My favorite drive is the back road (to the west, not the east), highway 4, from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. You go to Los Alamos (stop and see the museum); you'll pass Bandolier National Monument http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTn1aDQrSAE
and then head to a huge caldera (volcano "pit"). It stretches as far as you can see. Fat cattle are up to their bellies in tall grass; it's just magnificient; there's a small visitor center down in the caldera valley. You'll be traveling through the Jemez Mountains, and it is referred to as "The Jemez."
You'll go by a soda spring with all kinds of strange shapes making a dam--very pretty and fun. You'll continue on to the south, in a lovely pine forest, and you'll pass the Jemez State Monument--one of my favorites http://nmmonuments.org/jemez.
I was there once just about sunset, near the altar, when the bells from the monastery across the road began to ring. Memorable? Unforgetable.
There are a few trading posts along the way where you might want to stop also, but they are open "as the mood strikes the owners". You'll come into Albuquerque from the west, and pass very close to the Petroglyph Mounment, which doesn't take long to see and can easily be combined with the drive (unless you are at the Jemez State Monument at Sunset, then, of course, you'll be too late.
If you make the drive, consider stopping at my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque: El Pinto. It's north of the main section of Albuquerque (Albuquerque is a small city, so it doesn't take long). You take the exit that would take you to Sandia Casino (good gift shop representing 4 tribes sort of across the street from Sandia Casino, which is prettier than most casinos). The Casino is to the east; take the same exit, but go west. El Pinto is on the south side of the road. It's divine. The atmosphere is wonderful; the food is wonderful; the people are wonderful; the margueritas are wonderful. (You'll be at the east end of the North Valley, a special part of Albuquerque; the city was settled in the Valley, for obvious reasons.) El Pinto is the restaurant Obama and Hillary Clinton were taken to when they were in Albuquerque--It's that good, and you are worthy of it also. There is extensive outside seating in the huge garden area, and that's my favorite if the weather is good, which it usually is. However, inside has its charm, too.
It takes an hour on Interstate 25 to get to Santa Fe from Albuquerque.
Other state monuments close to Albuquerque are interesting, too. I'm fond of Coronado State Monument. It's just north of Albuquerque, right around Bernillilo. http://nmmonuments.org/coronado
If you have time for more trips in New Mexico and are a fan of Native American art and jewelry, drive to Gallup. 95% of the Native American art passes through Gallup. Prices are half the price you'll pay in Albuquerque, and considerably less than half the price you'll pay in Santa Fe. (Major traders in both Albuquerque and Gallup can be seen filling boxes with orders for Santa Fe stores; obviously, there's a mark-up when the items get to Santa Fe.)
On the way to Gallup, you can see the perpetual ice cave and Bandera Volcano. They are located pretty close to Grants New Mexico. http://www.icecaves.com/faq.html
The volcano is a small one, so it's easy to explore--one time I was there with a recently broken knee and still managed nicely. The ice cave is unique, and doesn't take long to see. Acoma Pueblo (Sky Pueblo) is also located west of Albuquerque. Very few people still live there, but it's interesting. For me, visiting a pueblo where many people still live seems rude, so I prefer the ones that are pretty much "for show." http://www.indianpueblo.org/19pueblos/index.html
If you are in Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo is a possibility for visiting, but a lot of people still live there.
Santa Fe to Albuquerque--about 60 miles, an easy hour on the freeway
Albuquerque to Acoma Pueblo--65 miles
Albuquerque to Grants and the ice cave and the volcano--about 100 miles.
Gallup is 140 miles from Albuquerque--long straight road. Most of it is through tribal lands and state troopers can't arrest you for speeding--but the tribal police can. Stop by AAA and get the New Mexico map that shows tribal lands; it's an interesting map, even if you don't have a lead foot.
Distance from Santa Fe to Los Alamos--about 40 miles.
Favorite "everyday" restaurant in Santa Fe: Tomasita’s,
Address: 500 South Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM
I'm far from alone in loving Tomasitas--the town loves it. It's not a secret, and it would be a total shame to miss it. The food is Northern New Mexico, so it will be a little different from other Mexican food you've probably had; for example, you'll find flat enchalidas an option. There are no bad choices; there are lines, so be prepared.
My other favorite--definitely my favorite for dinner--is La Choza--wonderful, northern New Mexico food. I've never been able to find a stuffed sophapia (spelling?????) anywhere I've eaten Mexican food other than Santa Fe. Of all the Mexican I've tasted, northern New Mexico is my absolute favorite.
905 Alarid St Santa Fe, NM 87505‎
(505) 982-0909 Map included on this web site: https://plus.google.com/105305574870199788324/about?gl=us&hl=en
You won't find mostly tourists here; you'll find mostly locals--until the tourists get the word.
Anyway, as you can see, I love New Mexico, and I love Albuquerque and Santa Fe--even if the tourists have discovered how wonderful they are.
It's important to remember that the scenery in New Mexico is like music: it's not just the notes that create it; it's the intervals also.