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You’ll get your kicks on Route 66 when you make a trip to this scenic city. With its sunny skies, fiery food, and plethora of year-round pursuits, Albuquerque proves it’s worthy of much more than just a pit stop. Ready to ride?

By Amanda Gleason

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Stay:

Sandia Resort & Casino The towering Sandia Mountains make an enchanting backdrop to this relaxing spread, where outdoor fire pits provide calming warmth.

Hotel Parq Central Just east of downtown, this boutique getaway’s rooftop bar, Apothecary Lounge, crafts concoctions like the Hot Apple Jim, made with clove-infused Jim Beam, cinnamon, and apple cider.

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm Set among 25 acres of lavender fields, this cozy abode gives guests the chance to pitch in at its one-acre farm by pruning roses and milking goats.

 

 

See the mountains from a different perspective when you…

Live the High Life

If you’d like to elevate your experience in Albuquerque, then catch a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. The cable car ascends above deep canyons, steep cliffs, and lofty ponderosa pines, delivering you to the top of Sandia Peak, where you can ogle Mount Taylor to the west and Cabezon, the stump of an eroded volcano, to the north. (They’re part of the 11,000-square-mile panoramic view you’ll get of the Rio Grande Valley.) What goes up must come down, and we recommend bringing your skis or snowboard and hitting the slopes for your descent. The tram serves the mountain’s ski area, scheduled to kick off its season in mid-December. It’s comprised of 35 trails suitable for snow bunnies of every age and ability; there’s even a Snow Sports School that offers lessons to ensure you rise to the top of your game. 

 


Make a beeline to:

ABQ Trolley Co. Reserve a seat on this open-air trolley for a tour of the city’s most dazzling holiday light displays, such as the 55-foot-tall tree that towers over Old Town.

Valles Caldera National Preserve Located about 90 miles north of Albuquerque in the Jemez Mountains, this 90,000-acre expanse, situated inside a collapsed crater, offers horse-drawn sleigh rides each winter.

 

 

Take a ride up high and…

Catch a Drift

Clear skies, calm winds, and mild temps make Albuquerque a year-round hub for hot-air ballooning, so it’s no surprise that the city has become the world’s capital for this high-flying sport. Earn your wings with Rainbow Ryders, a 30-year-old company that offers both sunrise and sunset outings. The journey begins on the ground with the balloon rising to an upright position as the cool air inside it is heated. Once airborne, you’ll enjoy an hour of fly time high above the Rio Grande Valley. “Hot-air balloons move with the wind, which changes direction with altitude,” says president Scott Appelman. Consider that part of the fun, and also this: Upon landing, each guest is presented with a flight certificate, balloon pin, snacks, and a glass of champagne—just what every high roller deserves.


Don't Miss:

El Pinto Sink your teeth into the slow-baked red chile ribs at this city staple, which features five indoor dining rooms and a cantina serving more than 160 tequilas.

Golden Crown Panaderia This neighborhood bakery has perfected biscochitos, the cinnamon-flavored state cookie that’s especially popular during the holiday season.

Twisters Breaking Bad fans will know this burrito and burger joint’s Isleta Boulevard location: It was portrayed as Los Pollos Hermanos in the hit TV show. The chicken logo inside makes the ideal photo op.

 

 

See artifacts from early area residents as you…

Dig into the Past

Immerse yourself in the longest continually inhabited community in the country when you pay a visit to Acoma Pueblo, a Native American village established by the Acoma tribe in the 11th century. It’s still home to more than 250 primitive dwellings, and you can get an inside look at how residents live with a 90-minute guided tour. Knowledgeable tribe members lead guests to notable structures throughout the village, including “kivas” (houses of worship), an ancient cemetery where respected leaders and elders are buried, and San Esteban del Rey, a Spanish mission constructed in the 16th century. As you stroll along, stop to browse the homemade items—including fry bread and ornate pottery—sold by tribe members outside their homes. Now that’s how we like to talk shop.

 


Have a drink:

Marble Brewery Try the Marble Red, brewed with caramel malts, at this rousing downtown hangout, where food trucks and live music are mainstays. 

ArtBar Order a cocktail for a cause at this members-only nonprofit bar, which raises money for the local arts through its sales. A $5 cover charge grants you access for the month.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Uncover more New Mexico history as you browse statues, murals, and other artifacts from the state’s 19 pueblos.

 

 

See more shoot locations when you…

Make a Scene

Breaking Bad may have wrapped up this fall, but the Emmy-winning series hasn’t had its final curtain call just yet. The show goes on with the Routes Rentals & Tours “Biking Bad” ride, a wheeled jaunt to key settings seen in the AMC thriller. Tours are offered every other Saturday, year-round. Choose from five themes, ranging from The Pinkman Experience to Walt’s Descent, and prepare to pedal to a dozen locations, such as A1 Car Wash and the White residence. But television isn’t the only industry attracted to this desert locale: Films like The Avengers, Transformers, and No Country for Old Men all feature scenes shot in the area. Movie buffs can access a map of popular sites from the Convention & Visitors Bureau website for a self-guided spin. And that’s a wrap! 



Getting There Fly into Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). 

Getting Around ABQ Ride, the city’s bus system, totes travelers to popular attractions around town. If further exploring is on your agenda, a rental car is your best bet. 

Getting Out The Vortex Theatre hosts plays, musicals, dances, and more during its holiday festival, happening on weekends from December 6–December 22. 

Watch This To see some of our adventures come to life, visit our YouTube channel, SWASpiritMagazine.

 

 

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