14 Things that Make Albuquerque Secretly Cool
According to the Huffington Post, Albuquerque is one of 5 secretly cool cities in the United States. Enjoy the sites and activities while you're in town with these recommendations from the Local Program Committee.
- Gatos y Galletas: Albuquerque now has one thing in common with Tokyo: a cat cafe! It's about 1 mile easton Central Avenue. Have lunch with a friendly rescue kitty on your lap. There's also afeline-free eating area.
- ABQ Biopark: Enjoy fun, educational experiences at the Zoo, Botanic Garden, Tingley Beach, and Aquarium. Runners will appreciateTingley Beach for an early morning run along the Rio Grande Bosque—the world's longest cottonwood forest. Learn more at https://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/biopark.
- American International Rattlesnake Museum: This animal conservation museum houses the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. In fact, it hosts more species than the Bronx Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, the National Zoo, the Denver Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo, all combined! This is an exciting and educational experience for the entire family. Learn more at www.rattlesnakes.com.
- University of New Mexico: Take a stroll around the UNM Main Campus for its lovely gardens, duck pond, and Southwest Pueblo Stylearchitecture by the world-renowned John Gaw Meem. The main campus is 1.8 miles from the Convention Center, east on Central Ave. Learn more at https://www.unm.edu.
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center: There are 19 Pueblo tribes in New Mexico, and the cultural center has a special exhibit through the end of the year. Check out the Pueblo Harvest Cafe as a great outdoor weekend space for dinner or brunch with pizza and live music for a good price. Learn more at www.indianpueblo.org.
- The Balloon Museum: Albuquerque is the balloon capital of the world. Get a glimpse by visiting the Balloon Museum, which happens to have a spectacular view of the Sandia Mountains. The museum is 10 miles away from the Convention Center. Learn more at www.balloonmuseum.com.
- Sandia Peak Tramway: This is one of the longest trams in the world (2.7 miles one way) and takes you to the top of Sandia Peak at more than 10,000 feet above sea-level. Dress warmly and in layers. It’s 16 miles from the Convention Center but worth every mile. Learn more at www.sandiapeak.com.
- Petroglyph National Monument: This national park protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. Learn more at www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm.
- Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers’ Market and Rail Yards Market: On Saturday downtown and Sunday in the Rail Yards, these markets burst with fresh produce from local farms. In the Rail Yards, attendees wander through pop-up art installations, t-shirt screen-printing shops, and a children’s craft area. Learn more at www.downtowngrowers.com and www.railyardsmarket.org.
- Casa Rondeña: Get transported to Tuscany on a visit to this vineyard and wine tasting room in pastoral Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, an incorporated village in the geographic center of Albuquerque. Take home a bottle of the Meritage Red, a double gold-medal award winner. Learn more at www.casarondena.com.
- Explora! Science Center: This is a top destination for kids and encourages youngsters to learn about science, technology, and art by doing. Explora opened Sketch Aquarium in 2015, in which kids imagine, sketch, and release a sea creature into a digital sea. They also offer periodic Adult Nights that make the center a kid-free zone.Learn more at www.explora.us.
- Neighboring Santa Fe: Don’t forget! With its walkable downtown, great shopping, and multiple luxury spas, Santa Fe is just a quick commuter rail connection away. Learn more at www.santafe.org.
- Hot spots for drinks: Downtownplaces to have a beverage with a spectacular view are the rooftop lounge at the Hotel Andaluz and the Apothecary Bar at theHotel ParcCentral.Learn more at www.hotelandaluz.com and www.hotelparqcentral.com. Speaking of libations,Travel and Leisure magazine says Albuquerque is one of the top 20 destinations for beer lovers in the United States.
- Sopapillas: Be sure to eat a sopapilla (translation: sofa pillow!). These are luscious squares of puffy, fried dough that come with most New Mexican meals. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they can be stuffed with beans or carne adovada. Mostly locals eat them really hot like a dinner roll in the middle of the meal or drizzled with honey for dessert...or both!