Ask a Local: New Mexico Transcript
Oh yeah, it’s a quirky little city.
So, Albuquerque, if you’ve never seen it, it’s a great southwest city. In downtown Albuquerque, you have the only intersection of Route 66 and Route 66. It’s right at 4th Street and Central Avenue. So, on every traffic light, you have the Route 66 road sign in all four directions, the only one of its kind in the country.
Old Town Plaza, it’s the heartbeat of the city. It’s where our city began back 1706. In order to get the true Old Town Albuquerque experience, you need to get out and wherever you see a sidewalk or an alley that looks like it leads to nowhere, you need to go down that sidewalk or alley because it’s back there where you will find some of the great patios in Old Town, or you will find hidden chapels in Old Town or you will find great little restaurants or cafes.
Nob Hill was our first suburb. Today, Nob Hill is where the locals hang out. There’s great restaurants, tremendous nightlife in the area, there’s breweries in the area, it’s open later and it’s nestled right along the mother road of Route 66.
What is New Mexican food? It is a combination of Native American, Spanish food, Mexican food, but the one thing that separates New Mexican food from anything else is red and green chile. And we put that chile on just about everything.
To our east, we have the amazing Sandia Mountains. At the base of the mountains at the Sandias, you have the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway. It goes from roughly 6,500 feet above sea level all the way to the very top, and you have these amazing views. You see the city, you see the Bosque and the forest and the river. To the west, you’ll find the Petroglyph National Monument, and out there, you will see pictographs that were carved into the volcanic rock by some of the earliest people in Albuquerque.
The Native American history and culture in New Mexico is amazing. There are 19 pueblos in our state, and the Indian Public Cultural Center will give you the breakdown on all 19 pueblos. And on the weekends, they have live Native American dances, something that you may have seen on TV, but to see in person is a whole ’nother thing.
So, Albuquerque is home to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. So, imagine as the sun comes up with the Sandia Mountains to the east, you’re at the Balloon Fiesta Park on the launch field, with a couple hundred thousand people, and then these amazing hot air balloons are all lifting off in waves – 500, 600 at a time. And then in the evenings, we have something called the balloon glow.
Yeah, the balloon glows are fantastic, and they’ll do a countdown and then shout out “all burn” or “all glow,” and all the balloons light up, and it’s just, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, honestly.
Be-pu-wa-ve. Welcome from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The most unique thing about Santa Fe is its Native American population. The culture is such a big part of what Santa Fe is today.
There’s quite a few museums that focus in on Native American culture and art. The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum is downtown off the plaza. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is on Museum Hill. Both of those focus on the local Native American culture, as well as the nationwide Native American culture.
Canyon Road is one of the unique art districts in town. From the moment you get on it surrounded by galleries all the way up the street, I recommend walking it. On Canyon Road, you’ll find a lot of modern art. You’ll also find some very traditional Native American art.
The Santa Fe Plaza goes back to the early 1600s. Today, it’s an international attraction for bands, arts and crafts events, plays, lots of shopping.
Turquoise has been mined here for hundreds of years by the Pueblo Indians. The best jewelers in the world are gathered around here.
My favorite thing to do in Santa Fe is either ride my bike in the hills and in the city or go for a run in the trails that are surrounding Santa Fe. You smell this very unique smell of the pinyon trees and the pines, and you’re brushing up against the yuccas on the trail.
Santa Fe also has the Nambe Falls really close, where’s there’s great fishing in the lake and hiking up to the waterfalls, just a very nice spot to be.
The Dale Ball Trails are on the east side of Santa Fe, and you’re in the foothill of the Rocky Mountains. So, it’s a really gorgeous place and it’s not too difficult.
Santa Fe is one of the best-known restaurant cities. Coyote Café is one of the iconic restaurants in Santa Fe.
Pueblo architecture is fascinating. Many of the early architectural houses that are still found in the surrounding mesas around the pueblos are caves that were carved out the soft volcanic stone that’s there.
So, the region adapted that look and made a very conscious effort in keeping it and many people that do landscape paintings come, and they can read the landscape with their eyes with such clarity and so that’s what ends up showing up in their paintings.
I’ve been an artist most of my life and traveled around the world, and this is where I like to live and where I like to be. This is one of the great art cities in the country.