Downtown Albuquerque is the cultural and historic heart of the city, offering visitors a vibrant mix of architecture, art, dining, nightlife, and entertainment. As the oldest part of the city, downtown is steeped in history and tradition, with many iconic landmarks and attractions that showcase the city’s unique character and charm.
It is divided into six districts, identified through matching signage: Courthouse District, Warehouse District, Plaza District, Arts and Entertainment District, Transportation Center District, and the Casa District, which is primarily residential.
Downtown’s Storied Architectural History
Downtown Albuquerque was founded in 1706 by Spanish colonizers, and over the centuries it has grown into a thriving urban center that attracts visitors from all over the world. The area is home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the historic Old Town Plaza, a historic theater, and the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The area is also known for its unique architectural heritage, with a mix of styles that reflect the city’s diverse cultural influences. Visitors can see examples of Pueblo Revival, Art Deco, and Gothic architecture, all within a few blocks of each other.
Old Town is a Big Draw
One of the most popular attractions in Downtown Albuquerque is the historic Old Town Plaza, which dates back to the 18th century and was the first settlement in Albuquerque. The plaza, known as the “Heart of Albuquerque” is surrounded by adobe buildings that house museums, galleries, and shops selling southwestern and Native American crafts and other souvenirs. Visitors can take a walking tour of the plaza and learn about the history of the area or attend one of the many festivals and events that are held there throughout the year.
Art & Culture Abounds
In Downtown Albuquerque, visitors can catch a range of live performances, including plays, concerts, and film screenings, and its iconic theatre venue is known for its beautiful murals and intricate architectural details.
For art lovers, the area is home to several galleries and museums that showcase the work of local and regional artists. They feature an extensive collection of art and artifacts that explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary art from around the world, as well as works by local artists.
Explore the Outdoors
Albuquerque is known as the “Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World,” and visitors can take a ride over the city to experience its stunning views from above. Whether you’re looking for a romantic ride for two or a family-friendly adventure, a hot air balloon ride is a must-do activity in Downtown Albuquerque.
The Rio Grande runs through the heart of Albuquerque, and through Downtown. Visit Mirador del Rio hiking trail near West Park to stroll along the river.
Getting to and Around Downtown
Walking: Downtown Albuquerque is relatively compact, and many of the major attractions are within walking distance of each other. Walking is a great option if you want to explore the area at your own pace and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
Public Transportation: Downtown is the central hub for all public transportation in Albuquerque. On ABQ RIDE, you can reach downtown by bus, arriving at the Alvarado Transportation Center via all inbound routes. Both the blue and red lines of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) system go to Downtown Albuquerque. The ART is a rapid transit bus system that runs along Central Avenue, which is the main street in Downtown Albuquerque. The fare is $1 per ride, and you can purchase tickets at kiosks located at each ART station.
Downtown also has an Amtrak station and Greyhound bus facilities.
Visitors can hop on the Rail Runner Express, which provides commuter service every day along a nearly 100-mile corridor through New Mexico.
Downtown, National Register of Historic Places
- KiMo Theater, one of the city’s best-known landmarks
- The old Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
- First National Bank Building
- Hotel Andaluz
- Occidental Life Building
- Old Post Office
- Simms Building
- Southwestern Brewery and Ice Company
- Sunshine Building