As you can probably guess, the airport in Albuquerque is pretty small and as long as you have no checked bags, you can get out quickly and shuttle to your car rental within 15 minutes.
Old Town is the most popular area to visit and see the artifacts, many of which are imported in from Mexico.
We spent only a few hours before making the road trip for a one night stay in Santa Fe. This place brought a warm energy to my heart as it has a homey and vibrant feeling that gets everybody. They don’t call this place the land of enchantment for nothing.
What to See:
Peruse through Old Town, and make a stop in the quirky shop, Guerilla Graphix, which is a great place for awesome souvenirs, trinkets, and unusual things that bring memories to your favorite episodes of Breaking Bad.
The architecture throughout New Mexico is a sight to be seen. The Pueblo Revival architecture is an adobe (mudbrick) construction and the walls are usually painted in earth tones. Wherever we visit in the world, we always admire old church structures. We took a walk through San Felipe de Neri Parish, the oldest church in Albuquerque. The original structure actually collapsed after a rain storm in 1792 and then this one was built the following year.
Where to Eat:
There is a new area called Restaurant Row, which we heard about from a local, but we decided to stick with the nostalgic icons of Albuquerque and went to The Frontier for classic Mexican eats. This restaurant first opened in 1971 and it appears the owners want you to feel like it is still 1971. The establishment is well maintained and the washrooms were well kept. Side note, my mom always told me to visit the washroom of an establishment before dining and if the washroom is well kept it’s a good indication that they operate with high standards in the kitchen. Anyway…the place really is a down to earth casual style. You order your food at the kitchen counter, step aside and wait for your order number to be called. The restaurant is huge, the food was cheap and the place was packed. We took our food to go and we were in and out in about 15 minutes.
Our next stop was a little wacky, but a lot of fans of Breaking Bad take a drive to the house where the show was filmed. An older couple has purchased the house as their dwelling and are forced to deal with dozens of cars that stop by to take a picture every day. They have even put up an iron fence to gate the home and pitched a sign that reads “take your photos from across the street”. Just as we pulled up, the couple decided to sit outside and stare at us and the others that pulled up for photos. They are obviously annoyed, but we got our pictures and didn’t need to linger for too long.
I’m sure there is more to discover in Albuquerque, but we ended there and ventured out to Santa Fe.
Guerrilla Graphix. 206 San Felipe St. NW Albuquerque
Walt’s house in Breaking Bad. 3828 Piermont Dr. NE, Albuquerque NM
Studies have shown that giving your brain new experiences can help produce natural brain nutrients and help prevent Alzheimers. As youngins we were active and curious and awakening our senses. As adults sometimes we have to try a little harder to be curious.
High on the list of cool activities in Santa Fe, we discovered Meow Wolf. This place is an artist collective with art that is guaranteed to stimulate all of your senses. Consider this museum a playground for all ages that allows you to touch everything. Open the doors around you and see where they lead. Question and test EVERYTHING. If you want to take your time to understand this place, you will need to open the mailbox and read the letter before you enter the house. There is a mystery for you to solve while you visit, but you will be just fine if you just decide to go through the place feeling, seeing, taking pictures and even walking into a refrigerator that leads to a secluded room.
I highly recommend this place!
Additional Cost: $1 for 3D eyewear (very few exhibits actually require the eyewear)
New Mexico has a ton of scenic hikes and at first I didn’t know where to start. I had seen pictures of canyons, but driving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, it wasn’t as obvious as I expected. Our hotel in Santa Fe gave us a list of several hiking trails for beginners to advanced outdoors enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the staff wasn’t helpful and seemed really care-LESS to give us options. Fortunately, I spoke to the shuttle car driver outside of the hotel and he told me his favorite place in the area is Tent Rocks. He praised the geology and the appearance of the canyon when it rains. Well…it wasn’t raining, but I was motivated to be captivated by the features he described.
The next day we drove from Santa Fe toward Albuquerque to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. We arrived at about 1:30 pm and the staff (which are all volunteer) has the entrance blocked because the parking lot was full. Bear this in mind as you will need to wait for people to leave before you can enter. We waited about 15 minutes, but we have already decided that the next time we visit, we will go first thing in the morning.
We chose to do the Slot Canyon Trail as it goes a little higher up and was supposed to be a bit more challenging and less busy. Whichever path you choose, know that both trails are clearly marked and well maintained. You will not get lost. We saw families with toddlers taking in this adventure as well. The trail got quite narrow at times and sometimes slippery, so exercise caution along the entire route. This place was another example of God’s beauty and I was mesmerized the entire time. Rocks tell the tale of the earth’s history. Hiking through this national conservation you will see the volcanic drama that took place once upon a time.
Parking: $5 cash only
Time to complete the Slot Canyon: 1.2 Miles; 45 minutes up and 50 down (including the time we took to stop in shaded areas and take pictures)
Tips: 1. Arrive early in the day.
2. Bring and drink plenty of water.
3. Wear closed toed footwear. I saw at least 4 people wearing sandals.
Leave a comment and let me know what some of your favorite trails are.