Many of our guests at Adobe Nido B&B try to do too much in one day. For instance, some visitors want to go to Carlsbad for the day to see the Caverns. It doesn’t look like too much for one day when you look at the state map, unless you check the scale of miles. New Mexico is a very big state, and is very rural once you get away from the three largest urban areas, Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. When you are use to looking at maps of smaller states that have many more cities and towns it is hard to understand that New Mexico doesn’t have that many towns for its size, nor roads, so therefore, there aren’t many choices of ways to get from one part of the state to the other. There are many mountain ranges that break it up as well.
Choosing Albuquerque as a destination will give you a lot of diversity very close by, so you don’t need to travel from one end of the state to the other to have many, many options for sights and culture. A great way to spend a day in the Albuquerque area, see a lot, spend a little and not wear yourself out is by visiting the Petroglyph National Monument in the morning and Sky City, Acoma Pueblo in the afternoon. If you plan your time well you may get back in town early enough for a ride on the Sandia Peak Tram for sunset.
We serve breakfast at 8:30am, and if you head out to the Petroglyphs right after breakfast it is the perfect time to set out on the trails. Petroglyph National Monument is a short drive from Adobe Nido, about 20 to 25 minutes. It is on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande Valley on the west side of Albuquerque but still within the city limits. You will experience the presence of early American Indian activity throughout, and these images left behind on the rocks tell a stories of the people who lived in the area many years ago. Make sure you have your sunscreen and a hat.
Next up is the drive west to Sky City, Acoma Pueblo. Take Unser Blvd. south to I-40 and turn west to Sky City. The drive is a little less than an hour.
Acoma Pueblo has the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. The People of Acoma have an incredible story to tell. In her book, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather describes part of the history Acoma shares with the Spanish Priests of the New World. The People have two villages, one modern and one traditional and historic. They have done an awesome job of keeping these worlds separate, and use one to preserve the other. On the tour of Sky City’s historic area, you may purchase their world famous pottery at bargain prices right from the families create them – and right in front of their homes, (and the homes of their ancestors). There are many photo ops at Sky City, so the purchase of a $10 camera pass is well worth it. Listen well to your guides and honor their rules.
There are also two Casinos at Acoma, far from the historic area. One is on the way in, and is you take the shortcut to the freeway when you leave, you will pass another. Sometimes you can catch a snack from the families atop Sky City’s mesa, but you may stop for lunch in the cafe at the visitor center below, or at the casino on the way out. Gamble if you must, but remember, your day is not over yet! You need to get back to “Burque” for the sunset!
Back on the road again, you will be passing another Casino, Rt 66 Casino, and they have one of the best buffets in the Southwest, so if you skipped lunch – stop here! The variety is unbelievable, and all food is very fresh. This is a world cuisine buffet and each area represented here has its own Chef – Pacific Rim (Phillipine, Korean, Vietnamese), Mediterranean, (Portugese, Italian, Greek), an International Grille, (Caribbean, Brazilian, BBQ), Southwestern fare – how can you pass this by? We can’t.
Oh, yes…back to Albuquerque by sunset! At the world’s longest tram, Sandia Peak Tramway, you may ride up to the top of Albuquerque’s Rocky Mountains, The Sandias. “Sandia” is Spanish for watermelon, which is the color of the mountain at sunset. There is a restaurant at the top of the tram, (and at the base), and you may sit with a margarita or cerveza, (I like Dos Equis Amber), and watch as the sun sets over the Rio Grande Valley while Albuquerque lights up. Beautiful!
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!