Places in Albuquerque: Remember When?

nostalgic photo held up to current place
Artur Debat/Getty Images

Albuquerque may be a small big city, but it has seen a lot of changes, especially over the past 40 years. Many people remember when there was no Cottonwood Mall, and when high school students would build bonfires in the area now known as North Albuquerque Acres.

Some changes happen and then turn back on themselves. There used to be Godfather's Pizza in Albuquerque, but then it left. Now it's back again. It wasn't so long ago that Winrock in ​Uptown was a thriving mall, but then a major part of it closed. Now it's on its way to opening again and has a 16 screen theater with IMAX.

Here are a few places to remember, though there are many more.

01 of 20

Alvarado Hotel

The Alvarado Station
ABQ Museum Photoarchive

The wrecking ball took out the hotel portion of Alvarado Station in 1970, the Alvarado Hotel. The hotel was a glamorous Fred Harvey Hotel located along the Santa Fe railroad route. Built in the Spanish mission style, it had 118 rooms and was a stop for movie stars and the famous. It came down in the era of urban revitalization, unfortunately, but the rest of the station remains and can be seen at First and Central downtown.

02 of 20

Baca's Restaurant

Baca's Mexican restaurant
Jim Hidalgo/Pinterest 

Baca's was a favorite New Mexican restaurant until it closed its doors in 1997. It was located at 3311 Central NE, right in the heart of Nob Hill, near the Monte Vista Fire Station.

The white stucco building stood out. It opened in 1949 and had two other locations along Route 66. Some of the more famous people to eat at Baca's were Mel Torme, Anthony Quinn, Juliet Proust, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. 

03 of 20

Bella Vista Restaurant

Bella Vista restaurant sign
John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

The Bella Vista in Cedar Crest was a landmark in the 1960s and 1970s and known for its rambling structure. Room after room was filled on Friday and Saturday nights. Their all-you-can-eat specials brought in the crowds, as did special occasions such as birthdays and Mother's Day. Skiers at Sandia Crest would stop by after a day on the slopes. The restaurant was open for almost 40 years. Bella Vista closed in 2001.

04 of 20

Drive-In Movies

drive-in movie
 Jrosenberry1/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

More than 30 drive-in theaters operated in New Mexico during their heyday. Opening in the 1930s and booming in the 1950s and 60s, Albuquerque had an Albuquerque 6 Drive-In at the location that now contains the Century Rio 24 multiplex along I-25. The 6 had a car capacity of 2100 and was open all year. It was torn down in 1995. 

Albuquerque had several drive-ins, to include the Duke City, Silver Dollar, Cactus, Tesuque, Terrace, Sunset, and 66 Drive-In.

Continue to 5 of 20 below.
05 of 20

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor

Farrell's ice cream
Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour 

Located in the large parking lot at Winrock, Farrell's had red and white striped wood reminiscent of days gone by. An entire menu of sundaes and ice creams made kids happy, and on birthdays, the staff would sing Happy Birthday and play a big drum.

Another nearby soda and ice cream place, the Soda Straw, was a hit with kids.

06 of 20

Fred's Bread and Bagels

A basket of bagels
Paul Johnson/Getty Images

Fred's in Nob Hill had a wall of fame with photos that were a who's who of autographed pictures of touring bands. Fred's was an institution in Nob Hill in the 1990s. They had the best bagels, sourdough, and green chile cheese bread. You could watch the bread slicer in action.

07 of 20

Heidi Pies

Aileen O'Catherine

The institution at the corner of Montgomery and Louisiana operated from 1970 until it closed (in the 90s?). Stopping by on Sunday for a slice of pie was common.

08 of 20

Hiland Movie Theater

old Hiland movie theater and road
John Phelan/Wikimedia/CC BY 3.0

The Hiland Theater showed feature movies from the time it opened in 1950 until it closed as a movie house in 1995. There were 1,188 seats in a stadium seating plan and a car park in the rear. 

It then became a space for live performances. Joan Baez performed there.

In 2008, the National Dance Institute opened its doors to teach area children how to dance. It currently serves over 3,000 elementary school students with its programs.

Continue to 9 of 20 below.
09 of 20

Hippo Ice Cream

Hippo ice cream shop
Hometown USA

The Hippo was sometimes called the Purple Hippo because a large, purple hippo was painted near its entryway. Legend has it that Mr. and Mrs. Bernstein from the Flying Star met while working there. From the time it opened in the early 70s till it closed in 1994, it was known for being a great place to hang out, meet friends, and have good coffee and ice cream. The Hippo was on Harvard, near UNM.

10 of 20

M & J Sanitary Tortilla Factory

M & J Sanitary Tortillas
Randy Siner/Albuquerque Business First

The restaurant at 403 Second Street was open for 30 years, serving tamales, tortillas, salsa, and other New Mexican dishes to loyal customers. When President Clinton came to town in 1994, Mayor Martin Chavez ordered a meal for the President to eat on his presidential jet.

11 of 20

Martha's Body Bueno

Martha's Body Bueno was in Nob Hill before it became the bustling commercial district it is today. Setting up in 1975, first on the south side of Central, and then moving to 3105 Central on its north shore, Martha's had lingerie, cosmetics, and beauty supplies, along with lotions and items for the home. They closed in 2008 after 33 years of business.

12 of 20

McIlheny's Dairy

Up until the 1990s, it was possible to get milk at McIlhenny's Dairy on Broadway, just north of Comanche/Montano. There was even a drive-thru, so you didn't have to get out of the car.

For those who want to relive those glory days, or for anyone wanting raw milk, you'll want to visit DeSmet Dairy in Bosque Farms.

Continue to 13 of 20 below.
13 of 20

Montana Mining Company

The steakhouse was located in the basement of the office building located at San Mateo and Central. Pat Keene, co-owner of the Artichoke Cafe, once worked there. Montana Mining Company closed around 1992.

14 of 20

Piggly Wiggly Supermarkets

Piggly Wiggly at 1101 North Fourth Street, 1930
ABQ Museum Photoarchives

There were Piggly Wiggly supermarkets all over Albuquerque, some staying until the 1990s. Piggly Wiggly's was known for being a full-serve market, a change for the 1950s. Prior to that, shoppers would go to the butcher, baker, and hardware store on separate occasions.

15 of 20

Pleasure Time Soda

Pleasure Time had a soda warehouse off Eubank and I-40. Kids would walk into what was like Willy Wonka's factory, where they could pick whatever flavors they wanted and take a box home. If you brought back your empty bottles, you got a price break. Flavors included chocolate, pineapple, grape, orange, and of course, cola.

16 of 20

Railway Shops

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Shops
ABQ Museum Photoarchives

Barelas boomed in the late 19th century. Now the rail yards are coming back to life, thanks to redevelopment and the work of many volunteers. The ABQ Rail Yards Market is open as a market from May through November, every Sunday, featuring music, food, art, crafts, and more.

Continue to 17 of 20 below.
17 of 20

Skating Rinks

The Iceland Bowl and Skating Rink was on Copper near San Mateo and is now an indoor go-kart rink. By the early 1980s, the bowling alley had closed and the rink had become an indoor soccer field. The Rainbow Rink was on San Mateo just south of Central and is now an indoor flea market.

18 of 20

Tingley Beach as a Beach

Tingley Beach
ABQ Museum Photoarchive

The Tingley Beach of today is a park with fishing ponds. When it was originally constructed in the 1930s, it was an aquatic park that was connected to the Rio Grande. It was named after Clyde Tingley. The beach was closed to swimmers in the 1950s, and the area continued to be used for fishing. The Tingley Beach of today, known for fishing, opened in October of 2005.

19 of 20

Trespassers William

There was a magical bookstore located at the corner of Amherst and Lomas, called Trespassers William. The store carried children's books and had readings, story times, and many times authors would arrive to sign books and read. Some of the more famous writers who signed books there include Jack Prelutsky, Judy Bloom, and Madge Harrah.

20 of 20

Zinn's Bakery

Zinn's was located on San Mateo just south of Lead and served ​loaves of bread, cakes, donuts, and more.

Was this page helpful?