I’m an excellent speller, but couldn’t piece out “Albuquerque” until a few days before I arrived. It’s one of those words you know exists, but you think you’ll never have to use it. So wrong.
Somewhat less annoying than writing out “Albuquerque” is the city itself, which doesn’t offer much to humankind. A few neighborhoods I visited (and my thoughts) are as follows:
Downtown ABQ: Waste of time. I didn’t research this area before I walked in, and thinking that ABQ is one of the West’s largest cities I expected civil, normal people in an urban environment. So, I put on a red sundress and did myself up a bit. Two blocks in, a man pulled over and asked if I “needed a ride.” Uh oh. This might not be a sundress type down, I thought. People in California wouldn’t look twice at me dressed like this, but ABQ men are desperate, womanless animals to be avoided at all costs. Also, there is nothing worth seeing downtown save for a couple independent eateries and bars.
Coronado Mall. This is New Mexico’s largest indoor shopping mall, but it doesn’t have a Nordstrom. Pass.
ABQ Uptown Shopping Center: A short drive from the Coronado Mall, the ABQ Uptown Shopping Center is decidedly more upscale than its Boots Barn/Sears-toting neighbor. That said, there’s no culture here and as a traveler it’s not worth seeing unless you’re from a small town that completely lacks shopping.
Old Town: This is the heart of historic ABQ; other than the plethora of images of hot air balloons over the city, any photos you see of ABQ are going to be of this place. It’s your mecca for Native American (real and faux) jewelry, rugs, pottery and more. Central to Old Town is the San Felipe de Neri church, a Catholic church founded in 1793 (though its foundation was founded much earlier) and one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Tingley Park: I love parks and seek them out when I travel. This one was void of tourism, traces the eastern shore of the Rio Grande and offers multiple paths – paved, dirt and “make your own” (my personal favorite). For all the heat and dryness of ABQ, Tingley Park is a sanctuary of greenery, a contrast to the rest of this dusty desert city.
My suggestion: Go to ABQ and breeze through Old Town and Tingley Park in one day, and don’t bother staying longer (though I ultimately stayed 3 days, in order to provide you with this very important research).
If by some stroke of luck this post has actually interested you in ABQ, you can learn more about this city here.