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A Day in Albuquerque: Green Chile, a Towering Tramway and a ‘Grande’ Zoo

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

The city of Albuquerque, N.M., is a mecca for the unique food and culture found only in the “Land of Enchantment.”  Anyone traveling west from Texas or east from California should find time to swing through, even just for a day.

The city of some 550,000 is quite diverse, but just about every Albuquerquean shares a love of chiles. Red or green chiles, well, that’s up for debate. Local restaurant in New Mexico will likely ask if you prefer red or green, so try both!

Famous for their green chile, the Frontier Restaurant is a great start to a day around town.  The quirky red and yellow eatery is a local fixture.  From the New Mexican food to the western décor adoring the walls, the unique place mimics the blend of cultures that makes Albuquerque so interesting.

Frontier Restaurant

The Frontier Restaurant serves up uniquely New Mexican food such as green chile and carne adovada.

Visitors must try the green chili no matter the meal.  It’s a perfect pairing with eggs, burgers — or just some chips. Breakfast standouts include the award winning breakfast burrito filled with eggs, hash browns, green chile and cheese.  For lunch, try their spicy carne adovada burrito.  The meat-filled burrito won praise from USA Today for it’s simple but delicious chile-infused meat.

Also, don’t miss the chance snack on a delectable Frontier Sweet Roll as one of the many John Wayne paintings looks down on your table.

With green (or red) chile coursing through your body, you’re ready for some New Mexico fun!

The Rio Grande Zoo is among some of the best zoos in the country.  Well-designed enclosures keep the animals up front so visitors can see everything easily. The animals aren’t bad either!

Albuquerque BioPark Orangutang

An orangutang watches passersby atop a tree in the Rio Grande Zoo.

The zoo is split into clusters including Asia, Africa, Tropical America as well as Australia. Each cluster holds regional animals from rhinos to wolves, bears and elephants.  The zoo also features lush botanical gardens and a fully stocked aquarium.

Apart from meandering among the animals, the zoo has a lot of activities depending on the day.  Before visiting, check out the event calendar for family-friendly concerts, scheduled feedings, story time for kids and special up-close animal encounters.

On the other side of town lies one of Albuquerque’s must-see tourist spots: the Sandia Peak Tramway.

The towering tramway carries visitors some 4,000 feet skyward in just 15 minutes. For architecture and engineering buffs the 2.7-mile bi-cable double reversible aerial passenger tramway is a marvel of engineering.  Everyone else can just enjoy the amazing view!

Adult tickets run $20, but the price is well worth the trip. Visitors can really spend an entire day atop Sandia Peak hiking, snaking or just gazing over the New Mexico landscape.  The gorgeous desert sunset and the lights of Albuquerque at night are a great reason to wait for the last tram down.

The tramway is a fun attraction in any season.  A dusting of snow creates a surreal and picturesque backdrop in the winter months. Visitors can also ski during the winter months. And spotting a lively spring storm from Sandia Peak is quite a treat.

Once you’re back on the ground, it’s probably time to find some lodging.

American RV Park offers all the amenities you’d expect for a top-tier RV facility.  It also has easy access to casinos, Highway 40 and would make an ideal basecamp for the famous hot air balloon fiesta.

Looking for another day of fun in the area? Head over to our sister site MotorHome for another day in Albuquerque.

Sandia Peak Tramway

The Sandia Peak Tramway high above the New Mexico landscape.

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