Aerial view of hot air balloons in Albuquerque

Where to Stay in Albuquerque (A Local’s Best Places & Areas)

Albuquerque, New Mexico has a lot to offer visitors if you know where to look. While the city itself has a relatively small downtown area and is essentially one large suburb, countless hidden gems are waiting to be discovered.

As an Albuquerque local, I am here to help you find exactly where to stay in Albuquerque for your situation. I want you to make the most of your trip to the Land of Enchantment! 

Let’s start by taking a look at the best places to stay:

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Best Places to Stay in Albuquerque

Aerial view of the illuminated Downtown Albuquerque

Looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Albuquerque? Here are my top picks:

👉 Browse all top hotels in Albuquerque on Booking here.

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Albuquerque, New Mexico: 

7 Best Neighborhoods and Areas to Stay in Albuquerque

Albuquerque is split into four parts by two major lines: the Rio Grande river and Interstate 40. The river divides the city into the east and west, while I-40 splits it into north and south.

Towering over the east side of the city are the Sandia mountains. You can always orient yourself by looking at the mountains. Here is a helpful map of the major neighborhoods in the city.

Historic Old Town Albuquerque

View of a blue Ornate door in Old Town Albuquerque
Ornate door in Old Town (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Families and Overall Location | Best Old Town Hotels: Hotel AlbuquerqueHotel ChacoEl Vado Motel

If the name “Old Town” doesn’t tip you off, this is the oldest part of the city, with several buildings dating back to the 1700s. Considered by many to be the heart of Albuquerque, some of the richest histories in New Mexico lie within these few city blocks. Here, you can weave in and out of local shops and restaurants or stop by the nearby museums. You might even spot a celebrity or two, especially if you stay at Hotel Albuquerque or Hotel Chaco

With so many activities available in a small geographic area, historic Old Town is well-suited for families. Though not quite walking distance, the Botanic Garden and Aquarium are both pretty close by. 

Overall, Old Town offers some of the best hotels in Albuquerque, with options to suit every budget.

Pros of Staying in Old Town Albuquerque:

  • Everything you need is within walking distance
  • Excellent balance of old-world charm and modern amenities

Cons of Staying in Old Town Albuquerque:

  • Many shops close early
  • Can get busy during peak seasons and days

📚 Old Town Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families and Overall Location
Google Map

  • Best HotelsHotel AlbuquerqueHotel ChacoEl Vado Motel
  • 🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Old Town
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Seasons Rotisserie and Grill ($$$), Antiquity Restaurant ($$$), Church Street Cafe ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – D.H. Lescombes Winery and Bistro, Noisy Water Winery, The Taproom at Old Town
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Sawmill Market, Historic Old Town Plaza, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Downtown Albuquerque

Overlooking view of the Plaza in Downtown Albuquerque
Downtown plaza

👉 Best Area For Nightlife | Best Downtown Albuquerque Hotels: Hotel Parq CentralHotel AndaluzHyatt Regency Albuquerque

If you are looking for a fun, party atmosphere and are looking to stay in some of the top luxury hotels in Albuquerque, Downtown is the place for you. The area is ideally located near the Albuquerque Convention Center and within walking distance of many bars, clubs, and restaurants. 

One of Albuquerque’s top luxury hotels, Hotel Parq Central, has a breathtaking rooftop bar that you have to visit, even if you aren’t planning to stay there. Many of the other luxury hotels in the area also offer an on-site restaurant and include amenities such as spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.

Pros of Staying in Downtown Albuquerque:

  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Close to Albuquerque International Sunport
  • Luxury hotel options

Cons of Staying in Downtown Albuquerque:

  • Many restaurants and shops are closed on Mondays
  • Hotels can be more expensive

📚 Downtown Albuquerque Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife
Google Map

Midtown / Nob Hill

View of difference sculptures in University of New Mexico
Sculptures on University of New Mexico campus (photo: Pictor Picture Company / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Foodies | Best Midtown / Nob Hill Hotels: SpringHill Suites by Marriott University AreaHampton Inn – University/MidtownHoliday Inn Express Hotel & Suites

Just east of Downtown Albuquerque, this eclectic, hip university area is perfect for the young and restless or the ultimate foodie (or both!). Not only does this area have more affordable accommodations, but it is also brimming with trendy shops and restaurants.

Take a stroll around the University of New Mexico (UNM) campus or grab some late-night ice cream in this laid-back neighborhood. This is one of the most unique environments in the city and is a great place to visit at any time of day; there are some amazing brunch spots and some equally enticing dinner and drinks spots.

Pros of Staying in Midtown / Nob Hill:

  • Many local restaurants and shops
  • Very walkable area and young adult-friendly
  • Budget hotel options

Cons of Staying in Midtown / Nob Hill:

  • Not family-oriented
  • Fewer hotel options

📚 Midtown / Nob Hill Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Foodies
Google Map

Airport

Overlooking view of Downtown Albuquerque from the airport
View of Downtown Albuquerque from the airport

👉 Best Area For Quick Trips | Best Airport Hotels: Hampton Inn and SuitesBaymont by WyndhamResidence Inn by Marriott

The airport is the southernmost neighborhood in Albuquerque. While it is technically part of the city, it feels very deserted and set apart. You’ll find that staying by the airport is great if you aren’t as interested in seeing any sights or you need a brief landing spot before heading to your next destination.

Staying close to the Albuquerque International Sunport is a good idea if your visit to Duke City is a short one. Each of the top hotels in the area provides airport shuttles for hassle-free transportation.

Pros of Staying Near Airport:

  • Great location for airport access
  • More budget hotel options

Con of Staying Near Airport:

  • Remote location, farther away from restaurants and other activities

📚 Airport Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Quick Trips
Google Map

Uptown

Aerial view of Albuquerque during sunset
Albuquerque sunset

👉 Best Area For Up-Scale Shopping | Best Uptown Hotels: Homewood Suites by Hilton UptownHyatt Place UptownSheraton Uptown

Uptown is the furthest east neighborhood before the residential areas begin. It is considered more high-end than many other spots in Albuquerque and is very pristine and put-together. The buildings are modern and inviting.

If you are looking to treat yourself or have a shopping spree, Uptown provides some fabulous options. If you’re looking to get some steps in but aren’t able to spend a lot, walk around and window shop at ABQ Uptown or Coronado Center.

Pros of Staying in Uptown:

  • High-end stores and restaurants
  • Centrally located to other activities

Cons of Staying in Uptown:

  • Most of the restaurants are popular chains and not local
  • Can be expensive

📚 Uptown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Up-Scale Shopping
Google Map

North Valley / Los Ranchos / Corrales

View of a trail along the Bosque in Albuquerque
A trail along the Bosque (the forest along the Rio Grande)

👉 Best Area For Luxury Relaxation | Best North Valley Hotels: Morning Star Bed & Breakfast of CorralesCasa La HuertaLos Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm

Staying in the North Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the city, with stunning mountain views. This area is my favorite place to spend my time due to its close proximity to the Rio Grande trails, sublime food, and other attractions. Located in the center of Albuquerque, it is the perfect place to stay if you’re hoping to visit multiple places across the city.

Even if you can’t afford to stay there, I recommend visiting Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm. It is worth walking around their grounds and seeing one of the best things to do in Albuquerque; they also have an on-site restaurant you can check out.

If you would like to have a more peaceful, restorative vacation, Los Ranchos is an excellent option. You can take quiet strolls through the neighborhoods or rent a bike and sightsee along the river. Grab a coffee and curl up with a book or enjoy some time at a spa. The hustle and bustle of the city won’t touch you here if you don’t want it to.

Pros of Staying in the North Valley:

  • A relaxed, serene atmosphere
  • Fantastic for a weekend getaway or couple’s retreat

Cons of Staying in the North Valley:

  • Not budget-friendly
  • Car-dependent

📚 North Valley Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxury Relaxation
Google Map

Albuquerque North / Balloon Fiesta Park

View of people and colorful hot air balloons in Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta Park
Hot air balloons glowing before the sunrise at Balloon Fiesta Park

👉 Best Area For Business Travelers and Nature Lovers | Best Albuquerque North Hotels: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Albuquerque North/Journal CenterStaybridge Suites Albuquerque NorthCourtyard by Marriott

If you’re traveling for work, the northeast neighborhood is one of the most ideal spots to stay in Albuquerque. It is close to the city’s professional centers and is centrally located for easy access to anywhere in the city. For those wishing to spend their vacation in nature, this is the closest area on this list to Cibola National Forest. You’ll also experience the most unobstructed mountain views.

There are many premier choices for local restaurants, breweries, and wineries. This is also one of the safest areas of Albuquerque, so you can rest easy and truly enjoy your time here in New Mexico. 

Interested in taking a day trip to Santa Fe? Staying in Albuquerque North means that it is only a 45-minute drive away and you won’t have to deal with rush hour traffic on your way out in the morning!

Pros of Staying in Albuquerque North:

  • Great location to stay if you’re wanting to ride the Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Lots of restaurant and bar options
  • Close to Balloon Fiesta Park if you’re visiting during October

Cons of Staying in Albuquerque North:

  • A vehicle or ride-sharing service will be needed (low walkability)
  • Some traffic during rush hours

📚 Albuquerque North Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Business Travelers and Nature Lovers
Google Map

Tips for Staying in Albuquerque, New Mexico

If Traveling for Balloon Fiesta, Book Early

Colorful hot air balloons floating in Albuquerque

The Balloon Fiesta occurs the first week of October each year, drawing thousands of tourists. Due to the large influx of visitors, hotels tend to fill up quickly. If you are planning to experience one of the greatest attractions in New Mexico, make sure to book accommodations as soon as possible.

👉 Browse hotels in Albuquerque on Booking here.

Avoid the Chain Restaurants

Wherever you choose to stay, you will have access to some of the best restaurants in Albuquerque. There are so many local options to choose from that you will have no reason to visit a chain restaurant.

New Mexico is Not Warm Year-Round

It’s important to remember that New Mexico is a high desert, meaning that it is a dry climate with high elevation. Subsequently, we do experience all four seasons here in New Mexico. Average winter temperatures in Albuquerque reach around 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to plan for this and check the weather forecast before your trip.

Fall is the Best Time to Visit

While each season is special in New Mexico, many locals will tell you that fall is their favorite time of year. The weather is perfect and the air is crisp but still comfortable. Whether you roast some green chiles or walk along the Bosque and admire the changing leaves, there are plenty of things to do in Albuquerque in the fall.

Prepare Your Transportation Plan

Trust me when I tell you to avoid Albuquerque’s public transportation options. If you plan to visit more than one neighborhood in Albuquerque, you will need to rely on a rental car or other ride-share options such as Uber or Lyft. You could also try renting a bike to get around the city.

Stay in Albuquerque Proper

Although it may be tempting to stay in Rio Rancho or other cities surrounding Albuquerque in exchange for cheaper hotels, I do not recommend it. You will be farther away from most of the fun things to do in Albuquerque and you will be heavily car-dependent. These suburbs are not ideally located for easy connection to the city and all it has to offer.

Answers to FAQs About Albuquerque

Where should you not stay in Albuquerque?

When choosing where to stay in Albuquerque, it is generally best to avoid neighborhoods south of Central Avenue. The exception to this rule is if you choose to stay by the airport. Do not stay in the South Valley and avoid staying in the part of Albuquerque east of Uptown.

Which part of Albuquerque is the safest?

The North Valley, Los Ranchos, Corrales, and northeast areas of Albuquerque are safer and tend to have lower crime rates. The northwest side of Albuquerque (such as Taylor Ranch and Paradise Hills) is also considered safe.

What is the nicest area in Albuquerque?

Among the many beautiful spots in Albuquerque, the Westside is one nice area that offers sweeping views of the Sandia mountains and the accompanying sunsets. The Northeast side has many upscale amenities and is closer to the mountains. If you are looking for quick access to anywhere in the city, the North Valley is a great spot to stay.

Is it better to stay in Albuquerque or Santa Fe?

Compared to Albuquerque, Santa Fe is a better place to stay for  art lovers with a bigger budget. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more affordable New Mexico vacation but still want to experience the history and culture, Albuquerque is the better option. Ultimately, both destinations are worth visiting and each offers something different. 

***

No matter what brings you here, and no matter your travel style, I hope that this guide has helped you know where to stay in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Be sure to stay tuned for my forthcoming guide to the best things to do in Albuquerque.

Have some fun while you are here, relax, and soak up some sun!

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