Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013
Why Go Now The unlikely setting of Breaking Bad (now in its final season), New Mexico's largest city is top of mind. But even with all the attention, it motors along at the same pace—nice and slow, like the hot air balloons that dot its sky during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every October. What's more, this city is a great value for the family-friendly fun it offers, from the classic BioPark (with aquarium and botanic garden) to the stunning pueblo architecture that abounds. And soon it will be even easier for East Coasters to get there: Jet Blue plans to introduce direct flights from New York's JFK to Albuquerque in April. –by Nicole Campoy
Where to StayJust outside of Albuquerque's city center, you'll find the gorgeous, rambling Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. Lavender fills the air, folk paintings line the walls, and kiva fireplaces encourage lounging. Or stay in town at the much-loved Hotel Andaluz. With its friendly staff, unbeatable location, gourmet cuisine, and stylish rooftop bar, the hotel is a great home base for the weekend.
Insider TipThe holidays are a magical time in Albuquerque, when the spectacular Luminaria Tour comes to life with candles set out all over town. Summer has its own draws with endless outdoor music festivals and the expansive Los Ranchos open air market (at City Hall), where you'll find local crafts, fresh produce, and gorgeous flowers. No matter when you go, drop by The Candy Lady to pick up one of the more original souvenirs you'll bring home in 2013: A bag of Blue Ice candy, originally created to stand in for Breaking Bad's signature Blue Sky crystal meth, can be yours for $1.
Word of Mouth Fodorite Centralparkgirl recommends a favorite restaurant. "We always like to go to Farina's when in Albuquerque. No reservations, very, very casual, and some of the best pizza you will find anywhere. (Yes, I am a born and bred [New Yorker], raised on pizza, and I feel that way!) We usually get their olives, maybe some meatballs, a salad, and one of their thin crust pizzas."
When to Go Top times to go are early summer or late fall, for relatively mild temperatures and clear skies. Avoid late July and August for its heat, coupled with intense afternoon thunderstorms; in October, prices spike for the annual hot air balloon festival. If you don't mind a little chill, the best time for a great deal is in winter.
Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Albuquerque Travel Guide.