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Socorro’s hidden gems: Five attractions that may be new to you

In addition to its historic artifacts inside, the Hammel Museum is housed in an historic building, the former Illinois Brewing Co. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)

In addition to its historic artifacts inside, the Hammel Museum is housed in an historic building, the former Illinois Brewing Co. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)

Do you need to get out and do something before summer is over? Are you looking for new sights, and new places to tickle your tastebuds? Then perhaps you should visit Socorro, a mere hour or so south of Albuquerque.

Most people know about Socorro-adjacent attractions like Bosque del Apache and the Very Large Array, and good eats at the Owl Cafe and Mannie’s Buckhorn, but here are some hidden gems that are likely new to you.

  • The Hammel Museum in Socorro is housed in the former Illinois Brewing Co. building, and is chock-full of interesting objects that are part of the local history. The founders of this defunct brewery were the sons of Jacob Hammel, who came to the United States from Germany in 1848 with his friend Eberhard Anheuser of Anheuser-Busch fame. In addition to numerous fascinating artifacts, there is a room full of running model trains and train memorabilia. This attraction is only open on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon, or by appointment, so plan your trip accordingly. The museum is also open for an Oktoberfest fundraising event. 500 Sixth St., Socorro; 575-418-1816

  • If geology is something that appeals to you, or you just admire desert scenery and need to get some dust on your hiking boots, take a drive along the Quebradas Back Country Byway. This 24-mile unpaved road takes you through geologically-diverse terrain that you can appreciate aesthetically, or with the detailed 11-page geological guide available at the Bureau of Land Management Socorro Field Office, or via download at It’s a great area for hiking, biking, photography or just enjoying some peace and quiet. BLM Socorro Field Office, 901 S. Highway 85, Socorro; 575-835-0412

  • The Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research atop South Baldy welcomes visitors only during July and August, so this is a great opportunity to access this facility and learn about the research taking place here. Top off your informative visit with a short hike, and perhaps a picnic, both wonderful ways to enjoy the splendid 360-degree views from the 10,700-foot elevation. Check for directions and visitor precautions. If intending to visit the lab, call ahead to make sure staff is available. The lab does not need to be open to enjoy hiking on South Baldy. 575-835-5423

  • If it’s a weekday and you’re in dire need of delicious New Mexican food for lunch, try La Pasadita, just off the plaza. Savory empanadas and gorditas stuffed with a ground beef and minced potato filling will have you coming back for more. Enchiladas, flautas, and all your other favorites are available, too. Open weekdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 230 Garfield St., Socorro; 575-835-3696

  • If your mood requires something more eclectic, stop in at Bodega Burger Co. and Lounge for a red chile apricot pork chop, a chipotle salmon filet, or one of their signature Angus beef burgers like the Green, Egg and Ham Burger, with green chile, bacon, a fried egg and chorizo con queso on a brioche bun. Craft beers are on tap, or explore the wine list or full bar. Open seven days a week. 606 N. California St., Socorro; 575-838-2087

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