Sante Fe, New Mexico at sunrise

Plan Your Albuquerque to Denver Road Trip

In Cebollas, three sisters take a 10-hour road trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Denver, Colorado. The why of it can be revealed when you see the show, but if you find yourself with the opportunity to drive from New Mexico’s largest city to Denver’s capitol city, here are some suggestions to make it memorable.

The drive can be done in about 7 hours with very limited stops for the necessities, or you can explore the cities along Interstate 25 as you head north.


Old Town Albuquerque

Old Town Albuquerque

Albuquerque’s history goes back more than 12,000 years to Ancestral Puebloans and has since become a blend of Hispanic cultures, Native American heritage, and typical U.S. modern life.

Visitors can go to Old Town Albuquerque for a literal taste of historic New Mexico and also do a little shopping among the adobe structures that have stood here since the 1700s.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a year-round site to learn about the 19 pueblos in New Mexico. Check the events calendar on their website for current happenings — traditional dance performances, lectures series, art on display — during your time here.

Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of Sandia Peak at 10,378-feet above sea level. There’s a restaurant on top or you can just take in the vast view below.

Sante Fe, New Mexico at sunrise

Sante Fe, New Mexico

As you head north on I-25, leave time to stop at one of the casinos that are Native American owned. The Sandia Resort & Casino is popular and offers live music, a spa, a golf course, and of course, gambling.


Unlike Denver and other cities, I-25 does not run through Santa Fe. Instead, you have to take an exit from I-25 to get to Santa Fe, which is nearby.

Santa Fe is home to the original Meow Wolf, which has since expanded to Denver, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Grapevine, Texas. Meow Wolf is an immersive art experience that includes a fictitious backstory to guide visitors through the various creative art installations.

The city’s downtown is full of history and culture with Native American sellers in the historic plaza on weekends offering classic silver and turquoise jewelry. Nearby there are churches, art galleries, and restaurants all worth visiting.

Psychedelic artwork and walkways in Meow Wolf

Mew Wolf Santa Fe

A short drive away is Museum Hill where you can explore the Museum of International Folk Art, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, and the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens.

If you like spas, make time for Ten Thousand Waves or Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort — both of which include lodging and fine dining.

In either Santa Fe or Albuquerque, you can enjoy a meal and watch flamenco dancers perform. Depending on when you visit, there might be an annual flamenco dancing festival or a night out of dinner and a show.


Pueblo Riverwalk

Pueblo Riverwalk

After over six hours in the car, you might be looking to stretch your legs. The Pueblo Riverwalk follows the mile-long channel, and features quite a few local restaurants and stores.

To make a longer stop in Pueblo, especially if you’re traveling with kids, there are some fun and interesting museums and activities for kids. The Steelworks Museum highlights local history, and the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center features the Buell Children’s Museum.

If you’re looking to sit a spell with some food or drinks, try the locally brewed beer at Walter’s Brewery or dine at Jorge’s Sombrero (where President Barack Obama and his family enjoyed a meal!).


The Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

Colorado’s second largest city is increasing its appeal to tourists with attractions like the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and maintaining favorites such as the Garden of the Gods Park.

Just over one hour from Denver, it’s tempting to push on and get to Denver, but then you would miss a chance to stay at the Broadmoor Resort, a luxury destination with restaurants, pools, golf courses, and more. Just up the road from the resort is the country’s highest elevation zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Here you can feed giraffes and elephants and even ride a ski lift (no skiing though).

There are hiking trails nearby for all levels, and many ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak, perhaps Colorado’s best known 14er. You can drive up, ride the cog railway, be driven up in a van and ride a bike down, or hike up this 14,115-foot mountain.

Well, you made it to Denver! You know what to do….go see a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts!