Albuquerque is the largest city in the American state of New Mexico. From a tourist point of view, it's often overshadowed by the more popular Santa Fé, but Albuquerque also has charming places of interest, including interesting museums, beautiful nature parks in the vicinity and a world-famous balloon fiesta in the fall.
The city has 550,000 inhabitants, but including the suburbs the population of Albuquerque reaches almost one million.
Albuquerque is centrally located in New Mexico, in the south of the United States, on the Rio Grande and north of the Chihuahuan Desert. The city lies at an average altitude of 1600 meters which makes it one of the most elevated large American cities. The Sandia and Manzano Mountains lie east of the city.
The city is the center of the so-called New Mexico Technology Corridor, an elongated area along the Rio Grande where several high-tech companies are located, including manufacturers of computer parts (for example an Intel chip factory) and companies concentrating on the development of alternative energy.
The city airport is not called Airport, but Sunport to emphasize the many hours of sun Albuquerque receives annually. Albuquerque International Sunport is situated 5 kilometers southeast of the city center and is easily reachable by rental car. From the city you take the I-25. The exit to the airport is clearly signposted.
Albuquerque is a city of cars and public transport is moderately developed. Most buses run via the elongated Central Avenue, which by the way is part of the historical Route 66.
Two Interstate freeways, the I-40 (east-west) and the I-25 (north-south), crisscross the city. Although traffic jams in and around Albuquerque are less severe than in many other large American cities, traffic during morning and evening rush hour and on Saturdays can be busy. In the center it's difficult to find a free parking place in the street, but fortunately there are many parking garages to park your car. Most of them are signposted.
Albuquerque has a large choice of accommodations. In the last few years, many hotels have been built in the midrange category. The cheapest guesthouses can be found along Central Avenue, but some are of doubtful reputation. Better hotels can be found mainly in Uptown Albuquerque, east of the I-40 and north of the I-25, although you can also find some good hotels in Downtown. During the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October it can be difficult or even impossible to find a free hotel room in the city.
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