15 Famous Things Albuquerque is Known For

Albuquerque, New Mexico, is famous not only for its rich history, but also for the wonders that the city has to offer. For one, it houses one of the oldest churches in the country.

Developed by Spanish settlers in the 18th century, the city has earned the reputation of being home to both native American and Hispanic cultures.

What is Albuquerque Known For?

1. Blue Skies and Sunshine

Albuquerque is famous for its sunny weather. The city has 280 days of sunshine, which is an excellent weather for people who love the outdoors.

The city also gets rain, and the average precipitation is only 11 inches per year.

In other words, the city is hot. However, the city still has a better weather than the rest of New Mexico. In one year, the city gets about 57 days of rain.

2. Rio Grande Valley

The Rio Grande Valley is famous because several major battles happened here, which includes the Battle of Resaca de la Palma.

This battle happened in 1848, and the war resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which eventually defined the border of the Rio Grande between the US and Mexico.

The valley is home to exotic birds. The weather is warm, and one can find many citrus orchards here. It was in the 1740s when Spaniards first settled in the area, and they established settlements across the state.

3. Sandia Mountains

The Sandia Mountains are famous for their height. These mountains stand proud at 10,678 feet, and pepe took advantage of it by putting television towers in them.

The Sandia Mountains also houses a tramway that allows people to access the peaks during winter. People come here to ski.

The mountains also yielded a fossil called the Sandia Man. The bones belonged to a pre-historic Native American that lived there about 23,000 years before the common era. These mountains are sacred to the Native Americans.

The Sandia Cave is located at the northern end of the Sandia Mountains. One can go there, but one must know that the trail is steep.

4. International Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival where people can ride hot air balloons in October.

It is a nine-day event where one can see or ride any of the 500+ hot air balloons in the sky.

The tradition started in 1972 to highlight the 50th birthday of the 770 KOB Radio. At that time, the activity only sported 13 balloons. Eventually, the event kept on growing to what it is now.

Some countries followed suit, like the Philippines, which hosts a similar event in January and February. However, the Albuquerque Balloon Festival is still the biggest hot air balloon event in the world.

5. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

This place is a cultural center and it is famous for its rich history. It is where the Native Americans, the Pueblo people, can share their stories to tourists.

What people will find here are rotating exhibits and educational events. On some occasions, one can observe the cultural dance program.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center opened in 1976, and the goal is to preserve the culture of the Pueblo Indian culture. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on the history of their people during the pre-Columbian era up to the present day.

6. Unser Racing Museum

The Unser Racing Museum is a famous non-profit museum that celebrates the accomplishments of the state’s native racing family—the Unsers.

Many of these family members brought glory to the state in the racing industry.The museum is recent, and it only opened in 2005. All three original Unser brothers have already passed away.

7. KiMo Theater

The KiMo Theater is famous for its legacy as one of the earliest film theaters in Albuquerque. It was built in 1927. The word KiMo is a Native American Pueblo that means “king of its kind.”

The KiMo Theater was the first theater that used Pueblo Deco architecture and style. At that time, the popular style was of Chinese and Egyptian art.

8. The Double Eagle II Trio

Albuquerque is also famous because it is the home of the Double Eagle II trio.

These people are:

  • Ben Abruzzo
  • Maxie Anderson
  • Larry Newman

The Double Eagle II was a hot air balloon. The three men piloted the balloon and succeeded to be the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1978. They spent 137 hours to get there from Presque Isle in Maine. 

9. San Felipe de Neri Church

This church has been around since the 18th century. It’s famous because it is one of the oldest surviving structures in Albuquerque.

In addition, it is the only building with adequate proof that it existed in the Spanish Colonial Period.

The original church was built in 1706. There were only 30 families in Albuquerque back then. This church collapsed in 1792, which prompted the residents to build a new one. The new church is the one that now stands in the Old Town Plaza.

The walls of the church are five feet thick, and the entire structure was built in the shape of a cross using adobe. Eventually, they added more rooms for the friars and the sacristy.

10. Love of Chiles

The food in Albuquerque traces its roots from the Spanish Colonial era. Both the red and green chiles take a special place in the dishes found here.

On top of Spanish influence, Albuquerque cuisine is also famous for its blend of Native American flavors.

Here are some of the most popular foods to try in the city:

  • Breakfast Burrito
  • Sopapilla
  • Green Chile Cheeseburger
  • Tortillas
  • Tewa Taco

People come to the city at the end of summer as it is the chile harvesting season. Foods that use chile are in abundance at this time of the year.

11. Petroglyph National Monument

The Petroglyph National Monument is a famous spot for its uniqueness. It is a source of natural resources, and it houses five extinct volcanic cones.

The place has hundreds of archaeological sites. 

What makes it special is that there are over 24,000 images here carved or drawn by ancient Native Americans of the Pueblo tribe. Spanish settlers also made carvings. The estimate is that these carvings existed as far back as 400 to 700 years ago.

12. Albuquerque Christmas Celebration

In the United States, Christmas in Albuquerque is famous because of the Catholic vibe. The way Christmas is celebrated here is different as it has Spanish origins.

For example, one can spot depictions of the birth of Jesus during the holidays. The residents also observe what is called the novenario, where people pray for several days prior to Christmas eve.

Collectively, the activities happening during the holidays are called Las Posadas. It spans nine days of celebration. There was a time when the celebrations happened only in churches. Today, neighborhoods hold their own celebrations.

13. The Old Town

One of the most famous places in Albuquerque is the Old Town.

The city was founded in the old town in 1706. Today, the old town is a historical landmark.

People come here to see the numerous museums and also buy gifts and mementos from any of the 100+ shops in the area.

The Old Town has been around for 300 years, and it is the first neighborhood of the entire city. Most of the architectural design of buildings here also have a Pueblo vibe, which reflects the traditions and customs of the Native Americans who settled here.

14. Third Longest Tramway

The Sandia Peak Tramway is the world’s third longest tramway. It is an aerial tramway, and it used to hold the title as the longest one in the world until it lost the title in 2010.

The construction of the tramway took two years. and then, the engineers spent another 60 days to test the construction. Today, each car can hold 50 passengers at a maximum holding capacity of 10,000 pounds.

The ride can take 15 minutes, and the entire system can carry 200 passengers per hour. The tram system can make 10,500 trips in one year.

The ride is exhilarating, and people who take the ride can view the scenes from above. The tram allows a person to view the magnificence of the Sandia Peak.

15. Cultural Diversity

Finally, Albuquerque is a culturally diverse city. It is not as diverse and progressive as San Francisco, but one can find several ethnic groups in the city.

Albuquerque is famous for being a cultural melting pot. The residents here comprise of Hispanic people, Caucasians, native Americans, and even Alaska natives.


Albuquerque is an old city, and as such, it has so many things to offer. From cuisine to culture to wonders of nature, there is something for everyone here. Home to both native Americans and Hispanic people, there is a balanced blend of two cultures merging into one. The city is also an ideal spot for people who love the sunshine. It is famous for its sunny weather, and one will never feel sadness in this place.