Why Visit Albuquerque:
New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. It truly is a beautiful place, and much of that name comes from what Albuquerque has to offer. Whether you want to gaze at the sunset, or the pink watermelon mountains, ride the tram, or watch a hot air balloon take off, you won’t be disappointed with the amount of enchantment you’ll find when you visit Albuquerque.
All of these beautiful things will make for a fantastic twenty four hour date! So grab your loved one and schedule a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. By the end of this article, you’ll be dying to visit the Land of Enchantment!
What this date will include:
In order to do all these fun things, plan to arrive in Albuquerque between October 5th and October 13th. That’s when the Balloon Fiesta happens annually. This date will include a tram ride, a beautiful sunset, hot air balloons, green Chili, your choice of a hike, dinner at the top of a mountain, and the zoo.
Where to stay in Albuquerque
Whether you stay in a Marriott hotel, or in a small Airbnb you have plenty of options. Right by the airport, there are Airbnb's for as low as $65/night. Your 24hr date will be spread all over Albuquerque, so it really doesn’t matter where you stay.
The Balloon Fiesta: The best time to visit New Mexico
You’ll start your 24hr date by waking up early and heading to Balloon Fiesta Park. And when I say early, I mean early. The event starts as early as 5:45am, but the mass ascension of balloons is at 7am. So go to bed early the night before and prepare for a stunning experience at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Fiesta is an incredible event that happens annually in Albuquerque. Last year, they celebrated the 51st annual fiesta with 546 registered balloons, and a combined attendance of 955,703 over the course of the event. For breakfast, there will be plenty of vendors at the event for you to choose from. You can’t go wrong!
The Albuquerque Zoo:
One of my favorite things about Albuquerque is the zoo. It is part of the ABQ Bio Park which also includes an aquarium, a botanic garden, and fishing. You can’t go wrong with any of these either if you’d prefer one over the zoo. Or do them all!
Some of the animals at the zoo include flamingos, Jaguars, Lions, Monkeys, elephants, zebras, hippos, polar bears, kangaroos, king penguins, etc. With all these animals you’ll love your time at the zoo.
Lunch at Blake’s Lotaburger:
By the time you finish at the zoo, you’ll be ready for lunch. Eat a lot because next on the itinerary is a hike up the mountain. My top recommendation for lunch is to grab green chile cheeseburgers at Blake’s Lotaburger. Green Chile is a New Mexico tradition that is unmatched. You can’t visit New Mexico without trying Green Chile. I promise, you won’t be disappointed
The Best Hikes Near Albuquerque
This is where you have lots of options. Do you want a long hike, a short hike, a hard hike, or an easier hike? There are more than 50 hikes in the Sandia Mountains that you can do. I’ll tell you about four of my favorites.
After your hike, the next item on the itinerary is riding the tram. You can either hike to the tram, or ride the tram both ways. Two of these four trails can take you to the top of the mountain where the tram is, the other two won’t.
La Luz: A trail that will take you directly to the tram. It is a 7.7 mile hike to the top of the mountain. This trail is probably the most popular hike in the Sandia mountains, and the most well known. Ask anyone in Albuquerque what hike to do and they will recommend La Luz.
The Pino: trail is another one that can take you all the way to the tram. This is my favorite. If you hike to the Tram, it will be about 8 miles total. I love this hike because it has plenty of trees and vegetation, more than La Luz does. This makes it a beautiful trail.
Embudito: This is a great trail if you just want to hike for a little bit and turn back. It starts in the open space area of the mountain and then brings you into the more vegetated area. You can stay on this trail for as long or as little amount of time as you’d like.
Three guns trailhead: Also known as Tres Pistoles, this trail intersects with the Embudito trail. It is a shorter hike, about 4.1 miles, but very beautiful. My friends and I have hiked this trail time and time again.
You can’t visit Albuquerque without hiking in the Sandia Mountains.
The Albuquerque Tramway
After your hike, it's time to ride the tram! Albuquerque has the longest tramway in the world that travels above a beautiful canyon. You have to get tickets and ride the tram after your hike. If you’ve hiked to the top then ride the tram down. If you picked a different hike, then you get to ride the tram up and down.
Dinner At 10,000 Feet!:
The best part of the Tram is that there is a restaurant at the top of the mountain. The Sandia Mountain is 10,300 ft high, which is incredible. The restaurant by the tram picked a clever name- Ten3. They have delicious food.
An Enchanting, New Mexico Sunset:
After dinner, enjoy watching the sunset at the top of the mountain. It is beautiful. When you’ve completed the evening, go home for the night. You’ve had a long day. Enjoy a movie on the couch at your cozy airbnb or hotel. Stay another day or fly home in the morning! Either way, you’ve just enjoyed your 24 hr date in Albuquerque, New Mexico.