The cold weather had us planning a trip south for spring break. Albuquerque, New Mexico is about six hours south of Denver, making it a great long weekend getaway destination for us. With the help of Visit Albuquerque, we planned to spend three days in Albuquerque and didn’t even get to half of the activities we wanted to do.
Where to Stay in Albuquerque, New Mexico
We stayed at Hotel Cascada, a hotel that was centrally located to most of the activities we wanted to do. Getting around Albuquerque is not difficult but we did spend a lot of time in the car. Hotel Cascada was a good base for us and had an added bonus – a small water park! Water park admission is not included in the hotel stay but look for packages that include the admission. The hotel has a small pool and hot tub that is not part of the water park and this is where we found ourselves spending most of our time. The water park was a lot of fun but it was very crowded so my kids were looking for something more low key.
ABQ BioPark and Old Town ABQ
We spent the morning of our first day at the ABQ BioPark. The biopark is a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium all wrapped up in one. You can visit only one place or you can purchase a combo ticket. We spent the most time at the zoo and then took the train to the botanical garden and aquarium, which are located next to each other. The train was fun but be prepared to wait to board if it is crowded. The trip is about a twenty minute ride.
Petroglyph National Monument, Hot Air Balloons and the Sandia Tramway
Albuquerque is best known for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta but if you can’t make it to visit when the balloons take flight, you can learn about all things hot air balloon at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. The exhibits are beautiful and informative but our favorite part was the hands-on section where we tried to pilot a hot air balloon simulator.
The highlight of our trip was hiking at Petroglyph National Monument in the morning and then taking the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of Sandia Peak. At Petroglyph National Monument, we wandered around the trails and tried to spot the petroglyphs that were carved into rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. From there, we drove to the tramway where we ascended 2.7 miles into the sky. The views were amazing and were worth the butterflies in my stomach. If you are afraid of heights, this adventure might not be for you!
Breaking Bad Film Locations
In between our adventures, we drove past many spots that might look familiar because they were used as film locations for Breaking Bad. It was fun to see many of the spots as we drove around town. There are tours that you can take but I decided to do a self-guided tour. I ended up planning film locations stops with the different activities we had already planned so that we weren’t driving all over town.
When we first moved to Denver, Albuquerque wasn’t high on our list of places we wanted to visit. We were impressed with all of the great activities and I am so glad that we planned this trip.
A few things to know before you go:
There is a whole lot of open road between Colorado Springs and Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you haven’t driven that stretch of road before, you might be surprised at how little there is. Keep an eye on your gas tank.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park is about 75 miles off of I-25. If you have never been, I highly recommend taking this detour if you have the time. You can make a quick stop at the visitor center and then take a walk in this otherworldly landscape. It is like the Sahara Desert was dropped right in the middle of the mountains.
More details on some of our favorite activities to come!
*Thank you to Visit Albuquerque for helping to facilitate our trip. Some of our expenses were covered but the majority of them were paid for ourselves. All opinions are mine and mine along.