Check out the neighborhood's quaint courtyards
Photo by gettyimages.com/ablokhin
Although Burque has dozens of neighborhoods, many of the walkable areas that beckon travelers fall along Route 66, aka Central Avenue. Explore indie boutiques, local restaurants, and made-in-Albuquerque designs in these districts.
When Spanish settlers put down roots in 1706 they chose this river-adjacent swath for the city's founding neighborhood. Presided over by the Spanish, Mexican, territorial, United States, and even the Confederacy for a time, this storied neighborhood has been the city's cultural heart for more than 300 years. Today's visitors can still experience that old-world vibe, frozen in time thanks to rambling adobes, quiet courtyards, and the stately San Felipe de Neri church. It's home to carefully curated fine-art galleries, clothing boutiques, and quirky shops where you'll find everything from authentic Native American pottery to a state flag T-shirt.
Once the dominion of suit-clad professionals, this neighborhood has transformed into a visitor-friendly district. At the rebooted Civic Plaza, kids clamber on playground equipment and frolic on an interactive splash pad. Albuquerque's public art program — one of the oldest and most vibrant in the country — bedecks nearly every surface and corner with murals and sculptures. The Downtown Arts and Culture District catalogs dozens of fine-art galleries, third-wave coffee shops, and craft breweries within its radius.
In the late 1920s real estate developer D.K.B. Sellers plotted this neighborhood along Central Avenue, naming it after San Francisco's more famous knoll. The name caught on nonetheless, and today's pedestrian-friendly district beckons for its cohort of eclectic shops and restaurants. A collage of Route 66 neon and streamlined modern architecture line this stretch.
What's Next: Sawmill District
Calling all foodies! This neighborhood, once known for its lumber industry, is getting a second wind as a top food destination with the planned 2019 unveiling of the Sawmill Market, the state's first food hall. The market will house local restaurants, craft brewers and wine makers, and artisanal food purveyors. It comes on the heels of the 2017 addition of the luxury Hotel Chaco and boho lifestyle magnet Spur Line Supply Co.
Once a no-man's land between the Rio Grande bosque and Old Town, this neighborhood is now a destination in its own right. The 1937 El Vado Motel reopened in fall 2018 with renovated guest rooms as well as local gift shops and restaurants on-site. The former motor lodge is Santorini meets Southwest with its white stucco façade and striking blue trim.