Couple hiking in mountains

Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

The vibrant southwestern color palette is not lost on Albuquerque. A persistent rust-colored countryside that follows Route 66 will lead you into the city, where you'll find terracotta and clay buildings that live in perfect harmony with the city's new, modern skyline. Here, the juxtaposition of old and new, heritage and potential, hippies and cowboys give their unassuming approval to whatever or whoever rambles into town.

Paint by the Sights

Turquoise is a southwestern jewelry essential, and artists in Albuquerque sell some of the finest handmade products around. There is a particular emphasis on buying locally around town, so shopping can result in one-of-a-kind finds that are true products of their environment.

Even when the sun goes down, neon signs throughout the city radiate a vibrant day-glow of yellows, greens, pinks and oranges. It's one of the nostalgic touches that the city has retained throughout the years, and all together they're a dazzling sight to behold. Many of these lights line Route 66, but some are dispersed throughout the city. Don't miss the neon dachshund's wagging tail at Dog House Drive-In.

Albuquerque takes to the big blue skies with hot air balloon rides year round. Not to mention the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta that takes place every fall with hundreds of colorful hot air balloons filling the sky. Private companies are fairly easy to find when the festival isn't taking place so there's nothing to stop you from being carried away.