Getting Oriented

On first take, Albuquerque's sprawl may appear intimidating, but navigating it is usually fast, and as simple as understanding how it got built up back in the day: there’s the historic Rio Grande corridor (north–south) and the east–west Route 66 (or, Central Avenue) corridor, which came along with the automobile. Rio Grande neighborhoods (North Valley and Barelas/South Valley) are most enjoyed by sticking to local backroads. From Old Town east through Downtown/EDo to UNM/Nob Hill and beyond, local is still good, but if you’re high-tailing it, Interstate 40 will be your primary route. Street addresses indicate the city’s cardinal quadrants, with the railroad tracks dividing west from east, and Central Avenue splitting north from south. Visitors seeking a deeper sense of Albuquerque’s rich culture and heritage—and retreat-like luxe accommodations—will want to allow travel time along the Rio Grande routes; those seeking museums, shopping, hotels, and more dining options, too, might settle in the Old-Town–Nob Hill zone. Outlying neighborhoods have their specific charms as well.

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