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A place in the sun

GETTING THERE:

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.

WHERE TO STAY:

Los Poblanos Inn, 4803 Rio Grande Blvd. N.W.; (866) 344-9297 or (505) 344-9297, vwww.lospoblanos.com. 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, vwww.bottger.com. 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, www.hotelABQ.com. Renovated Southwestern-style convention hotel. Doubles from $99.

WHERE TO EAT:

Seasons, 2031 Mountain Road N.W.; (505) 766-5100, vwww.seasonsonthenet.com. 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, vwww.churchstreetcafe.com. 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, vwww.scalonobhill.com. Northern Italian grill in inviting two-level contemporary space with open kitchen. Dinner main dishes and pasta $12-$30.

WHAT TO DO:

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

American International Rattlesnake Museum, 202 San Felipe N.W., Suite A; (505) 242-6569, www.rattlesnakes.com. 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, www.indianpueblo.org.

KiMo Theatre, 423 Central Ave. N.W.; (505) 768-3522, www.cabq.gov/kimo.

National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th S.W.; (505) 246-2261, www.nhccnm.org. 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, www.skycity.com. 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.

TO LEARN MORE:

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

— Beverly Beyette
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