A History Buff’s Tour of Albuquerque
If you love history, you won’t be disappointed when you head to New Mexico. Albuquerque is rich in history that includes Native American roots, Spanish culture, and early American heritage. Here are just a few of the places you should visit to learn more about Albuquerque’s past.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
If you want to learn more about the cultures that were indigenous to the area before Spanish settlers arrived, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is just the place. The permanent exhibit, “We Are This Place: The Pueblo Story,” is a great place to start your visit. The center’s collections include woven pieces, pottery, photography, art, and jewelry.
Inside the center is Pueblo Harvest Café, a full-service restaurant that serves New Native American Cuisine featuring traditional Pueblo flavors with contemporary touches. The restaurant features a seasonal menu with an outdoor patio overlooking the Sandia Mountains. It’s a great pit stop for lunch or dinner. The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. while the café is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Old Town is the original site of Albuquerque’s Spanish settlement and dates back to 1706. The plaza and San Felipe de Neri Church are at the center of the original settlement, which was how Spanish preferred to plan their towns — a central plaza with a church.
If you want to explore the area by foot, it’s best to secure your accommodations near Old Town. Once you’re checked in and ready to see the sights, head over to the visitor’s center. It’s located at 303 Romero Street and opens at 10 a.m. The knowledgeable staff members can help you decide where you want to explore first. With five museums located in the Old Town area, you’re sure to find something to keep you busy. History buffs won’t want to miss the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History or the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
Though businesses determine their own hours, generally you’ll find that most Old Town businesses are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday hours tend to be slightly shorter, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument is one of the nation’s largest petroglyph sites, with over 24,000 images. It includes carvings by both Native Americans and Spanish settlers. The drawings date back 200 to 700 years. Most of the petroglyphs were made using the technique called pecking, which uses a hammerstone to strike the basalt boulder, removing the dark varnish.
You should start at the visitor center, even though you’ll have to drive away from the center to get to the petroglyph viewing trailhead. Visitors can visit the park daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the last visitors are allowed in at 4:30 p.m. An average visit lasts around one or two hours.
With so much to learn about in Albuquerque, it’s no wonder so many visitors plan a trip here each year.