Old Town is one of the best pedestrian shopping districts in Albuquerque, and Old Town merchants know how to do up the holidays right. Park your wagon in the neighborhood, and you can easily accomplish most of your holiday shopping in a single afternoon.
For the ladies, or extremely progressive gents, on your shopping list, consider stopping by Desert Designs (#1, 2061/2 San Felipe NW, 217-0011) where you can order a purse with a custom oil painting painted directly on it—a bit pricey, but you'll get high marks for originality. Likewise, our editorial intern, Jacqueline Paul, tells me that you can purchase some sweet ladies' threads at Santa Fe South (#2, 2020 South Plaza, 842-8034) for prices considerably lower than you'd expect to pay in a boutique. They've also got some fine but inexpensive jewelry and accessories for sale.
Almost everyone you know has a pet, and pet owners are probably the easiest people in the world to shop for. For the dog lovers on your list, check out The Dawg House (#3, 522C Romero NW, 244-3294), which just opened in July, for everything from treats to T-shirts to books to other canine paraphernalia. You can shop for the other half of your list at the Old Town Cat House (#4, 400-1A San Felipe NW, 924-1166).
One of the best stores in Old Town for finely crafted knick-knacks and jewelry is Horse of a Different Color (#5, 1919 Old Town NW, #3, 244-9540), where they have some particularly cool wooden animal dolls. And no one does better than Hispaniae (#6, 410 Romero NW, 244-1533) when it comes to Mexican folk art—Dia de los Muertos images, Frida Kahlo paintings, milagros, milagritos and other high-quality pieces. De Colores Galleria (#7, 112 Rio Grande NW, 246-9275) has a nifty collection of Dia de los Muertos coffee mugs along with fine furniture, sculptures and other items.
If you're really lazy, you might be able to get away with doing all of your holiday shopping at a single store—Old Town Basket and Rug Shop (#8, 301 Romero NW, 842-8022). This gigantic complex has just about every New Mexican tourist item you could ever think of. A particularly fine gift idea might be their New Mexican food gift baskets.
For the froofier entries on your shopping list, Blissful Bath (#9, 304 San Felipe St., 242-4805) makes their own soaps, shampoos, lotions, candles, deodorants and other hygienic items. Finally, it's Christmas all year round at The Christmas Shop (#10, 400 Romero NW, 843-6744) where you can stock up on every bit of Christmas paraphernalia under the sun, from Southwestern tree ornaments to nativity scenes.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to shopping in Old Town. For more information about Old Town merchants, go to oldtownalbuquerque.com or just wander aimlessly through the pleasant alleys and streets 'til you find what you're looking for.
Jacqueline Paul helped research this article.