Quality Inn & Suites
6100 West Iliff Rd
Albuquerque, NM 87121
Phone: (505) 836-8600
Fax: (505) 836-2097
Walking into this superstore packed with Mexican groceries and food booths is a true cultural experience that feels like entering another country while in the heart of Albuquerque. Piñatas crowd the ceilings, mariachi blasts and families throng the aisles and crowd the long communal tables where you can snack on tacos, stews, ice cream or scores of other freshly prepared Mexican foodstuffs. Watch tortillas being made, try free samples and ogle the unusual selections in the fish and meat sections. Pro's Ranch Market offers a free shuttle service within a three mile radius of the store.
The Village of Los Ranchos Growers Market is truly a local community endeavor. Staffed by volunteers, the market rents its booths at a very affordable price and on a week to week basis. This means that the vendors you will encounter run the gamut from local homeowners who found they had a few too many cucumbers on their plants that week to certified organic farmers to local businesses that import exotic seafood or bake pastries. On average, there are ten to fifteen special events at the market every year, which may include guest chefs, face painting, clowns, free gifts, pancake breakfasts or ice cream socials.
De Colores Galeria on the western edge of Old Town specializes in religious artwork of 18th century New Mexico. Owner Robert Gonzales has gathered in one space many colorful examples of the traditional folk art that have inspired and sustained the faith of New Mexicans for four centuries. Those unfamiliar with the terms bultos, santos and retablos will discover their meaning in this religious goods emporium. Roberto also carries drinks and snacks for those who hunger and thirst in a more corporeal way.
Peruvian Perfection is more affordable than its rival, Peruvian Connection, but the clothing is still 100% alpaca and handmade (not to mention still far from cheap!). Sweaters, cardigans, scarves, gloves, hats, shawls, coats, vests and jackets are available for both men and women, mostly in bright colors and unique patterns. The Peruvian-New Mexican couple who own and operate this family-run store design the clothing and travel to the Andes to forge personal relationships with knitters there. They assert ethical trade principles and have started a fund which directs a percentage of their online sales to the families in the communities where they operate. - Pip Lustgarten
Long before the word acquired its kinky connotation, a fetish was a carved stone talisman, usually of an animal and about the size of a golf ball. Many Native Americans continue to hold such objects as sacred and as possessing magical powers. This Old Town shop has hundreds of these on display and for sale. It represents a number of Native fetish artists, chief among them Brian Yatsattie of Zuni Pueblo. The store also offers the largest selection of craft beads you would expect to find anywhere.
Situated behind the ancient church in Old Town, the Christmas Shop lays claim to being the Southwest's largest and best Christmas store. A whitewashed adobe gallery provides an elegant setting for a display of colorful and imaginative Nativity sets. There are numerous varieties of collector's glass; nutcrackers dressed up in modern attire, and Southwestern-themed ornaments. A life-sized desert Santa, looking a bit like Gabby Hayes, greets visitors at the door. It is open all year.
This Old Town gallery, which has occupied this site since the mid-1970s, represents forty local artists, including watercolorists Noami Romero Strater and Jack Dietrich. Alex Gomez draws on his Hispanic-Native American heritage to create wood and adobe models of Southwestern edifices, such as houses and stores, as well as Navajo hogans. Brothers Jacob and Ernesto Salazar produce delicate carvings of the heavenly host. The shop may appear a bit cluttered, but the payoff is in the wide selection of art creations that have never come close to a cookie cutter.
If you have ever wished to be a part of the Wild West or appear on a wanted poster, here is your chance. Let the staff at this Old Town photo studio, and their trunk load of costumes, transform you into a gunslinger or a bar floozy from the days of the Wild West. They will photograph this new you and print the results in sepia as a poster or as an old-fashioned portrait to place on the mantle back home. Group portraits are a specialty.
Tucked away in the shade of an Old Town placita, this diminutive and charming shop offers you high-quality prints and posters. Georgia O'Keefe and Diego Rivera are represented here, as are many less stellar, but exceedingly gifted, artists such as Tony Abeyta and Carol Grigg. The gallery has literally thousands of items that has rightly earned it a solid reputation and popularity.
What will probably impress you most about Warpath Traders is the sheer volume of its inventory. Dozens of display cases contain literally thousand of items to choose from. The style of the necklaces, bracelets and rings is unquestionably Southwestern and Native American. The materials are mostly silver and turquoise, although polished stone is the material of choice for the carvers of Indian fetishes. There is a large selection of kachinas, ranging in size from six to twelve inches in height. The cordial staff will answer any question thoroughly and enthusiastically.
A visitor to this Old Town shop might mistake it for a museum if it were not for the fact that the items on display are for sale. The "good stuff" refers to the authenticity of the merchandise. The pots and pine needle baskets are the handiwork of the Tarahumara Indians of Chihahua, Mexico. The photos of Pancho Villa date back to the days of the Mexican Revolution. And real cowboys of yesteryear wore the spurs and gun leather.
Located behind San Felipe de Neri Church, this delightful shop is five connected rooms filled with beautifully crafted gift items, all made by senior citizens. The non-profit Assistance League of Albuquerque operates the Blue Portal, which has generated over a million dollars for community programs since it opened in 1985. It is not charity, however, that prompts the visitor to buy, but the beauty and craftsmanship of the pottery, wood sculptures, quilts and other products on display. A warm and enthusiastic welcome from the volunteer sales associate is part of the package.