Gallup is on Interstate 40, which at this point follows the route of historic Route 66. It is about two hours from Albuquerque. This stretch of road, however, is seemingly under nearly constant construction, and you may have some unexpected driving delays. Dust storms and wind-driven blizzards can also create delays, particularly between Gallup and Grants.
Gallup is served intermittently by Mesa Airlines, a commuter line. The nearest major airport is in Albuquerque. If you're flying into Albuquerque, the distances are such that it's about a toss-up whether it's more time-efficient to take the commuter line or simply drive. As of December 2005, Mesa is not flying into Gallup anyway, but check back occasionally.
The Southwest Chief, the main Amtrak train line across the Southwest, has a station in Gallup.
Red Rock State Park is just outside town and features colorful scenery. Hiking and camping are possible, and there are several special events during the year, probably the best-known of which is the Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial in early August. The Ceremonial is a major event with dancing, arts and crafts, Native American foods, etc.
Red Rock Museum, 300 W. Rt. 66, is affiliated with the park and has historical and cultural displays.
Gallup has a lot of jewelry stores and crafts stores.
Gallupian cuisine is a mix of traditional New Mexican food and Native American food. It is generally very spicy.
Earl's Restaurant, 1400 E. Highway 66, +1 505 863-4201. Open 6 AM-9 PM 7 days (Fridays until 9:30). A long-time local favorite serving a mixture of New Mexican and mainstream American food.
El Rancho Hotel, 1000 E. Rt. 66, +1-505-863-9311 (+1-800-543-6351 toll free; email: email@example.com), . Self-proclaimed "Home of the movie stars", this kitschy hotel was built in 1937 for the brother of Hollywood director D.W. Griffith and was headquarters for a number of westerns filmed in the area in the 40s and 50s. Its current owners keep the hotel in vintage condition, and if the atmosphere is a little patchy in places, the prices are reasonable and the environment worth the trouble. $58-$86 (1-4 people).
Although Gallup is in a desert, there are high mountain peaks and pristine alpine forests within an hour's drive of town. Notables include Mount Taylor(11,301 feet) and the Zuni Mountains.
Navajo Nation occupies most of the space north and west of town to the state line, with various points of interest.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park and El Malpais National Monument are United States national parks and monuments within easy driving distance of Gallup, about an hour north and east, respectively. A tip: If you're going to Chaco, do not approach from the southwest (NM 371 to NM 9 directly to NM 57) unless you have 4-wheel drive; this road has several hairy spots, and you're a long way from help if you get stuck. Instead take 371 to 9 and around to the much more civilized approach from the east side. It's 20 miles longer, but much less likely to be impassable.