Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico

Albuquerque got its quirky name courtesy of the eighth Duque De Albuquerque of Spain, and became a city in 1706. In this city, with a historic Old Town and a lively downtown, attendees can see the changing-colors peaks of the Sandia Range from pretty much anywhere they stand.

When groups stroll through Old Town, they’ll come across one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, artists’ studios and restaurants. Walking in other districts, they’ll come upon world-class museums such as the extraordinary Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, home of the world’s largest balloon festival every autumn; and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

“There is so much to see and do in Albuquerque, but the city also serves as a central hub for visitors who are looking to explore all that New Mexico has to offer,” says Tania Armenta, president & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. “Meeting attendees can explore a 1,000-year-old Native-American Pueblo, engage in wildlife-viewing opportunities or travel along scenic byways—all within a few hours’ drive.”

Santa Fe, founded in 1610, is the oldest capital city in the United States. It’s also the most distinctive-looking U.S. capital city, as much of it is constructed in the ancient adobe style, giving the city a goldish tone at certain times of the day. Santa Fe boasts excellent museums and hundreds of talented working artists, and is the center of Southwestern Art in America.

Even its capitol building is distinctive. It’s not white-Colonial, as most state capitols seem to be, and it doesn’t have a shiny gold dome. Like most of Santa Fe, it, too, was constructed with an adobe look, albeit a more modern one.

“Santa Fe is a terrific choice for meetings,” says Randy Randall, executive director of Tourism Santa Fe, “because we have numerous hotels in the historic downtown area affording attendees unparalleled access to art, culture and world-class restaurants. These hotels are also close to the community convention center.

“It’s no accident that Santa Fe was just awarded the National Geographic International Legacy Award for Sense of Place. And this is one place that’s within an easy road trip to places of great historical significance or incredible natural beauty.”

The fact is, both cities are surrounded by “Old New Mexico” places of historical significance, and by areas of breathtaking natural beauty. As a bonus, on the way to these spots, groups pass through other places of historic interest and natural beauty…and some that are simply fun.

Further Reading:

6 Day Trips from Albuquerque
6 Day Trips from Santa Fe
Hotel Happenings in Albuquerque and Santa Fe
Casino Destinations: Albuquerque and Santa Fe
Follow New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle
Major Meeting Venues: Albuquerque and Santa Fe