Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in Albuquerque

by  Darren Murph | Apr 8, 2013
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico / Sean Pavone/iStock

The southwest sun is probably reason enough to look forward to an escape to Albuquerque, but there's plenty more to enjoy in New Mexico's largest city than warmth. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into Burque (as the locals say), we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

While it's a short cab ride (or about a half-mile walk) from the convention center, The Artichoke Cafe is known as the go-to spot for fine dining in the area. It's open for both lunch and dinner, and as the "cafe" in the name implies, lighter fare is their specialty. Those who prefer soups and salads will be right at home, though the pumpkin ravioli is a dish that you can't find just anywhere. If you're planning on staying a while, the wine and dessert menu is heralded as well.

French food in America's southwest? You bet. P'tit Louis Bistro is a tiny eatery, but the management has placed a great deal of value on outstanding service and top-notch taste. It's worth heading here for the waitstaff alone. Best of all? You can practice your French; menu items are first listed in French, and underscored by English translations.

If you're simply looking to exercise your camera (and your legs), one of the best walking and biking trails in the region can be accessed just south of the convention hall. The Paseo del Bosque Trail stretches on for miles, but there's hardly a mundane section. It (roughly) follows the Rio Grande as it stretches near downtown Albuquerque, and it's a great place to blow off steam, let your mind roam, and just generally enjoy the fresh air.

I'd love to recommend a drive to Roswell (aliens!) or Carlsbad Caverns, but the reality is that those require a solid day to enjoy when departing from Albuquerque. That said, Sandia Crest is accessible with a rental car and just a spare hour or two, and the views from the top (as well as the drive up) are sensational. If you have even more time, there's more hiking to be had up here than even a local could manage in a year.

If you're looking to have a sip or two on your final night in town, Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro is a winner. There's an upstairs and downstairs with notably different atmospheres, and if you roll in hungry, there's a menu to help out on that front as well. As a bonus, you'll hear live music in the cellar portion each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

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