First Plaza Galeria is one of Albuquerque's best kept secrets. Discovering this upscale shopping center, while strolling through the underground parking facilities of the Downtown area, can be somewhat of a surprise. Located beneath the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau offices, you can get in some shopping in the fancy art galleries or fine clothiers, dine in one of the restaurants, or plan your next vacation at the travel agency. The atmosphere is bright and elegant, and the shopkeepers' association strives to maintain a reputation of quality service and merchandise.
The parking lot of a highly commercial and large shopping center might seem an incongruous destination for a farmers market, and there must certainly be locals who resent the Albuquerque Uptown Farmers Market's 2009 move to this new location. Certainly it's not as scenic as the markets in the more rural parts of town, but it does offer the advantage of making fresh local produce available in the heart of the city, reaching those who might not otherwise have access to it. Best of all, it has Tuesday hours where most farmers markets are only open weekends, so you can replenish your stocks midweek and eat only the freshest of produce.
The Rail Yards Market is a community-driven effort that is aimed at bringing together the city's inhabitants. Organized within the historic Blacksmith Shop, it's a good place to spend some leisurely time with your entire family and sample the best of what Albuquerque has to offer in terms of art, food, music, and culture. The market is open on Sundays from May to October, and for one or two days in December. You can buy locally-grown, organic produce as well as fresh food items, some whipped up on the spot. You will also find local artists selling their handcrafted products here. Make sure to catch the live music demonstrations if you have time to spare. Health-conscious folks can pay a visit to the stalls of local healers and wellness product manufacturers. A round of the entire market can take well over two hours, so make sure you have good sports shoes and a cap on.
Flea Mart is—as the reader may already have deduced from its no-nonsense name—a sizeable indoor flea market, where more than eighty vendors sell their wares on consignment. It might be easier to attempt to describe the contents of this place by what they do not have, rather than attempting the impossible feat of listing everything they do. A little poking around can yield awesome bargains on clothes, books, music, furnishings and much, much more. Past amazing finds include a pair of two-tone, sharkskin men's cowboy boots and a beautiful antique treasure chest. - Pip Lustgarten