The Sandia Peak Tramway is one of the city's — and state's — marquee attractions.
Photo by thinkstockphotos.com
IN A NUTSHELL: Cutting a broad swath across the city from uptown to the foothills, this area is hot-airballooning central.
More suburbs than cityscape, this quadrant is dotted with destination hotels showcasing Native American touches, distinctive dining, and miles of hiking trails.
More than 30 of Nativo Lodge's guest rooms feature murals designed and painted by Native American artists. Sandía Resort and Casino, on Sandía Pueblo, combines Las Vegas–style gambling with a penthouse restaurant, golf course, spa, and well-appointed hotel with stunning views of the Sandía Mountains. Midway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa's guest rooms were updated in 2017. The full-service resort includes the top-ranked Twin Warriors golf course and Corn Maiden restaurant, which features forward-looking Southwest cuisine.
The state's first shipping-container park, Green Jeans Farmery, is a one-stop shop for local restaurants, with options ranging from tacos and pizza to burgers and ice cream at this double-decker development. Savoy Bar & Grill serves a sophisticated new American menu with an expansive wine list and offers a choice of two private dining areas. The chile is spicy — sometimes eye-wateringly so — at Sadie's of New Mexico, which has two locations in this neck of the desert.
The brands have it in this region, with department-store shopping at Coronado Center and ABQ Uptown. Winrock Center is becoming an entertainment destination with big-name stores and restaurants and a movie theater; an outdoor park and concert venue are under development.
In the Sandía foothills, families amble easy nature trails and astute hikers launch treks into more than 37,000 acres of wilderness from Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and Albert G. Simms Park. No attraction commands attention like Sandia Peak Tramway, which glides from the foothills up to the more than 10,000-foot Sandía Peak. In May 2018, visitors will arrive at a completely refashioned restaurant — and a hot chocolate-stop when skiing at Sandia Peak Ski Area on the eastern slopes. A mountain coaster is set to open in fall 2018 to give non-skiers their own thrill rides.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History nods to the city's Atomic Age ties with nuclear technology and Cold War history exhibitions and displays on the latest nanotechnology.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta may lift off in October, but hot air balloons take flight year-round in the Duke City. The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum looks back at the sport's history, takes visitors on a mock-flight in a 4-D theater, and touts the record-breaking accomplishments of local pilots.
From left: Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, and Maxie Anderson
A LOOK BACK: 40 YEARS AGO IN ALBUQUERQUE
In 1978, Albuquerque pilots Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman made ballooning history by completing the first Atlantic crossing in the Double Eagle II. It also put Albuquerque on the international map as a ballooning capital.