The Turquoise Museum
Open since 1993, The Turquoise Museum is a fantastic place to go and learn all about the history of mining and crafting turquoise. The museum has a lot of information on the best turquoise mines in the country, how to tell different types of turquoise apart, how to tell fake turquoise from the real thing, the history of turquoise and more.
Recent visitors had high praise for the 90-minute guided tours, saying that you'll learn a lot of helpful tips and get to view a vast collection of turquoise. Others liked that the museum is family-run, and appreciated hearing about the family's long history mining and studying gemstones. There's also an on-site lapidary shop, where you can view how artisans polish turquoise, along with a gift shop.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday for guided tours only, and the tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets cost $9.55 for adults and $7.64 for kids younger than 18, along with seniors, military and AAA members, and should be purchased ahead of time through the museum's website. You'll find the museum in downtown Albuquerque, about a block away from the San Felipe de Neri Church.
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#1 Old Town Albuquerque
For more than 300 years, both Native American and Spanish cultures have been shaping this neighborhood (this is the site of the original city settlement in 1706). Anchored by the central plaza, Old Town's cobblestone streets are filled with brightly colored adobe huts that now house galleries, restaurants and souvenir shops. The stunning San Felipe de Neri Church – Albuquerque's oldest building – can also be found here.
Many visitors recommend spending a few hours wandering around Old Town, likening it to a less crowded (and more affordable) Santa Fe. Along with the interesting shops and restaurants, reviewers also loved the area's clean streets and talented street performers. However, if you're heading to Old Town in search of Southwestern souvenirs, recent shoppers advised watching out for knockoffs.
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