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Why Albuquerque, New Mexico, Is the Most Exotic American Big City

The Sandia Mountains are the backdrop for Albuquerque. Credit Visit Albuquerque.

By Ann Abel

New Mexico has always embodied the exotic: deep multiculturalism, the mythology of the American West (and a truckload of cinematic Westerns) and epically enormous landscapes. The state has one of the longest histories of European settlement in the United States. It was the birthplace of the atomic bomb and the setting for an untold number of spiritual awakenings.

With international travel still in limbo, New Mexico is now the accessible-exotic. Can’t commit to that African safari? The wildlife spotting at Ted Turner’s vast and highly luxurious Vermejo reserve is superb. Missing a dose of European art culture? There’s the world-class gallery scene in Santa Fe and Taos, not to mention the Santa Fe Opera. Curious about past civilizations? There are the impressive structures built by the Ancestral Puebloan people in Chaco Canyon between 850 and 1250 AD.

While I am always in favor of the exotic, I spent the past six weeks in New Mexico for exactly the opposite reason. For me, New Mexico is home, as familiar as it gets. Born and raised in Albuquerque  … continue reading



Ann Abel is a travel writer and editor and was a senior editor at ForbesLife. She writes for Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveller, Robb Report, Afar, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Hemispheres, Brides, Modern Bride, Well + Good NYC, and other print and online publications.”In the name of lifestyle journalism, ” she says, ” I’ve gotten a tattoo in Bora Bora, been bitten by a massage therapist, and flown small aircraft above three continents.” She lives in Lisbon.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Horn
    June 15, 2021 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    High crime rate

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