New Mexico-Travel with Kids

After a travel-filled year, we thought we were done for the year after our trip to Nevada for the Polar Express in mid December.  But of course that didn’t happen and we decided to go explore New Mexico for the New Year.  We visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and I will include them in one post since I feel like your really should do both if you are already in ABQ!  The flight there was on Alaska Airlines.  Almost every time we fly, we bring chocolates for the flight attendants to say thank you.  They truly have one of the hardest jobs, dealing with some of the craziest people in the world!  Milana handed a bag of chocolates to the first flight attendant we saw and we went to our seats.  Shortly after, he came to get us and upgraded us to first class for free! Such an unexpected but very appreciated gesture.  She of course loved it, since they serve snacks and this kid can snack all day!

AlaskaAir

ALBUQUERQUE

HOTELS

We split our stay between the Fairfield Inn (Marriott hotel) and the ABQ Marriott.  We are loyal to Marriott since we always get upgrades, free breakfast and lots of other perks so we tend to seek them out when we travel.  I somehow forgot to take photos of our rooms here, but the ABQ Marriott did have a heated indoor pool that’s great if you’re traveling with kids in colder weather!

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THINGS TO DO

As always, we had to visit a local children’s museum and Albuquerque’s Explora was free for us since they are part of the ASTC Passport Program.  It’s a really cool facility, with lots of science themed exhibits.  The museum is 2 stories, and even has a playground in the back.

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Across the street from Explora is the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, also free with your ASTC membership.  If you have a dinosaur or planet lover, this place is for you!

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A short walk from Explora is Old Town, an area you definitely have to explore! I’d skip eating here since the food is touristy, expensive and not very authentic but definitely visit the shops and see the super cute architecture and colors.

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Right near Old Town is Tricentennial Park, which has a playground.  It was still warm out, so we stayed for a bit to play.

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Before heading to Santa Fe, we visited BioPark.  This is a really cute zoo with lots of great exhibits.  You can purchase just the zoo admission or add the aquarium and botanical gardens for just a few dollars more. We opted for just the zoo and one train ride, since we didn’t have the entire day to spend here. It was deserted when we came (on a weekend) so we had the entire place to ourselves.  Definitely visit if you are in the area!

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FOOD

Right after we landed, we headed to Frontier.  This is a huge restaurant and usually has a very long line, but it was nearly 9pm when we went so it wasn’t packed at all.  This restaurant serves New Mexican cuisine and is located across from the University of NM, making it popular with local students.  If you only eat at one Mexican place, make it this one!  The food here was really good and Milana got the tacos she has been asking for on the flight.

Frontier

Another place we tried was the Backstreet Grill in Old Town. While the food was good, I would skip anything in Old Town as the prices are geared for tourists and tend to be a lot more than any other place in the city.  Milana loves guacamole and they make theirs table side which is a nice touch.

BackstreetGrill

The last ABQ restaurant we dined at was a Middle Eastern one called the San Pedro Middle Eastern Restaurant. We love Middle Eastern food and I’ve been craving foul mudammas so when I found out ABQ has a ton of Middle Eastern restaurants, I knew I could find one that serves this dish and I was right! It’s basically fava beans with garlic, cumin and lots of spices with lemon juice added at the end.  Milana loved this dish, so we will have to make it at home!  Everything we tried here was really good, I highly recommend coming.  The restaurant is inside their store and nothing spectacular look wise, but the food is really good!

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TURQUOISE TRAIL

On our was from ABQ to Santa Fe, we decided to take the scenic Turquoise Trail.  Mostly because I found an alpaca farm, halfway between the two cities!  The farm is family owned and they do tours every half hour, no appointments necessary. Milana loved visiting the farm and feeding the animals.  She had lots of questions about alpacas and their relation to the llamas (they are cousins!).

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Madrid is a cute city to stop and walk around on the Turquoise Trail, but we visited last time we went and decided to skip this time since it was super packed.

SANTA FE

HOTEL

In Santa Fe, we stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott. We got upgraded to a king suite, which had a separate living room.  Milana got her own rollaway bed, which was perfect! The hotel also had a very well heated indoor pool, which we used every night.

CourtyardSantaFe

THINGS TO DO 

Santa Fe also has a children’s museum, though it’s much smaller than ABQ.  It’s essentially one huge room with the exhibits all in that room.  There’s also an outside area, that is probably better in the warmer months!

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But the hi-light of our trip was our visit to Meow Wolf.  This place is a must see when in Santa Fe! Milana loved exploring the various rooms and finding secret doorways.  Her favorite was walking through the fridge to find another hidden room! It’s really something you have to see for yourself.  I think our entire family loved this the most!

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Here is a video from Meow Wolf:

Another must do in Santa Fe is walking around Santa Fe Plaza.  Lots of cute shops and restaurants and the architecture is just adorable! I love the SW style buildings.

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FOOD

One of our favorite restaurants in Santa Fe is the Love Yourself Cafe.  We loved it so much, we came two days in a row! Healthy, organic food without added sugars, preservatives, etc.  Milana loved her banana bread French toast, topped with fresh fruit and coconut.  I loved the Caprese benedict and Dave loved his spinach salad.  Before your meal, they bring you a small cup of love juice, which is basically a cucumber water. Milana loved this!

LoveYourselfCafe

We also tried Cowgirl BBQ.  They have a playground in the back, perfect for families with young kids!

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Ranch House was down the street from our hotel and super popular, so be sure to add in waiting time! The food was ok, Cowgirl was much better bbq wise.

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One night, Milana was really set on eating tacos so we found a local place called Posas.  The food here was really good, and she got her taco fix.

Posas

When Dave and I came here a few years ago, we went to the Chocolate Maven for some hot chocolate.  This place is still great and the hot chocolate is still really good!

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As you can see, there is lots to do with kids in New Mexico!  This is a perfect 3-4 day trip.

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10 comments

  1. I know the Explora is a kids museum but to be honest it looks like somewhere I could have a lot of fun, even as an adult! Overall though, I think between the alpaca farm, Santa Fe Plaza and all of that YUMMY looking food, I’d be pretty content spending a few days exploring ABQ and Santa Fe!

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  2. I know the Explora is a kids museum but to be honest it looks like somewhere I could have a lot of fun, even as an adult! Overall though, I think between the alpaca farm, Santa Fe Plaza and all of that YUMMY looking food, I’d be pretty content spending a few days exploring ABQ and Santa Fe!

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  3. Happy new year! Your daughter seems to have so much fun on her travels and imagine she has already flew 1 class! More upgrades to come I hope for you guys! Of all the places I think my daughter also would the most is the Meow Wolf in Santa fee mostly because she likes running in a maze. I am looking forward to see where you are taking her next time!

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  4. We’re heading to New Mexico this year so this post was good timing for me! The food all looks delicious, and we will definitely try some of these places. So glad you got upgraded – and I hope we do too!

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  5. I’ve always been curious to travel to Albuquerque and this is a nice insight. I hope I could travel there soon. I love that there is a good mix of activities and sights, plus kid-friendly too! All the food you enjoyed looked so good too, a good trip can never be good without great food, in my book!

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  6. This is so useful. I always travel with my daughter. And we almost slays visit Children’s meuseum and zoos. I have always wanted to visit New Mexico. And now I think this is exactly what I will be doing when we visit. I will make sure to visit Meow Wolf, looks fun.

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  7. I always wanted to visit an alpaca farm! They’re so cute and I can’t find any here in Ontario. The food at Frontier looks delicious – I haven’t had Mexican food in so long and it seriously got me craving! I would also visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. I love learning about the planet and our solar system.

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  8. Alpaca farm looks so cool especially since I haven’t many alpacas ! I’d definitely love to try authentic Mexican cuisine at Frontier rather than touristy expensive places in the Old Town. But I’d love to visit the Old town anyway because it looks pretty cool! Thanks for your recommendations !

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  9. This sounds like a wonderful time exploring New Mexico with your daughter. There are so many activities here to definitely keep her busy. The San Pedro Middle Eastern Restaurant sounds ohhhhh so delicious! I do love Middle Eastern food too and so would love to try the foul mudammas. And the Love Yourself Cafe sounds so healthy yet delicious. I do always worry about how much sugar or butter or the not-so-good-stuff they put into foods when you go an dine in restaurants. So it’s great to know that at this cafe, they are only adding the good stuff into your food. And so good that Milana enjoys it!

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