First look: Inside the Route 66 Visitor Center

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After almost 30 years, the new Route 66 Visitor Center is finally a reality.

“It’s a longtime vision, so it feels like a dream come true,” said Klarissa Peña, Albuquerque city councilor.

County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada said the entire West Side community has been working on getting the doors open for decades.

“So the community had come together that many years ago, saying, ‘We’ve got to get people off the freeway, we got to get them off the freeway, on Central Avenue, in order to have any shot of any kind of development,’ and so their vision was to have a visitor center,” Quezada said.

Quezada said the new visitor center will have a taproom, a museum and even an event space. The project was previously put on hold during the pandemic.

“I think we all drove by every two months to see what’s happening and see where they’re at,” Quezada said. “And yeah, COVID slowed a lot of things down, but we survived it, just like the rest of this community survived COVID.”

The center is not just for visitors to the Duke City.

“It was about getting people to come to this area of town and visit and see what we all see and love, and appreciate it,” Peña said.

Peña said residents in the neighborhood have been surveyed for years and the consensus is a big “yes” to the project.

The visitor center will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 3 p.m. and there will be live music, including Al Hurricane Jr. The celebration is expected to last through 9 p.m.

There will be no on-site parking at the center. Park and Ride services are being offered for attendees at two locations:

  • Herrera Coaches, 10605 Central Ave. NW
  • Central and Unser Blvd. Transit Park & Ride lot