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Everything You Need to Know About Downtown Albuquerque

Downtown Albuquerque is a great place to live, work and play. It's constantly changing and offers opportunities in high tech, business, the arts and even an urban farm. Downtown Albuquerque is a vibrant place in the midst of re-inventing itself for the better.

Downtown Albuquerque was once called New Town

Gold Avenue between 1st and 2nd Street/NM Centennial Project

When the railroad came to the Albuquerque in 1880, it moved the city's hub from Old Town further east, closer to the railroad's tracks. The area became known as New Town, grew with commerce and trade, and eventually came to be called downtown. Today, downtown Albuquerque continues to be a center for new ventures. Wearing matching shoes of revitalization and venture capital, downtown is home to a growing number of urban shops, galleries and ventures. It is also a growing entertainment district. 

Downtown features great gathering spaces

Marble Street Studios

Civic Plaza, situated between the Albuquerque Convention Center and City Hall, features outdoor entertainment that includes Shakespeare on the Plaza this summer. Civic Plaza brings people together for concerts, lectures, and more.

Alvarado Urban Farm is one of downtown's newer gathering spots, bringing together a diverse group of people, to include students from Amy Biehl High School, veterans and neighborhood folk, all working to grow good food. 

The Downtown Growers Market has live music and breakfast burritos, just two of the many forces behind its magnetic pull

Aileen O'Catherine

The Downtown Growers Market is another gathering space that has been a local favorite for many years. Fresh produce, hand made breads, jams and preserves, arts and crafts, and live entertainment bring shoppers out to stand under the shade at Robinson Park, located at 8th and Central. This year, they'll be starting a new market on Civic Plaza so you can shop for food in the middle of the week. The new, weekly Wednesday market runs 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and begins July 16. 

Downtown shops are a great mix of new and old

No visit to downtown is complete without stepping inside the Man's Hat Shop at 511 Central. The shop has been in business for 68 years, and its inventory of 4,000 hats goes beyond straw cowboy hats. You'll find fedoras, caps, felt hats and even a coon skin cap if you like. Other long time downtown stores include Skip Maisel's

Other long standing shops include Skip Maisel's

Aileen O'Catherine

Skip Maisel's has a huge selection of Indian jewelry, pots, crafts, kachinas and rugs. The store was built in the 1930s on Route 66, and during its heyday in the late 40s and early 50's, it was the largest store of its kind in the world. Located at 510 Central, the murals on the store's exterior are one of a kind and worth a visit just by themselves.

Galleries are popping up all over downtown

Aileen O'Catherine

Downtown is known for its outstanding galleries. Sumner and Dene at 517 Central features fine art, furniture, jewelry and gifts. Patrician Design at 216 Gold features art, jewelry, gift items and bath and body products. 

516 Arts operates a museum style gallery in the heart of downtown at 516 Central. In addition to gallery openings and events that expand exposure for artists, it is known for its collaborative projects and leadership in the arts world. 

Take in a movie or theater show at the KiMo

Noah Silver

The historic KiMo Theatre has been home to stars such as Vivian Vance, who once worked there, and stars in the making. It features a rotating menu of movie screenings that range from silver screen showings of stars like Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe. The annual 48 Hour Film Festival screens its entries at the KiMo, and plays and other live events still find their place beneath the art deco ceilings and walls.

Anthony Richardson

Living downtown has the advantage of being close to everything

The Anasazi/Aileen O'Catherine

Living downtown has a more urban air about it with options such as the Gold Avenue Lofts, where views of the Sandias are there for the taking, perched above the city's streets. The Anasazi, 700 Second Street, and Banque Lofts are other urban apartment homes. Infill continues, with the Silver Moon Apartments, 517 Gold, and Casitas de Colores in the planning or building stages. 

Homes in the downtown area have a pedigree of history attached to them. Tudor Revival, arts and crafts bungalows, Watson adobes and railroad era homes make living downtown a perfect location for those who love older homes. 

Downtown restaurants

Noah Silver

Restaurants in the heart of downtown, such as Le Cafe Miche at 228 Gold, feature some of the international flavors New Mexico's restaurants are known for. 

The Gold Street Caffe at 218 Gold has been a downtown anchor for many years, making breakfast and lunch dishes that keep locals as well as visitors coming back. 

Cafe Lush at 7th and Tijeras is one of the newest restaurants to dip its toe into downtown, and features breakfast, lunch and brunch Monday through Saturday. 

Monroe's at 15th and Lomas has been an Albuquerque institution since 1962, plating up some of the best New Mexican food in the city.

Tucano's Brazilian Grill, Lindy's Coffee Shop, Villa di Capo and Flying Star are just some of the other restaurants found downtown.

Downtown also has its share of weekday restaurants that cater to the many office workers who need a bite to eat Monday through Friday. Roma Bakery and Deli has a reputation that brings its customers in from all points of the city. Al's Big Dipper, located at the Main Public Library at 5th and Copper, dishes up sandwiches, soups and salads during library hours.

Noah Silver

North downtown is abuzz with places to eat and drink

Aileen O'Catherine

The northern edge of downtown is marked by Mountain Road, and just south of that road you'll find a bubbling pot of delicious places to sit and enjoy a craft beer or great plate of food. Slate Street Cafe, located at 515 Slate Street, is a sleek, contemporary restaurant known for its wine tastings and brunches. 

Amerasia and SumoSushi provide lunch and dinner across from the Federal Courthouse. Located at 800 Third Street, Amerasia is known for its diem sum and SumoSushi for its sushi, which many claim is the best in town. 

Marble Brewery at 111 Marble is a leader in the ever expanding pack of local craft breweries. The brewery has become a meeting spot for those working and living downtown, as well as those who stop by to enjoy fresh beer on tap. Their live music and special events make stopping by even more enjoyable. Plus, the food trucks that park curbside make getting a bite for lunch or dinner even easier.

Entertainment includes movies, theater and more

Noah Silver

The Century 14 offers movie-goers free parking and fourteen screens to choose from. 

The Box Performance Space is the place for live improv, stand up and youth theatre. The Show is a fast-paced comedy show that changes weekly. Cardboard Playhouse provides the city's youth with opportunities to express themselves through drama.

Tricklock Theater pushes the boundaries of live theater and specializes in physicality and the absurd.

Cell Theatre at 700 First Street is operated by Fusion Theatre Company, which has the annual festival, The Seven, featuring the work of seven playwrights submitting plays around a theme.

The historic Sunshine Theater at Second and Central started as a movie palace and now features live music.

After hours, view the sunset, play snooker or dance to live music

Ibiza rooftop bar/Hotel Andaluz

A visit to downtown Albuquerque's bars wouldn't be complete without tipping your glass at the rooftop bar at Ibiza in the Hotel Andaluz, where you can toast the magnificent Sandias at sundown.

Bars are big in downtown Albuquerque, bringing live music and entertainment to places like Burt's Tiki Lounge, 313 Gold, where the tiki decor and no cover bring them in. 

Other bars include The Library Bar & Grill, 312 Central, Effex at 420 Central, which has a rooftop dance space, and Launchpad at 618 Central, where you can order a "tall boy" of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer mixed with a shot of Jack Daniels. 

Anodyne features billiards, snooker, pinball and a working jukebox. 

Sister Bar at 407 Central features local as well as national touring acts. 

Pop-up retail launched downtown the summer of 2013

Downtown Action Team

Pop-up retail turns vacant storefronts into brick and mortar shops for entrepreneurs looking to generate marketing buzz. Almost a dozen pop-ups have activated storefronts that have languished for years, increasing the synergy that has been bubbling in Albuquerque's downtown. Expect great things for the future of downtown.