Stopover Albuquerque: Ultimate 24-Hour Guide

Although it isn’t the state capital, Albuquerque is the most populous city in New Mexico. We’d suggest that if you find yourself there with 24 hours in hand, you indulge yourself in some of the Mexican-inspired cuisine and seek out some well-known TV and movie locations.

Getting About

We usually like to get public transportation from international airports into city centres, but in this case, we suggest you do a 24-hour car rental. The Albuquerque International Sunport hosts most of the major rental operators. Book one of the Albuquerque hotels in the Rio Grande area in advance and make your way there to check in and freshen up.

“Little Miss Sunshine” or “Breaking Bad”?


Image via Flickr by ahisgett

Once you’ve checked in, we suggest you grab a cold drink and plan a route around the film locations in the city. Many films, including “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Sunshine Cleaning,” “The Avengers,” and “We’re the Millers”, have been filmed in Albuquerque, due to great incentives from the state and the unique light and scenery of the area. When it comes to TV, “Breaking Bad” and its spinoff, “Better Call Saul,” were also filmed in the city.

We found this interactive map that helps you to plan a route around the locations that interest you. It’s easy to spend half a day meandering around these iconic filming spots.

Once you’ve done that, we would suggest taking in a movie in one of the iconic cinemas in town. Our suggestion would be KiMo, a Pueblo Deco-style picture palace dating back to 1927. It’s a real slice of New Mexican history and will perfectly complement a day of spotting film locations.

Getting Hungry?

Albuquerque is just about the best place to get Mexican food without crossing the border. The city is packed with quaint old eateries that serve wonderful enchiladas and burritos. Our advice would be to head down to Rio Grande Blvd NW and follow your nose.

Many of the wonderful eateries concentrate on the food and service and care little for nonsense like websites. But keep an eye out for Monica’s El Portal restaurant and the Backstreet Grill. Just be aware that the locals like it fiery hot down here!

Working It Off

If you’ve taken our suggestion and booked a hotel near the Rio Grande Nature State Park, we suggest you wander into this fabulous green space to stretch your legs and observe some of the amazing wildlife. The birdlife is both varied and prolific.

Finishing Up

On the drive back to the airport, take a detour to pay a visit to the National Petroglyph Monument. As well as being an incredibly beautiful national park, it features Native American designs and symbols carved into volcanic rocks between the 14th and 18th centuries. You are unlikely to have seen anything quite like these anywhere else.

Albuquerque is a city with old-world charm that is close to stunning nature and scenery. These features set it apart from many North American cities, so make sure you make the most of your stopover in Albuquerque!

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