March 1, 2015
There are a plethora of activities to choose from! Albuquerque is a mecca for hot air ballooning and there are many operators offering daily flights. You can do sunrise, sunset, or private flights ‐ just no champagne!
If you want to hit the road, the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway is a great choice. There is an awesome little gem called the Tinkertown Museum just on the backside of Sandia Peak, only minutes off the Turquoise Trail. It started as one man’s hobby and because of such public interest eventually became a small museum that showcases everything from handcrafted dioramas to the voyage of an old ship across the globe. Continuing on towards Santa Fe, you’ll go through several small towns, many with shops that sell local arts and crafts. You may even recognize the downtown area in Madrid, as it was where the movie Wild Hogs was filmed.
For those of you who are science geeks, you may want to continue on past Santa Fe to Los Alamos. This is where the research for the Manhattan Project, otherwise commonly known as the atomic bomb, took place.
Going further back in history there are some very interesting sites within about an hour of Albuquerque. For cliff dwellings, head to Bandelier National Monument. The trail is about a mile long loop, and gives you the opportunity to climb up short ladders to experience what it would have been like to live there. New Mexico also has a large number of pueblos; we visited Acoma, which is situated on top of a 365ft mesa. Locals whose families were often part of the original development give tours, and others sell handicrafts or homemade traditional snacks outside their houses that you can pick up as you walk by.
Still have energy left at the end of the day? Take the tram to the top of Sandia Peak to watch the sunset over the city. There is also a restaurant if your hungry or just want to grab a warm drink. I recommend getting there a bit early as the tram has limited capacity and you don’t want to be stuck watching the sunset from the bottom.