What Not to Miss in New Mexico

I’ve been vacationing in New Mexico over the past few weeks, specifically in the Albuquerque area. Here are five places–restaurants, national parks, and more–that I will be coming back to next year!

1. The Petroglyphs National Monument.My personal favorite was the Three

An antelope in a tutu?

Sisters area, because I got to climb right up the side of a volcano (extinct of course!). But there are, of course, more handicap accessible areas to this park. Almost everywhere there are petroglyphs carved on the lava rock–hence the name–which are truly fascinating. Some things lead you to wonder what the artists was thinking when he carved what he carved, and others will simply leave you astounded that a bored shepherd could be so talented.

2. Blake’s Lotaburger. Okay, so they might have these in other places throughout the country, but not where I’m from. The reason to go in New Mexico, is that you can get the burger with green chile (which you can get on just about anything in New Mexico, really). The burgers are excellent, the fries are perfect. It won’t even cost you an arm and a leg to eat there–burgers are around 3 or 4 dollars.

3. El Morro National Monument. Now, this one is not at all handicap accessible. I don’t know why they even bothered to put in a handicap entrance, because a person who wasn’t 100% mobile would have a hard time getting around. Once you get to the top of the box canyon, you have to climb over rocks on a thin trail where any great deviation would end in a plummet to your death. The map marks it as “slightly strenuous” but beware! (Fortunately, I love these kinds of hikes.) Nevertheless, the view was astounding, with a gorgeous forest on the end you come in on, and vivid mesa and desert scenery just around the bend. definitely a park for the more daring hiker, but still be cautious: watch the weather reports and make sure you’re not going to be there on a rainy day.

El Morro encompassing me…I couldn’t quite capture it in a single shot, or even a panorama.

4. The Sandia Mountains. The drive up is fun because your ears pop every few minutes, but also a little scary because some places lack a guard rail. The trail is paved up to a point, with the option of walking along the (unpaved) edge of the cliff or staying as far away from it as you possibly can. There are forests and crooked trees, and a never-ending supply of panorama material. Once you get high enough, you can see out beyond the city to where there is untouched desert, to where the mountains fade into the sky in the distance, and you feel so small. There’s also a hummingbird feeder with photogenic hummingbirds who will let you get as close as you want, and I spent a lot of time there. This place is very prone to violent storms, and this year we were forced to go back to the gift shop when clouds formed overhead–and none-to-soon, either, because it hailed for at least 15 minutes. But they can still expect me back!

5.The Albuquerque Botanical Garden and Aquarium.Sounds sort of childish,

From a movie I took

but I got great shots of flowers, not to mention I had a good time. There are flowers and butterflies and dragonflies, and an entire garden dedicated to children (I went there when I was little and it was brand-new, had a blast). The aquarium has all kinds of fish and even eels, which I haven’t seen often, and the tank of moon jellies is eerily beautiful. The zoo, another part of the ABQ Biopark, is a miss (although I was spoiled with a world-class zoo when I grew up, so my standards are pretty high).

6. Sadie’s. I know I said 5 and that this is under the “Top Five Lists” category, but this is another place you gotta go. The Mexican food here is generous and delicious, with cheese and refried beans enough to share. For kids? The quesadilla appetizer, split between two or three of them. Adults? Get anything you want, it’s all great (the only thing I would advise against would be the taquitos)! Served with free chips and salsa as an appetizer (naturally, this is New Mexico we’re talking about!) and sopapillas with honey for dessert.

They have a ton of airplanes and fighter jets, etc, outside of the museum.

7. The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. Screw the number five. You gotta see this too. I’ve been here three times, and every time I’m a little scared and awed, even though it doesn’t change significantly from year to year. It’s cool to see bombs, photos, and artifacts, from the trinity site to the Cold War. Seeing the size of those bombs and thinking about what they are made to do gives you chills. You look at what the government said would save you in an atomic attack, and that will make you fear and question what you hear. It’s a great place to take kids who have an interest in science, or boys who have an interest in military vehicles.

I hope this helps anyone who is planning a trip to NM! And even if you’re not planning one, then why not?

Ciao for now,



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