One Day in Albuquerque – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Are you looking for a short weekend getaway? The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, just might be the perfect destination for that. The place is overflowing with Southwestern flair and has a lot to explore. Formerly, visitors were drawn to Albuquerque because of the hot air balloon rides, but things have altered dramatically since the debut of the famous television series “Breaking Bad.” Tourists nowadays visit Albuquerque not just to enjoy floating through the air but to see the locations where the significant events of the television series took place.

One day in Albuquerque Itinerary

So if you want to know which New Mexico places you should visit, which Mexican cuisines you should try, which accommodation options you should book, and generally see everything worth seeing in the city, this itinerary is just what you need for one great day in Albuquerque.

What’s The Best Time To Visit Albuquerque, New Mexico?

Albuquerque has a desert, dry climate. Average rainfall amounts to about 215 mm, and we can easily distinguish all four seasons. Winters are short and almost snow-free, with an average temperature of +3°C. Spring is the driest and the windiest season of the year. The temperature increases from +9°C to +19°C between March and May. However, this often grows to about 30 degrees Celsius in the summer, with temperatures reaching up to +38 degrees Celsius in the extreme summer heat. The autumn, though, has the same temperature as spring.

Albuquerque Old Town
Albuquerque Old Town, Author: Jun, Source: Flickr

In May, the Annual Wine Festival is celebrated, and this event attracts over a hundred wineries’ representatives. Moreover, it includes live music performance, plus there’s also delectable cuisine and a wide selection of wines to try out.

Albuquerque Old Town
Albuquerque Old Town, Author: Jeremy Thompson, Source: Flickr

When it comes to events in October, the Balloon Festival is the most important one. The release of more than 500 multi-colored giants into the sky takes place over nine days. The Balloon Festival is the world’s most enormous of its kind, drawing visitors from all over the globe to attend.

The Balloon Festival, Albuquerque
The Balloon Festival, Albuquerque

Meanwhile, during your visit to Albuquerque, you will most likely want to take advantage of public Wi-Fi to share stunning pictures with friends and family and to communicate with relatives. However, you should remember to use a VPN for Android to keep your data safe so go here for it. As a result, a glitch-free and interruption-free internet connection will be available to you at your convenience. So, try it out!

A Few Facts About Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Spanish colonists established the city of Albuquerque in 1706, which was previously known as Ranchos de Albuquerque and had just 18 households when it was founded. The settlement quickly rose to the status of a military outpost along the Camino Real route.

Albuquerque Downtown
Albuquerque Downtown, Author: Tony Hisgett, Source: Flickr

The city of Albuquerque was constructed following the typical Spanish design. Surrounding the center plaza, there were government buildings, residential structures, and a church. Farming was the primary source of income for the locals. As a consequence, this city rose to become the western hub of sheep breeding.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the population of Albuquerque was about 8 thousand people. Travelers began to flock to Albuquerque in 1926 after completing the infamous Route 66 through the city.

Albuquerque Downtown
Albuquerque Downtown, Author: GPA Photo Archive, Source: Flickr

Due to federal and state infrastructure improvement and renovation initiatives implemented in the 1960s, many of the city’s historic structures were demolished. In 2010, the city of Albuquerque started a restoration project to bring the center back to its original look.

One Day In Albuquerque Itinerary

The city of Albuquerque is a unique destination that draws visitors not only because of its historical and natural monuments but also because of its unique culture and events like hot air balloon rides, Mexican food celebrations, and many others.

Travel to the Heritage Area

While in this city, you should take a stroll around the Old Town, which has been maintained in its colonial grandeur from the 18th century.  The main square, the administrative building, and several quaint cafés are all situated in this old town heritage destination. You can book a walking tour here.

Albuquerque Old Town
Albuquerque Old Town, Author: Erik Cooper, Source: Flickr

Moreover, your visit to Albuquerque will be incomplete without at least a brief tour of San Felipe de Neri Church, the city’s oldest structure and the oldest church in the United States. A great way to start your day.

San Felipe de Neri Church
San Felipe de Neri Church, Author: Jeremy Thompson, Source: Flickr

Learn about the New Mexican customs and traditions

At the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, located in the city of Albuquerque, you will have a fantastic opportunity to learn about the customs and history of the Pueblo Indians and to get familiar with their culture.

Pueblo Cultural Centre, Albuquerque
Pueblo Cultural Centre, Albuquerque

Aside from art exhibitions and artist discussions, it hosts Native American traditional dance performances, too. A restaurant serving traditional Indian cuisine is conveniently situated nearby.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Author: Gage Skidmore, Source: Flickr

Enjoy a Panoramic View

Don’t forget to enjoy the panoramic view of the city. The best way to do this is to hop into a hot air balloon. New Mexico’s capital of aviation isn’t a misnomer. Flights are operated daily if the weather conditions are right.

The Balloon Festival, Albuquerque
Balloon Panoramic View, Albuquerque

Find the house of Walter White

Visit the places where the famous television series “Breaking Bad” was filmed. About three dozen of the shooting sites are scattered across the city, concentrated in the center. Visitors may see the restaurant “Twister,” which served as the set for the diner “Los Pollos Hermanos,” owned by Gus Fring, the car wash “the Octopus,” owned by the Whites family, and the houses of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, among other locations.

Breaking Bad Locations, Albuquerque
Breaking Bad Locations, Author: Daniel X. O’Neil, Source: Flickr

In addition, you may participate in a guided tour, during which you will be shown to the sites where movies such as “The Avengers,” “Transformers,” “Logan,” “The Terminator,” and many more were shot.

Climb to the Summit of Mount Sandia

What activities does a visitor need to participate in while in Albuquerque? Why, climbing Mount Sandia, of course. Naturally, the most popular way to get to the top (3163 m) is to use the funicular of the same name, which is about four kilometers in length. It goes through a deep and beautiful canyon on its way to the sea.

Sandia Funicular
Sandia Funicular, Author: Mike McBey, Source: Flickr

From the observation deck at the summit of the mountain, you can take in a breathtaking panorama. Enjoy it around sunset when the desert is showered in a rainbow of hues that will take your breath away. Many visitors said that they felt as though they had arrived on another planet.

Sandia Peak
Sandia Peak, Author: Jeremy Thompson, Source: Flickr

Visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a famous tourist attraction in Albuquerque, with many visitors each year. It is a national repository for information on nuclear science and technology. The 102nd United States Congress authorized the establishment of the Albuquerque Museum.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Albuquerque
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Author: Matthew Dillon, Source: Flickr

In addition to the Permanent Exhibitions, there are temporary exhibits on topics such as the Pioneers of the Atom, World War II; Secrets Lies & Atomic Spies; The Decision to Drop; Cold War; Heritage Park; Nuclear Medicine; Energy Encounter; Nuclear Waste Transportation; and others.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Albuquerque
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Author: Matthew Dillon, Source: Flickr

Enjoy a Delicious Meal at “El Pinto”

“El Pinto” is a must-visit for every visitor who wants to try new Mexican cuisine. This family-run restaurant has been in existence for more than fifty years, uses only organic ingredients, and manufactures sauces from scratch using unique recipe techniques. The menu at “El Pinto” includes delicious chili ribs, traditional guacamole and nachos, sirloin, enchiladas, and of course, tacos and burritos. The restaurant also has a full bar. From the beverage menu, the “Margarita” cocktail must be savored. A great place to end your one day in Albuquerque!

El Pinto
El Pinto

Where To Stay In Albuquerque

Hotel Chaco, Albuquerque

Hotel Chaco

2000 Bellamah Avenue Northwest, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Hotel Chaco is arguably the best place for a stay during your visit to Albuquerque. It is a new establishment with a modern interior and very spacious rooms, so you will certainly be well rested after a night here. The rooftop bar is a very nice touch, especially if you want a drink in the evening, plus there’s also a pool here and a fitness center. In short, you will have everything you need and much more!


Hampton Inn & Suites Albuquerque Airport

Hampton Inn & Suites Albuquerque Airport

1300 Woodward Rd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

If you want something close to the airport, Hampton Inn & Suites Albuquerque Airport is definitely the best choice around. It’s a modern, great hotel with its own pool and a shuttle service that will take you to and from the airport. Great breakfast is also a part of the package, and the location is actually very quiet and secluded, so you’ll get a good night’s rest. You can’t go wrong with this one!


Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn

Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn

310 Rio Grande Boulevard South West, Albuquerque, NM 87104

If you want to step back in time as you rest, Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn will take you on a fantastic trip. This bed&breakfast has antique furnishings that look absolutely amazing, plus you will be located a short walk from the Old Town. Oh, and the breakfast is simply to die for – it’s cooked to order and always served completely fresh. Yum!


SpringHill Suites by Marriott Albuquerque University Area

Springhill Suites by Marriott

1101 Central Avenue NE, Albuquerque, 87106

Hotels just don’t get much prettier than this one. Springhill Suites by Marriott looks amazing and is as comfortable as it is beautiful. Wonderful and very friendly staff make you feel welcome immediately, and there’s a 24-desk, a fitness center, and a bunch of other amenities you can use. Many guests appreciate the fact that the garage is available too, and the breakfast you get here will be to die for.


Day Trips From Albuquerque

New Mexico is definitely a fascinating place. So, if you have the time, stay a bit longer and explore it. One day in Albuquerque is definitely not enough for that. Here are some of the places you really should consider visiting.

Acoma Pueblo

Absolutely fascinating! Acoma has been inhabited for more than 800 without any interruptions, which is the longest such streak on the whole continent! The people here have their own culture and plenty of art to show you, so take a tour of the town and enjoy!


No, no, this is not the capital city of Spain. Madrid, New Mexico is a tiny place of just a few hundred inhabitants that has become known as a thriving community of artists. Galleries, exhibits, and stalls here have a lot to show you, and you just might pick up a unique souvenir to decorate your home when you eventually go back.

Santa Fe

One day in Santa Fe could be a great choice, too! This city was founded way back in 1607 and has developed quite a fascinating architecture, but it’s also a great place if you just want to chill and enjoy a more soothing vibe. A great place to just come and recharge the batteries.

Valles Caldera National Preserve

For all you nature lovers, this is the perfect day trip from Albuquerque. There’s no other way of describing the scenery here other than spectacular, and you can find some amazing hiking trails, too. The combination of lakes, desert, and grasslands will make your jaw drop.

Extra Tips For Visiting Albuquerque

– There are tourist information centers at Albuquerque International Airport and in the Old Town, where visitors may get information about excursions, museums, helpful services for tourists, and places to get a bite to eat. The airport center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Old Town
Old Town

– The official Albuquerque tourism website has a handy map with all the locations from “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” highlighted. Must go through the sites on it.

– A single bus trip costs one dollar. However, purchasing a permit that allows for unlimited travel is more cost-effective. It is something you can do right on the bus. An entry ticket for one day costs $2, a two-day ticket costs $4, and a three-day ticket costs $6. 

Final Note

We may get the conclusion that Albuquerque is more than a tourism destination. You will remember this city for the rest of your life if you get the opportunity to see it. Everything, from the pleasant weather to the many events to attend, encourages visitors to return to Albuquerque time and time again.

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

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