Albuquerque: more than just a stopover

For many people, Albuquerque is a rest stop on the way to Santa Fe or a city on a map of old Route 66. But for those who linger long enough to experience the character and history of the city are surprised to find that it has an appeal all its own, including its blend of cultures and its proximity to natural attractions.

Here are some places to see in the area.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is run by an association of New Mexico's nineteen pueblos. This historical museum traces the development of Pueblo cultures from prehistory to the present. Exhibits encourage comparison of cultures through the examination of languages, customs and crafts. There is also an art gallery, a childrens museum, a gift shop selling authentic hand crafted goods and a restaurant serving Pueblo fare. The Center is just north of Old Town.

The Kimo Theater downtown was built in 1927 as a cinema. Carefully restored and converted to a performing arts centre in the late 1990s, this theatre is a fantastic example of Pueblo Deco architecture, right on Route 66. The desert motifs are plentiful, and include log like ceiling beams that are painted with dance and hunt scenes and the light fittings are steer skulls with glowing-eyes.

National Atomic Museum includes a range of atomic weaponry on display. This includes replicas of the Little Boy and Fat Man, the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as a B 52 and B 29 aircraft, an F 105 jet, and numerous rockets and missiles.

So stay several days in Albuquerque and experience the city and its ambiance. You may find that you want to return again.