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Things to Do in Albuquerque

The city of Albuquerque is New Mexico's largest, although not its capital. It sits high in the Chihuahuan Desert in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

Albuquerque has the distinction of being one of the highest-elevation cities in the country – its lowest point is 4,700 feet above sea level. It's well-known for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, and despite the high altitude (and sometimes cold temperatures) the city boasts more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

There is a thriving arts scene in Albuquerque – there are hundreds of arts festivals every year – including many places to buy authentic Native American art and jewelry. One of the city's most famous foods is the green chile, found on menus throughout Albuquerque. The beauty of the natural surroundings, however, are one of the main draws of the city – with the gorgeous Sandia Mountains on Albuquerque's doorstep and recreational opportunities year-round, it can be hard to sit still. When the weather is warm, there is hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, boating, and golf to enjoy – and in the winter, those mountains offer excellent skiing.
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Old Town Albuquerque
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12 Tours and Activities

This historic section of Albuquerque sits at the heart of town, its Pueblo-style patios beckoning to be explored. What was once a simple grassy plaza has expanded into more than 150 unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. Many feature authentic crafts produced by local Native American tribes.

With original adobe buildings and Spanish colonial architecture, the area is undeniably beautiful and rich in Southwestern culture. Grounded in history (it was first settled by Spanish settlers in 1706,) there are also five museums in this part of town which tell the city’s story. The main plaza is centered around the San Felipe de Neri, an old church that has remained since 1793. You can plan your day around specific sights, or explore the brick paths and alleys that lead through the historic area. When in need of a break, you’ll find open-air patios and gardens dotted with intricate iron benches that are perfect for relaxing in the shade.

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Turquoise Museum
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5 Tours and Activities

With a collection of turquoise drawn from more than one hundred different mines, Albuquerque’s Turquoise Museum is considered a worldwide authority on the mineral. When the Santa Fe Trail brought traders and settlers west, turquoise became a valuable commodity. Native Americans in the area have also been using turquoise for centuries in their art. With both of these legacies, New Mexico has become a world famous spot for turquoise. The brightly colored stone, shining the color of its name, takes on a variety of different shapes, forms, and histories in the museum’s displays.

A visit allows for an education on mining processes and techniques as well as the natural geology and mineralogy of turquoise. There’s even a replica of a mine tunnel that leads to where the most precious and rare turquoise specimens. The main J.C. “Zack” Zachary collection features turquoise stones from 80 different locations around the globe. Guests can also see how the mineral is formed from a natural material into jewelry at a working lapidary shop.

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