Albuquerque, New Mexico, sits at the foot of the Sandia Mountains —the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo range. Views of the mountain form a spectacular backdrop from almost any location in the city or surrounding areas. Sunsets and sunrises are often dramatic, enhanced by the famous New Mexico light.

The elevation is 5,000 ft. in the city, which means that even when the days are warm, the nights are delightfully cooler. In June, the average temperatures are a high of 89° and a low of 59°, with an average humidity of 28% and little likelihood of rain.

Visitors from other parts of the country need to be aware of the altitude and the dry climate. Although it makes life pleasant, you should not try to hike or engage in other strenuous activity the first day or so of your visit, but rather wait until you’ve adjusted to the altitude. And it’s a good idea to drink more water than usual throughout your stay, as you may not realize how dehydrated you could be.

If you want to explore beyond the beautiful grounds of the convention hotel, or extend your trip a few days to enjoy New Mexico, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are numerous trailheads at the foothills of the mountains, many of which are wonderful painting locations. If you care to venture to the top, the Sandia Tram is a wonderful way to quickly see the changes of terrain from high desert to mountain greenery. Or you can wind your way around the eastern side of the mountain and drive to the overlook at the top, a 10,600 ft. viewpoint with an incredible view of the city. Continue north from the road that leads around the eastern side of the mountain and you’re on the Turquoise Trail, passing through historic and picturesque villages of Madrid, Golden and Cerillos on your way to Santa Fe.

If you choose to take the Interstate route, or the New Mexico RailRunner light rail, you’re only about an hour from Santa Fe, with its museums, shops, galleries and restaurants. Another hour and a half north of that is Georgia O’Keeffe country, where you’ll see stunning red and yellow limestone formations familiar to fans of her paintings. There are many wonderful vistas and places to get off the road to paint along the way.

Within the city of Albuquerque itself there is much to enjoy. Old Town Albuquerque is filled with shops, galleries and restaurants, and is adjacent to the Albuquerque Art Museum. Across from that museum is the Natural History Museum, with fascinating displays about the geology and history of the region. both are easy walking distance from the hotel, as is Old Town.

This year, the IAPS Twenty-Second Juried Exhibition and Second Master Circle Exhibition will be held within the hotel in the Franciscan Room. Plan to come early for the opening reception Wednesday, June 5, from 5-7 p.m., or take a break to visit it during the convention. (Exhibition hours will be posted in front of the entry to the Franciscan room and listed in your Souvenir Program.)

For more information, check out these sites:

Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

Albuquerque Art Museum

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Petroglyph National Monument

Albuquerque Biopark (zoo, aquarium, botanical gardens)