Thu. Aug 11th, 2022
10 best places to shop in Albuquerque, ranked by local shopping expert

 Albuquerque has its share of large shopping areas, plus plenty of small local businesses selling art and accessories you can only find here. From exquisite Native American pottery to Breaking Bad t-shirts, Albuquerque has you covered for unique gifts and treats for yourself. Shopping malls such as Cottonwood and Coronado will look familiar to most American shoppers, and Old Town, downtown and other pockets of local businesses will send you home with treasures you can only fine in Albuquerque. 

Camera & Darkroom

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If you’re visiting New Mexico, chances are photography is going to play a big part in that vacation. Locally owned Camera & Darkroom in Nob Hill is the place to go for film and digital photography supplies. Camera & Darkroom stocks stock 35mm to 4×5 film, lighting equipment, darkroom supplies, digital camera batteries, filters, memory cards, bags, backdrops, used gear, and–surprise–cameras. Film, you may ask? Many fine art photographers travel to New Mexico to capture its beauty on large format film cameras.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: As local camera shops become more of a rarity, Camera & Darkroom offers equipment supplies and advice for both film and digital photography.

Steve’s expert tip: Great place to go to for advice on where to photograph in New Mexico.

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Lilly Barrack

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Lilly Barrack, the daughter of an engineer and artist, has always been surrounded by art. She studied at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas for a degree in Studio Art. After years of painting, she has turned her talent to the creation of Jewelry.

Lilly’s world travels have resulted in cross-cultural influences with Africa playing a major role. Her designs are geometric and simple yet filled with expression and power.

Since her pieces are handmade, only a limited number of each are produced, making every piece unique.

Now Living in the southwest, she designs from a small studio with Indian silversmiths as her craftspeople. Using sterling silver, 14kt gold and untreated natural stones, she creates wonderful original works of art.

Steve’s expert tip: Lilly Barrack is popular among the Albuquerque locals and creates beautiful pieces in silver, a posh southwestern look.

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Weems Art Gallery

This gallery specializes in contemporary works on paper, including photography, paintings, and mixed media. Both established and emerging artists are represented, and exhibits change frequently. Past exhibits have included art from Tom Waldron, Louise Bourgeois, Gabi Brandt, Robert ParkeHarrison, Thomas Barrow, Suzanne Caporael, and Stuart Arends.

Steve’s expert tip: There are two locations for Weems – in Old Town and also on Montgomery, near Louisiana.

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Mariposa Gallery

Renowned promoter of contemporary New Mexican fine art since 1974. Unique work includes fiber arts, jewelry, clay works, and sculptural glass.

Steve’s expert tip: The jewelry is really worth checking out – very unique and cutting edge.

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Richard Levy Gallery

This gallery specializes in contemporary works on paper, including photography, paintings, and mixed media. Both established and emerging artists are represented, and exhibits change frequently. Past exhibits have included art from Tom Waldron, Louise Bourgeois, Gabi Brandt, Robert ParkeHarrison, Thomas Barrow, Suzanne Caporael, and Stuart Arends.

Steve’s expert tip: It’s hard not to notice the artistically placed numbers falling over the roof of this hip building, denoting its address. Gallery is closed mid-December thru New Years, so get your shopping done early!

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Palms Trading Company

Photo courtesy of Palms Trading Company

Quality Native American art store that buys direct from artists. Palms Trading Company originated as a grocery store around 1933. It’s evolved into a local meeting place, and finally a trading company specializing in Native American Indian art. It is a local landmark and a true New Mexican treasure.

Steve’s expert tip: All the pottery is always half off what the tag says. Go here for incredible original jewelry, native musical instruments, sand paintings and cd’s of local artists.

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Skip Maisel's Indian Jewerly

Photo courtesy of Steve Larese

This historic shop in downtown buys pottery, jewelry, sculpture and paintings directly from Native American artists, so you know the work is authentic and the artists are receiving a fair price for their work. Retail prices are among the best in the state for this level of high-quality art. The staff is very knowledgeable about the artists and work, and are quick to explain the different quality levels available in different price ranges. For instance, cast pottery is separate from hand-coiled pottery, and prices accordingly. You can also see Native American jewelers employed by Skip Maisel working in the shop.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: This historic Albuquerque business buys authenticated art directly from Native American artisans, resulting in a better deal for both the artists and the end buyers.

Steve’s expert tip: Check out the hand-painted murals in the shop’s entrance. They were created by well-known Native American painters, including Pablita Verlarde.

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Nob Hill Shopping District

Local boutique shops and restaurants line this stretch of Historic Route 66, east of downtown. Fun and hip clothing stores, jewelry and art galleries, retro toy stores, vintage clothing, upscale specialty stores and edgier shops (tattoo, body piercing) make Nob Hill a favorite shopping area and meeting place for locals. There’s also a variety of restaurants, many with sidewalk patios, so you can spend a full day shopping in this unique and historic area. The original Nob Hill Business Center from the 1940’s contains the popular Scalo restaurant, the natural food Co-op and other great stores and salons at the intersection of Carlisle and Central.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Nob Hill is a historic stretch of Route 66 that today is filled with fun local stores and restaurants and plenty of retro neon.

Steve’s expert tip: Check the website for events throughout the year, such as the Holiday Shop and Stroll in December.

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ABQ Uptown

Photo courtesy of ABQUptown

ABQ Uptown is a contemporary outdoor shopping mall that makes for a day of shopping for designer clothing, jewelry, accessories, and even boutique pet supplies. Storefronts include Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, BCBG – MAC Cosmetics, Albuquerque, Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor, LOFT, White House | Black Market, Lucky Brand, Anthropologie, Nestle Toll House, Pottery Barn, Bebe, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, YoYo Bliss and Apple Store.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: ABQ Uptown is a sophisticated outdoor shopping area with great mix of shops and restaurants.

Steve’s expert tip: During warm weather, take the kids to play in the outdoor splash fountain. Make sure to bring a towel and change of clothes.

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Old Town Shopping District

Photo courtesy of Albuquerque Old Town

This historic heart of Albuquerque is now the place to go to find local shops and restaurants. The area was founded in 1706, and today, scores of shops surround a grassy Plaza and Gazebo, or line the twisting alleyways just off the main square. These shops were homes 200 to 300 years ago, and many are made out of the original adobe. Wares range from t-shirts to fine art and antiques, including antique Native American jewelery and pottery. Old Town is a must-visit for any Albuquerque shopping excursion.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Old Town is the heart and soul of Albuquerque, and its unique local shops reflect this.

Steve’s expert tip: Many weekends throughout the year public events, shows and performances make Old Town a cultural destination as well. The Albuquerque Museum and New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science are within easy walking distance.

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By admin