15 Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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.

AS WITH ANY TRAVEL, CHECK WITH STATE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME.

The Best Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Photo montage of young woman in front of hot air balloons, Unstoppable Stacey on bike, Native people dancing in traditional garb, close up of ancient pottery, profile of Sandia Mountains and lettering the reads "15 Things to do in Albuquerque"
The Best Things to do in Albuquerque, NM

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

Colorful deflating balloon looking up at its center - blue sky shows through
Photo by UNSTOPPABLE Stacey author of ‘20 Best Places to Visit in 2020.’

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

Wandering through Old Town is one of the top things to do in Albuquerque NM. Visit Albuquerque photo.

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

Mural on side of one story long building. Mural depicts medical practices of ancient people
View urban art and filming locations during The LUX “Best of ABQ City Tour,” one of the best things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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

4 people of Zuni dance in traditional regalia in the sandy dance circle at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center one of the best things to do in Albuquerque New Mexico.
Zuni dancers perform the white buffalo dance at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Experiencing Native culture is one of the top things to do in Albuquerque, NM

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

UNSTOPPABLE Stacey bikes “The Bosque.” One of the best things to do in Albuquerque

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

Watching flamenco, a Spanish pastime and one of the things to do in Albuquerque New Mexico. Woman in red dress with black lace trim turns gracefully
Watching flamenco at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque is a perfect thing to do in Albuquerque alone. Visit Albuquerque photo.
Bartender with big smile stands behind bar with graphic image of woman on wall that seems to be looking over his shoulder. 3 wine glasses are on bar fortastings - one of the things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Things to do in Albuquerque alone: Taste the wines of New Mexico at Craf+ed, a hip new bar located in Hotel Chaco.

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 Craf+ed 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

close up of Tasmanian devil - a small animal that looks a bit like a young Black bear with ugly white fangs. things to do in Albuquerque New Mexico.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of only four places in the US where you can see Tasmanian devils. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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

Graphic image with two photos: one of young woman looking rising hot air balloona at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, one of 15 things to do in ALB
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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.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, she will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this travel blog active. Thanks for reading.

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