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Jul 29, 2008 02:38 PM

albuquerque/santa fe with young kids

Hi. We live in Los Angeles and are headed to the Balloon Fiesta with our 6 year old twins and out 2.5 year old. We're looking for suggestions for where to dine with our kids. Places unique to NM are preferred over national chains but if there are local chains we shouldn't miss, please let me know. We have 2 pretty chowish kids and one who is happy with a hamburger and only a hamburger.
We'll be in Albuquerque on Saturday afternoon and Monday morning and we're planning to visit Santa Fe on Sunday.

Also, if anyone if familiar with the area and knows about either the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque or Sandia Resort and there proximity to the Balloon Fiesta Park, please feel free to volunteer your thoughts.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Sandia is just north and east of Balloon Fiesta Park and is really quite a lovely property - if you can deal with the smokey casino. Don't know about Embassy Suites.

    For kids, where would they feel welcome . . . maybe Owl Cafe or Route 66 Diner for a '50s burger and milkshake thing, with decent green chile burgers available. (Sorry, I'm child-free and don't really think about such things.) Chow's Chinese Bistro (a three-restaurant chain that started in SF - two locations in ABQ) has decently interesting food. There are some decent barbecue places in town, but you'll want to search on ABQ BBQ to decide which ones might suit your preferred type. Lots of New Mexican food options (all of which can give your PITA kid a burger): you might try Mary & Tito's or Los Cuates. The Flying Star bakeries (all over town) might have fun dessert options for the young uns. There's a mod gelato place at the SE corner of Wyoming and Montgomery that they might like as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Erich

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help. I'll look into the places you mentioned.

      what's the deal with the green chile burgers?

      1. re: roxhills

        Green chile cheese burgers are a New Mexico thing! A must have at places that can range from Blake's Lottabuger ( a NM chain) to Owl Cafe and Bobcat Bite.

        1. re: LikestoEatout

          If we have to choose 1 place to try a green chile cheeseburger, keeping in mind that we're not going to be in town for long and we'll have young kids with us, which is our best bet? I checked out Owl Cafe and Blake's last night along with Griffs(?) and Route 66 Diner. Are any of them easier to find than the others?

          We live in Los Angeles and I haven't spent much time in NM so I am not sure what to expect as far as driving around and looking for the best places.

          1. re: roxhills

            Here is a website for Blake's, they have a map feature for each location. I can't judge what may be best, Blake's locations run from nice new stand alone buildings to old time drive in, they aren't fancy and won't appeal to everyone, I just like it for a quick green chile fix at least once in NM. They are a fast food place and probably would have things more appealing to kids. The other places will give you a serious burger.


    2. Embassy Suites is a really nice hotel with great breakfasts and manager's cocktail reception with munchies in afternoon. It is very convenient to I25, but not too close to other places to eat. It is a straight shot to Balloon Fiesta park, but you will be with a lot of traffic. You do know that you have to be there VERY early in the morning to see balloons launch, right? Be sure to dress in layers and think cold temps in the morning. We are talking hats, gloves, sweat shirts, jackets, long pants etc. You must plan on being there before sunlight or you will miss the ascent. Get there early, have a hot cocoa, breakfast burrito and cinnamon bun.

      Holiday Inn Express on Alameda Blvd is the closest to park, you could probably walk from there. It is nice and clean and a possible alternate place to stay.

      Sandia Resort is new, it is pretty close too, but you will also have to face traffic etc to get into the park. It is northeast of the park, on the northbound side of I 25.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DebitNM

        Hi DebitNM,
        Would you mind elaborating on a lot of traffic? We have 3 kids under age 6 so I am not sure that we could walk the mile from Holiday Inn Express to the park. We'll probably have to drive as close as we can get. But, we're coming from Los Angeles so we are pretty familiar with traffic. Is there a way to beat it aside from staying close and walking.

        We are coming in on Saturday so we hope come in to town, have lunch and check out albuquerque and then to go to the park Saturday evening, and then go back Sunday morning. Then, head up to Sante Fe on Sunday, have brunch, explore for the rest of the day and head back to Albuquerque Sunday evening.

        Of the 3 hotels, Holiday Inn is closest to the park. Sandia is only taking non-refundable reservations and I am not sure if I should cancel Embassy Suites and switch to Sandia or Holiday Inn. They are all around $200 a night which sounds very high compared to any other time of the year.

        Thanks for your help!