As might be expected of one of the oldest cities in the United States, tourist attractions at Albuquerque, New Mexico, center on the area's rich Spanish and Native American culture and heritage. But not all is old, and visitors can see works by modern New Mexican artists or take a virtual trip though space at a planetarium. Albuquerque, founded by the Spanish in 1706, is very much a modern city.
Many museums are located in the Old Town section of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (cabq.gov) s owned by the City of Albuquerque. It features a permanent collection of items related to the city's history as well as works by modern artists. The museum offers free admission on Sunday mornings and all day on Wednesdays. Nearby is the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (nmnaturalhistory.org). The museum has a planetarium with movies and exhibits that center on the stars, solar system and flights into space.
Native American Culture
New Mexico is home to 19 Pueblos that can be visited. Before visiting any Pueblos, travelers should stop at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (indianpueblo.org) for an introduction to the Pueblos and their history. The center's website lists special etiquette rules that should be followed when visiting any of the Pueblos. The list includes not entering private homes or taking photos without permission.
Spanish conquistadors founded Albuquerque in the early 18th century, building San Felipe de Neri Church in 1793. The city's Spanish heritage is promoted at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (nationalhispaniccenter.org). The center, situated along the banks of the Rio Grande, preserves and promotes Hispanic culture through art exhibitions, and visual and performing arts.
Hot Air Ballooning
Every October, Albuquerque hosts what has become the world's largest hot air balloon festival. More than 600 balloons take to the sky in the morning hours -- a magnificent scene as the balloons glide through the air. But you don't have to wait until October to see what the balloonists see. Many private companies fly tourists over the city throughout the year, with the rides frequently ending with a champagne breakfast.
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