Updated: Jul 16
"Albuquerque, New Mexico"
hand lettered by Christianne
A Local’s Guide to Albuquerque | with Christianne Santistevan
The more I travel, the more I love my hometown— Albuquerque, New Mexico. And this has inspired me to start this series, the hitting home hometown series. I will be interviewing people from around the world and asking them about their personal connections to their hometowns.
Never forget where you came from! Whether you like it or not, your hometown has probably shaped you in more ways than you know. Every time I drift away from New Mexico, the return just gets sweeter.
I hope you enjoy this series. I have collected a variety of people and hometowns around the world. I hope you like their stories and learn something new! If you know someone with a cool hometown, or you’d like to be featured, be sure to contact me above (under about > contact).
Christianne and I went to high school together (Manzano High School) and have reconnected every so often since graduation. She is a totally free spirit with a smile worth a million bucks! I love seeing my hometown through her eyes.
of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
“I was born and raised in Albuquerque and my family has been here for a very long time before that. My maternal side has been in Albuquerque for so long and I feel like they really are where my New Mexican roots come from, versus my paternal side where my grandparents met in Japan during WWII and my grandma brought back so much of the Japanese culture for us to grow in as well.
Right now, I am a work study student at the University of New Mexico and I'm studying Psychology and Communication. I'm hoping to get into a graduate program at our State University in social work. It has been a long journey because I did school part time for a long time, but now that I'm back full time I'll be graduating in December and moving along on this journey. I also do chalkboards and hand lettered projects on the side as both a hobby and a way to make a little extra cash. It's something that I just started to practice one day and really loved it and grew within it.
What am I passionate about? Gosh this seems like the question that everyone is seeking out an answer to. I would say that because of my career choice, I am passionate about people. I'm not sure in which way just yet, but I know that I love people. I love interacting with people, learning about people, and even just observing people. Psychology has been a great pathway into learning this because it's been so cool to take classes that make everyday things come to life and being able to take a different perspective on a lot of things.
I live with my mom, my sister, and our two dogs right now. My long time boyfriend and I are working on getting a house together that we can call home. It's hard sometimes to see all of my friends moving on and moving out and knowing that I'm still the kid at home, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. My mom and sister are my best friends and we have SO much fun living together. I'm gonna miss it when I do have the opportunity to move out.
I just have my belief that God has me on his plan for me; I love the saying to tell God your plans because he will just laugh. As a kid, you have all of your plans for yourself... graduate college in 4 years, married by 21, kids by 25, etc. but you really don't understand the significance of these huge events until you get older and things become more about you. Realizing that this time is a time to be selfish for you before you prepare to have kids of your own. So even though sometimes it can seem like you are 'behind' it's good to remember that nobody knows what they're doing and we're all on a different clock anyway.”
"albuquerque" hand lettered by Christianne
What is Albuquerque known for?
THE BALLOON FIESTA! The balloon fiesta is the most incredible event that I would say Albuquerque is globally known for. I would also say for our chile. I would say that our vibe is busy and low-key all at the same time. It's nothing like LA, but we're on the come up and people are always working to make the city better. It's also super diverse.
What do you miss the most when you're gone?
I've never moved away, but even when I go on vacation I miss the food. I can always count on a Dion's sub when I'm on my way home from the airport or a long road trip. I think Albuquerque does a really good job at offering a lot of local options that are for locals by locals. Of course there are a lot of touristy restaurants that are really good too, but as a local, you want local food that you love and can trust to always be good and the same. Some examples are Dion's, Golden Pride/Frontier, and Sadie's, but even those are huge local chains, there are a ton of smaller local restaurants that are incredible as well. When I’m gone I miss the chile and the sunsets over the Sandias.
Where is/are your favorite places in the city to hangout?
I think my favorite places to hangout around the cities are all of the breweries. Something that I think our generation does really well is networking and breweries are the new place to do just that. There are also a lot of really cool coffee shops around town that are good for this too. Again, a lot of local places! The people who stayed in Albuquerque I think really want to build it back up and all of the breweries around town are places where we can come together as a community and see the diversity first hand.
Where and what to eat:
I could recommend different restaurants and bars for days, it really just depends on the kind of mood you are in there's something for every one of those moods. If I had to pick my top three for each category, I would choose D.H. Lescomb's (Formerly St. Clair Winery) which has recently become one of my favorites for their wine and charcuterie boards, El Pinto for their red chile ribs, and Two Fools Tavern for their fish and chips. (I never even liked fish and their fish and chips are now one of my favorite entrees EVER).
As for bars, I'm more of a brewery kind of gal... I love Marble Brewery, the downtown location is my favorite. The atmosphere and the beer is my favorite! Green Jeans is also really cool because they have Santa Fe Brewing company there but they also have a local distilling company that makes really great mixed drinks. I guess a few other fun ones are The Salt Yard and the Sandbar because they have both beer and spirts also and a lot of fun activities to do while you are out with your friends!
Why do you love the people from your city?
I love the people in this city because as I have said before, it is so diverse. But also because a lot of the people who are still here are here because they love it too. There's a lot of history but also there is so much to still come. The people who are here are proud to be here and be from here.
If someone were coming to visit the city for the first time, where would you recommend they go?
Christianne put together a huge list of must-see places and restaurants. Click below to download:
What are the most instagrammable spots?
The new Burque mural in Nob Hill
Anywhere at the Balloon Fiesta
The peak/the tram
Any of the rooftop bars (Apothecary Lounge, Hotel Chaco)
Old town plaza
Tia B's Waffeleria
Spur Line Supply Co
What are the most underrated places in the city?
I think my favorite underrated place is the St. James Tea Room - it's a treat for sure and a little on the more pricey side, but it is such a great experience!