America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico
For those sauntering through the southwest of the United States, you're often transported to those Arizona and New Mexico national parks as the reason why you're traveling. But, there are some interesting spots on that trail that are worth the visit. One of those is the Old Town District of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ten blocks of the original town site founded by the Spanish in 1706 have been restored and made a historic district. There are bed and breakfasts to stay at, churches reaching back to 1793 to visit, and a vibe that brings back the era of the old Spanish, Mexican, and American southwest of the past, all while being located in today's Albuquerque. Photo above: Stereograph of Old Town Albuquerque Square and Spanish Church, 1906. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Old Town Albuquerque
It's old Spanish, this ten block area with its one and two story buildings and Old Town Plaza. There are restaurants, shops, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, plus walking tours and historic buildings aplenty. Most of the historic buildings were constructed later than its origin in 1706, the majority between 1870 and 1900. The exception is the beautiful church (picture of its rectory above), San Felipe de Neri, which was built during the Spanish era in 1793. It has been used ever since. This church replaced a 1706 structure that collapsed the previous winter and had been run by Franciscan missionaries. First baptism, June 26, 1706 by Fray Manuel Moreno, an original settler. The Franciscans departed in 1817.
Today, the houses are still inhabited, with many buildings repurposed into galleries, shops, and restaurants. There are one hundred and fifty shops to peruse through and secret alleyways and gardens to discover while you gander at the five National Historic Register buildings. There's also live entertainment at the Gazebo.
Photo above: Rectory of San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town, 2012. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Where Is It
Old Town Albuquerque is located two miles west of the center of today's Albuquerque. Albuquerque itself is now a large metropolitan city, largest in New Mexico, with over five hundred thousand residents. The Rio Grande River runs through it. One address that can be used for Old Town is 424 San Felipe St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. To get there from downtown by the most direct route, take Mountain Road NW (West) to San Felipe Street. From your specific location, check you favorite online map program or GPS.
What is There Now
Old Town plaza with a plethora of restaurants, shops, and galleries. There are walking tours of the area by the Museum of Art and History from March to November, plus other tour concessionaires, and there's the Museum of Art and History. The five historic register buildings are the San Felipe de Neri Church (1793), Salvado Armijo House (1840), Our Lady of the Angels School (1878), Antonio Vigil House (1879), and the Charles Bottger House (1912).
When is Old Town open and How Much to Visit?
Old Town is open year round with different times for various establishments. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is open Tuesday through Sunday; its prices range from $3-$6 with some additional charges for special exhibits. Prices subject to change without notice.
Old Town Albuquerque
Visit Old Town Albuquerque
Within Albuquerque itself, there's the New Mexico Museum of National History and Science, the Explora Science Center, the University of New Mexico, and Petroglyph National Monument. Not far afield are the national parks of White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, Bandelier National Monument, and Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, amongst others.