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The sun sets dreamily, playing colorful symphonies of light on the city. The Sandia Mountains to the east take on a delicious pink hue accented by deep violet shadows, red-hot chile ristras hang from the exposed pine beam of a distinctively Southwestern adobe cathedral. The subtle breeze echoes the relaxed friendliness of the city's 500,000 residents. Welcome to Albuquerque, New Mexico - a city whose unique mosaic of breathtaking landscapes, historic cultures and modern lifestyles touches the hearts and minds of all who visit.
Nestled between the majestic Sandia Mountains and the famed Rio Grande, Albuquerque bursts with dramatic contrasts. From a lush cottonwood forest along the river, to a pine-forested mountain side, to a sagebrush-dappled high desert, to the modern bustling of a high-rise downtown, you can find it in Albuquerque.
The Sandias rank among Albuquerque's greatest recreational assets, a mountain playground at the very edge of the city. The west side facing Albuquerque is a rugged, rocky escarpment rising almost a straight mile above the city. Sandia Peak Tram, longest (2.7 miles) and most spectacular tram ride in North America, rises up the mountain's west side. There are also picnic areas, horseback trails, hiking, canyons, streams, and ski runs.
Albuquerque's rich history is also a study in contrasts - a dynamic blend of Indian, Hispanic and Anglo cultures over hundreds of centuries. Visit the 19 authentic Indian pueblos within a day's drive of Albuquerque to glimpse the worlds of different Indian tribes. Walk among the native adobe buildings of historic Old Town, the Spanish plaza of Albuquerque chartered by the King of Spain in 1706.
The climate is spectacular, regardless of season, with moderate dry days and crisp, clear nights. Expansive blue nights greet you more than 300 days a year, with temperatures ranging from 44º F in January to 93º F in July. Snow falls mostly in the mountains, leaving the city a comfortable paradise. So in winter, you can Ski & Tee, or snow ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon.
Albuquerque paints a calendar of events and attractions you can't find anywhere else. A kaleidoscope of shapes and colors lifts off every morning for nine days in October as more than 600 hot air balloons gather in Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta, the world's most photographed event.
On Christmas Eve, homes throughout the city light up with "Luminarias" - a 300-year-old Hispanic tradition of placing candle-illuminated paper bags along pathways to light the Christ child's way. And the city's cultural diversity comes alive during Summerfest, a series of Saturday night bazaars featuring a different culture's foods, customs and entertainment each week.
Last but not least, dining in Albuquerque is always an event. From authentic New Mexican enchiladas and tamales to Italian pastas to Chinese take out to old-fashioned home cooking. A whole world of flavors are yours for the tasting in Albuquerque.
Within easy driving distance is one of New Mexico's culture centers in Santa Fe. And two hours to the north is even more skiing at world-famous Taos.
Albuquerque is a celebration of the human spirit. A short plane flight from Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas, it is meeting place for all.