4 Day Adventure Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids

The final stop on our epic New Mexico road trip was Albuquerque, New Mexico. The goal by the time we reached Albuquerque was for the kids to be able to spell it. We traveled from Denver to Taos to Santa Fe to Alamogordo to Albuquerque. Yet they still left out some of the U’s. While it may be a hard word to spell, it’s an easy town to have fun in! We hiked, toured, explored, and ate our way through Albuquerque in four days. I’ve compiled an adventurous four day itinerary to help you travel to Albuquerque with kids. It includes a combination of outdoor adventures and indoor activities to beat the summer heat. 

A Big Thank You to Visit Albuquerque for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own. 

Text of 4 Day Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids

Day 1 of an adventurous 4 Day Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids 

1) Check into your Lodging at Hotel Albuquerque

We checked into our lodging at Hotel Albuquerque in the historic Old Town in the afternoon. I loved the location, the luxury touches, the updated bathroom, the beautiful grounds, and the easy walk to both the Sawmill Market and the Old Town. The kids loved the pool! But as with most of our travels, we are too busy to spend much time at our hotel, so let’s start adventuring!

Hotel room
Boy in front of fountain

2) Hike Rinconada Canyon Trail in Petroglyph National Monument

I recommend hiking this trail just before sunset so you are ending the hike as the sun is setting. This will help you avoid hot temperatures. Plus, the city views with sunset lights are beautiful. You can read more about this trail and about my big mistake of hiking this trail after dinner in this Instagram video. It got too dark and was not a wise choice! 

But assuming you can time it better with sunset and can have a late dinner, I highly recommend this hike when you first get into town! It’s close, short, and full of New Mexico history! Petroglyph National Monument is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, with over 25,000 petroglyphs. These petroglyphs are designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. Along the Rinconada Trail there are over 300 petroglyphs. Below are the trail details from our experience. More details and recent trip reports can be found on AllTrails

Kids on the Petroglyph National Monument sign


  • Mileage: 2.2 mile loop trail. Only one side of the loop has petroglyphs. There are some educational plaques on the trail but they do not point out the petroglyphs. If you want to know what you are looking for, see this map from the National Park Service. I recommend going counterclockwise so you see the petroglyphs first in the best early evening light. 
  • Elevation Gain: Flat trail 100 feet elevation gain
  • Trail highlights: The history and the scavenger hunt nature of the petroglyphs made this trail engaging for the kids. We also saw coyotes so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, especially rattlesnakes.  
  • Accessibility: While this is flat, the trail has deep sand so not ideal for most wheelchairs and strollers
  • Bathrooms: At the Trailhead
  • Pets: Dogs are not allowed on the petroglyph side of the loop trail
  • Hours: The parking lot is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There are a few spots available outside of the gate if you choose to do this hike for sunset.
  • Cost: Free
  • Native Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Pueblos, Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), and Piro People
  • Remember to Leave No Trace! Stay on the trail, don’t touch or tamper with any of the petroglyphs, respect the sacred land and history, pack out your trash, and take only pictures. Read more about the Leave No Trace Principles here. 
Sunset on Rinconada Canyon Hike
Kids pointing to petroglyphs in Petroglyph National Monument


I hope you worked up an appetite from that hike, because the 66 Diner has delicious burgers, sandwiches and dinner plates. Plus, the yummiest shakes, malts, desserts and a classic soda fountain. The 66 Diner is a cruise back in time on Historic Route 66 with a nostalgic decor. 

66 Diner
Kids eating milkshakes at 66 Diner
Boy in front of Route 66 signs

Day 2 of an adventurous 4 Day Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids 


Boy eating breakfast

We started our day with breakfast at Gardunos at our Hotel Albuquerque for authentic regional New Mexican and Mexican cuisine. Well, I got the traditional cuisine and the kids got french toast and pancakes, because they are kids! I highly recommend the fruit plate.


The Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest aerial tramway in North America. I will tell you right now, this was our favorite experience from our Albuquerque trip so don’t leave this out of your itinerary! The ride is 15 minutes long and takes you to 10,378 elevation, so be prepared for the change in temperature! It can be 15-30 degrees cooler at the top, and you will feel it because of the wind! You can spend as much time as you’d like hiking or just taking in the views from the top (as long as you make the last tram down!). We hiked to the Kiwanis Cabin and I highly recommend it. Below are the trail details from our experience. More details and recent trip reports can be found on AllTrails. This trail map of the hiking options in the Sandia Mountains is also helpful. 

Be sure to purchase tickets for the Sandia Peak Tramway  in advance here

Sandia Peak Tramway
Boy riding Sandia Peak Tramway
Kids looking down on Sandia Peak Tramway


  • Mileage: 2.5 mile loop trail
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet elevation gain, but keep in mind the trail starts above 10,000 feet elevation so plan accordingly
  • Trail Highlights: The Kiwanis Cabin endpoint has beautiful views of Albuquerque. You will feel like you are on top of the world. It also has cool history as it was originally built by the Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque in the 1920s, but the log structure was destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt agin with logs and was ripped apart by winds and weather. Finally in 1936 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) rebuilt it yet again, but this time made of local limestone that would withstand the elements. 
  • Accessibility: While the tram cars are accessible, the trail is not wheelchair or stroller friendly
  • Bathrooms: At the bottom and the top of the Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Pets: Dogs are allowed on the trail, but not on the tram
  • Native Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Pueblos, Tigua (Tiwa), and Piro People
  • Remember to Leave No Trace! Stay on trail, pack out your trash, and take only pictures. Sadly, there is graffiti on the cabin. Please don’t tamper with nature or this historic site. Read more about the Leave No Trace Principles here. 
Mom and kids on Kiwanis Cabin hike
Girl in front of Sandia Mountain Wilderness sign
View from hike in Sandia Mountains
Girl climbing on Kiwanis Cabin


One option for lunch is to stay on top of the Sandia Mountains and have lunch at Ten3, named for its location at 10,300 feet.  It was not open while we were visiting and we wanted to explore the Old Town in the afternoon so Sawmill Market made more sense for us. Now let me tell you about Sawmill Market, New Mexico’s first artisan food hall. I could eat every meal here! Sawmill Market was transformed from an old lumberyard in the Sawmill District to a hip, urban food marketplace. It is aesthetically pleasing for adults and great for kids because of the variety of food options. There is something for everyone.  I got poke from Notorious P.O.K.E., Walker got chicken and waffles from XO Waffle, and Emerson branched out and tried sushi from Hiro Sushi. Then we engaged our dessert stomachs and had Japanese soft serve ice cream from Neko Neko. 

Boy with waffle from XO Waffle
Hiro Sushi
Ice cream in front of Sawmill Market


After lunch, walk over to Old Town to visit the Rattlesnake Museum. We were fortunate not to run into any rattlesnakes on the trails in Albuquerque, but we were able to get up close and personal to them at the museum. We learned about rattlesnakes and cured some of our phobias!

Kids in front of Rattlesnake Museum
Boy pointing at rattlesnake
Kids holding snake stuffed animals in front of rattlesnake exhibit


We had dinner at 12th Street Tavern for yummy Comfort food and signature drinks. Check out that margarita with a popsicle inside! It’s a kid friendly environment with big screen TV’s for watching your favorite sports.  Then we walked next door to try cookies from Rude Boy Cookies, a ska themed bakery making unique cookies and ice cream sandwiches. We also spent a lot of time perusing rocks, gems, and fossils at the new Mama’s Minerals location.

Margarita with a popsicle
Boy eating cookie
Boy in front of Mama's Minerals sign

Day 3 of an adventurous 4 Day Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids 

1) Breakfast at the Shark Reef Cafe

Kids having breakfast at Shark Reef Cafe

Eating breakfast at Shark Reef Cafe, with an up close and personal view of the aquarium’s fish and shark tank, was a unique experience. It got the kids pumped for the morning exploring and learning about the underwater world.

2) Explore ABQ BioPark Aquarium

The ABQ BioPark is a must visit when in Albuquerque. With three parks, there is something for every animal lover. We decided to make a day of it and visit all three parks. We started at the aquarium learning about the underwater world and even getting the chance to pet the Manta Rays. The park sits along the Rio Grande and we learned about aquatic animals that make their way from Albuquerque to the Gulf of Mexico, like the river otter.

Boy looking at otter in aquarium
Selfie of mom and kids at aquarium
Kids touching manta rays

3) Wander the ABQ BioPark Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens is located right next to the entrance of the aquarium so it’s an obvious choice to pair the two adventures. The Botanic Gardens is a beautiful 32 acres of exhibits, flowers and plants of the American Southwest. There is even a seasonal  butterfly exhibit where you can walk among the butterflies. The kids loved the trains that weaved through the gardens. Their favorite exhibit was the BUGarium, dedicated to all the creepy crawly bugs and arthropods.

Train in botanic gardens
Kids in butterfly exhibit
Kids in front of Bugarium sign

4) Lunch at El Vado Food Court

Walk across the street from the ABQ BioPark to the historic El Vado Motel, with a  variety of restaurant options in one of New Mexico’s first Route 66 motels. We ate Costa Rican food from Buen Provecho and it was delicious!

Girl eating lunch at El Vado Food court
El Vado Motel sign
Kids in front of Bugarium sign

5) Afternoon at ABQ BioPark Zoo

During certain times of the year, an ABQ BioPark shuttle is available to transport you between the Aquarium and Botanic Gardens to the Zoo. However, this was not available during our visit, so we drove over to the zoo for the afternoon. We saw a wide variety of animals like gorillas, giraffes, penguins, polar bears, hippopotamuses, jaguars, and more!

Kids looking at rhino at the zoo
polar bear at the zoo
Girl in front of giraffe at the zoo

6) Play and Eat at Electric Playhouse

You would think after this day of walking, we would haven’t the energy left to PLAY, but the kids were stoked about this interactive play space so they mustered up a whole evening of energy. Electric Playhouse is like no other play space I have been to. It’s immersive with games that respond to your movements and is constantly changing. We raced, jumped, ran, threw balls, and played for hours. They have a restaurant conveniently located on site so the kids took dinner breaks as they played. 

Kids playing racing game
Kids under Electric Playhouse sign
Paint wall at Electric Playhouse

Day 4 of an adventurous 4 Day Itinerary in Albuquerque with Kids 

1)Breakfast at Sawmill Market

One of the best parts of staying at Hotel Albuquerque is how close it is to Sawmill Market. We walked across the street for some breakfast. I got a fresh and delicious breakfast sandwich from the Mercantile Cafe and the kids got waffles yet again. This time it was more appropriate for the mealtime.

Kids in front of Sawmill Market sign
Kids eating breakfast at Sawmill Market
Breakfast sandwich and coffee

2) Hike Travertine Falls

We headed back to the Sandia Mountains, but this time east of Albuquerque. Travertine Falls is a short hike to a seasonal waterfall. Below are the trail details from our experience. More details and recent trip reports can be found on AllTrails.

Kids in cave on hike
Kids above Travertine Falls
Kids playing with water on hike


  • Mileage: 1.2 miles out and back to the falls. We hiked just beyond the falls to get above them, but you can continue for miles. 
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet elevation gain, very slow and gradual gain
  • Trail Highlights: We were lucky to visit in early summer in a year with heavy rainfall so water was present at the falls. Still, it is more of a trickle but the kids enjoyed the water play regardless. We also loved the caves at the base of the waterfall and the cactus blooms. 
  • Accessibility: The trail is not wheelchair or stroller friendly
  • Bathrooms: None
  • Pets: Dogs are allowed on the trail, please pack out dog waste
  • Native Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Pueblos and Tigua (Tiwa) People
  • Remember to Leave No Trace! Stay on trail, pack out your trash, and take only pictures. Read more about the Leave No Trace Principles here. 

3) Lunch in Nob Hill

Nob Hill is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood that looks like the kind of place I would want to go out on a Mom’s Night Out or a date night. But since I was traveling with my kids, we decided to check it out for lunch. The heart of Nob Hill is on Central Avenue, which became part of Route 66 in 1937, along the trajectory from Chicago to Los Angeles. It has a combination of history and a youthful vibe. Nob Hill is also where you will find this fun Greetings from Burque Mural. And there are a lot of restaurants! We chose Poki Poki Cevicheria, a locally owned Asian-Latin fusion restaurant. All I can say is we are eating very well on this trip! 

Kids in front of Greetings with Burque sign
poke bowl

4) Spend the afternoon at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Dinosaur museums are always a hit with my crew so we checked out the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science in the afternoon. We learned about New Mexico’s origins and did a “walk through time.” Besides the dinos and fossils, our favorite exhibit was the interactive Mars Rover. 

Kids in front of Museum of Natural History
Girl looking at sign at Natural History Museum
Boy playing with Mars Rover exhibit

5) Dessert for the road at Sawmill Market

Twice in one day? I told you I could eat every meal here! Since the Natural History Museum is right around the corner, we had to visit Sawmill Market one last time. Can I take this place home with me? It was a fun excuse to get some paletas (Mexican popsicles) at The Paleta Project and a coffee from Plata Coffee to give me energy for the drive. If you haven’t noticed, this was a very full itinerary and I was exhausted!

boy holding paleta
Hand holding up iced coffee



Albuquerque, New Mexico is a doable road trip from Denver, Colorado (our home base). We made it a much longer road trip by visiting the White Sands Dunes near Alamogordo, but in a straight shot the drive is around seven hours straight down Interstate 25. If seven hours is too long for your liking, you could break it up with a stop in Red River, New Mexico or the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the Colorado side. Alternatively, there is a conveniently located airport in Albuquerque! 

Kids under Welcome to New Mexico sign

If you are interested in New Mexico travel, be sure to check out more of my New Mexico travel posts here

Happy travels!




  1. Jill

    Looks like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing all the details!

    • raisinghikers_Kristin

      It was such a great time! We packed it in but there is nothing that I would take out! We loved it all. I hope it helps with your trip planning!

  2. Amanda

    Love this! It gave us some ideas on things to do, and we live in ABQ.

    • raisinghikers_Kristin

      That’s awesome! I love your city. I loved how close everything was too and no traffic. It was very easy to get around (unlike Denver).


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