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Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Waukesha, Wisconsin
1 post
Albuquerque/Santa Fe

My husband and I will be flying into Albuquerque the first week of May. We will be there for 1 week. Plan on splitting our time between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Any suggestions on road trips and must see attractions? We like traveling back roads through small towns and scenic highways. Would appreciate suggestions on what area of both Albuquerque and Santa Fe would be best to stay. Moderate price locally owned restaurant suggestions would be helpful.

4 replies to this topic
Albuquerque, New...
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1. Re: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Let's see:

Road Trips would include the Turquoise Trail, running along the east side of the Sandia Mountains, with a detour to the crest of the mountain, which is over 10,000 ft. The Turquoise trail continues through the small towns of Madrid (Mad-rid) and Cerrillos. A pretty drive, and a good green chili cheeseburger at the Mine Shaft tavern in Madrid. You could do this trip on your way to your stay in Santa Fe.

Or, the Jemez Mountain loop trip. North from Albuquerque to the town of Bernalillo, west on US 550 to San Ysidro, then NM 4 through the Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, the Valles Caldera and Bandelier Nat'l Monument and then on down to Santa Fe.

Another possibility would be to head west on I-40 and visit Acoma Sky City, one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in the U.S.

Or, while in Albuquerque, take I-40 east to the Tijeras exit, then south on state roads to Mountainaire. Stop at the Mission/Pueblo ruins of Quarai, then from Mountainaire south to the Mission/Pueblo ruins at Gran Quivera. Coming back to Mountainaire, head west toward the Rio Grande Valley, with a stop at the ruins of Abo, the third of the Mission/Pueblo ruins. This is a good days drive with a stop for lunch at the Alpine Carfe in Mountainaire.

Now to Santa Fe. You could do the circle tour of the Jemez, or a short trip east on I-25 to Pecos Nat'l Monument. Another trip worth doing for one day is taking the low road to Taos, through the Rio Grande Gorge, then north to Questa, east through Red River, on to the Moreno valley. Stop at the Vietnam Memorial just outside Angel Fire. A very moving experience. Here you have two choices, Stay on US 84 back to Taos, then pick up the high road back to Santa Fe. Or, for a bit more of the beautiful country, take NM 434 from Angel Fire to Mora, stopping at the Alpaca Ranch just before Mora. Then NM 618 to Penasco, and NM 76 to Santa Fe. This is the high road mentioned above.

Depending on your budget, the following would be good for lodging in Albuquerque. Old Town: Best Western Rio Grande Inn, Monterey Non-Smokers Motel (really nice place). Midtown at the junction of I-40 and I-25, Menaul and University:a good number of Hotels in this area. Kind of industrial, but perfectly safe. A little higher in prices is ABQ Uptown, between Menaul and I-40, along Louisiana Blvd. Plenty of options, and a ton of places to eat, as well as the new ABQ Uptown outdoor mall and Coronado Mall, the largest in the state.

As to Santa Fe lodging, I defer to my Santa Fe friends for their suggestions.

Albuquerque eats. You must try our New Mexican cuisine. Loads of places can give you a great taste of this food entirely different from anything. El Pinto, Church Street Cafe, Cocina Azul, Mary and Titos. I could go on the awhile on this. Plenty of Oriental, and other ethnic places to eat.

A suggestion for more information on Albuquerque. You can e-mail visitabq.org, and request all kinds of brochures and the annual magazine for the city. More questions? Stop at the Visitor Information desk on the baggage level of the airport. visitabq has an information desk there with loads of stuffl to help you.

If you have the time in either Albuquerque or Santa Fe, a trip to Tent Rocks Nat'l Monument between both cities is worth the time.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Along the Turquoise Trail, drive up to the top of the Sandias, stopping at Tinkertown a very interesting folk art museum. Also after Madrid, small town of Cerrillos with a nice saloon, Blackbird for a bite to eat, Cerrillos Station for a bit of shopping, some old buildings etc.

Dining in Santa Fe, mostly locally owned places! For Northern NM food try The Shed, La Choza, Tortilla Flats, The Pantry. Green Chile Cheeseburgers at Del Charro, Santa Fe Bite, Bang Bite food truck. Asian at Jinja, Paper Dosa. Check www.santafe.org

Pecos NHP east of Santa Fe and further north on I25 is Las Vegas NM with historic buildings and a bit further is Fort Union Nat Mon.

Between Abq and Santa Fe via I25 Tent Rocks Nat Mon, a number of pueblos and in Bernalillo is Coronado State Monument.

I would spend your first and last nights in Abq and 3 to 4 in Santa Fe and add a night in Taos.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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3. Re: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Should you consider the drive off the 14 (the 536) to that 200 mile view ... should you have had trouble with Higher elevations in the past ... Plan on the visit ,on The Albuquerque return ... Happy trails ... carracar

Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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4. Re: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Reserve 2 days for Albuquerque and the rest for Santa Fe/Taos and nearby attractions. We agree with Mary and Tito's for great Mexican fare in ABQ. If you are not used to spicy Chile, be cautious until you taste some of the Red and Green sauces in New Mexico restaurants...ask for samples before having it put on top of your entrees. Choose according to your own tastes. If you don't like real spicy what other cuisines do you enjoy?

The above posts have covered the ABQ to SF pretty well. Just to get you started for SF/Taos: Consider which of the following might be of interest to you.


A. In Santa Fe, there are 5 basic areas to explore.

1. The Plaza area for blocks around...shopping, fabulous dining, historic architecture and several museums. A neat local hidden gem cafe is Mucho Gusto. Their food is fresh, great and not overly spicy.

2. Museum Hill with its 4 world class museums, nice cafe with varied menu and botanic gardens across the road. Buy a multi museum pass at the first one you visit to save you $$. The Wheelwright is independent and requires a fee but its new wing on the history of Turquoise jewelry is great if that interests you.

3. The Guadalupe/Railyard district for more arts, dining and some re-sale, like the famous Double Take. Tomasita's restaurant or Cowgirl BBQ.

4...The Baca Area which also includes a glass blowing studio and which is nearby the eclectic Meow Wolf installation. Be sure to check into that and see if it appeals to you...If it does not, its a waste of time and $$. You decide.

5...The Cerrillos Road area for less expensive hotels, the Congeries great Consignment emporium, several antique shops, many other restaurants, Santa Fe Place Mall, fuel and pharmacies, and newer big box stores.


B...The High Road/Low Road to Taos and back. It can be done in a day from SF but its better to overnight in Taos.

Drive up to Taos via the High Road and return via the Low Road. There is so much to see out there including artists galleries along the road. The Taos Pueblo is an International Heritage Site and is a must-do IMO. So is Rancho de Taos Plaza south of town.



New Mexico Scenic Byways Map High Road to Taos Scenic Byway



Taos Pueblo - taospueblo.com


The High Road is a designated scenic byway. You take beautiful, fully paved back roads, through the scenic countryside, past the Santuario de Chimayo (a must see), and small galleries (often in a family's home). It eventually climbs up to the village of Truchas which is perched along a narrow ridge. Then you pass through forest to Taos. Its a lovely drive.

The Low Road is really the #68 that follows the Rio Grande River but it too is quite scenic. On the low road just south of Taos is Ranchos de Taos Plaza, with its famous adobe church made so famous by Ansel Adams in his photos and Georgia O'Keefe in her paintings. The combo is one of our favorite drives and we take it very often. There is access to some of NM's small wineries along those roads as well.


C...The out door highlights near Santa Fe.

1...Bandelier National Monument for hiking and cliff dwellings...plus the Los Alamos area.

2...Tent Rocks National Monument for geologic wonders and a small slot canyon.

3...Pecos Ruins National Historic Site.

Bandelier National Monument - https://www.nps.gov/band

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument - https://www.blm.gov/visit/kktr

Pecos National Historical Park - https://www.nps.gov/peco

D. Other highlights near Taos: Rio Grande Bridge, the drum factory, Ojo Caliente historic spa and the Enchanted Circle day-drive. You probably will not have time for these with only 7 days.

*Please ask more questions if you think we can clarify something for you.

Edited: 16 January 2018, 02:36
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