City Guide: Albuquerque, NM

Recently I had the chance to tag along on one of my husband’s work trips to Albuquerque.  While he went to a class on the Air Force base, I got to explore the town, look for vintage treasures, and do some last minute Christmas shopping.  We spent 6 days in the city, and while I’m sure we missed a whole lot of great things, we did visit some great restaurants and fun shops (most of which were suggested by readers of the blog and on Instagram, so thanks to those of you who shared your tips!).

Where to Eat

La Marienda’s bar area at Los Poblanos Historic Inn.

La Marienda at Los Poblanos.  The food here was good, but the ambiance was amazing!  Be sure to check out the bar (which is in a room that seems more like a living room in a fancy home).  You’ll feel like you’re visiting a stylish friend’s cozy home while you lounge on worn leather couches and sip wine surrounded by spot-on Southwestern decor.   The cheese board was absolutely delicious.  This restaurant is only open Wednesday thru Sunday from 5 to 9 PM, so make sure you have reservations!

Elaine’s.  Tom went here on a previous trip and unfortunately we weren’t able to make it there for me to check it out for myself.  He said Elaine’s served the best food he had on that trip to Albuquerque, so it’s gotta be good.  The menu is seasonal, so be sure to check it out!

High Finance.  Food and service wasn’t great, but when else are you going to eat 2 miles above sea level?  (Plus you get a discounted price on the tram ride up if you have reservations.)  Skip the cheese plate and caesar salad, which were both underwhelming.  The Greek salad, the Grilled Portobella Stack and the Green Chile Alfredo were all tasty though.

Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro.  The wine selection was great, the decor was beautiful, and the food was tasty.  Tom had the Caesar Salad and the Chicken Paillard Saltimbocca (chicken, prosciutto, sage and cheese on linguine with red chiles, peas and artichoke), and I had the Onion Soup Gratinée and the Poached Pear and Pancetta Salad.  Everything we had was yummy and worth the jaunt to Nob Hill.

Filiberto’s.  We wanted some Mexican food on our last night in New Mexico, but we didn’t want to go out to eat because we needed to pack and just wanted to eat in our room.  We drove by a place called Filberto’s on Gibson Avenue, which is a drive thru Mexican food chain restaurant in the Southwest.  We ordered food to go, and it was delicious!  I had the beef enchiladas and Tom had the chile rellenos.  He orders chile rellenos almost every time we have Mexican food, and he said the chili rellenos from Filiberto’s was what dreams are made of. 

Where to Shop

I found this lamp at The Indoor Flea Market, and the wine rack at Antiques and Things.  Can you tell I have a lucite addiction?  I can’t get enough!!!!

The whole time I was in New Mexico I was searching for unique pieces to sell in my Etsy shop.  No joke, I had the BEST luck in Albuquerque when it came to finding mid-century pieces.  In my mind I attribute this to the boom the area had back when nuclear weapons were being developed in the 1940’s (but honestly I have no idea why the findings were so good).  Truly though, I found pieces I could only ever dream of finding in the DC area, and I think it’s because this area hasn’t been quite as picked over as other larger cities.  Plus, the prices were (for the most part) really, really low!  I was able to talk the prices down for most everything I bought, so don’t be afraid to haggle!  (If you like fancy places with new things, most of these places are not for you.  To me, wading through a bunch of junk makes finding a treasure that much more rewarding.  You’ve been warned!)

The Indoor Flea Market.  This store and the next 3 stores listed are all owned by the same company.  I found two brass and lucite lamps (one that is selling for $2,200 on 1st Dibs).  Lot’s of booths, many of which are not so great.  

The Other Indoor Flea Market.  I found one green foo dog, a cobalt blue glass hand and a ginger jar.  This was probably the junkiest of the flea markets I went to.

This is the pair of foo dogs I found, one from The Other Indoor Flea Market, and one from Flea Market Things and Collectibles.

Flea Market Things and Collectibles.  I somehow managed to find the foo dog that matched the foo dog I found at the Other Indoor Flea Market.  Hurray for a complete pair of foo dogs!  As with the other flea markets, this was rather junky.  That’s the beauty of flea markets though.  You never know when you’ll stumble upon a treasure, and when you do it’ll likely be very affordable.

Antiques and Things.  I found a tiny pair of green foo dogs, a large blue and white foo dog, a pair of Staffordshire dogs (one broke in transit so I’ll glue it back together and keep these for myself), a lucite and brass campaign style wine rack (I’m in LOVE) and a small blue and white ginger jar.  I was very impressed with this place.  Lots of well curated booths.

Antique Specialty Mall.  This place was really large and had many wonderful booths.  I found a brass crab, a brass 7 piece candlestick set, one lucite confetti candle, a set of Greek key glass and metal coffee cups and an oval mirrored vanity tray.

Lucite vanity bench at Morningside Antiques.  I wanted to buy this so badly!

Morningside Antiques.  I didn’t purchase anything here, but it’s really nice and well curated.  I did fall in love with a lucite vanity stool, but couldn’t figure out how I would get it back to Maryland.  This wasn’t a great place for me to look since I’m searching for antiques to resell, but if you are looking for antiques for yourself then you’re sure to have good luck here.

U Neek Findings.  This place was fairly junky, but I did find a fantastic set of 3 brass and lucite candlesticks.

This lucite and brass folding chair is the new love of my life (sorry Tom).

Sal Hamdy Antiques.  This store is actually in Santa Fe, but it’s only about an hour away from Albuquerque so I had to include it.  We passed this place on the way to the historic part of Santa Fe, and we stopped by on the way back to Albuquerque because I can never resist an antique store.  The owner, Sal, is extremely knowledgeable and proud of the pieces he offers.  This is a very nice antique store (which normally intimidates me), but it was lots of fun learning the history of many of the pieces (i.e. a WWII bomber jacket, an 18th century Chinese cannon, and vintage Hermes scarves that had been displayed in a hotel in the Caribbean).  Plus I found a pair of Italian lucite and brass folding chairs!  I dreamed of finding these chairs on my trip out West, and miraculously I found them on our very last day!

The Farm store is the little building to the right of the silos.  So cute!

The Farm Store.  This isn’t an antique store but I found a lot of my Christmas stocking stuffers here.  Lots of yummy smelling herbs, teas, lavender products, locally made dish towels, lavender dark chocolate…you get the idea.  It’s located at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, so make sure you hit this store in the daylight so you have time to walk around the grounds!

Where to Visit

View from the top of Sandia Peak.

Sandia Peak.  You have to take a tram ride up to the top, but the beautiful view is totally worth it.  Try to see the sunset from the top, if you can, because it’s absolutely breathtaking.  Make sure you bring a coat and a camera!  There is also skiing here, but we didn’t have any extra time for that.

The charming Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm.

Lavender fields and a view of the mountains at Los Poblanos.

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm.  This was an absolutely gorgeous hotel, and the grounds around it were stunning.  We came across 4 peacocks, lavender fields, little secret gardens, and the view of the Sandia Mountains was breathtaking.  This is definitely worth the trip!

The Rio Grande.

Rio Grande Nature Center Park.  I always enjoy running in new places, so I ventured out to the Rio Grande Nature Center Park on our last full day there before we heading to Santa Fe.  There is a $3 parking fee, but there is no parking attendant so make sure you bring exact change.  I couldn’t find the bathrooms, and the door to where I thought they were was locked…so you can guess what I ended up doing (thank goodness for all the time I spent out in the field while I was in the Army…).  The trails weren’t marked very well, so I did get lost a couple of times.  It was also really windy.  My guess is that this place is probably a lot better when it’s not 30 degrees outside.  I did see quite a few bird watchers though, so it must be a great place for that activity.

Old Town Albuquerque.  This trip is worth it simply because the architecture is so unique.  I didn’t really spend much time here, but there seemed to be many restaurants and little shops that were all pretty busy, and the architecture was so interesting!

The Loretto Hotel in Santa Fe was so striking against the bright blue sky!

Santa Fe.  Santa Fe is just an hour away from Albuquerque, and it makes a wonderful day trip.  The architecture is like nothing I’ve seen before, and there are so many hidden little pathways that lead you to interesting restaurants and hang outs.  There are tons of shops selling silver, turquoise and Southwestern decor. 

Albuquerque is definitely not your typical vacation destination, but I really enjoyed the trip and would highly recommend visiting the city for a few days if you’re planning a trip out West.  Happy travels!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. February 7, 2015 / 11:41 pm

    I had such a blast! And the flea markets were GOLD MINES!

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