Of all of Albuquerque's varied streets, none is more striking than Central Avenue. A long road in its own right, it seems to go on all the way to the Sandia Mountains to the east. However, it is part of a much longer road: US Route 66, glorified over the years in songs, literature, and popular culture. Once the main "artery" of Albuquerque, Central was supplanted by the addition of Interstates 40 and 25. In fact, the I-25 overpass runs nearby, the noise of passing cars rising and falling like waves of static.
The rich history of Central Avenue makes it a reflection of Albuquerque's historic past. The revitalization of Downtown has successfully turned the neighborhood due west into a magnet attracting locals and tourists alike. Streetscape improvements with colorful lights and landscaping have been added to enliven the area. To the east lie the neighborhoods collectively known as Near Heights, home of the historic UNM Campus. These neighborhoods and the commercial areas, parks, and institutions that serve them are some of the most recognized in the city.