This “15 Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico” list includes: 5 of the BEST things to do in Albuquerque, 5 things to do in Albuquerque ALONE and 5 WEIRD things to do in Albuquerque. Be sure to check out each of the 15 top things to do in Albuquerque, NM, even if you’re not traveling solo. Or even if you haven’t come to grips with your weird side… yet.
The Best Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The top things to do in Albuquerque NM include outdoor adventure, Native Puebloan arts and culture and neighborhoods alive with centuries-old traditions. Read on for the 5 Best things to do in Albuquerque—aka “the Q”—if you’re in town for a short visit.
1. Hot air balloon ride
Albuquerque is one of the best places in the world to charter a hot air balloon ride. Why?
- Over 300 days per year of optimal ballooning conditions,
- plenty of expert pilots make “The Q” their home, and
- a unique weather phenomenon.
That means there’s almost no chance of flight cancellations, which happen in other parts of the world.
That rare weather phenomenon? It’s called The Albuquerque Box, where low winds closer to the ground move in one direction, and the high-level winds move in another. The atmospheric anomaly enables balloon pilots to take off and land in the same place.
We thoroughly enjoyed being suspended under a twilight canopy with Rainbow Ryders. Snacks and champagne toasts after our touchdown were included. That makes hot air ballooning the top of the top things to do in Albuquerque NM.
2. Explore Old Town Albuquerque
Wind your way through the narrow streets that run off the plaza in this neighborhood packed with Pueblo-Spanish style architecture. In this area where the Spanish colonial town was founded over 300 years ago, you’ll find selfie prospects galore. Not to miss: the adobe walls and rustic doors of San Felipe de Neri Church. Afterward, explore +100 galleries, shops and restaurants. The charming district is an easy hop-on/hop-off the freeway. I made a habit of swinging in for lunch—and a little Turquoise shopping—as a drove across New Mexico over the years.
3. Best of ABQ City Tour - The LUX
You’ll feel like a VIP in the chauffeured black Mercedes Sprinter during this 100-minute tour that introduces you to things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The narrated expedition takes you by the best sightseeing spots in town, just to wet your whistle. All the while, your entertaining tour guide shares insider tidbits of history and culture.
Our guide, Eric, revealed hidden neighborhoods used for filming locations – including Breaking Bad. As we snapped quick pics of urban art and architectural wonders, I noted, “This tour is great for all ages.” Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory
4. Discover Native culture
Eat indigenous foods, observe traditional dances, and encounter the distinctive culture of the Puebloan people at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Make sure to experience the “We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story” display. Through the intriguing exhibit, the Pueblo people share their legacy of resilience by telling the Pueblo story in their own words. Discover traditions passed down through generations to the people you will meet there today.
5. Bicycle the Bosque River Trail
Bicycle the Bosque River Trail on cool-kid city cruiser bikes. We got the inside scoop from our knowledgeable guide, Josh Arnold, who pointed out significant landmarks along the designated bike trail that follows the Rio Grande. He also shared about “the Bosque’s” riparian ecosystem. The daily 10-mile (16 km) pedal leaves at 10 am and lasts two hours. Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals.
Looking for something a little more “edgy?” Then don’t miss the Weird Things to Do in Albuquerque further down the page.
Things to do in Albuquerque alone
Traveling solo? Redbook named Albuquerque in their list of destinations for solo women travelers. Here’s my list of things to do in Albuquerque alone:
6. Be mesmerized by Flamenco
Sample tapas, drink Spanish wine, and be mesmerized by flamenco singers, guitarist and dancers at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque. This is a perfect solo outing because the audience is so focused on the dramatic performance that it would be rude to converse with a table buddy.
7. Explore Nob Hill
Wander Nob Hill—on Central Avenue—for its galleries, quirky shops and hip restaurants. The walkable neighborhood has +50 eateries in a one-mile radius. There’s also film and live theatre venues. You get the picture. Perfect thing to do in Albuquerque alone.
8. Taste New Mexican Wine
Sometimes it’s a bit uncomfortable for solo travelers to enter winetasting rooms full of circles of chums who are obviously “having a good time.” The cure? Head to Crafted Cafe in Hotel Chaco. The upscale atmosphere at the high design tasting room keeps everything civilized. What’s more, warm, friendly pourers bring guests together in conversation while serving New Mexico-made wines and spirits.
9. Hike to Petroglyphs
See almost 300 petroglyphs while hiking the 2.2-mile Rinconada Canyon Loop Trail at Petroglyph National Monument. Fascinated by ancient Puebloan parrot symbols, I’m partial to Boca Negra Canyon Trail that is shorter but offers a parrot petroglyph. Maps, instructions for hiking prep, information about weather conditions, and friendly personnel found at National Parks and Monuments make me feel safe as a solo traveler. Off the beaten path yet a rewarding thing to do in Albuquerque alone.
10. Investigate Albuquerque’s Museum District
Explore Albuquerque’s Museum District with Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, Explora and the American International Rattlesnake Museum. A bit further away is one of my favorites, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.
Weird things to do in Albuquerque New Mexico
Of the top things to do in Albuquerque NM, here are some of the most bizarre. My pick for five weird things to do in Albuquerque include:
11. Listen for unearthly screams and growls
Listen for unearthly screams and growls of Tasmanian devils feeding at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. ALB BioPark is only one of four zoos in the US permitted to house the fiendish creatures. You’ll find them in the Australian section of the zoo where you can do a walkabout through the outback to see kookaburras, kangaroos and wombats. Now that IS a weird thing to do in Albuquerque.
12. Snake phobias cured
Get creeped out at the largest collection of species of live rattlesnakes in the world. The American International Rattlesnake Museum promises that “Myths are explored, phobias cured, and mysteries revealed.” Are you “UNSTOPPABLE” enough to earn the museum’s Certificate of Bravery?
13. Harmony Highway
Turn your car tires into musical instruments when you drive Historic Route 66 to the Musical Highway. Oddly enough, when you drive 45 miles per hour, vibrations from rumble strips play America the Beautiful. Now THAT is a weird thing to do in Albuquerque, or anywhere else for that matter. Take I-40 east of town to Exit 170. Go east on Route 333/Old Route 66 to mile markers 4-5.
14. Pay your respects to deceased Breaking Bad character
Another weird thing to do in Albuquerque is to visit the Walter White gravesite. Walter White is the fictitious character of “Breaking Bad” who lived in Albuquerque. Observe the fictional meth-cooker’s granite headstone at Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Fans moved the mock grave of White (played by actor Bryan Cranston) to the restaurant after locals complained of increased traffic at its original place of rest, Albuquerque’s Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery.
15. Wild and Wacky Breaking Bad RV Tours
If visiting a bogus gravesite isn’t weird enough for you, then check out the wild and wacky Breaking Bad RV Tours. You ride in a vintage RV, like the one in the show, to visit 17 of the most famous filming locations. (Are we there yet?) UNSTOPPABLE tip: During this time of Coronavirus, you can take the tour virtually online or via an app.
What would YOU add to this “Weird Things to Do in Albuquerque” list? I’d love to hear, so please add a comment below.
Next: Where to Eat in Albuquerque
As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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