Albuquerque, NM

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip

by and - last updated on 5/25/2024

The flight here was one of the worst flights we’ve taken, purely from the perspective of being violently bounced up and down when we thought we were near to landing. We were on a United Air Lines flight to Albuquerque from Richmond via Houston, where we had to switch to United Express utilizing an Embraer 175LR aircraft. The down-drafts (and up-drafts) that we flew through would bounce the airplane so violently that we thought we were hearing the rivets creak & groan!

We found out later that the primary reason is because Albuquerque lies just south of the Sandia Mountains - similar to Denver, it can get windy here as the wind crests the mountains and then flows down to the valley floor - and the wind when we landed was very strong! We descended bumpily to about 800 feet and then the wind reversed and was coming from behind at about 30 knots which caused the pilot to abort the landing. The landing speed is very important to avoid disaster, and the additional 30 knots of tail-wind speed was over the landing speed limit for that aircraft.

So the pilot initiated a "go-around" and we went up and to the west of Albuquerque and came back to land the plane from that direction. He was able to land it the second time, thank goodness, but it was the bumpiest flight we’ve ever had. It took a few hours for my stomach to settle back down.

Sandia Peak Tramway   Map

The Sandia Peak Tramway whisks you up from the tram base station in just 15 minutes. As the tram glides along the mountainside, desert landscapes transform into a dramatic panorama. Below, the city shrinks, while the Sandia Mountains unfurl their rugged beauty. Reaching the 10,378-foot peak, a breathtaking vista unfolds. Albuquerque stretches out forever, and on a clear day, you can see for 11,000 square miles. Crisp mountain air invigorates, and the city's twinkling lights paint a magical scene at dusk.

We knew that it was going to be colder at the top of the peak (the temperatures at the top of the mountain are typically 20-30 degrees cooler than in the city below), but we didn't anticipate how difficult the wind chill was going to be - the wind was gusting up to 20 mph and the sweaters we were wearing were not up to the task. The air temperature was mid 30s farenheit, but the wind chill "perceived temp" was in the high 20s.

Then we discovered that the restaurant (TEN3) wasn't able to accommodate us for lunch (the restaurant was full) and then when we looked for a place to get out of the wind to warm up - the only available location was in the Tram waiting area. This combination of factors made us decided to ride the tram back to the valley below and find a restaurant there.

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Here comes our ride
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Long way down!
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Ten 3 Restaurant was Full
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Way down below
 
 More Info for Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Sandia Peak Tramway Website
  • Sandia Peak Tramway Tickets - currently are $34 adult round trip (prices vary by age group). As weather can disrupt Tramway operations, you should go to their website to confirm pricing & availability:
  • Sandia Peak Tramway Parking: there is a large parking lot immediately in front of the Tramway Building:
  • Sandia Peak Tramway Wikipedia Article
  • Our Sandia Peak Tramway Image Gallery
  • Sandia Peak Tramway Google Images Set
 

Petroglyph National Monument   Map

The sun warms your back as you enter Petroglyph National Monument. The visitor center unlocks the past, showcasing ancient tools and pottery. Following the ranger's advice, you pick a trail. Hiking through volcanic rock canyons, you spot the first petroglyph - a faded spiral. Further along, human figures and geometric designs emerge, etched by Pueblo people centuries ago. Questions dance in your mind: What stories do these symbols hold? The desert whispers secrets on the wind. You leave with a profound connection to the past, humbled by the timeworn messages etched in stone.

The Petroglyph National Monument is spread out across several different locations, we went to the Boca Negra Canyon location and it is adjacent to a suburban area full of houses and various commercial entities. The dichotomy between walking up the trail to where the petroglyphs reside and being immediately next to a housing area is unique.

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Cliff Base Trail
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Further down the Trail
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Petroglyphs Everywhere
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
The Sign Says...
 
 More Info for Petroglyph National Monument
  • Petroglyph National Monument National Park Service Page
  • Petroglyph National Monument Parking/Fees/Reservations
  • Petroglyph National Monument Wikipedia Article
  • Our Petroglyph National Monument Image Gallery
  • Petroglyph National Monument Google Images Set
 

Old-Town Albuquerque   Map

Old Town Albuquerque; Sun-baked adobe buildings line narrow streets, their history palpable. The scent of roasting chiles mingles with vibrant music spilling from open cafes. We browsed artisan shops overflowing with colorful southwestern crafts – intricate jewelry, hand-woven rugs, and gleaming pottery. At the heart of it all lies Old Town Plaza, a charming square anchored by the San Felipe de Neri Church, its weathered facade a testament to the town's deep roots.

We explored our way around the plaza, went into several shops and gradully realized that lunch time was beckoning, so we had lunch at Little Anita's New Mexican Foods - food was good, service was very good and the price was low. We would easily recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good lunch.

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
San Felipe de Neri Church
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Plaza Area
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Juan de Oñate
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Who is that Conquistador?
 
 More Info for Old-Town Albuquerque
  • Old-Town Albuquerque Website
  • Old-Town Albuquerque Wikipedia Article
  • Old-Town Albuquerque Parking - Here is a link to a map displaying free public parking:
  • Old-Town Albuquerque Google Images Set
  • Old-Town Albuquerque Places to eat via Google Search Results
  • Old-Town Albuquerque accommodations via Google Search Results
 

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History   Map

This outing was because I have been a life-long aviation & military enthusiast. My father was a career Air Force - so I spent all of my early years growing up on Air Force Bases all over the world, and then I spent four years in the Navy. When we first did our trip research and I saw how close this museum was to our hotel, we decided that we would visit and explore this facility.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque ignites curiosity. Inside, exhibits chart the atomic age, from the Manhattan Project's urgency to Cold War tensions. You'll see replicas of Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and feel the weight of history. Yet, the museum isn't just about war. Interactive displays showcase nuclear medicine's life-saving applications and futuristic energy solutions. Explore "Little Albert's Lab," a playful space for kids to learn about radiation. Stepping outside, Heritage Park displays colossal artifacts like a B-52 bomber, a stark reminder of nuclear power's potential for both destruction and progress. This museum offers a thought-provoking journey through the complex world of nuclear science.

Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Museum Entrance
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Atomic Weapons Area
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
Missile Delivery Systems
Explore the American Southwest with this southwest USA itinerary through New Mexico, the southwestern corner of Utah and Northern Arizona. Get the Inspiration you need to plan your own trip
B-29 Super Fortress
 More Info for National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Website
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Wikipedia Article
  • Our National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Image Gallery
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Google Images Set
 

More Info for Albuquerque, NM 

  • Albuquerque Wikipedia Article
  • Get Your Guide Albuquerque Guided Family Walking Tour
  • Albuquerque Google Images Set
  • Visit Albuquerque on the "Visit Albuquerque" Website
  • Our Youtube Channel
 

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