I recently traveled to Albuquerque and fell in love. Besides having an incredibly annoying name to type, Albuquerque (can we please just call it ABQ from now on, thanks) had so many gems. Being the not so snobby New Yorker that I am, it’s natural to have low expectations when going elsewhere in the U.S. and ABQ was no different, especially given the fact that it isn’t the most sought after city in terms of bucket list travel. But nontheless, ABQ should not be slept on, and here is why.
- New Mexican Cuisine. You knew food was going to be somewhere on the list, so let’s get on with it. New Mexican food (not to be confused with Mexican food) did not disappoint, and I ate it twice a day for five days straight. New Mexican food is different from Mexican food because it is a blend of Mexican, Native American Indian, and Spanish cuisine. From tacos and nachos to enchiladas and everything in between, I was in heaven. Every restaurant I ate at (Tomasita’s, Sadie’s, El Pinto, and Church Street Cafe, to name a few) offered a different twist on New Mexican cuisine that was down right delicious. Beware that you will have to decide whether you are a green chili person, or a red chili person–I am green! Oh, and if you ever visit, be sure to have some sopapillas and New Mexico Piñon Coffee.
- The Weather.
I mean, what’s not to love
about perfectly blue skies and sunshine. Top that off with no humidity (hello good hair days) and you’ve really got something! I went to ABQ in mid-September, so the super hot weather was tapering off, giving me the most perfect weather I’ve ever experienced. I will say, beware of the altitude! ABQ is about 5,000 ft above sea level. I’ve lived on Long Island for most of my life, which is at sea level and humid, so needless to say I felt pretty breathless for the first few days while getting acclimated to the dry climate and high altitude. BUT, the weather made for great outdoor activities, like visiting the Old Town and hiking to the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park.
- The Sandia Mountains. You literally cannot miss it, just look east and BAM. As a lover of all things untouched by humans, I have become obsessed with mountains after visiting NM. The Sandia mountain range was breathtaking, and it was everywhere! I really don’t know how people get any work done
with that beauty right outside their office windows. Side note, I was told there are a lot of car accidents in ABQ, and I’ve got a feeling it’s because people can’t stop staring at the mountain. At the foothills, the grandiosity of the Sandia blew me away. If you ever visit ABQ, be sure to ride the Sandia Peak Tramway up the mountain and take in the whole city–which I highly recommend doing at sunset! There is even a restaurant at the top with a bar, although drinking too much at 10,378 ft might not be the most practical idea.
- The Views. I have lived in the Northeast my whole life and one thing I realized after visiting ABQ is that in the Northeast, you never ever get to see the horizon, unless you live near the beach, visit the observatory of your skyscraper of choice or hike up to the very top of your mountain range of choice. Back home, when not at the beach, I can only look out a few feet before my view is obstructed by a series of trees or other nonsense. In ABQ, you can see for miles without even having to be up on the mountain! You can see the sunset, the hills, volcanoes, hot air balloons, and other sites in the distance from the ground. I guess this can be attributed to the altitude of the city, but the feeling you get when you can see past all the clutter (i.e. trees, buildings, crowds of people *eye roll*) is amazing and freeing. I felt so calm and relaxed, which is probably why I visit the beach often at home–to see that the world does not end at my city limits and to crave to see more of that world.
The first photo below is a random photo taken from the side of the road and the second is a photo of the sunset from the Sandia Peak.
Although ABQ might not be your place of choice to visit (hell, I only went there for work), I highly recommend it and I feel silly that I even doubted its beauty and full range of things to do and sites to see. Don’t sleep on ABQ, it’s one of my favorites!