Today’s Destination Dash features Albuquerque, New Mexico, a place that always surprises me. It is easy to navigate, has plenty to do for people across all demographics, and features art, history, science, archaeology, and plenty of outdoor opportunities. I’ve had the chance to visit ABQ (the airport code) for client business many times and have always been lucky to have time to explore. This list represents my ‘must-do’ activities for those of you who have limited time to visit. All of these could be accomplished in one day, assuming you are full of energy and well-nourished on strong coffee (because WHY wouldn’t you want to fuel up with coffee?? Ya weirdo!).
Name: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Population: 557,169 (2014 est.)
Flight Time: from LAX, 1 hr 55 minutes
Etymology of the name: Version 1: albus quercus meaning “white oak” in honor of Spanish Duke of Albuquerque. Version 2: the Galician word albaricoque, meaning “apricot”. The apricot was brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers. Supposedly, the original settlement was established near an apricot tree and became known as La Ciudad de Albaricoque. As frontiersmen were unable to correctly pronounce the Galician word, it became corrupted to “Albuquerque.
Special Note: This is where Bugs Bunny should have taken a left turn in 1945. 😁
My top 5 things to do in Albuquerque:
1. Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Their mission statement says it all: “To preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture and to advance understanding by presenting with dignity and respect,
the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico”.
Recommended time – 2 hours.
2. For something completely different….visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. Here you can learn about the Atomic Age and the influence of nuclear energy on the past, present, and future. A perfect place to take those interested in science, aviation, and history. If you have children, check out the kid-specific exhibits.
Recommended time – 2 hours.
3. Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden – If you only one day in ABQ, make this one of your destinations! They have a zoo, a botanic garden, a aquarium, and facilities for fishing and boating. Events throughout the year, family-friendly, and easily accessible. If that doesn’t convince you, this place was names as one of the top 12 botanic gardens in the country by the Travel Channel!
Recommended time – 2 hours or more.
4. Petroglyph National Monument – For the outdoorsy among you, this place offers a great place to stretch your legs and see ruins, artifacts, and petroglyphs. It is one of my favorite places in Albuquerque. Start your visit at the Visitor’s Center to get an overview of the locale, maps, and plan your day.
Recommended time – at least 2 hours.
5. Old Town Albuquerque – Beyond the Indian Pueblo center, it is a bit touristy here, but makes for a great place to have a bite to eat, window shop and get a sense of the culture of the area. A highlight for me is the San Felipe de Neri Church, dating back to 1706 (current version built in 1793).
Recommended time – 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
There is so much more to do in ABQ, including hiking the Sandia Peak, taking the tram over the same, the international hot air balloon festival, taking in a minor league baseball game, and more. Hopefully, this will get your planning in motion. Albuquerque makes a great destination for a weekend or longer, so consider adding it to your trip list.