Albuquerque’s connection with Route 66 keeps getting better with age.
When you cross into New Mexico, the arid Southwestern landscape stretches across your windshield, lighting up with vintage neon signs and fabled Route 66 attractions. When you hit Albuquerque, follow the old Route 66, now called Central Avenue, which runs east to west.
But when Route 66 first came through town in 1926, it snaked through Albuquerque from south to north, eventually reaching Santa Fe. After residents lobbied the government to straighten the road, the route changed in 1931, falling in line with the rest of the route that stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica.
Today, there are still a number of neon signs lining Historic Route 66, which takes you through three distinct city districts. Start in Nob Hill, a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood with a youthful, collegial vibe. Grab a bite to eat at local favorite, Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila. From there, head downtown and look for the city’s best-known landmark, KiMo Theatre and Art Gallery, which opened in 1927 in Pueblo- Deco style. Every architectural detail has significance from the rain clouds to the birds. Continue driving to Old Town where you’ll find the Albuquerque BioPark, home to the zoo, fishing lakes, an aquarium and botanic gardens.
For more information:
Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
20 First Plaza NW, Suite 601, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Download an Albuquerque Route 66 Tour Map