A place in the sun

Colorful hot-air balloons float gracefully over the Rio Grande during the New Mexico city’s annual festival. At top, turquoise finds draw canny shoppers to Albuquerque.
(Ron Behrmann)


From LAX, Southwest and United have nonstop flights to Albuquerque. Southwest, America West, United and Delta have connecting flights (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $190.


Los Poblanos Inn, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd. N.W.; (866) 344-9297 or (505) 344-9297, A historic family-run inn near Old Town. Rooms wrap around a center courtyard and have kiva fireplaces and Southwestern décor. Doubles, including full breakfast, from $145.

Böttger Mansion of Old Town, 110 San Felipe N.W.; (800) 758-3639, Elvis stayed here, Sinatra sang here. Machine Gun Kelly hid out here. Now it’s a Victorian bed and breakfast. Doubles start at $115.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, 800 Rio Grande Blvd. N.W.; (505) 843-6300, Renovated Southwestern-style convention hotel. Doubles from $99.


Seasons, 2031 Mountain Road N.W.; (505) 766-5100, Upscale dining near Old Town. Seasonally fresh ingredients, open kitchen. Main dishes about $16-$39.

Duran Central Pharmacy, 1815 Central Ave. N.W.; (505) 247-4141. This 1940s-style eatery, popular for breakfast and lunch, has fabled tortilla burgers. Nothing is more than $9.

Church Street Café, 2111 Church St. N.W.; (505) 247-8522, Old Town lunch favorite serving New Mexican cuisine in the city’s oldest residence, dating from the early 1700s. Priciest item is $13.

Scalo, 3500 Central Ave. S.E.; (505) 255-8781, Northern Italian grill in inviting two-level contemporary space with open kitchen. Dinner main dishes and pasta $12-$30.


Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, 9201 Balloon Museum Drive N.E.; (505) 768-6020, I loved the exhibits devoted to ballooning history. The Balloon Fiesta,, will be held Oct. 6-14 this year.

American International Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe N.W., Suite A; (505) 242-6569, Open 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $3.50 adults; $2.50 kids.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. N.W.; (866) 855-7902,

KiMo Theatre, 423 Central Ave. N.W.; (505) 768-3522,

National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th S.W.; (505) 246-2261, Museum is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. $3 adults, kids 16 and younger free.

Sky City Cultural Center, Interstate 40, Exit 102 (15 miles south of the pueblo of Acoma); (800) 747-0181 or (505) 552-7860, Guided tours of the Acoma Pueblo start on the hour; $10 adults; $7 children 6-17; younger than 5 free.

Turquoise Museum, 2107 Central Ave. N.W.; (505) 247-8650. Open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. $4 adults, $3 for kids younger than 12.


Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, on Plaza Don Luis in Old Town or baggage claim level at the airport; (800) 733-9918,

— Beverly Beyette