Two of the most common comments I hear from residents of any town or city is that there is nothing to do; and if there is, its too expensive. This is patently false. Because of this misconception, I spend most of my time proving residents wrong. Proving people wrong serves two purposes. First, I tell people why they’re wrong, then they know what there is to do in their town or city. Two, I feel smarter than the other person, and everyone needs an ego boost.
Albuquerque is no exception to this rule. Here are a few things you can do in the area that are cheap and not too far.
Pick a Canyon, Any Canyon
Southwestern states pride themselves on down home cooking, easy going lifestyles, and their canyons. New Mexico is no different. Nearly ever small town has a canyon you can traverse. Hiking is not only healthy and fun, but most canyons are easy enough hikes any amateur outdoorsman.
Most canyons in the greater Albuquerque area are free or $1 per carload during weekdays and $2 per carload on weekends. A favorite freebie for me is Gutierrez Canyon in Cedar Crest in the Sandia Mountains (maps). Entrance is at the back of the Cedar Crest Post Office parking lot and completely free. There is no high peaks to scale and deep ravines to maneuver into so anyone can do it. Also, when you’re tired, you can stop for a hot drink at the Fat Boy Cafe where the staff will talk your ear off if you let them.
Other canyons include Fourth of July Canyon about forty minutes south, Otero Canyon in Tijeras, and Elena Gallegos Picnic area in Tramway in Albuquerque (information), among many others.
Need a Beer?
If its not nature your into, perhaps nurturing your beer taste buds with some serious microbrews. Albuquerque is fast becoming a prime location for great new beers. Turtle Mountain, Chama River, and Marble Brewing companies are among the most popular and some of the tastiest in town. Kellysis a great little place in the heart of the city that actually lets amateurs brew their own beer to be sold there at the pub (a unique idea I have not seen anywhere else).
In the mood for something a little less well known, hit up Hallenbrick Brewery. Its a tiny place that has not been open long. Because of the small size of its manufacturing capacities, they run out of their own brews pretty quick. The owner is really friendly and is truly passionate about his brews.
Tracter Brewing is a little far south of the Albuquerque city limits but their beer is fantastic, and what better slogan than “Get Plowed” for a brewery?
We all Scream for Ice Cream
Just south of Tijeras proper in the Sandia Mountains on Highway 337 is a small roadside shop that I’m sure most people pass up without a second glance. Those who pass by are missing a true gem.
The ice cream is decent but she has very fun and delicious sundaes. The owner, Barbie, is just as precious as this little general store and as friendly as your grandmother on your birthday. Barbie has considered selling this place several times since her significant other passed away a few years ago, but the “for sale” sign was stolen and she took it as a sign to take down the sign. Good thing, too. She has parties on all the big holidays for anyone who shows up and is open Wednesday through Sunday year round. Do stop in, or you are missing something very special.
It does not take long to realize that every town and city has plenty of great things to see and do if only you give yourself a chance to seek them out.