Albuquerque is a sprawling desert city near the center of New Mexico. Although it is the largest city in the state, it is often overshadowed by Santa Fe, 60 miles to the north. But Albuquerque has a number of great attractions in its own right, with pleasant scenery, colorful history and a spectacular hot-air balloon fiesta in the fall. Albuquerque is in the high desert and has a generally warm, dry climate with four distinct seasons. This is a casual town. Expect shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals to be entirely acceptable almost everywhere.
Visitors to the city should explore the Albuquerque Biological Park, which includes the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, the Rio Grande Zoo, and Tingley Beach. Old Town, located east of Rio Grande Boulevard in between Central Avenue and Mountain Road, is a nice sightseeing area where centuries of history and modern life merge. The neighborhood blends 18th century architecture with narrow brick paths, adobe architecture, world famous artwork, fine jewelry, delicious food and specialty shops. There are several museums located within easy walking distance of the Old Town plaza.
The Sandia Mountains offer outdoors opportunities ranging from straight hiking to serious, multi-day rock climbing. Mountain biking is also really popular. During the winter, you can ski or snowboard at Sandia Peak.