If you’re new to Albuquerque, (or even if you’re not), a visit to Old Town should be at the top of your list. Just follow the exit signs off of I-40 and the Rio Grande Boulevard.
They will lead you to a quaint and charming little town. In fact, it is the oldest in all of Albuquerque. Hence its name: Old Town. There is a lot of history to be explored in addition to the museums, shops, and restaurants you will find.
Start at Old Town Plaza, which was founded by Spanish settlers in 1706. It is considered to be the heart of the town since it has preserved quite a few gems over the last several centuries, including the areas oldest church, the San Felipe de Neri Church. Take a quiet stroll through the nearby residential neighborhood, and admire the colorful flowers in bloom.
Throughout the plaza, you will find plenty of clothes, souvenirs, and culture. Local artists from nearby pueblos (neighborhoods) line the streets to play instruments and sell their home crafted goods. You will find all sorts of irresistible paintings, pottery, jewelry and more. Chances are you won’t be going home empty-handed, so make sure to save some space in your suitcase.
Stop inside of the Albuquerque Museum to explore exhibits of New Mexican art and learn the about city’s very first Native Americans. Another good way to get a good feel for the history is to book a Walking Tour with a guide who can tell you informational tidbits and show you spots like the Cottonwood Madonna or the Bottger Mansion.
If you’re interested in a really different view of the city, you can even go on a Ghost tour. There is a ton of reported ghost activity in the area. Choose the Pub Crawl Ghost Hunt option, where you can drink spirits -while you’re looking for, you know, spirits.
If you’ve never experienced New Mexican cuisine before, you’re in for a special treat. It’s not quite Mexican, not quite Tex-Mex. It’s somewhere in between doing its own thing- only with way more cheese, and sopapillas. Lots of sopapillas! Red and green chiles too.
Test it out for yourself at Church Street Cafe, a local favorite.
If you’re in the mood for steak, you want to go to High Noon Restaurant and Saloon. For steak and seafood, make reservations at Antiquity. Pizza? Try a pie at Old Town Pizza (with green chiles loaded on top, of course.) For something more American, go to Seasons. For a little of this and that, head to Backstreet Grill.
On your way out of New Mexico, be sure to get yourself a famous Green Chile Cheeseburger, and information on the next annual Hot Air Balloon Fest. They have the largest international balloon festival in the United States and some other festivals worth checking out.
Happy Traveling, friends.