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Nob Hill: Albuquerque's Most Beloved District

By Courtney Clark

Bugs Bunny should have taken the left at Albuquerque, but not for the reason he thought. New Mexico's Historic main street, otherwise known as Route 66 or Central Avenue, offers offers everything from boutique shopping to street fairs. It has been known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road as well. As Executive Director Claire Dalby explains, "Nob Hill is now undoubtedly Albuquerque's most beloved district."

Named a Scenic Byway by state and federal governments, Route 66 was constructed in 1926. It has witnessed a lot of change over the years. Nob Hill has changed from catering to Americans who traveled to California during the Depression to entertaining tourists and locals today. As Dalby says, "Nob Hill saw a period of decline beginning in the 1960s due to the interstate highway system and mall developments in eastern Albuquerque. Thanks to increased awareness and efforts to preserve the corridor's distinct history and character, Nob Hill is now a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly shopping and entertainment destination".

Thirty-four years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation formed the National Main Street Program, which accredits Main Streets to promote economic development and community pride. This prompted a grassroots collaboration between the community and local government agencies to revitalize the famous district. Today, Nob Hill embraces the art, culture, and history of the area.

Residents and visitors come to Nob Hill for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Check out the area's selection of clothing boutiques, jewelry, home goods, and salons such as Ooh Aah Jewelry, Izzy Martin Men's Clothing, The Chocolate Dude, and Hey Jhonny to name a few. During the evening, many feature live music. Dalby recommends Gecko's Bar & Tappas, O' Niell's Irish Pub or Zinc Cellar Bar to start off the night. Dance studios and theatre venues round out the scene for the artistically-inclined.

Nob Hill also hosts the largest street festival in New Mexico: the annual Route 66 Summerfest, which Mayor Berry inaugurated in 2010. Local artists, artisans, street performers, food trucks, and entertainers gather to celebrate the community. Each year there are locally-made food and drinks, handmade arts and crafts, and even classic cars at the Route 66 Car Show. The Route 66 Summerfest is in collaboration with the New Mexico Jazz Festival, so the fun is accompanied by great live music.

After a rough history, Nob Hill has emerged as a tribute to the past as well as a a vibrant hub for the community. Whether visitors come to see the sights or just to grab a drink with friends, they will not be disappointed.

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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