Albuquerque, NM: Central Ave Downtown Scene
There's a warm fuzziness in the way dopamine hits the body as I walked among tall buildings, neon signs, and street musicians. The smell of hot dog vendors and the sound of fire engines brings back that metropolitan feeling of comfort I left behind over two months ago.
But downtown Albuquerque is not nearly the expanse that downtown San Diego is. The amount of the high-rise real estate here in America's 32nd largest city is just a fraction of America's 8th largest. Yet there's just enough ethnic diversity, from taco shops to New York style pizza to spicy tuna hand rolls, all crammed into walking distance, that you could spend a couple of years here and not see everything.
Tucked a block away from the central plaza of Old Town Albuquerque is a little shop coiled around a shady bush, camouflaged from view. The Rattlesnake Museum is a live exhibit of rattlers from all over the Western Hemisphere. At just $5.00 per person, it's a cheap alternative to the same old routine of dining and shopping.
But that's not to say we didn't dine and shop.
Sash really wanted some turquoise jewelry, something that reflected her American Indian ancestry. Warpath Traders has perhaps the largest collection of turquoise from local area artists. We managed to find a pendant that matched Sash's "too much" style.
And you'd think in a place like Albuquerque we would have found a really good place for Mexican food. But we ended up at a Sushi bar instead. I'm not sure how fresh the Tuna and Octopus is in the middle of the desert South West, but not being fussy connoisseurs of raw seafood, we couldn't tell the difference.
New Mexico is, however, a legislative-friendly state for microbreweries. There's several small batch brewers with tiny taprooms scattered throughout Albuquerque. Right on the corner of Central and 2nd is Chama River Brewing. Crammed into a space no larger than a railroad box car, Chama packs in a group of beer snobs in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Folks are allowed to bring in food from outside, and you'll find them scarfing down pizzas, chinese takeout, and Subway sandwiches.
At night, the cops put up barricades along Central Ave between 3rd and 6th streets, creating a nightlife that explodes with bar hoppers and dance clubbers. The motorcycle scene comes to life as well, as dozens of bikes park outside of Library Bar & Grill.
After 6:00pm, the meter maids stop patrolling the streets, so that you can park for free.
|Sushi King, Central Ave., Albuquerque, we ate lunch here|
|Highway's new drinking pals, Buddy & Justin. They're planning to ride motorcycles and visit breweries.|
|Sash's new bar buddies, Raul and Mark|
|Chama River Brewing Microbar, 2nd Street, Albuquerque|
|Rattlesnake Museum, Old Town Albuquerque|
|Parked outside Warpath Traders, Old Town Albuquerque|
|Central Ave, Downtown Albuquerque|
|Motorcycles parked in front of Library Bar & Grill, Central Ave.|
|Inside the Library Bar & Grill, waitresses skirts are so short, they expose themselves when scratching their heads.|
|Sash at a hot dog stand on Central Ave. She actually negotiated a $5.00 dog, chips and water down to $3.00.|