Albuquerque, New Mexico

Share this with a fellow traveler!

One of the things I love about travel is the feeling of being transported to another time and space, and that is exactly what happened when I walked into Albuquerque’s Old Town. There is so much history packed into a 10 block area, including the Central Plaza (which formed the nucleus of Spanish Colonial town planning and layout), the 300 year old San Felipe de Neri Church (still in operation!)), and more than 150 shops, restaurants, galleries and museums. Around every corner is art, music and just a general sense of joie de vivre!

Central Plaza
San Felipe de Neri Church

Though there are many wonderful shops, a couple stood out to me:

Lillie’s Handmade Soaps: with 2 locations in Old Town and dozens of interesting fragrance combinations, you will be able to find something that you love. Last time I was in town, I bought the Cinnapear Goat’s Milk Lotion, and although the consistency is a bit runny, I like how it makes my skin feel. This time, I found some lovely scents for friends: Strong Coffee, Chocolate Cake, New Mexico Sunrise, and Pumpkin Spice. I’ve always thought that fancy soaps make great gifts, because I am willing to spend the money on them for someone else, but am too cheap to buy them for myself!

Just a sampling of Lillie’s Handmade Soaps many offerings

In the 1990’s, I had an incredible black velvet frontier style dress that I loved to wear because it was a showstopper (and who doesn’t like to get compliments about their outfit??). Since then, I’ve been trying to find something along the same lines and have had no luck….until I stumbled into the Wild Rose in Old Town! Right before my eyes was all the fringe, decorative rivets, ranch wear, embroidered leather and rhinestone belts for which I had been searching these many years! The owner, Trudy Collins-Cervantes, is a hoot and I walked away with something fabulous to wear AND a new friend!

Wild Rose Owner Trudy Collins-Cervantes
The Wild Rose has been around for over 40 years!
Get outfitted from head to toe!
In the Ms. World Traveler video, Trudy talks about the exquisite bead embroidery from Double D Ranch.
Many of the jewelry pieces are sourced from local artisans.
Rivets and velvet!
In my humble opinion, there can never be too many rivets!

Old Town isn’t the only interesting area to see. What is now called Central Avenue used to be Route 66, and there are some very architecturally significant structures, like the KiMo Theatre, erected in 1926. Notice the ornate motifs, which is an example of a short-lived architectural style that blended the spirit of Southwest Native American cultures with the distinctive elements of Art Deco.

The KiMo Theatre: an example of Pueblo Deco architecture

While driving along Route 66, the bright fun colors of Hotel Zazz stopped me in my tracks, and I had to pop in and meet the owner, Sharmin Dharas. She has a heart for supporting women entrepreneurs, artists and designers matching my own, and contracted with nearly 50 female artists to make each room unique, as well as decorate the exterior with different art forms. Be sure to check out Ms. World Traveler video segment below to hear more about Sharmin’s story! PS: You’ll like how she came up with the name!

Hotel Zazz Lobby
A feature wall in one of the rooms
This beauty will watch over you as you sleep!
The Family Suite
Different color schemes for every room (plus a retro fridge!)
Exterior hand painted metal flowers
There is something interesting to see on every wall and every floor!
Sharmin Dharas: the Hotel Zazz Boss Lady!

As you move further away from Old Town on Central Avenue, the traffic loosens up and there is a small enclave of antique stores, some of which I had time to visit (a couple looked either closed or a bit sketchy).

An expansive antique mall with an eclectic mix
I’m crossing my fingers that this slogan applies to me!
Classic Century Square vintage mall has 3 floors and an unusual staircase! (photo by Steffen Frost)

In the same area, Cowboys and Indians Antiques caters to collectors and lovers of the Old West with a vast selection in all price points. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite, but for an in depth look, click on the web series video link below to meet owner Terry Schurmeier and see more of their incredible pieces!

This takes vintage clothing to a whole new level!

Albuquerque is also known for it’s Hot Air Balloon Fiesta held annually in October, where striking colorful balloons fill the sky, and it is quite a sight to see! I actually went up in a hot air balloon for the first time in December of 2021, and have included a few photos, even though it was in Arizona 🙂

A gorgeous sunset!
Back safely on the ground!

There are more stories to tell from Albuquerque: grab some red and green chilies for a snack, take a seat, and have a look-see at the 3 video segments. Let me know what you think!

Chilies are great for eating and for decorating!
Ms. World Traveler in Albuquerque, New Mexico – Featuring The Wild Rose
Ms. World Traveler in Albuquerque, NM – Featuring Hotel Zazz and Cowboys and Indians Antiques
Ms. World Traveler in Albuquerque, New Mexico – Featuring Amy Baca Lopez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *