Albuquerque

Albuquerque by CC user 42928188@N02 on Flickr

Introduction

Formerly being an American city primarily known as a directional waypoint for Bugs Bunny (knew I should have taken a left at Albuquerque!), as well as for having one of the hardest names to spell in the nation, Albuquerque has landed on the cultural map for being the location of one of the hottest shows on television.

While Breaking Bad has ended its run, it has drawn people to this colonial gem in the high desert, imbued with equal parts Spanish and Native American culture. While many will come for some of Heisenberg’s trademark blue crystal meth (it’s actually candy you can buy at a store in town), they will remember this place for being a cultural hotspot in one of the more naturally stunning parts of the American Southwest.

San Felipe de Neri Church by CC user 0ccam on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Throughout New Mexico, there are several remains of cliff side and stone dwellings that members of the Pueblo nations of New Mexico inhabited in the earlier parts of the last Millennium.

Their descendants have aimed to preserve their culture by enshrining it within the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which includes various art and crafts, artifacts, and videos documenting how they created the many artisanal products that are on display within this museum.

Next, take a stroll through the Old Town, where ten blocks of traditional Adobe buildings are preserved around a central plaza, as was the usual design in Spanish/Mexican influenced settlements of the day.

Within the bounds of this historical districts are many cathedrals, museums, as well as numerous shops, restaurants and bars that have sprung up in the extremely photogenic architecture that you will find here.

One sight you shouldn’t miss within this area is the San Felipe de Neri Church, which was constructed in 1791, making it one of the oldest structures in the city.

Just outside the city is one of the more mysterious legacies of Pueblo culture, as Petroglyph National Monument protects countless rock etchings and drawing made over the centuries by this Native American tribe.

Encompassing the West Mesa, a massive escarpment made from volcanic basalt, the rock found within this park has made the perfect canvass for Native artists to express themselves over the years.

In addition to the mystifying drawings that some anthropologists have had a hard time deciphering, this park also protect five volcanic cones, making this place a great spot to visit for geological enthusiasts.

Sandia Peak Tram by CC user 75001512@N00 on Flickr

Other Attractions

Fans of cable television dramas have raved extensively about a former AMC show that was shot in various locations in and around Albuquerque over its multi-year run, making touring of the many Breaking Bad filming locations in the area a thriving business for the local tourism industry.

From Walter White’s house, to a variety of public places, restaurants, roach motels and more, there are no shortage of places throughout Albuquerque that will trigger your memory to any one of the many significant episodes in this epic series.

Those that are into nature will want to spend an entire afternoon at the Albuquerque Biological Park, as it contains a number of attractions all rolled into one that will entertain and educate you at every turn.

The Albuquerque Aquarium contains saltwater species from the Gulf of Mexico that live in estuaries, coral reefs and at deeper depths in this major body of water, while the Rio Grande Botanical Garden specializes in protecting plant species that thrive in desert and Mediterranean climates.

The Rio Grande Zoo boasts over 250 species of animals, ranging from elephants to snow leopards, and Tingley Beach offers a place where one can go fishing on a fine sunny day in Albuquerque (of which there are many in this arid climate).

Finally, end your trip to Heisenberg’s backyard by taking a ride up the Sandia Peak Tramway, which grants the best possible view over the cityscape that comprises metro Albuquerque. The tram is the longest of its kind in North America, and offers access to hikes ranging from pleasant day hikes to multi-day backpacking adventures, as well as to a ski resort in the winter time (when conditions permit, as snow can be inconsistent from one year to the next).

Those not into athletic pursuits can enjoy the views over a good meal, as the High Finance Restaurant is perfectly positioned for a delicious end to your sightseeing adventures in Albuquerque.

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