Albuquerque: just another dot on a map, or something more? The answer to that question depends entirely upon the visitor. Where some see only a mid-sized city in the United States, others see a sprawling metropolis that boasts such national wonders as the Sandia Mountains, the Rio Grande, and the Petroglyph National Monument as a backdrop against the wide open sky. Not necessarily as popular as Santa Fe when it comes to tourism, Albuquerque is nevertheless one of New Mexico's hot-spots, and quite possibly one of the best-kept secrets in the state. From the Albuquerque Biological Park to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to the American International Rattlesnake Museum or the Meteorite and Geology Museums, there is plenty to accomplish in any given trip. Much more than most people give the city credit for.
Albuquerque was initially founded in 1706 as a Spanish outpost. The Old Town sections of the city contain a wide array of colonial architecture and historical references dating back to the old Spanish way of life and is definitely the most historical section of the city, blending 18th century architecture with modernity. There are plenty of museums scattered throughout the city, from the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, but the city also has access to some of the most majestic landscapes in the United States. The Sandia Mountains are an absolute paradise for hikers, especially during the summer months, while in the winter Sandia Peak turns into a ski slope. Both the Rio Grande Nature Center and the Rio Grande Valley State Park are close by, with the latter following the banks of the Rio Grande as it flows through Albuquerque, giving residents access to cottonwood forests, trails and parks, as well as paved biking and hiking trails. All in all, Albuquerque is one of the most picturesque New Mexico towns you could find, and it’s a pleasant change of pace from the more frantic Santa Fe.
Night life in Albuquerque centers around two distinct locations. Downtown/University and Knob Hill, both are located along Central Ave, Albuquerque's main street and part of Route 66.