Yoga pants, unlimited access to pantry snacks, lunchtime naps on the couch, and my music blasting as loud as I want. These are just a few of my favorite things about working from home. I’ve worked from home since 2014, and as much as I love the comfort of my home, sometimes I just need a change of scenery. Especially when juggling the competing priorities of work and family.
And let’s be honest, a little “me” time amidst the madness? Yes, please! As a work-from-home mom, I’ve scoured our local scene for spots where you can set up your laptop, enjoy some fresh ambiance (that doesn’t include the nagging voice in your head telling you to do the dishes instead of responding to clients), and indulge in a delicious latte (or brew).
Where Java Meets the Job: Coffee Shops
Castle Coffee in Rio Rancho
This is Castle Coffee’s second location (they can also be found in downtown Abq), and I’m such a fan. They are located in a busy shopping center and I was hesitant at first, but once inside, I was hooked by the ambiance coupled with the friendly staff. They have fast wi-fi and partner with some great local eateries, meaning the sticky buns were top notch. But, all of that pales in comparison to the coffee. Castle Coffee serves their own roasted coffee for the days you stay at home. I recommend grabbing the Costa Rican blend to brew at home.
Sunday Service Motor Co.
No matter the brew you’re into, this place is for you! This is my go-to for when I need to get out of the house to work on a long project. The tables are big, there are plenty of power outlets, and the seating is comfortable. I can start my workday with a Sunday Latte, rehydrate with Topo Chico and lime, and when my creativity hits a wall, I can boost it with a pint of the Compa Blue Corn Lager from Steelbender Brewing. I love the patio, too! Bonus: It’s covered so I can still see my computer screen even when sitting outside.
I was ecstatic when Catalyst opened a brick and mortar after first establishing itself as a force in delicious coffee with its coffee truck. This is my favorite spot when I just can’t have another Zoom meeting and want to meet a client in person. There’s plenty of parking, it’s so bright and welcoming inside, and they make the best Cortado. As a solo proprietor, I am grateful to their amazing team members, too. I often think of them as trusted colleagues, especially when I need a bio-break and they gladly keep an eye on my laptop. Top notch!
Piñon Coffee House
There are several locations around town, but I most often go to the 4th street location. I love to post up on the high bar situated across the windows and watch the movements of the city through the glass while enjoying a biscochito donut and a Mexican-spiced latte. This is another great spot for meetings or just focusing on a particular project. In fact, I’m writing this from my favorite stool watching the cars zip by through the window. It’s also a great spot if I need to get some work done after I pick up my kiddo from preschool. She loves sipping on a smoothie or drinking some lemonade while munching on a cookie. Plus, they have a comfy couch and a free little library to keep her occupied while mama sends the millionth email for the day. A win-win!
» » » » » RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Top 20 Coffee Shops in the Albuquerque Area « « « « «
Where Stacks Meet Strategies: Libraries
The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Public Libraries
Besides the obvious quiet ambiance, the public libraries are a great place to spend an afternoon working away. With 19 library locations across Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, you’re sure to find a clean, safe, welcoming environment anywhere. Several locations offer free services to members (Don’t have a library card? Get one today!) that include access to meeting rooms and smaller study rooms, perfect for video calls.
They also offer free wifi and public access computers if you don’t have one of your own or maybe you forgot your laptop charger. Plus, with a printing service at 15ȼ per page and separate fax and copier service, the library is basically a concierge for solopreneurs. Thank you to all the professional public servants who provide such incredible services to our community!
- My personal favorite branches:
- Taylor Ranch
- Cherry Hills
- Los Griegos
- International District
- Loma Colorado (Rio Rancho)
Culinary Cubicles: Restaurants
The Daily Grind
Locally owned and centrally located, The Daily Grind is one of my favorite spots to escape the mundane of mi casa. I love how bright and vibrant the outdoor patio is and the casual overall vibe. The wi-fi is fast, and there is always plenty of space in the mornings. There is always a lunch rush and finding seats near power outlets can be a challenge, but if you are an early bird, it’s the perfect spot to get your creative juices flowing. I love it for lunch meetings when meeting clients or colleagues because the menu is to die for, especially the daily specials. Delish!
What kind of list would this be without Flying Star? It’s ideal for a working lunch or a late afternoon session when it’s less crowded. The food and desserts are always comforting, and depending on what I must get done for the afternoon, I either go for a handcrafted latte, a slice of the strawberry rhubarb pie, or a glass of the Red Stuff and cauliflower (un) wings.
Village Inn (Rio Rancho)
Okay, I know it’s a chain, but hear me out. With great wi-fi and easy access to a plethora of power outlets, Village Inn is a great spot to cop a squat. I always start by ordering coffee, and they bring me the whole dang pot! The servers aren’t overly attentive which is amazing when you have ADHD like me. I tend to get very distracted when interrupted and it can take a bit of time for me to get back on task. At Village Inn, the servers are fully aware of my cues and always give me the space I need to work, but they’re not hard to find when I need an extra slice of pie to keep me energized. Oh, yeah . . . the PIE!
Flora, Fauna, and Focused Work: Bio Park
BioPark (Botanical Gardens, Aquarium, and Zoo)
Sometimes, nature is the best backdrop for thinking. In my line of work, I do a ton of research and reading. On the days I have abstracts and policies to review, I like to print them out (old school!) or download them to my Kindle (new school!), pack some snacks, my picnic blanket (this one from Costco is my favorite), spread out on the grass, and jump right into my work. But, if you can’t possibly unplug for work and rely on wi-fi, no worries! The BioPark offers free wi-fi at all three park locations.
Every café and eatery carries their homemade red chile potato chips, the best crunchy snack when sending email after email. If the BioPark is your jam, you can get your tickets online, but I highly recommend signing up for a membership. With several options to choose from, you will save a ton of money on entrance fees and you’ll have free access all year long.
I love to hang out in the Japanese Garden. There are so many beautiful spots to sit, take in the wonderful aromas, and read. It’s so calming and meditative. As a work-from-home mom, sometimes my kiddo is with me while I’m working, and the Children’s Fantasy Garden is a great spot to let her explore while I read. We especially love the giant pumpkin when it’s hot and the BUGarium (easy restroom access).
Shark Reef Café is awesome! Open from 9am – 5pm and serving both breakfast and lunch, it’s fun to grab a table right next to the shark tank and watch the sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays swimming along.
The Penguin Chill exhibit is the perfect place to chill. With free wi-fi and stadium-like seating inside the exhibit, you can work and get an up-close look at the cutest little business birds in their fancy tuxedos. And as a work-from-home mom in perimenopause, the cold habitat is just what I need when those hot flashes hit.
Honorable mentions: Civic Plaza and Old Town Plaza
As the laptop closes, here are my last sips of advice for all the work-from-home hustlers.
It’s important to get out, but it’s equally important to be considerate. Be mindful and try not to take up space during peak hours (especially in small coffee shops and restaurants). And always make purchases and tip well if you stay long.
Be kind and courteous when taking a call or joining a video conference in a public space. Nobody wants to hear all that. Take precautions when utilizing public wi-fi. These access points, while convenient, may not always be the most secure. Protect your personal information and online accounts. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, when available, and if you can invest in a private VPN, do so.
Indulging in an escape from the mundane not only gives me the break I deserve, but it boosts my productivity. Protect your sanity and allow yourself to change the view from your “office window.” You’ve got this, boss mama!
Is your favorite not on the list? Well, let me know what it is! I’m always looking for new places to sip, eat, and work.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.