The City of Albuquerque’s Open Space program preserves seven distinct areas in the Sandía foothills.

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As I journeyed away from my home-town, I embraced living in the mist that shrouds the Pacific Northwest, and the dazzling heat of the Arizona desert. Each time I returned, I grew to know Albuquerque better.

Rather than asking it to meet my juvenile expectations, I embraced all the city affords.

This city doesn’t shine when you meet her as if flirting at a cocktail party—passing through, searching for something better.

Albuquerque is a city you should chat with over a soup-bowl–sized cup of coffee.

Friday and Saturday evenings, the center’s Party on the Patio has become the place to be and be seen with live music from the likes of local jazz band Le Chat Lunatique and all-you-can-eat horno-oven-baked pizza. Slate Street Café A sophisticated dining destination (thanks to its food and ambiance), Slate Street also boasts a wine loft with an extensive list and tasty food pairings. Eli’s Place Formerly Sophia’s Place, this eatery may have a new name, but it has the same fantastic food.

The Pueblo Harvest Café's Chef Michael Giese was named Chef of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association in September 2015. If you’re frequently downtown, look for the once-a-month wine tasting events featuring a flight of wines of a certain type or source. The hole-in-the-wall joint was featured on the Food Networks’ Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.Yet, as the half-million-strong metropolis of the state, the city fizzes with microbreweries, pulsates with Latin dance, and is punctuated by the emphatic refrains of spoken-word poets.(Of course, our “fast pace” might be unnoticeable to a visiting New Yorker.The Bear Canyon trails offer enough spurs through the high-desert landscape that you can extend your excursion from one mile to several. Albuquerque Isotopes The ballpark is one of the best places to pass a summer night in the city.Zealous fans will root, root, root for our home minor-league-baseball team, a Colorado Rockies Triple-A outfit. Sadie’s of New Mexico Known for its spicy salsa and chile, this is a local favorite for good ol’-fashioned New Mexican food.This New Mexico, after all.) And in the astonishing watermelon hues of the Sandía Mountains at sunset, Albuquerque’s beauty has taken my breath away.