Albuquerque straddles the Rio Grande and sits up against the beautiful Sandia Mountains, which offer terrific skiing and one of the world's longest single-section tramway lines. The Sandia Peak Tramway runs 2.7 miles from the eastern edge of Albuquerque to Sandia Peak, which has an elevation of 10,378 feet.
The Sandia Mountains frame the city's east side, while the Petroglyph National Monument dominates the western horizon. Stretching 17 miles, this volcanic basalt escarpment protects five volcanic cones and a bevy of archeological sites, including over 24,000 carved images.
Route 66 leaves Interstate 40 at Exit 167 and heads into town via Central Avenue, which is also the main east-west surface street in the city. The eastern-most portion of Central Avenue/Route 66 heading into Albuquerque has seen better days, but revitalization efforts are paying off, particularly west of San Mateo Boulevard.
Near there, Central Avenue passes through the ABQ neighborhood known as Nob Hill, known for its shops, restaurants, and a slew of antique and specialty stores.
Closer to downtown, the 66 Diner, a modern-day Route 66 icon, first opened in 1987 after being converted from a gas station. They're particularly famous for shakes and chicken fried steaks, although the two combined can really weigh you down for a few hours.
Just west of Interstate 25, the KiMo Theatre is one of the most recognized landmarks in the city, hosting a busy schedule of performances and shows. Check out the beautiful "Seven Cities of Cibola" mural inside.
Heading to the west side of Albuquerque, Route 66 hits Old Town, an eclectic area filled with locally owned shops, cafés, and art galleries, popular with both locals and tourists. Several museums are on the east end of Old Town – the Albuquerque Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, and Explora Science Center & Children's Museum
From the Old Town area, Route 66 continues west on Central Avenue toward the west side of the city, over the Rio Grande, past a rapidly developing area, and up over the hills, with a very impressive view of the valley holding Albuquerque in your rear view mirror.
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