Upon hearing that your spouse will be stationed at Kirtland Airforce Base, your first question may be “Where is that?!” Don’t get upset to hear it’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico because — trust us — you won’t want to leave by the end of assignment! Living in Albuquerque gives you the best of small town living with the comforts of big city life. Read on for fun things to add to your bucket list while stationed at Kirtland AFB.

Living Like A Local: Everything You Need To Know About Kirtland Afb

Entertainment for Kids

This big little city has something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Parks and playgrounds can be found around nearly every corner and in neighborhoods. Albuquerque loves its green spaces and bike trails. Alameda Spray Park, one of the area’s best-kept secrets, costs just $2 a person. Cliff’s Amusement Park, where many kids spend their summers, houses thrill rides and an attached water park. Everyone in the family will love it! For more thrills, the state fair comes to town in September. Consider a family pass to the ABQ BioPark Zoo — it’s worth it!

Living Like A Local: Everything You Need To Know About Kirtland Afb

For the Whole Family

Once in a lifetime events, like green chile roasting and the Balloon Fiesta, take place in early autumn. The Balloon Fiesta is the largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world! Seeing nearly 500 hot air balloons in the sky at once is truly magical. Some holiday events you won’t want to miss are McCall’s Pumpkin Patch and River of Lights at the Botanical Gardens. For year-round fun, check out University of New Mexico’s football and basketball games. Albuquerque even has its own minor league baseball team, the Isotopes. For beautiful city views and a great family outing, the Sandia Peak Tramway will take you from the base of the mountain all the way to the peak on a cable car.

Adults Only

Adults will enjoy festivals like Pork and Brew, Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest, and Albuquerque Wine Festival (prepare to get your drink on)! Check out casinos in the area that host a variety of entertaining musical and comedy acts — aside from the standard casino gaming fun.

Living Like A Local: Everything You Need To Know About Kirtland Afb

Food

Areas around Kirtland AFB and Albuquerque have some of the best places for local food. Before venturing out, the first thing you need to know is your answer to this question: Red, Green, or Christmas? When a restaurant server asks you this, it has nothing to do with the holidays but rather the kind of chile you prefer on your New Mexican food. Red chile, green chile, or both is what they’re really asking. Locals will tell you that the red chile is typically hotter and the green chile is more flavorful. Be bold and try both! Restaurants you should definitely check out are El Patio, Sadie’s, Los Cuates, and Weck’s.

Getting Around

It’s important to know that the mountains are located to the east in the Albuquerque and Kirtland AFB areas and the city itself is mostly built on a grid. Nearly all streets run either north/south or east/west. Albuquerque is one of the easiest cities to get around and just about everything in the area is 20-30 minutes away, so your service member is almost guaranteed a short commute. If you live in one of the smaller towns outside of the city, the commute probably won’t be more than 45-60 minutes. The city offers public transit, but you’re better off taking your own vehicle for getting around.

Living Like A Local: Everything You Need To Know About Kirtland Afb

Weekend Getaways

This region of New Mexico is home to some of the best outdoor areas in the country. The state is packed with great places to ski. You must visit the state capital, Santa Fe. It’s known for its southwestern style, but also has world-class art galleries like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. For those who love to shop, there is an outlet mall nearby with great bargains. Taos, northwest of Santa Fe, is not only known for skiing and snowboarding but also its eccentric style. For one-of-a-kind pieces for your home, Taos is the place to go! Cloudcroft, Roswell, White Sands, Carlsbad, and Santa Rosa are also must-see places in the state.

Welcome Home

Enjoy everything Albuquerque has to offer your family while stationed at Kirtland AFB. The landscapes are beautiful and the sunsets are like nothing else in the world.


Now that you’re settled, it’s time to find new friends! Check out this article on Friend Dating

Living Like A Local: Everything You Need To Know About Kirtland Afb

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