Please excuse the headline above. I was overcome by cuteness. Led by rhyme, not reason. You might, however, find one or two things below that you never had thought about doing. I did. I wrote this piece originally for NMMarketplace. I must say that Fixers are pretty hip to most everything there is to do here. Still, I bet you will find something brand new.
Are you looking forward to spending the summer here in the Duke City? Or maybe you’ll be having visitors and need to come up with a few interesting ideas. Here are an even dozen things that will keep you on a course to adventure right here at home.
Hike to the Crest by the Short Route. There is nobody who can argue that the La Luz Trail is the way up to Sandia Crest by which all other trails are measured. The numbers tell the story: 8 miles one way and 3000 feet of elevation gain. Compare that to Tree Spring Trail: 2 miles one way and 1000 feet of gain. Not only that, it is mostly in the shade and cooler. It starts above the ski area on the east slope and goes straight up to a low notch on the crest. Perfect. But please take a wilderness map.
Canoe the Rio. Had it with hiking? How about paddling. Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures offers a variety of canoe and kayak experiences including guided and self-guided river trips, plus a Sunset Float which includes a campfire and s’mores. They operate in the waters from Algodones south to the Corrales bridge. Prices start at $28 per person.
Drink in the Skyline. There are several rooftop bars and eateries in Albuquerque that give a truly spectacular view of the cityscape. Here are four: the Ibiza Lounge atop the Hotel Andaluz downtown, Imbibe on the corner of Central & Richmond NE, the Apothecary Lounge in Hotel Parq Central right at I-25, and Bailey’s on the Beach (on Monte Vista near Central) featuring an under $10 seafood menu and a more casual atmosphere.
Catch the Isotopes. Baseball is more than a sport, it’s the national pastime. Here is a chance to sit in the shade behind third base with the sun going down and watch the mountains turn pink. The air takes on a golden glow. Miles to the east, planes drift into the Sunport. And oh...the Isotopes just homered.
Listen to the Chatter. Sunday Chatter, formerly known as the Church of Beethoven, gathers weekly at The Kosmos north of downtown. Its mix of espresso, chamber music, poetry, and two minutes of silence have become part of Albuquerque’s Sunday morning ritual. See Chatterchamber.org for program details, tickets, and exact location.
Circle the Ponds. There are three ponds between Tingley Beach and the Rio Grande. You have to cross the bike path and head towards the river. It’s a short walk, but a world away. Every season offers something different in this wetlands setting: from Red-Eared Sliders and Wigeons, to Teals and Coots. Bring the youngsters. This is sure to become a family favorite.
Ride ABQ Trolley. Touted as “The best first thing to do in Albuquerque,” taking a ride on the open-air, stucco-enhanced trolley gives a wonderful tour of some of the best of Albuquerque. The trips are 85 minutes long and fully narrated. To assure a seat, book trips on their ABQTrolley.com website. The trolleys depart from Old Town just east of the plaza.
Take in a Theatrical Production. Did you know that the Duke City has more weekend live drama performances that any other city of its size in the entire U.S.? Abqtheatre.org is the place to keep up with what’s going on. It compiles information from over 30 theatre organizations and lists what is playing. For instance, there were 20 live productions just in April.
Stroll through Old Town. 300 years ago this was all there was to Albuquerque. And frankly, there is still nothing better than eating at an outside table on San Felipe St. with music coming from the plaza. Sometimes there are dancers in the gazebo, sometimes a wedding across the street, but always there is the parade of visitors looking for a little history here along the Rio Grande.
Tune in to the Music. Nobody in ABQ puts on more concerts than AMP. Some are free; some are not. All are listed on the AmpConcerts.org website. This non-profit organization books boatloads of talent, including Allison Krause and “Weird Al” Yankovic. They also are at the heart of the world famous “Globalquerque” which occurs in September.
Visit New Mexico’s Masters of Art. Some art is so beautiful it can make you weep just looking at it. For me, Ernest L. Blumenschein’s “Star Road and White Sun” falls into that category. I never tire of looking at these icons of our state. And this painting, along with much of the rest of what is known as the Albuquerque High School Collection, is on permanent display at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.
Bike the Best. Sunset Magazine called Albuquerque’s Paseo del Bosque Bike Trail one of the best trails in the western U.S. It follows the Rio Grande from the Corrales Bridge to Shirk Road deep in the south valley. That’s a 34 mile round trip. For a shorter introduction, park at Kit Carson Park at Lead and Tingley Drive and follow the path south. Round trip is 14 miles. Features include solitude, shady stretches, incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, fields of chile, and an operating car crusher.
Well, that ought to get things rolling. There’s a reason so many of us moved here and continue to live here...it’s all around us. Let’s just get out and revisit the enchantment.