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If you have to see Albuquerque in just one day, start with breakfast at the Frontier, dive in to the breakfast burrito and a Frontier sweet roll. Then hop on the ABQ Trolley tour, to get a bit of history and see some of the neighborhoods. After the tour, walk around the adobe buildings of Old Town and visit the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. For lunch, head for Sophia’s Place (famous for farm-fresh lunch) and then stop by the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum for a gondola-view on the history of the hot-air balloon. If you weren’t interested in going up in a balloon beforehand, you almost certainly will be afterward. At sundown, head for the rooftop bar at Parq Central for a great view of the Sandia Mountains (which turn bright pink as the sun sets) and delicious signature cocktails. Then walk down the street for dinner at Farina Pizzeria, a cool neighborhood spot, and be sure to get some green chile on at least part of your pizza pie. Then check the papers — you could head to a show downtown, or just barhop along Central Avenue for a bit.
The best way to see Albuquerque is to rise early for a day filled with outdoor exploration. Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Frontier Restaurant, an Albuquerque mainstay that's been dishing up plates of New Mexican favorites since 1971. Next, lace up your hiking shoes and head for Sandia Peak to scale the majestic peak that overlooks the city. Once you've arrived at the top, catch your breath as you take in the jaw-dropping panoramic view that spans 11,000 square miles. Rest your tired legs on the Sandia Peak Tramway for the 2.7 mile descent back to the mountain's base. Wash up (and take a nap, if you need to) before heading to Old Town Albuquerque for an afternoon of local culture as you peruse art galleries, shop for handmade Native American turquoise jewelry and explore historic buildings that date back to the 1700s. When it's time to settle in for dinner, take your pick from an array of locally-owned restaurants — and be prepared with an answer when your server asks if you'd like green or red chiles with your dish.