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Sophisticated – But with A Dash of Nature: Albuquerque
New Mexico’s largest city is also one of the most dynamic metropolises in the nation. With an ancient core and a modern heart, Albuquerque dishes up loads of sophistication and plenty adventure. Pack your bags and plan to stay a while because there is a lot to do here.
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Start in Albuquerque Old Town, which was the original site of the city and was laid out by Spanish colonists. Here you’ll find adobe buildings clustered around the Old Town Plaza – on the north side stands the San Felipe de Neri Church, which was built by the Spanish in 1793. Are you visiting during the Christmas season? Make sure to come by at night to see the spectacular luminaria displays, which culminate on Christmas Eve. There’s plenty more to see and do. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History has early maps, conquistador armor, weavings, and remnants of colonial life in New Mexico. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science showcases the state’s prehistoric history while at Explora, kids of all ages enjoy hands-on, inquiry-based learning approaches to art, science, and math – it’s a true kid’s Exploratorium.
The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached Albuquerque in 1880 and a station was built about 1 mile from Old Town – the station became the focus of new town, where the city’s modern downtown is today. Nearby you’ll discover the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and east of downtown is the University of New Mexico.
On the western edge of the city is West Mesa, which forms a backdrop for sublime sunsets and is the home of Petroglyph National Monument. Petroglyph is where you can find more than 20,000 rock art carvings made by prehistoric residents and some early Spanish visitors. Resembling suns, animals, and people as well as abstract wondrous elements, the petroglyphs can be seen easily thanks to a series of short hikes leading from four major trailheads.
On the other end of the city is the bottom terminal for the Sandia Peak Tramway, which is one of the longest trams in America. The tram climbs nearly 4,000 vertical feet over the course of 2.7 miles and terminates at 10,378 feet, where in summer you’ll encounter pines blowing in the breeze and in the winter, you’ll find downhill skiing.
Albuquerque offers four seasons of fun and adventure – choose one and start your exploration today!
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