New Mexico Road Trip Part 6: Hot Dog, Jumping Frog… Albuquerque!


It has been a life long dream to visit Albuquerque.  Not for any particular reason other than it has a very cool name that is difficult to spell.  10 days earlier we had landed in Albuquerque Airport but immediately escaped up north to Santa Fe.  Now it was time to pay the most populous city in New Mexico a visit.

Getting to Albuquerque

It took us about 3.5 hours to drive north from Dona Ana to Albuquerque.  Nothing really of note worth stopping off en route apart from another brilliantly named town… Truth Or Consequences (they renamed themselves after TV quiz show).

What did we do in Albuqerque

  • I’m not normally a fan of zoos but the Rio Grande Zoo is probably the best we’ve seen.  It’s not too big, has a wide variety of animals on display and there’s a great grassy area to have a picnic. The zoo is part of BioPark which also includes the Aquarium and Botanic Garden (I gave the kids the choice and they picked zoo).  There’s also a sweet little train that takes you around the zoo (you need to pay a bit extra) with an interesting commentary that gives you a behind the scenes look.
    Albuquerque Zoo
  • The Anderson Abruzzo Balloon Museum.  Yes I hear you say, ‘A balloon museum?’  Well friends, Albuqerque is famous for its hot air balloon fiesta held annually.  This museum is a beautifully crafted homage to this fiesta and also shares the history of hot air ballooning and the science behind it.  My kids loved this place – it’s light and airy, there are beautiful balloons on display and lots of interactive exhibits to get excited about.
  • Explora! is a fun and engaging science discovery centre packed with hands on exhibits.  Whilst the kids had a great time playing with the water fountains, my husband loved making his own animated film.  If you have the time, the Museum of Natural History is opposite with some awesome looking dinosaurs on display.
  • Pottered around Old Town Albuquerque.  Centered around the plaza are shops, galleries and eateries where you can while away a few hours and buy even more turquoise jewellery.
    Me in Albuquerque Old TownTucked away on a street corner is the International Rattlesnake Museum which houses the largest collection of live rattlesnakes in the world!  My kids loved getting up close and personal with these rattling beauties and you even get a ‘certificate of bravery’ after your visit.
  • Shopping! Albuquerque has some great malls – from the more upscale ABQ Uptown to the more affordable Coronado Center.

Where did we eat?

We finally fell in love with New Mexican cuisine in Albuquerque.  This was where we met sopapillas, delicious fried pastries.

I heart this dish

I heart this dish

  • Sadie’s Of New Mexico is famous for its ‘Sopapilla Challenge’; 60 minutes to eat 7lbs of stuffed sopapilla.  I’m not quite sure how anyone can handle this – we shared a regular sized sopapilla for our lunch and couldn’t move.  Needless to say, be sure to pay Sadie’s a visit – the food is fabulous.
  • Located in the Hotel Albuquerque is Garduno’s, the scene of another sopapilla love-fest. Beautiful food in great surrounds.
  • A popular University of New Mexico haunt, Frontier Restaurant is the place to go for cheap and cheerful New Mexico cuisine.  Afterwards you can head down to Nob Hill and dig out your inner hipster as you shop the boutiques and locate artisan coffee.

Where did we stay?

The Sheraton Albquerque Uptown was the perfect place for our Albuquerque stay.  The rooms are big, immaculately clean and the staff extremely helpful.  There is plentiful free parking in the front of the hotel and you are across the road from several of the big malls (useful for a Starbucks fix although there is also ready-to-brew Starbucks in the room).  The highlight for my girls was the indoor pool and jacuzzi – always great for bribery after a day out sightseeing.  

My girls captivated by pink disco lights in pool

My girls captivated by pink disco lights in pool

Our room was on Club Level giving us access to the Club Lounge. They provide an excellent free spread of food in the evening and for breakfast.  It was also a nice space to hang out in when the kids were getting cabin fever in our hotel room.

Sheraton Uptown Albuquerque


For more on our New Mexico Road Trip

Part 1: Santa Fe

New Mexico Luxury At The Four Seasons, Santa Fe

Part 2: Taos

Part 3: Ruidoso

Part 4: Roswell & Carlsbad

Part 5: White Sands & Las Cruces


  1. Kelly Stilwell (@kellystilwell)

    I’ve never been to Albuquerque but it looks like so much fun! Thanks! Visiting from SITS 🙂

  2. Lisa Goodmurphy

    I have always wanted to visit New Mexico but I have only been thinking about Santa Fe – I didn’t realize that there was so much to do in Albuquerque!

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