It's no secret that when it comes to sunsets, Albuquerque puts on one of the most brilliant, colorful, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks shows. The scaping sky transforms into a vibrant watercolor painting, the city takes on a warm hue, and bright paint pots of color burst across the cloudline. While the sunsets are some of the most exceptional in the world, the thing that really sets our sunsets apart from those you'll see anywhere else might surprise you.
The Sandia Mountains. "Sandia" means watermelon in Spanish, and these mountains reinforce their perfectly-given namesake every evening at dusk. As the sun drops below the horizon, the string of awe-inspiring vistas illuminate into an unexpected and radiant pink/red hue. It's one of those things you truly have to see to believe.
While there seems to be no bad place to watch an Albuquerque sunset, there are certain spots that are better than others for witnessing this one-of-a-kind spectacle.
The Apothecary Lounge at Hotel Parq Central
Seated on the rooftop of one of Albuquerque's most fascinating boutique hotels is the Apothecary Lounge. The Lounge's mixologists are known to be some of the best in the city and will serve up a cocktail blended with a wide selection of flavored betters perfect for enjoying during dusk. The way this trendy and upscale spot is situated, the patio tables and cushioned lounge "love seats" will point you perfectly toward the direction of the falling sun. As dusk hits, the city lights up and the sky brightens up and at the Apothecary Lounge, you'll find yourself in "front row seats".
Level 5 at Hotel Chaco
Another spectacular and new rooftop bar suited for sunsets is Hotel Chaco's hip and lively Level 5. While the sunset itself is important, Level 5 might actually be the perfect spot if you'd like to see the watermelon mountains in action. They even feature a "Sandia Sunset" special on their evening cocktail menu which is a refreshing blend of watermelon, orange, and Maestro Dobel Diamante and emulates the experience perfectly.
A brilliant Albuquerque sunset should be accompanied by a brilliant margarita, don't you think? If you are in the mood for a sunset without a hike or rooftop, Sandiago's Grill at the Tram is your spot. Take a seat on the inviting yet casual patio where you can munch on some fresh chips and guacamole and wait for the magic to begin. This spot makes the perfect beginning or end to your adventure on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway.
This just might be the best vantage point of them all. Who can compete with a sunset view 10,000 feet above the ground from the crest of a mountain range?! Take a magical ride up the Sandias in the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway or if you're feeling the urge to be active, you can hike to the top via the La Luz hiking trail. Check the time of the sunset and time it so that you can catch the peak of the sunset from the viewing area at the top. Make sure to drink lots of water before this spectacle because the astonishing beauty of it all, combined with 10,000 feet of elevation just might leave you feeling faint in the best kind of way.
Right in the heart of downtown Albuquerque lives a hotel with Spanish-inspired architecture and an art-deco vibe called Hotel Andaluz. Book a room and depending on the floor, you'll have an elevated and colorful view either direction. Ibiza!, the hotel's rooftop bar, has not only a great view of the downtown area, but a great vantage point for the Sandia mountains. Sip on some happy hour bubbles and snack on a bacon-wrapped date while the cars whiz by and the Albuquerque skies do their thing.
Whether you're viewing platform of choice is a relaxing on a trendy rooftop bar or an invigorating hike to the top of the mountains, remember to take a camera and a loved one with you. Tag your photos with #TrueABQ and #VisitABQ to see more vibrant Albuquerque sunsets and images from a unique perspective!