Albuquerque, a New Mexico Surprise

Albuquerque Old Town, image

Albuquerque's Old Town entices with history, shopping, and food. |

Before my recent trip to Albuquerque (or ABQ as the locals call it), I knew absolutely nothing about the city or the area. But after four whirlwind days on a press trip where I experienced rattlesnakes, scenic drives, restaurants, Pueblo culture, and an international flamenco festival, I wished I could stay longer.

American International Rattlesnake Museum I survived an encounter with a black western diamondback rattler and did so-so on a rattlesnake trivia quiz.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center The center celebrates local cultures with exhibits, dancing, a gift store with Pueblo art, and a café serving Native fusion cuisine.

Two Albuquerque Restaurants Two billion jars of salsa, margaritas on tap, and seating for 1,200 goes up against homemade gnocchi with braised brisket in an authentic, casual Italian eatery. Both win.

Jemez Scenic Byway North of Albuquerque, a beautiful stretch of road winds between mesas and red rock country, taking you to hot springs, galleries, historic sites, and a super volcano.

Acoma Sky City A sojourn west into the desert stops at gas station with Route 66 memorabilia, a Pueblo culture center, and a 16th-century mesa-top fortress of the Acoma people.

Festival Flamenco A weeklong celebration enchants and enthralls with exuberant, sexy, stylish, athletic performances by top flamenco dancers.

For more information about Albuquerque, visit or call (800) 284-2282.

This blog post was first published in August 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.