|Albuquerque is a city of diversity. Geographic
and historical circumstances have brought Native American, Hispanic and
Anglo cultures together to create a unique multicultural community. The
land awes and inspires with its changes from the Sandia and Manzano
Mountains to the east, the river valley that splits the city in half, to
the West Mesa escarpment with its ghosts of volcanic activity. The weather
is mild and it is not unusual for a seventy-degree day during the winter
where people can be seen snow skiing at Sandia Peak Ski Area in shorts.
Albuquerque is a year-round destination for travelers, offering
recreational activities such as white water rafting, the Kodak Albuquerque
International Balloon Fiesta, gambling for the high stakes enthusiast,
hiking, skiing, world class bird watching, and great dining. The mixture
of old-world and new architectural styles is stunning. In spite of the
size of the city and all of the amenities that go with big city life,
Albuquerque manages to retain a small town charm.
Whether you stroll through this historic district on your own, or tour with the Albuquerque Museum, Old Town is the perfect place to begin exploring The Duke City. At the heart of this district is the original central plaza that is lined with over a hundred quaint little shops. Like everything else in Albuquerque a visit to Old Town is a delightful mix of old and new, with sights that range from Civil War cannons to the Church of San Felipe de Neri. A stroll around the plaza will give you a glimpse into the rich history of the area as well as a taste of the tremendous artistic talents showcased in places like The Tanner Chaney Gallery. Stop in The Candy Lady for a delectable chocolate that will tempt the child in everyone. While there take your sense of humor to the adult room for some raucous renditions of the old family recipes. Go further back in time with a trip through the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, or satisfy your childlike curiosity in the Explora! Science Center. Best of all you can stay in the area in the modern luxury of the Sheraton Old Town, or in the elegance of a bed and breakfast like the Bottger-Koch Mansion.
The hub of business and government activity in the city is the bustling downtown area. But business is not the only activity that takes place in this cultural center. The Civic Plaza is host to myriad activities and during summer months, Summerfest is held. This is a celebration of New Mexico's many cultures that showcases the food, music and dance of a different ethnic group every Saturday. If the Civic Plaza is downtown's outdoor venue, the newly renovated KiMo Theater is the city's crown jewel of indoor venues for the performing arts. The Hyatt Regency, one of the city's newest luxury hotels dominates the downtown skyline. With two lounges and a restaurant that offers fine dining, this is the ultimate hotel for the business traveler.
This region of Albuquerque boomed following the second World War when Route 66 became an artery for interstate travel and migration to the west. The residential neighborhoods are quaint tree-lined streets with 1950s ranch-style homes and a sprinkling of well-groomed parks. The uptown district is the retail center of the city. Two large, indoor shopping malls, Winrock Center and Coronado Center, lie within a mile of each other. Restaurateurs have taken advantage of the traffic generated by these centers. The Japanese Kitchen sushi bar caters to local businessmen and shoppers alike. The Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown offers a range of rates for all levels of business travelers. If you are overwhelmed by the district's hole-in-the-wall and specialty eateries, try the hotel's Classic Grille, offering meals with a Southwestern flair. If you're visiting over the weekend, be sure to drop in for the Fajitas-and-Margaritas-for-Two special.
This eccentric area is a mix of art deco, Spanish colonial, pueblo, and modern architectural styles. It has undergone a recent facelift and the Nob Hill Merchants Association has revitalized and reclaimed this once run-down neighborhood. Once bland strip malls now house a mix of retailers, galleries and coffee houses that cater to students from the nearby University of New Mexico as well as the locals who drop in for a little gossip. Closer to the university are a variety of restaurants, delis and sidewalk cafes that offer fare from the far reaches of world. The award-winning Olympia Café has offered authentic Greek cuisine from the same location since 1972. Just east of the Nob Hill area lie the New Mexico State Fair grounds, home of the sixth largest state fair in the US.
The sheer, pink granite Sandia Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for this sprawling area which contain some of the newest developments within the city limits. One of Albuquerque's landmark features is the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway. For an unforgettable evening, punctuated by one of the most awe inspiring views in the Western United States, catch a ride on the tram to the top of the mountains where you can enjoy a sunset meal at the High Finance Restaurant. A drive past the opulent mansions that perch on the boulder strewn foothills of the mountains will take you to the hikers' Mecca of Albuquerque. Elena Gallegos Park offers miles of trails through the sage and juniper hills. On the north end of the mountains, La Luz Trail winds to the soaring heights of Sandia Crest, where hang gliders ride the warm air currents that rise from the valley floor.
The silicon age drives the economy of one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The Intel Corporation has sparked a massive boom on the city's west side. As new neighborhoods sprawl across the mesa, their growth is steered by the basalt escarpment of Petroglyph National Monument. A hike down the trails of this unique treasure offers visitors a glimpse into New Mexico's prehistoric past. Shopping abounds at the new Cottonwood Mall, the state's largest indoor mall. The Hilton Garden Inn, across the street from the Intel complex, offers a central location for the visitor with business on the west side. A drive down Coors Boulevard after dark offers a remarkable vista. The city becomes a sea of light that stretches from the distant mountains to the cottonwood Bosque of the Rio Grande.
North Valley/South Valley
The Rio Grande Valley offers the visitor a glimpse at what the Spanish explorers saw in the fifteenth century when they rode north along the Rio Grande del Norte. The economic diversity of the city unravels as you follow Rio Grande Boulevard from north to south. Some of the homes in the south valley have withstood the test of time for hundreds of years. Nestled among these ancient dwellings are the Albuquerque Country Club and the Rio Grande Zoological Park. A new addition to the south valley is the Albuquerque Aquarium and Rio Grande Botanic Gardens, where you can dine with the sharks in their exclusive restaurant.
The North Valley is home to some of the city's more prominent families. The world famous racing family, the Unsers, have an estate here. Set in the adobe walls that surround the estate are wheels from cars that actually ran at the Indianapolis 500. Giant, ancient cottonwoods shade bridle paths and walking trails. The River Horse Ranch offers visitors an opportunity to take guided or unguided rides along the banks of the river. A nice way to end the day is a visit to the Anderson Vineyards, where you can taste one of New Mexico's premier wines.
Surrounded by majestic ponderosa pines and expansive vistas, this area
is growing faster than some people like. Populated with a mix of income
groups, age groups, and ethnic backgrounds, the east mountain area is seen
as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city. You can ski
Sandia Peak Ski Area in the morning and golf at Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club in
the afternoon. Lodging in the East Mountains is limited to bed and
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