Here’s how to discover 5 great stops on Route 66, which is now Central Avenue through Albuquerque. ART is Albuquerque Rapid Transit, the brand-new express bus service that runs nearly the entire length of Central Avenue through the city. It has dedicated bus lanes and platforms along most of the route. The platforms are raised and completely wheelchair and handicap accessible. Also look for pedestrian-controlled crosswalks at the stops. Tickets are purchased on the bus platforms so no one has to deal with ticket and cash issues, making boarding and trips much faster. See more information below on tickets.
ART bus lines are 766 and 777
ART green line 777 goes from Tramway Blvd. on the east side of Albuquerque to Unser Blvd. on the west. The ART red line 766 starts with a loop around ABQ Uptown at Louisiana Blvd. and goes west to the end of the line at Unser. (If you get on the 777 bus but want to go to ABQ Uptown, just get off at the Central and Louisiana stop and hop on the next 766 bus.) Click here for a map of the entire ART bus routes.
1. One of the great stops on Route 66 is Old Town
Ride to the Old Town stop near Central Avenue and Rio Grande Blvd. Walk past the large city parking lot to our historic community, now home to over 150 businesses. Explore art galleries and shops with local and New Mexico crafts. Dine at some fine restaurants as well as casual eateries, cafes, coffee and ice cream places and candy stores. Spend some quality time in four museums learning about Albuquerque, natural history, science and even rattlesnakes! Tour San Felipe de Neri Church, which has been the heart of Old Town since 1706. You can acquire some southwest fashion and jewelry and also get your hair cut and styled. Take home some great books, art, photography, and one-of-a-kind pieces. Take a walking tour, a ghost tour, a trolley tour, or a Breaking Bad tour!
2. ART stops in downtown Albuquerque
Central Avenue goes right through the middle of downtown, and the ART bus routes split around the downtown core (see the map below). The Alvarado Transit Center (ATC) is the hub of all ground transportation in the City. It’s home to the train station that serves both Amtrak and Railrunner (train from Santa Fe to Belen). A number of bus lines also meet there so riders can transfer from one bus line to another.
Try some great restaurants in downtown Albuquerque. Some of our favorites are MAS Tapas Y Vino at Hotel Andaluz, Urban Taqueria right across from the ART stop on First Street, and Tucanos Brazilian Grill at First and Central. The Grove Cafe and Market, Artichoke Cafe, and Farina Pizzeria are in East Downtown, known locally as EDo.
The Albuquerque Convention Center is on the north side of downtown and covers nearly two blocks.
Other places of interest include the Pueblo Deco-style KiMo Theatre which hosts live concerts in a small but spectacular venue, as well as vintage and eclectic films. Tours are free. The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum is also located right on Central Avenue. Our favorite downtown gallery is Sumner and Dene, with something for all–beautiful paintings and photographs, jewelry and many unique items. Visit the Rail Yards Market with food, art and music on Sundays May through October.
ART stops in the downtown area are the Barelas stop on Gold Avenue, the Alvarado Transit Center, the Downtown stop at First and Central, and the Main Library stop at 6th and Copper.
3. University of New Mexico–go Lobos!
UNM is one of the most unique universities in the country with its Pueblo-style architecture. It’s worth taking time to stroll around the large campus that serves over 27,000 students. Great places to explore on campus are the Lobo bookstore, Popejoy Hall for live performances, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and, of course, the Duck Pond. No trip to Albuquerque would be complete without a meal at The Frontier Restaurant, right across Central Avenue–the cinnamon roll is a must-have. Noodle bars are trending these days, and three of them are also right by UNM.
ART stops for the University of New Mexico are the UNM/CNM stop at University and Central and the Popejoy Hall stop at Yale and Central.
4. Nob Hill is another of the great stops on Route 66
Nob Hill started with a shopping center built in Art Deco style in the 1930’s when Nob Hill was thought to be very far from downtown. Now it’s considered “close in!” It’s full of boutiques and eclectic shops, restaurants from upscale to casual, night spots, brewpubs and pizzerias. At the far east end of Nob Hill is a cluster of antiques stores and antiques consignment stores, as well as some thrift shops like the Buffalo Exchange used clothing store. Look for Yanni’s Greek Restaurant, the Monte Vista Fire Station Bar & Restaurant, Fan Tang (our favorite for Asian fusion), and Frenchish. Don’t miss Absolutely Neon at the east end of the Nob Hill stretch.
ART stops along this stretch are the Nob Hill stop and the East Nob Hill stop. Look for the cluster of antiques stores toward the Highland stop.
5. ABQ Uptown area
If you’re looking for the Apple Store or your favorite brand name places, the ABQ Uptown area is where you want to go. Find Banana Republic, JCrew, The North Face, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Trader Joe’s, among many others. You can’t shop all day without stopping for something to eat or drink. Food offerings include Bravo Italian Cucina, California Pizza Kitchen, Elephant Bar, Starbucks and Uptown Tea.
Take the 766 Red Line to make the loop around the ABQ Uptown area. Here the stops are the Lomas stop, the Uptown stop, and the Uptown Transit Center (if you need a connecting bus to other parts of the city).
Tickets and payment for ART
Ticket kiosks are on every platform at the bus stops. Simply choose the fare you want (1-way for $1, a day pass for $2 with unlimited rides, 35 cents for seniors 62+) and pay by cash or card. See the website for complete information on fares. Veterans can ride any bus in Albuquerque, including ART, for free with a valid VA ID card. You don’t need to scan or swipe anything or show the driver your ticket. Just get on and ride. It’s on the honor system. However, there will be random checks by Transit workers, and riders without tickets or eligible free-fare IDs will be fined.
Stay at the Bottger Mansion of Old Town to get your kicks on Route 66!
While you discover all the great stops on Route 66, stay at the Bottger Mansion of Old Town to get the most out of your stay. You can see the Old Town ART stop from the front door. Our historic bed & breakfast, located in the heart of Old Town, is a favorite for travelers, and for good reason! We provide comfortable rooms, outstanding amenities, and friendly hospitality.
One of our guest rooms, the Route 66 Suite, even provides views of the Mother Road and memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66.
You’ll also enjoy a warm, delicious breakfast served first thing in the morning to start your day off right. Explore the many attractions of Albuquerque or simply relax in the peace and quiet of our cozy inn. It’s everything you need and more to make memories that will last a lifetime! Book your next getaway with us today. We look forward to seeing you soon!