The heart of New Mexico’s colonial past, Old Town Albuquerque is the city’s cultural hub. You can learn more about the area’s colorful history by joining a guided walking tour. Options range from tours focused on folklore to tours that dive into the region’s dynamic local cuisine—think enchiladas, pastries, and margaritas. Self-guided, scavenger-hunt style adventures are also a popular way to get to know Old Town while engaging with both your travel companions and the local community.
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Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring cash so you can pick up souvenirs from the street vendors selling handmade crafts.
- Most of the shops and sidewalks are wheelchair accessible, but some historic buildings are not.
- Wear good walking shoes—Old Town’s brick alleys are best explored on foot.
- There is free, 2-hour parking and additional paid parking areas available.
How to Get There
To reach Old Town from Interstate 40, exit at Rio Grande Boulevard (exit 157) and head south. You can also take public transportation into Old Town—choose the Red Line 766 or Blue Line 790 of the city’s Rapid Ride bus system.
When to Get There
Old Town comes alive mid-morning (shops typically open around 10am) and you can enjoy shopping until around 5–7pm. Some restaurants and bars stay open well into the evening. Old Town frequently hosts cultural events, live music, and festivals, so check the city’s calendar to catch an event. Christmas Eve is one of the most popular local events, when thousands gather to see the traditional luminaria (paper lantern) displays.
Visiting San Felipe de Neri Church
Set overlooking Old Town Plaza, the San Felipe de Neri Church is the city’s only building proven to date back to the Spanish colonial era. Built in 1793 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, the church is both a historical attraction and an active Catholic church. Visitors can join the community for a daily mass. Or, learn more about the church’s history on a tour or by visiting its museum.
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