1. Everyone Misses Walter White
Source: Breaking Bad Facebook page
So there was this little TV show called Breaking Bad that was filmed in Albuquerque, and the locals couldn’t be more proud of the fame (notoriety?) that the show brought with it.
2. Isotopes Baseball Is Out of This World
Source: Albuquerque Isotopes Facebook page
There’s a special place in heaven for minor league baseball teams, and the Isotopes are the Albuquerque edition. Buy your season tickets and cheer on your favorite players before they leave and get all famous.
3. Green Chile: Love It or Leave Town
Source: Cocina Azul Facebook page
Every major city has a food they’re famous for (Chicago for hot dogs, San Francisco for sourdough, Atlanta for, uh, grits?) but Albuquerque is serious about its green chile. You’ll put it on everything and you will love the heck out of it. Try Cocina Azul or one of my favorites, Burrito Lady.
4. “ABQ” Isn’t Some Inside Joke
Source: Flickr user Ron Cogswell
The acronym isn’t just the designation for the Sunport—it’s the far easier way to speak (and spell) your new-found hometown! Use this moniker to keep from being the obvious new kid in town.
5. One Of This Century’s Most Important Landmarks
Source: Wikipedia user Samat Jain
Southeastern Albuquerque is home to a major landmark of modern history—the White Sands Proving Ground (now the White Sands Missile Range) where the nuclear age we now live in first began with a test in 1942. While it’s now under the control of the Air Force, stop by the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in town to get the full story.
6. Great Community Food at The Grove Cafe
Source: The Grove Café and Market via Facebook page
Okay, so it’s another Breaking Bad filming location, but more importantly, also home to some of the best entrees you will find in ABQ!
7. Old Town Is A Throwback
Source: Flickr user Maureen Didde
Albuquerque’s Old Town is rich with history and unique culture. There are spooky offerings (the thrilling ghost tours), galleries and shops, museums, and even quiet patios for kicking back in the warm sun.
8. The Albuquerque Beer of Choice
Source: Marble Brewery Facebook page
These are the good ol’ beer boys of Albuquerque. Marble Brewery venture began in 2008 and became an Albuquerque fixture you’ll find yourself returning to whenever someone brings up the idea of grabbing a craft brew. Try the Pils, the IPA, the lager—just try them all.
9. You Can Go Up Into the Mountains
Source: Flickr user Kolin Toney
The Sandia Mountains lie just east of Albuquerque, and offer hiking trails with breathtaking views and snow actually thick enough to ski on in the winter. If you just want to catch the view, take the Sandia Tramway to get up to a staggering 10,378 feet at the observation deck.
10. You’ll Never Feel So Excited About Hot Air
Source: Flickr user christopher cornelius
The International Balloon Fiesta is seriously a huge draw to Albuquerque. The surreal sight of thousands of hot-air balloons taking off into the air is one you’ll be looking forward to every year.
11. You Can Be A Paleontologist For A Day
Source: Flickr user Lee Ruk
Dinosaur fossils are abundant here, and I’m not talking about little “PG” ones. ABQ’s New Mexico Museum of Natural History has a complete replica (and only known fossils) of an enormous Siesmosaurus (110 feet long) and a Saurophaganax, which was basically as deadly as a T-Rex but didn’t have the “big head and little arms” problem.
12. Celebrate Albuquerque’s Vibrant Past
Source: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Facebook page
Albuquerque has no shortage of interesting Native American history, and it’s still proudly celebrated at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, everything from traditional dances to lectures and galleries featuring Pueblo art.
13. You May Not Know The Muffin Man, But Everyone Knows The Candy Lady
Source: The Candy Lady Facebook page
Fudge, caramels, brittle and blue meth. Well, candy-ized blue meth, as made famous by you guessed it, Breaking Bad. Pick up another hit of the good stuff from The Candy Lady, along with any of the other delicious offerings.
14. All This Nature… In The Middle of the Desert?!
Source: Flickr user City of Albuquerque
When you think of deserts, the first thing that pops into your head probably isn’t “lush, verdant greenery and beautiful flowers.” Well, you’ll be proven wrong at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden. This Japanese garden is just a small slice of this paradise with ten different garden exhibits.
15. Howl For Your UNM Lobos!
Source: Flickr user SD Dirk
The University of New Mexico Lobos play at The Pit, which is where you and the other 17,999 fans will be cheering for this consistently excellent basketball team. The UNM team’s been around for over a hundred years, so they know what they’re doing.
16. It Gives Montana A Run For The Title of “Big Sky Country”
Source: Flickr user ianloic
The Acoma Pueblo Indians have sustained their community, according to their tribal records, for hundreds of years. This adobe settlement sixty miles west of Albuquerque has prime real estate on top of a mesa, so a trip to “Sky City” means an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding land.
17. Be Aware Of The Altitude
Source: Flickr user rgallant_photography
Desert life is tough! If you’re coming from a sea-level state, you’ll need to keep in mind that the first few days, or weeks, possibly, are going to feature lots of lounging around as the altitude difference takes its toll on your body. But when you head back home for a visit to higher ground, you’re going to feel like an athletic god!
18. The Perfect Ron-Swansonable Steak
Source: Farm & Table Facebook
It’s date night and you’re living in Albuquerque—where else would you go but rustic Old Town, and get the best fresh, seasonal food in the state at Farm & Table? Juicy steak with green chiles (duh) and slurp-able mussels are only two of the awesome dishes you’ll find here.
19. Watch For Triple Rainbows
Source: Flickr user Todd Shoemake
Sure, this isn’t necessarily local to Albuquerque, but if you’re planning on moving or taking in a visit make sure to bring your poncho and a good camera for the early summer months. You’re likely to catch the phenomenon during the rainy weather, so keep an eye out.
20. All Other Bread Will Pale In Comparison
Source: Golden Crown Panaderia Neighborhood Bakery Facebook page
The wafting smell of fresh bread will guide you into downtown’s best bakery, which has also attracted such celebrity chefs as Guy Fieri. Stay for an empanada, or seven.
21. The Watering Hole For The Pierced and Bearded
Source: Sister Bar Facebook page
For an awesome Albuquerque rock show, why settle for anything less than the best? Sister Bar’s hip, loud atmosphere specializes in booking nationally touring groups and features full bar and speakers that will blow your face off. Rawk on.
22. These Donuts, Oh Man, These Donuts
Source: Rebel Donuts Facebook page
If they’re good enough for Jesse Pinkman, they’re good enough for you. It’s impossible to go long without digging your teeth into the delicious dough at Rebel Donuts, whether it’s a classic glazed confection or a fancy chocolate-dipped red velvet “Rebel” flavor.
23. It May Be Small, But The Comedy’s Big
Source: The Box Performance Space and Improv Theatre Facebook page
The theatre scene in Albuquerque is pretty limited, but local improv titans The Show regularly perform at the Box to the delight of local-yocals. If you like what you see, try an improv class and get up on stage yourself.
24. Public Transit Is… Eh…
Source: Flickr user Mike Tungate
It’s widely agreed that if you’re planning on getting anywhere without going by car or by foot in Albuquerque, you’re going to need to plan well in advance because the public transportation is not your friend. You can’t just plop down and wait, unless you wanna fry in the blistering sun.
25. You Can Revel In The Freaky Yet Vibrant Art Around Town
Source: Flickr user teofilo
Albuquerque features interesting pieces around nearly every corner, thanks to the city’s Public Art Program. Some well-known pieces include the Arch du Chevrolet (or “Chevy-on-a-Stick,” as I like to call it), bronze statues of crowds, intricate graffiti, metal sculptures, and colorful murals.
26. Bring Your…Skis?
Source: Flickr user Digapony
Yes, yes, it may seem like the temperature ranges from “pretty warm” to “blistering hot” in Albuquerque, but if you get up into the mountains with your snowboard and ski poles, you’re sure to find an ice-cool time coming down the slope.
27. Your BBQ Search Is Over At Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ House
Source: Mr. Powdrell’s Barbeque House Facebook page
Delicious ribs, flanks, basically every darn part of the animal. Stop by at either of their two locations in town and try and conquer their massive portions.
28. Go Under The Sea In The Desert
Source: ABQ BioPark Facebook page
Gardens aren’t the only unexpected thing you’ll find at the BioPark. Check out the aquarium to get up close (really close) and personal with sharks, more than 200 Pacific Coral reef fish, and even jellyfish.
29. KiMo Theatre
Source: Flickr user Ken Lund
The KiMo Theatre is a must-see not only for the great movies (like classic Bogart and Swayze flicks), but also because the building itself (built in 1927) features rare Art Deco-Pueblo Revival style architecture. Too bad you’re going to be viewing it in a darkened room. Maybe stay for the credits?
Feature Image Source: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Facebook