Albuquerque is New Mexico's largest city. It sits at the foot of the dramatic 10,600-foot Sandia Mountains and extends across the vast Rio Grande Valley. It is a popular gateway for northern New Mexico destinations such as Santa Fe and Taos, but it's also a vibrant city in its own right.
It is the nation's hot-air ballooning capital, a great place for outdoorsy activities, and learning about the region's rich Native American and Hispanic heritage. It is also incredibly easy to get to, with an international airport just minutes away from the city center.
A handful of resources provide information on the city in general, and also on the local gay scene. Albuquerque Pride is a very useful local website that covers LGBT life, as well as so the city's alternative newsweekly, The Alibi, which lists a number of hip and progressive restaurants and arts events.
Getting to Know the Local LGBT Scene
Like the other major gay destinations in New Mexico like Santa Fe and Taos, Albuquerque has long had a strong following among artsy types, outdoors enthusiasts, feminists, New Agers, and others who often share interests with gay and lesbian travelers.
The gay Albuquerque scene is low-key but visible. There isn't a distinctive neighborhood in the city with an overwhelming gay presence. However, the funky Nob Hill district, near the campus of the University of New Mexico, and bisected by Historic Route 66, has the greatest concentration of shops, restaurants, and bars popular with the LGBT community. There are a handful of gay bars and clubs like Effex, Apothecary Lounge, and the very popular Albuquerque Social Club, plus numerous gay-owned and gay-friendly bed and breakfasts, hotels, and inns.
The Albuquerque Pride Parade is a three-day celebration designed to bring the LGBTQ community and allies together for a weekend of friendship and celebration of gay pride. In addition to the celebrations, the event also raises funds for the Albuquerque Pride Community Programs, which helps to educate the public about the existence and continuing civil rights battle facing the LGBTIQ community.
Way Out West Film Festival
The Way Out West Film Festival has been held since 2003. Run by Closet Cinema, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing queer cinema, the festival is one of the largest in the state, and draws crowds of over 4,000 people each year. The festival is held for seven days each October, and screens over 75 features, shorts, and documentaries from filmmakers from all over the world.