Run by Paddy O'Riley and his grandson Kenneth, this strip-mall repository has a lock on Albuquerque's paint-flinging needs. For $170, you can score a Tippmann 98, a full-package machine for the beginner. Upgrades are easy, and these folks live up to the “N-Stuff” part of their name with tons of custom stocks, barrels and response triggers. Fill a stocking with paintballs ($14 a box, $54 a case) and don't forget the masks!
This country-chic gift shop is packed with regionally made crafts for the home and garden—wooden birdhouses, handmade bath salts, wild herb sachets, and candles in all sizes and scents. For the holidays, consider wrapping your packages in beautifully patterned All Decked Out packing tape ($5.95 a roll), or add a Christmas emery board to a loved one's stocking (a bargain at $1.25). If you're still stumped, you can always select a fresh bouquet of flowers.
Dan's has been a North Valley institution longer than most people can remember, and its selection of boots is simply mindboggling. Whether you're a Justin wearer or an Ariat loyalist, Dan's has got you shod. If you can name an animal, it's probably been skinned and turned into a boot somewhere on these shelves. They stock men's, women's and an entire wall of kids' boots (so cute!). Jeans, hats and steppin'-out shirts are also in plentiful supply.
7601 Fourth Street NW • 898-7354 Hours: Every day 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Los Ranchos is quickly becoming Albuquerque's antiquing center. The Co-op is one of the older shops in the area, however, and is perfect for those who like digging for their treasure. Ramble from room to room sampling random wares from dozens of vendors. (Watch your step and your head.) Paintings, books, housewares, furniture, decorations, it's all here amid the overflowing country store atmosphere. Antiques range from classic (Victorian tea towels) to pop-cultural (Spider-Man lunchboxes).
La Parada de Alameda
8917 Fourth Street NW • 897-8203 www.shoplaparada.com Hours: Wed.-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Mon. and Tue.
With its low-slung Southwestern architecture and huge outdoor yard, this Mexican-style mercantile features a multitude of gifts for indoors and out. There are brightly painted Mexican pots and statuary outside. Inside, there's more great imported pottery (Majolica even!), plus jewelry, clothing, folk art, even Christmas stockings made from vintage fabric ($34.99). A wide range of decorative crosses goes from simple ceramic ($5) to rustic wrought iron ($36) to elaborate milagro-encrusted ($62).