats from Tucanos Brazilian Grill in downtown Albuquerque
  • Inhaling the aromatic scent of loose leaf tea inside the NM Tea Company

Explora, one of Albuquerque’s top kid-friendly destinations, is an extension of the Natural History Museum. This educational facility features interactive exhibits about nature and science. The Nickel City arcade also offers video games, air hockey, bumper karts, and more. Some of the top family-friendly things to do near Albuquerque include:

  • Riding the roller coasters at Cliff’s Amusement Park
  • Cooling off at ABQ Surf ‘n’ Slide, the city’s only indoor water park
  • Learning about natural science at Explora, an interactive children’s museum
  • Playing laser tag in the Nickel City arcade
  • Building a Bear in the Cottonwood Mall

There’s nothing more romantic than watching the setting sun light up the sky and paint the mountains red. Albuquerque is also home to several quaint, intimate restaurants that are perfect for a date night with the person you love. Date night ideas near Albuquerque include:

  • Sharing chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot in ABQ Uptown
  • Having a romantic dinner for two at the Artichoke Café downtown
  • Experiencing a relaxing couple’s massage at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort
  • Gazing down on the city light from High Finance, a restaurant on top of Sandia Peak
  • Splitting a slice of cake at Flying Star Bakery & Café

Whether your spending time with friends, family members, or coworkers, the Duke City has numerous activities for large groups of people. Some of the best group activities near Albuquerque include:

  • Visiting the NM State Fair when it rolls around in early fall
  • Taking a Ghost Tour through historic Old Town Albuquerque
  • Working as a team to break free from the NM Escape Room in under 60 minutes
  • Watching a minor league baseball game at Isotopes Park
  • Touring the locations from the hit TV show, Breaking Bad

When you’ve had your fill of sun, head indoors for some top-notch pampering and delicious meals. Albuquerque is home to the largest aquarium in the state of New Mexico. Some of Albuquerque’s other best indoor activities include:

  • Receiving a soothing massage at Betty’s Day Spa in west Albuquerque
  • Observing marine life at the Albuquerque Aquarium
  • Listening to the New Mexico Philharmonic in the National Hispanic Cultural Center
  • Learning about local fossils and wildlife at the Natural History Museum
  • Dining on gourmet waffles at Tia B’s Waffleria

New Mexico’s state nickname is the Land of Enchantment, and Albuquerque is no exception. From the banks of the Rio Grande River to the peaks of the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque is full of outdoor activities that are both breathtaking and entertaining. Active things to see in Albuquerque include:

  • Skiing down the slopes of the Sandia Mountains
  • Hiking through the triangular peaks of Tent Rocks National Monument
  • Exploring the cool trails and streams of the Bosque
  • Trekking La Luz trail (with a large water bottle to prevent dehydration)
  • Looking into the past at the Petroglyph National Monument

In the early 1900s, thousands of tuberculosis patients were sent to Albuquerque to escape the pollution of the East Coast. Since then, one of the largest tuberculosis hospitals was transformed into Hotel Parq Central, a high-end hotel with a swanky rooftop bar. Stop by for a jello shot from a fake, plastic syringe. A few other must-see places near Albuquerque include:

  • Guava Tree Café, a small, but tasty Columbian restaurant in Nob Hill
  • Hotel Andaluz, a historic downtown hotel with a mean pineapple jalapeño margarita
  • Vernon’s Hidden Valley, a speakeasy with a secret entrance and password
  • Monte Vista Fire Station, a bar-turned firehouse with live music every weekend
  • The Cube, a BBQ restaurant with the best mac ‘n’ cheese in Albuquerque