Here are my favorite Albuquerque day trips for exploring the environs of New Mexico’s largest city.
Albuquerque, New Mexico is affordable, livable, and has a truly unique personality thanks to the amalgam of cultures that has shaped its culture for hundreds of years. However, to truly understand what has contributed to the uniqueness of Albuquerque, you need to explore beyond its borders. So let’s do that! Here is an ever growing list of my favorite days trips for anyone who visits Albuquerque. Update: I just added Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument to my list of must-see day trips from Albuquerque.
Ok, this is a no-brainer. Of course you’re going to visit Santa Fe. It is arguably the most beautiful city in New Mexico, rich in beautiful adobe architecture, artisans, galleries, and world class restaurants. We show you how to use the Rail Runner commuter train to make this Albuquerque day trip as painless as possible. Santa Fe, New Mexico is an eminently walkable city, and the Rail Runner puts you at the doorstep of the best this seductive city has to offer.
If you are a Route 66 buff, the iconic city of Tucumcari near the New Mexico / Texas border is an essential day trip for you. Tucumcari has raised the preservation of Route 66 culture to a fine art, and is a joy to visit. So, start your day with breakfast at the 66 Diner in downtown Albuquerque, and then head to Tucumcari. Make it an overnight stay for the ultimate “Mother Road” experience.
Visiting the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico is like becoming the central character in your own sci-fi movie. This is one of the most unusual travel attractions in New Mexico, (if not the world) and makes for an unforgettable experience. Be sure to stop by the Owl Bar and Cafe while in Socorro for what is arguably the best-tasting Green Chile Cheeseburger in the world.
While Santa Fe, New Mexico is affluent and mature, Taos is youthful, and open to all sorts of influences. You’ll find artists, hippies, healers, and adventurers all sharing the allure of Taos. It gives Taos a casual, funky southwestern vibe that makes this an essential Albuquerque day trip. The trip to Taos on the “High Road” or “Low Road” from Albuquerque offers a satisfying immersion into the essence of New Mexico culture.
It seems like nothing old in New Mexico is ever discarded. It is reused, repurposed or simply grows old gracefully in place. That can also be said of New Mexico’s ghost towns. The most oddly charming of the resurrected ghost towns is Madrid, on the Turquoise Trail about a half hour outside of Albuquerque. It is a madly creative and quirky artists commune that must be on your short list of Albuquerque day trips.
Sparky’s Burgers, Hatch, New Mexico
One of our favorite destinations is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque. Its just a local restaurant, but well worth the drive. Sparky’s Burgers in Hatch, New Mexico is one of the Green Chile Cheeseburger Wonders of the World. Drive here with a healthy appetite and your camera. You will agree that it is worth the trip.
Click on the red button for our full listing of Albuquerque Day Trips along with detailed info, and links to official websites. Enjoy!