We had the opportunity to live in Albuquerque, NM during the month of May this year, and it was such a unique, fun experience. New Mexico is known for the color turquoise and chili peppers, but we discovered beautiful scenery, cool national parks, and incredible food.
Albuquerque is home to New Mexican food, which is basically Mexican food with more chilis, cheese, and heavy sauces! We ate sooooo much good food, but had zero appetite by the time we left. Balance is key here! This city guide is going to be mostly about the incredible food in Abq, with a splattering of fun activities and cool places to visit.
Where to Eat.
If you’re a Mexican food lover, then rejoice! There are tons of incredible places all over New Mexico. Here are some of our favorites:
- Los Poblanos Farm– very pricey but insanely gorgeous. Be sure to book a reservation a couple weeks before you go. It’s SO worth it! Guests can also stay at their inn (wish we did that!)
- Ihatov Bread and Coffee– go here for delicious, fresh-baked bread and biscuits! I’ve never had a biscuit like the ones they make here!
- Green Jeans– There are a couple food halls around Abq and they’re all amazing in their own ways! Green Jeans serves Santa Fe Brewing beer which was delish, as well as some yummy pizzas, BBQ, and more!
- Little Bear Coffee– Very trendy and cute, a great place to ‘WFH’ and enjoy the yummy coffee and pastries they serve.
- Cocina Azul– A pretty popular New Mexican spot around Abq. I loved the taco salad and the queso (beware, the queso is basically a whole meal!)
- Golden Pride/ Frontier– sister restaurants. Great for breakfast, and you must try the cinnamon rolls (AKA sweet rolls). You can also buy a dozen fresh tortillas for $3 and I highly recommend this.
- El Cotorro– We didn’t get around to trying this place, but heard it was an amazing taco place.
- Crazy Fish– Sushi!! Need I say more?
- Casa Rondena Winery– In need of a fancy wine day? Check out Casa Rondena. The staff are super sweet and the wines are delish.
- Fan Tang– A fun chinese spot on Central. I loved the vibe here.
- M’tucci’s Twenty-Five– Delish higher end Italian. We loved the food and drinks here (and some good deals on HH)
- Sawmill Market– the largest of the food halls. There were a ton of food options here (I opted for the fresh pasta station, and John went for Vietnamese). Their bar area is a ton of fun and they have around 30 different local beers on tap.
- 505 Central Food Hall– Another great food hall. This one is newer and a little more chill. Reason to go here? The Detroit style pizza. It’s to DIE FOR.
What to do.
Albuquerque is a very outdoorsy town, with a ton of beautiful sites and hikes to go on. Did we hike? Nah. It was too hot for that and I die in the heat, but there’s definitely a ton to explore.
Fun hikes include:
- The Bosque
- Hiking up the Sandias (or driving, because it’s about 10,500 ft at the summit)
- Exploring the Volcanos
We also took a weekend trip down to White Sands National Park, which was amazing!
For this trip, we recommend staying overnight in Las Cruces to allow for ample time to explore the park. Most hotels will rent out sleds to take with you to the park so you can sled down the dunes. Grab some beers, and head to the park for sunset. It’s stunning.
We also loved taking the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. This is about 1.5 hours opposed to the usual 1 hour drive, but it’s worth it to see the adorable town of Madrid. Madrid has fun, funky shops, and cute restaurants. It’s a tiny town but they pack a lot into it, and it’s definitely a fun stop on your drive to SF.
Santa Fe is a wonderful town, full of art, great food, and shopping. Definitely check out Old Town as well as the art galleries on Canyon Road. We also enjoyed a couple hours in Meow Wolf, an eclectic, interactive art experience (book this in advance!). I really don’t know how to explain Meow Wolf besides “pretend you’re on acid.” You’ll totally understand what I mean when you go!
I hope you enjoy your time in New Mexico!
While you’re here, follow me on the gram to see other travel ideas @hannahleelifestyle.