Planning a solo trip to Albuquerque? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Located in New Mexico, with a population of about 558,000 across 181 sq. miles.
- The founding of Albuquerque predates the founding of the United States by 70 years.
- Albuquerque is full of arts and culture! You can find over 300 art events, businesses, and institutions, including: music, visual art, dance, and film.
- Nicknames: Duke City, Burque, A.B.Q.
- Locals are called “Albuquerquean” and “Burquenos.”
- Currency: US Dollar (USD).
- Spoken languages: officially, English. Unofficially, Spanish.
- Best time to visit: from March to May, and from September to November (arid climate).
- Arriving via airport: taxis, shuttles, and buses are available from Albuquerque International Sunport to the city. As the Sunport services Santa Fe, Socorro, Las Vegas (New Mexico), and beyond, there is no flat rate for taxis to and from the airport. However, the minimum for every ride originating at the Sunport is $15.
WHERE TO STAY
- Downtown, or near Old Town Plaza are popular areas to stay for visitors.
- For cheaper hotels, head towards midtown.
- ABQ RIDE is the city’s transit system, and operates throughout all of Albuquerque between 5 AM and 10 PM. Fares are $1 for adults, and $2 for a day pass. Students and seniors are eligible for discounted fares ($0.35). All fares must be paid with cash.
- Taxis are all over Albuquerque, and it’s relatively easy to find one anywhere downtown, especially on Central, Menaul, Eubank, or around the University of New Mexico. Albuquerque Taxi can be reached at 505 307-9209.
- Note: In Albuquerque, usage of ZipCar is restricted to students or faculty at the University of New Mexico, or to Albuquerque residents signed up as community members. Visitors should look into alternative rental services and companies.
- Drinking age is 21, last call is 1:30 AM.
- College scene: The area around the University of New Mexico – particularly Central and Campus Blvd.
- Upscale scene: Nob Hill, Downtown, North Valley, and East Side.
- Hipster scene: Hipsters flock to Nob Hill.
- Great bars for solo travelers: Sister (bar), Gecko’s Nob Hill, O’Niell’s (Irish pub), Two Fools Tavern, Marble Brewery, Launchpad (live music).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Petroglyph National Monument: Located on the western outskirts of Albuquerque, this national monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, with symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native American settlers 400 to 700 years ago.
- KiMo Theatre. This Art Deco Pueblo Revival theatre was built in 1927, and is still in use today, featuring a variety of film, musical, and theatre shows.
- The Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque is the second longest passenger tramway in the world.
- For the adventurous and seasoned hiker, the TWA Canyon may be interesting to explore. The site of a plane crash in the Sandia Mountains in 1955, it is the location of a steep trail (officially called Domingo Baca Trail #230). Estimated time: 1 hour.
- Go for a stroll through Old Town Plaza, founded in 1706. Take note of the buildings which look very much like they did centuries ago.
- Paseo del Bosque. Known simply as “The Bosque” to locals, Paseo del Bosque is one of the premier walking and biking trails in the southwest. The Bosque winds through the heart of Albuquerque, and is dotted with public art at Central Avenue, Tingley Beach, and the intersection of Coors and Bosque Meadows Road.
- Walk the old Route 66 and enjoy the interesting architecture, cute shops shops, and historic buildings. Start at the Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument, and end at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens.
- Chili reigns supreme in New Mexico, and Albuquerque is no exception. In restaurants you will often be asked: “Red, Green, or Christmas?” Christmas Chile means a mix of half green chili, half red chili.
- Drink lots of water and carry moisturizer. It is very easy to become dehydrated.
- The Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest balloon festival – every October, the sky above Albuquerque is dotted with over 500 magnificent hot air balloons. Over 800,000 spectators attend the festival.
- Albuquerque is divided into quadrants, making navigation easier. Central Avenue is the north-south division, and the BNSF Railroad is the east-west division.
- The Gathering of Nations is a Native American Powwow held every fourth weekend of April. Over 500 Native American tribes travel to Albuquerque – everybody is welcome to attend the dances, competitions, and Indian Trader’s Market.
- Great restaurants to for solo travelers: Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza, Laguna Burger, Budai (Taiwanese), Bento Sushi, Sakura Sushi, Thai Vegan, The Artichoke Cafe ($$$), and Campo at Los Poblanos ($$$ – make reservations).
- Where to find good cheap eats: Barbacoa El Primo, El Kochi Loco, Guava Tree Cafe, Frontier Restaurant, and Coda Bakery (Vietnamese sandwiches). Also, check out Talin Market World Food Fare (great food deals inside). Vegan option: vegan tacos at El Cotorro.
- Dangerous areas: while the city is generally safe, there are a few rough neighborhoods to avoid at night. These are the intersections of Lomas & Louisiana, Coronado Loop & Coronado Mal, Lamonica Road & Doris Drive, and Coal & Jackson.
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days