Nob Hill is one of the most walkable areas for shopping, dining, and enjoying nightlife that Albuquerque has to offer. In fact, according to WalkScore.com, it has a walk score of 85 and ranks as the most walkable neighborhood in Albuquerque. With public transportation, bike-friendly routes, and a good pair of walking shoes, most errands can be accomplished without a vehicle.
Named after a swanky, upscale neighborhood in central San Francisco, Albuquerque’s Nob Hill is a premier destination for an eclectic assortment of more than 300 locally owned shops, restaurants, and bars.
A Mile of Neon
It runs along a one-mile stretch of Central Avenue, which became part of historic Route 66 in 1937. Situated just east of the University of New Mexico, it is marked on either end by large neon arches. In fact, neon signs are iconic of the neighborhood and adorn businesses up and down the strip as a nod to the mid-century, Route 66 style.
According to the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association, the entire neighborhood is composed of six early 20th-century neighborhoods between Lomas Boulevard to the north, Girard Boulevard to the west, Garfield Avenue and Zuni Road to the south, and Washington Street to the east. The neighborhoods are Monte Vista, College View, Broadmoor, Mesa Grande, Granada Heights, and the eastern half of University Heights.
Nob Hill History
The neighborhood was established by businessman D.K.B. Sellers, who moved to Albuquerque in 1903 and got to work that same year. He built a home famously known in the area as “The Cabin,” which has been used as an Airbnb site, and in 2023 was up for sale for $1.2 million.
The area was originally centered around Nob Hill Shopping Center, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the state’s first drive-in shopping center, signaling a shift to more automobile-oriented neighborhoods as cars became more attainable to the general public.
In 1930, developer William Leverett, Sr. reserved a plot for Monte Vista Elementary School in an effort to make the area friendlier for residential living. The school is still in operation and has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1947, Nob Hill Business Center was created by developer Robert Waggoman, at the corner of Central Avenue and Carlisle Boulevard, in Streamline Moderne and Territorial Revival styles. By the 1980s and 1990s, the business center and several more Nob Hill buildings were added to the register, and property values and commercial success rose significantly.
There are two nonprofit organizations dedicated to the development and promotion of Nob Hill: the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association and Nob Hill Main Street. Both organizations are dedicated to building a vibrant community and meeting the needs of residents and visitors alike. Read more about Nob Hill’s historic buildings here.
In addition to the streak of Route 66-style neon signs, Nob Hill is peppered with public art, including some impressive and colorful murals. You’ll have plenty of time to admire them during Nob Hill’s First Sunday Stroll, a monthly event featuring pop-up vendors, demonstrations, classes, and a chance to explore the strip’s many shops and restaurants. It is sponsored by Nob Hill Main Street on the first Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If international and art-house films are your thing, you can get your fix in Nob Hill. Watch live theater productions or try your feet at dance lessons at the multiple dance studios in the area. Find unique jewelry, antiques, and clothing. Get a tattoo. Take the family to a board game hall for some fun and games. In between all the shopping and entertainment, Nob Hill offers a large variety of restaurants, from swanky dinner spots to iconic New Mexican restaurants or Irish dives with great drink specials.
There is local bus service in Nob Hill, provided by ABQ RIDE’s 66 Central, 97 Zuni, and 16 Broadway-University-Gibson routes (previously known as the 16/18 route). There is also an ABQ Rapid Ride station at Central Avenue and Carlisle Boulevard providing express bus service via the 766 Red Line and 777 Green Line.
National Register of Historic Places
- Aztec Motel (demolished)
- College View Historic District
- De Anza Motor Lodge
- Hendren Building
- Immanuel Presbyterian Church
- Jones Motor Company (city landmark)
- William J. Leverett House
- Modern Auto Court
- Monte Vista Elementary School
- Monte Vista Fire Station
- Nob Hill Business Center