• By Kim Grant

The historic Route 66 (aka Central Ave) runs through Albuquerque, also affectionately called Duke City or Burque and pronounced: “boor-kay.” Drive by or pop into iconic landmarks, roadside attractions, and neon signs of the vintage motels, diners, and gas stations along Central. Nostalgia reigns supreme, as does a college vibe and eclectic shopping. You’ll cruise University/Midtown, the historic Nob Hill area, and on into Downtown. Route 66 in Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, embodies the timeless allure of this legendary highway.

Nob Hill, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Downtown Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Frontier Restaurant, Central Avenue Southeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Tia Betty Blue's, San Mateo Boulevard Southeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Monroe's Restaurant, 4th Street Northwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

The Grove Cafe & Market, Central Avenue Southeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Indian Pueblo Kitchen, 12th Street Northwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Hotel Parq Central, Central Avenue Southeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

El Vado Motel, Central Avenue Southwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Launchpad, Central Avenue Southwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

KiMo Theater, Central Avenue Northwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

66 Diner, Central Avenue Northeast, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Downtown Growers' Market, Copper Avenue Northwest, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Best Places for Breakfast in Albuquerque

The Frontier

The beloved Frontier has been serving the community since 1971. Casual and welcoming, it offers a diverse menu – from hearty breakfast burritos and green chile stew and enchiladas to pancakes, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. We love the rustic and nostalgic ambiance, vintage memorabilia and local artwork. Purchase famous cinnamon rolls and biscochitos (traditional New Mexican cookies) from the bakery.

Tia Betty Blue's

The moderately-priced, family-friendly Tia Betty Blue’s is known for delicious New Mexican comfort food. The vibrant decor is inviting, and the menu features blue corn chicken enchiladas, vegetarian chile rellenos, and homemade biscuits and gravy.

Best Things To Do in the Morning in Albuquerque

Nob Hill

Explore the historic Nob Hill district, a lively stretch of Route 66 known for its one-off shops and art galleries. You’ll undoubtedly stumble on hidden treasures, browse vintage boutiques, and soak up some easy charm. The neighborhood has plenty of coffee shops, but none compare to Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters on Bryn Mawr, perhaps the best joe in town.

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology (UNM)

Pop by the University of New Mexico, also on Route 66, for its beautiful adobe architecture, and to explore the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. The latter showcases the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico and beyond. It has a diverse collection of artifacts and exhibits, focusing on archaeology, ethnology, and cultural anthropology.

Best Places for Lunch in Albuquerque


Monroe’s, a beloved local eatery and Route 66 gem, is a nostalgic diner renowned for its juicy burger topped with roasted green chiles and melted cheese, accompanied by crispy fries or onion rings. It will transport you back to the heyday of Route 66.

The Grove Café & Market

The charming, rustic, and welcoming Grove Café & Market offers a farm-to-table approach and focuses on locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy brioche French toast topped with seasonal fruits or flavorful green chile eggs benedict. With its cozy ambiance and commitment to sustainable dining, it’s a delightful morning experience along the Mother Road.

Best Things To Do in the Afternoon in Albuquerque


Route 66 defines the heart of downtown Albuquerque. You’ll encounter nostalgic neon signs, vintage storefronts, and colorful murals. The retro charm of the historic KiMo Theater boasts Pueblo Deco architecture. Don’t miss the quirky sights like the giant Route 66 shield and the bustling Alvarado Transportation Center, a restored train station turned multi-use complex.

During the growing season (mid-April to when it gets cold), pop into the Downtown Grower’s Market at Robinson Park (8th and Central) on Saturday mornings from 8 am to noon. Get there early like I do.

The classic 66 Diner, adorned with neon and vintage memorabilia, serves up all-American comfort food. Have a milkshake or indulge in a blue plate special (meatloaf or chicken fried steak).

Best Places for Dinner in Albuquerque

Zacatecas Tacos, Tequila, Bourbon

Zacatecas Tacos + Tequila is a lively eatery in the heart of Nob Hill. It serves authentic Mexican cuisine – traditional tacos made with carne asada and fun ones with shrimp and mango. Each bite is a burst. Pair them with a handcrafted margarita or explore their extensive tequilas.

Indian Pueblo Kitchen

The Indian Pueblo Kitchen at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center celebrates the rich Native American heritage and culinary traditions. You’ll enjoy traditional Pueblo and New Mexican cuisine, highlighting local ingredients and flavors, and using traditional cooking techniques and authentic recipes passed down through generations. Try the blue corn enchiladas, Indian tacos, and savory stews.


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Best Places to Stay in Albuquerque

Hotel Parq Central

The boutique and charming Hotel Parq Central is housed in a beautifully restored hospital building along Route 66. It offers modern amenities, stylish rooms, complimentary breakfast, and rooftop views of downtown Albuquerque.

El Vado Motel

The moderately priced El Vado Motel, a renovated motor court motel on Route 66, features retro-inspired rooms with modern touches. Embrace the vintage ambiance, relax by the courtyard pool, and enjoy being steps away from eclectic shops, eateries, and the lively ‘hood.

After Dark in Albuquerque


The intimate Launchpad, a live music venue along Route 66, has been a staple of the city’s music scene since it opened in 1997. It hosts a diverse range of live performances, including local and touring bands covering various genres such as rock, punk, indie, and alternative music.

Kimo Theater

The Kimo Theater, a historic and iconic landmark located on Central Avenue, was built in the 1920s and showcases Pueblo Deco architecture, a unique blend of Art Deco and Native American influences. With its distinctive terracotta facade and ornate interior adorned with murals and intricate details, the Kimo hosts live concerts and theatrical productions. Check the schedule here.

Bonus Pro Tips

Have a milkshake or indulge in a blue plate special (meatloaf or chicken fried steak) at the 66 Diner, a classic American diner adorned with neon and vintage memorabilia.

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