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Old Town

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Albuquerque Old Town

San Felipe de Neri ChurchHistoric Old Town has been the heart of Albuquerque since the city was founded here in 1706 by a group of Spanish families. The settlers organized their new town in the traditional Spanish colonial way, with a central plaza anchored by a church. When the original adobe church collapsed after the long, rainy summer of 1792, they rebuilt, and in 1793, San Felipe de Neri Parish was completed. Today, this adobe church with walls five feet thick is the oldest in Albuquerque and its white towers mark Old Town from a distance. It remains a functioning Catholic church.

Albuquerque Old TownAlthough the church is the neighborhood's most elaborate structure, you'll notice that most of the architecture of Old Town Albuquerque is adobe, in the Pueblo-Spanish style. These traditional buildings have flat roofs, stucco walls with rounded edges and are supported with heavy wooden beams called vigas. The arrival of the railroad here in 1880 brought new architectural styles, and there are many Victorian buildings that house shops, offices and bed-and-breakfasts. Despite centuries of change, the Albuquerque Old Town area has retained its charming character.

Albuquerque Museum of Art and HistoryTo learn more about Albuquerque and this area, you can visit some of Old Town's five museums. Just off the plaza, the newly-renovated Albuquerque Museum of Art & History showcases the cultural heritage of New Mexico through its vast collections and traveling exhibitions. Across the street, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science stands out with the prominent dome of its planetarium. This innovative and hands-on museum explores botany, geology, computer science and paleontology (dinosaurs!). The museum's Lodestar Astronomy Center includes a world-class planetarium theater with the biggest screen in New Mexico. At Explora!, kids of all ages will be amazed by more than 250 interactive science, technology and art exhibits. Fans of Southwestern jewelry will enjoy the Turquoise Museum, where visitors experience the depths of a turquoise mine and view rare and spectacular turquoise specimens from all over the world. To test your bravery, visit the American International Rattlesnake Museum. This unique museum in the heart of Old Town offers the world's largest collection of live rattlesnakes!

Rio Grande Botanic GardensOld Town Albuquerque is also a great place to explore nature. On a leisurely stroll through the Rio Grande Botanic Garden you'll discover unique local plants, visit the sharks in their 285,000-gallon tank at the Albuquerque Aquarium or go fishing at Tingley Beach. Don't miss a ride on the narrow gauge, 3/4 scale train that connects botanic garden, aquarium and Tingley Beach with the nearby Rio Grande Zoo. You can find details on the train as well as current events at the Visitor Information Center in Old Town.

Old Town Albuquerque shoppingOld Town Albuquerque is also a significant fine arts center where collectors will find an enviable selection of paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and crafts. There are over 100 boutiques and galleries and shops in the neighborhood, so whether you're looking for souvenirs, trendy clothing, authentic southwestern jewelry, or fine art, you are sure to find it here.

Old Town Pizza ParlorAnd when you get hungry, the Albuquerque Old Town area is the perfect place to try traditional New Mexican food. Just find a spot on one of the area's quiet patios and sit down to a big plate full of enchiladas layered with green chile sauce, shredded chicken and melted cheese. Or try a sopaipilla stuffed with ground beef and slathered with red chile sauce. And when you need a break from chiles, you can always get a slice at the Old Town Pizza Parlor or relax at one of Old Town's chic contemporary restaurants like Seasons Rotisserie & Grill  or St. Clair Bistro. On a warm afternoon there's nothing better than a cold margarita sipped on a sunny Church Street Cafe patio.

ABQ Trolley CoFinally, experience the best of Albuquerque from a completely-custom, uniquely-Albuquerque, open-air trolley. Invest 66 minutes in a comprehensive "Best of ABQ" city tour to better plan the rest of your stay. Tours start at Plaza Don Luis in Old Town; a short walk from the Best Western Rio Grande Inn. Climb aboard for your front-row seat to Old Town, Museum Row, Downtown, Historic Route 66, University of New Mexico, Nob Hill, Isotopes Park, University Stadium, The Pit, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Rio Grande River, Tingley Beach, the Rio Grande Bio Park and more. No reservations required. ABQ Trolley Co. provides regular service from April - November. Group tours and custom tours available year-round (weather permitting).

So what are you waiting for? Romantic hidden patios, winding brick paths, gardens and balconies await your discovery while wrought iron benches and adobe boncos beckon you to stop, relax in the shade, and watch the world go by.

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Albuquerque Aquarium
Albuquerque Aquarium
New Mexico Museum of Natural History
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Albuquerque Old Town Plaza
Historic Old Town Plaza
Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
Albuquerque Museum of Art & History
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Rio Grande Inn sunfire logo BEST WESTERN PLUS Rio Grande Inn
1015 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
Tel:505-843-9500 | Fax: 505-843-9238
Toll Free Reservations: 800-959-4726
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