Come visit New Mexico

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Come visit New Mexico

A visit to the state of New Mexico can include sights such as geological formations millions of years old, Native American and colonial Spanish sites hundreds of years old, and centers important to the beginning of the Atomic Age just decades ago.

Albuquerque is the largest city in the state, with a population of about 558,000. Its four-county Metropolitan Statistical Area is home to around 900,000. It lies at an elevation ranging from 4,500 feet (1,370 meters) in the Rio Grande Valley to 6,500 feet (1,980 meters) in the Sandia Mountain foothills. Sandia Crest looms over the city at 10,678 feet (3,255 meters).

The high altitude means thinner air, so if you are traveling from significantly lower levels you could feel light-headed for the first couple of days. The city lies in a high desert region, so the humidity is low and sunshine is high. Make sure you have plenty of drinking water and sunscreen when you go out.

Albuquerque can have some very hot days in the summer and some rather cold days in the winter, but in general the climate is pleasant. For climate details see the Albuquerque Visitors Bureau pages.

Here are some sights you might want to see if you come to visit us:

Albuquerque and nearby:

Historic Old Town. The Old Town plaza is surrounded by about 10 blocks of historic adobe buildings, with shops, restaurants and a historic church, as well as the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Sandia Peak Tramway
Sandia Peak Tramway

Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway. North America’s longest aerial tramway stretches from the edge of the city to the crestline of the Sandias.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Called the gateway to the 19 pueblos of New Mexico, the center aims to preserve and advance understanding of Pueblo culture.

National Hispanic Cultural Center. This eclectic center encompasses a museum, venues for a variety of performances, educational facilities and more.

Petroglyph National Monument. This multi-site monument protects tens of thousands of designs and symbols carved into volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. An intriguing place to learn the story of the Atomic Age.

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. This university museum features exhibits relating to cultures around the world, with a special emphasis on the cultural heritage of the Southwest.

Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. Learn the history of hot-air ballooning at the home of “the world’s premier balloon event.”

Albuquerque Biopark. Home to Albuquerque’s botanic garden, aquarium and Rio Grande Zoo.

Turquoise Museum. Delve into the rich history of turquoise at this museum.

Coronado Historic Site. This marks where the explorer Coronado entered the Rio Grande Valley in 1540. It also holds the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo.

Gutierrez-Hubbell House. This house, built in the mid-1800s, has served as a private residence, trading post and stagecoach shop.

Along Central Avenue in Nob Hill
Along Central Avenue in Nob Hill

Historic Nob Hill and Route 66. Nob Hill, a fashionable and fun neighborhood known for its eclectic shopping, sits on the former path of Route 66, the historic road from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Kimo Theatre. This “Pueblo Deco” style facility in a pleasure to look at and still serves as an active theater.

Unser Racing Museum. Here visitors are immersed in the world of auto racing through a multi-dimensional experience.

Casa San Ysidro. This has been called “a living gem of history for the Spanish and Mexico Southwest.”

Wine tours. New Mexico is the oldest wine-growing region in the United States, and the tradition continues.

Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Acoma

Note to prospective Friendship Force ambassadors: These locations are with an hour or two of Albuquerque and can be done singly as day trips, or in combination with an overnight stay.

Acoma Pueblo (Sky City). This pueblo atop a 367-foot-high mesa is known as the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America.

Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway. A historic and picturesque road to Bandelier and Los Alamos. Includes Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Historic Site and more.

Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument. Dwellings carved into soft rock cliffs, masonry walls and petroglyphs are evidence of a human presence going back 11,000 years.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Features cone-shaped tent rock formations created by volcanic eruptions 6 million to 7 million years ago.

Downtown Los Alamos. Includes the Bradbury Science Museum (the museum of Los Alamos National Laboratory), the Los Alamos Historical Museum and Fuller Lodge.

Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. A historic and picturesque route between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Includes the town of Madrid, Tinkertown Museum, Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site and more.

Palace of the Governors and historic Santa Fe Plaza. Originally Spain’s seat of government for the region, the palace is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. Now a museum, it faces the historic plaza and its surrounding shops and restaurants.

Santa Fe architecture
Santa Fe architecture

Santa Fe museums and galleries. The city’s museums include New Mexico History Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and Harrell House of Natural Oddities Bug Museum. The city also is home to more than 250 art galleries.

Loretto Chapel. An 1878 Gothic-Revival-style chapel in Santa Fe that houses the renowned Miraculous Staircase.

San Miguel Mission. This Spanish Colonial mission in Santa Fe is considered to be the United States’ oldest church in continuous use.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. One of Santa Fe’s most celebrated landmarks.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas. A living museum that has preserved the Spanish colonial and territorial way of life on a 200-acre ranch near Santa Fe.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. This central New Mexico site is best known for the thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl that winter there each year.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. Three sites in the Manzano mountains that offer a glimpse into the early interactions of the Pueblo people and Spanish missionaries.

Elsewhere in New Mexico

Note to prospective Friendship Force ambassadors: Most of these locations are farther from Albuquerque and would require special arrangements and overnight stays.

Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch
Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch

Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch. These areas made famous by artist Georgia O’Keeffe are also known for dramatic scenery and unique destinations.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park. A thousand years ago this was the ceremonial, administrative, and economic center of northwest New Mexico and surrounding areas.  Today it has been called “the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico.”

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. A narrow-gauge train ride through the scenic hills of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. This classy northern New Mexico features hot springs that have drawn humans for hundreds or even thousands of years.

White Sands National Monument. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles of southern New Mexico.

VLA — the Very Large Array. Twenty-seven large radio antennas make up one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories. In central New Mexico.