The word swag has a variety of connotations. When it comes to Nob Hill, Albuquerque’s quirky shopping district, I think of the loose definition of swag: Having style; to be adorned or festooned in a cool and colorful way.
Nob Hill has swag, as these photos certainly attest to. In fact, it has arguably the most ‘swag’ of any commercial strip in Albuquerque. Admittedly, the swag has become a bit more subdued of late. It seems that the better the economy, the more swag can be seen in Nob Hill.
Above, you see some of my favorite vintage Nob Hill swag. The most recent swag casualty of note is the flying saucer signage that recently adorned the now-defunct Satellite Coffee Shop on Central Ave. in the heart of Nob Hill. It was bold, colorful and full of swag. The trio of shots above shows wildly iconic architectural touches that adorned Nob Hill nearly a decade ago. Look at that color, that style, that swag baby!
Now, admittedly, some of that swag has disappeared, some has changed. Can there be a Nob Hill without swag I ask? Well, can there be a classic Cadillac without fins?
Of course, Nob Hill remains the most fashion-conscious strip along the old Route 66 in Albuquerque. It mixes bits of kitschy Route 66 roadside architecture with quirky Hippie references and modern suave. Swag lives in its restaurant signage, hip boutiques, and one-of-a-kind gift shops.
What is more, Nob Hill is a truly walkable downtown strip, not a mall stuffed with generic chain stores. Each shop along this strip has a truly unique personality. This is Route 66 with earrings. Costume jewelry earrings perhaps, but earrings nonetheless!
If you are planning a trip to Albuquerque, be sure to soak in a bit of Nob Hill’s swag. Bring an appetite, a camera, and wear your designer flip-flops. Let the swag feast begin!