SOUTWESTERN U.S. CITY GUIDES
HOTEL SPECIALS IN OTHER CITIES
Albuquerque's weather is a study in polar extremes— extremes of day and night and extremes of summer and winter. Hot and cold vie for dominance in even the gentler, more transitional seasons of spring and fall. But whatever the extremity, Albuquerque's famous sun reigns supreme, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.
Spring is one of the most inviting seasons to visit Albuquerque. White flat-bottomed clouds decorate the blue skies, days are sunny and warm and the Albuquerque Rio Grande Botanical Garden is a budding attraction.
Summer is of course dry and hot in Albuquerque, but not as oppressive as one might expect of the desert. The cool waters of the Rio Grande, running through Albuquerque, moderate the area's temperature to tolerable levels compared with the other desert environs not graced with running waters.
Fall in Albuquerque means thunderstorms. Massive thunderclouds gather and blow through the region quickly, gusty and smelling of wet earth. While thunderstorms are often enchanting experiences, temperatures are still warm and days are sunny.
Winter is ski season on Sandia Peak (much colder than Albuquerque basin), a snow-topped mountain offering breathtaking vistas overlooking Albuquerque from the slopes. While still sunny and dry, Albuquerque is cold during the winter, with temperatures often dropping below freezing at night and rarely reaching more the 45 degrees during the day.
The Best Times to Visit
Framed by the massive Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque is located on a "rain shadow"—moisture and rain are trapped on the other side of Sandia Peak, leaving only hot, dry air to make the precipitous journey over the mountain side to sunny Albuquerque. For visitors, this means Albuquerque gets at most only 9 inches of rain a year, mostly via thunderstorms in the late summer and early fall.
Dry, mild and sunny, spring in Albuquerque is one of the best times to visit. Conversely, late fall, right before the winter chill gets hold of Albuquerque nights, is another excellent time to enjoy Albuquerque golf courses and other Albuquerque outdoor attractions. For those who love the heat and days on the banks of the Rio Grande, summer is also an excellent time to visit Albuquerque.
What to Pack
Dry and sunny, Albuquerque weather rarely requires wool jackets or closed-toe shoes for its residents, except for the sparse winter months when winter temperatures drop to below freezing at night. For the rest of the year, sunscreen and sunglasses are paramount to comfortably visiting Albuquerque, as well as plenty of moisturizer for combating the arid climate. As a general rule, shorts, dresses and shirts of light cotton work for the warm, sunny days, with a necessary layer or two for cooler nights by the river.