Barelas and the South Valley maintain close ties to Albuquerque's Hispanic roots and it is here you’ll find many excellent New Mexican and Mexican restaurants, as well as the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Summer events hosted by the Rio Grande Zoo; cultural centers, performing arts, demonstrations, children’s activities, and lectures offered.
Barelas is one of Albuquerque’s first communities and well over 300-years-old.
The South Valley area has been occupied by Spanish and Mexican families for centuries. This rich fertile valley has traditionally been a farming community and it is still crisscrossed by irrigation ditches linked to the Rio Grande. Some of the adobe homes in the area are 400 years old, and many of the area’s families have been living and farming here for generations. The South Valley’s bounty of rural charm makes it easy to forget you’re in New Mexico’s biggest city!
Just south of the Downtown area lies the historic Hispanic neighborhood of Barelas. This area was originally settled because of its proximity to a natural ford in the Rio Grande river, and to the Camino Real, the colonial era trail that led more than 1,000 miles south to Mexico City. Although Barelas is close to the heart of Downtown, it has retained its strong individual character. The Barelas neighborhood is home to the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the South Broadway Cultural Center and the Rio Grande Zoo. In the last five years, Barelas has undergone an energetic revival spurred on by Downtown revitalization and the arrival of the prestigious National Hispanic Cultural Center.