Every October, people from around the world flock to our city for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®. Events take place at Balloon Fiesta Park throughout the week, but many visitors find themselves looking for something to do in the afternoons in Albuquerque. Here are some ideas of what else to experience during your Balloon Fiesta visit.
Ride the Tram
The Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is a must-do when visiting Albuquerque. The ride and views from Sandia Peak offer unparalleled vistas of the city. Be sure to purchase your tram tickets online in advance at sandiapeak.com. Don't miss the restaurant TEN 3 at the top! You can also drive up the back up the mountain to Sandia Peak and stop in at Tinkertown Museum. Be sure to bring a jacket – it can get chilly at 10,378 feet!
Fill up on green chile
If you've never tried authentic New Mexican cuisine, this is your chance! Green chile roasting season is in full swing in October, and we eat it on just about everything. A couple of local favorites for enchiladas, chile rellenos and sopaipillas are Sadie's, El Pinto and Papa Felipe's.
Take a guided tour
Photo Credit: Routes Bicycle Tours
If you attend the "mass ascension" in the wee hours of the morning at Balloon Fiesta Park, there are plenty of unique tours to fill your afternoon! Check out one of Routes Bicycle Tours or head out on the Best of ABQ City Tour from Albuquerque Tourism and Sightseeing Factory. Explore Albuquerque's burgeoning breweries and wineries. We recommend the tours at Red Door Brewing Co. and Gruet Winery, just to name a few.
Shop in historic Old Town
Old Town is the original city center, and it still serves as the cultural heart of Albuquerque. There are fabulous restaurants, local souvenir shops and Native American jewelry vendors on the plaza. Within walking distance are several of Albuquerque's best museums, such as as Explora (great for kids), the Natural History & Science Museum, the Albuquerque Museum and the Rattlesnake Museum.
There are lots of beautiful places to explore outside in Albuquerque. Head over to the Petroglyph National Monument to see more than 20,000 images carved into stone from those who lived in the Rio Grande Valley hundreds of years ago. The Sandia Mountain foothills offer numerous hiking trails for all skill levels. Go to cabq.gov for a complete list of trails. For more experienced hikers, go to the La Luz trail, which takes you up nearly 9 miles one way up the eastern face of the Sandia Mountains. It is one of the most challenging trails in the Sandias, so be prepared before you go!
Find fun events
Dozens of events are happening in Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta. The Harvest Festival at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden is fun for the family with festive treats, local brews and bands. Browse the work of dozens of Native American artists and artisans at the Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival. Check out some of the delicious craft beers Albuquerque has to offer at the New Mexico Brew Fest. Monster Jam® is an action-packed motorsport with world-class athletes battling it out in intense competitions. The Albuquerque Folk Festival features the best folk has to offer, with multiple stages, workshops, vendors and more. The Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival showcases fine arts and crafts from 200 artists from across the country. Enjoy Greek food, music and gifts at the Albuquerque Greek Festival. For even more fun things to do, visit our Events Calendar.