Lots of outdoor activities, such as biking and golfing
Home to the University of New Mexico
Some walkable areas
Shops, restaurants, and hotels are generally less expensive than those in Santa Fe
Rich in history
No hotel is more than 20 minutes from the airport
Some areas are still a bit seedy
Summers are insufferably hot
Getting to some popular destinations requires a car
What It's Like
Albuquerque, located about an hour from Santa Fe, is often overlooked. Like Santa Fe, Albuquerque is dotted by adobe historic buildings (though it's not exclusively an adobe city, and doesn't offer the same level of historic charm), and has boiling summers. Known as the "hot air balloon capital" of the U.S., Albuquerque has numerous museums, centered in Old Town, as well as parks, and is the home of the University of New Mexico -- which means great football games and a lively going-out scene.
Though Albuquerque is spread out over many miles, certain areas -- such as Old Town, Downtown, and Nob Hill -- are walkable. The city is very outdoorsy, and biking and walking are popular pastimes, particularly along trails such as Paseo del Bosque on the Rio Grande. Still, most visitors prefer to have a car, as some of the side trips around Albuquerque can be the highlight of a person's trip.
Where To Stay
Most of the hotels in Albuquerque are either chains or small historic inns. Some higher-end hotels are in the area, but the majority are relatively inexpensive.
Old Town is the central tourist destination. Home to the Old Town Plaza and numerous museums, this area is rich in history.
Downtown is still up-and-coming but it has made vast improvements over the last five years and it's a popular spot, with many restaurants and shops.
North Valley is a more rural area of Albuquerque, but most of the hotels here are located along Highway 25. It is close to the Balloon Fiesta Park, so hotels here book up quickly for October.
There's not much to do in Uptown but it is close to Nob Hill, Albuquerque's entertainment district.
Yale Village is popular among business travelers because it is close to the airport.
Map of Hotels -- Northern Albuquerque, Albuquerque