How to Spend 24 Hours in Albuquerque

Autumn is a great time to visit Albuquerque as it starts their festival season! Today’s post shares all the best ways to spend 24 hours in Albuquerque (or perhaps even longer).

24 Hours in Albuquerque

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Right now is a great time to visit Albuquerque! Fall weather is temperate and the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is being held October, 7-15th this year. If you can’t attend that, fall is also the time of year for Burn Zozobra, the State Fair, the Gem/Mineral/Jewelry Show, and more.

24 Hours in Albuquerque


Finding lodging is our first order of business and I’ve got two fantastic recommendations for you!

El Vado

The first is a historic Route 66 motel that has been fantasticly updated. The El Vado Motel was one of New Mexico’s first and the property retains all the nostalgic vibes from the Golden Age of cross-country car travel.

The spotless and very well-manicured grounds of El Vado.

Thankfully, it’s also been thoughtfully renovated with all the modern creature comforts – king beds, AC, free Wi-Fi, green bath products, etc. There’s even a cozy tap room on-site, perfect for picking up some suds before heading poolside.

El Vado Motel – Standard King Room
Hotel Chaco

If you are looking for a more standard hotel experience, Hotel Chaco is widely considered to be the most luxurious place in town. Opened in 2017, Hotel Chaco boasts stylish, modern rooms, several on-site bars and restaurants, a pool, and a spa, all just a stone’s throw from Old Town.

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Chaco – Standard King Room
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Chaco – Level 5 Rooftop Bar/Restaurant

Things to Do

With only 24 hours, you will need to pick and choose a bit but fear not, you can still get a good taste of the city. I’ve divided this list into three categories, the old town area, outdoor/adventure sights, and cultural sights.

Old Town

The Old Town area is relatively compact and can easily be explored in an hour or two unless you’re really into shopping or if you decide to stop in one of the museums located here.

Old Town is also home to a variety of tour companies and the fantastic Sawmill Market. I highly recommend a stop here for either lunch or dinner. It’s a dynamic environment and fun to try tastes from the various vendors. Two of our favorites were the Botanic Bar and Little Madrid.

  • Sawmill Market Albuquerque
  • Sawmill Market Albuquerque
  • Sawmill Market Albuquerque
  • Sawmill Market Albuquerque

Lovers of building design may want to take either a long walk or a short drive over to the KiMo theatre when done exploring the old town. While still in operation today, this theatre opened in 1927 and features a unique pueblo-deco style of architecture. Catch a show here, if you can!

Architectural Detail of the KiMo Theater

Approximately 45 minutes due west of Albuquerque, you’ll come upon the Canoncito Indian reservation. It offers amazingly scenic landscapes with few crowds. Surprising due to its fame as a Breaking Bad filming location!

24 Hours in Albuquerque
IYKYK…Breaking Bad

Taking the tramway to Sandia Peak for its panoramic views of Albuquerque is one of the most popular things to do in town. In the winter months, you can even ski the mountain. Sunset is an especially lovely time to visit. There is even a restaurant on-site where you can linger and enjoy the view.

24 Hours in Albuquerque

NOTE: The tram is closed on Tuesdays. Reservations are recommended for both the tram and the restaurant.

Petroglyph National Monument is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. It’s a great place to hike and observe these unique symbols made by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 4-700 years ago.

24 Hours in Albuquerque

While there are a vast array of museums in Albuquerque, a few stand out for their uniqueness and specificity to the area.

The Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum sits outside the famous balloon field and gives insight into the history of ballooning. If you can’t attend the balloon festival, it’s a great way to see some of these vehicles up close and learn more about how they are used. NOTE: Closed Mondays.

24 Hours in Albuquerque

Similarly, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is worth a visit, particularly if you won’t be heading out to Taos or one of New Mexico’s eighteen other pueblos. They also have a restaurant on-site and a store that sells authentic Pueblo crafts. NOTE: Closed Mondays.

Lastly, transport yourself to Spain while watching skilled professionals perform their passionate dances at Tablao Flamenco. Shows are held on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sundays at 4 p.m.

If interested in spending more time in New Mexico, check out this itinerary that visits Santa Fe and Taos!

Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!

Autumn is a great time to visit Albuquerque! Today's post shares all the best ways to spend 24 hours in Albuquerque (or perhaps even longer). #albuquerque #newmexico #cityguide

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

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