The best time to visit Albuquerque is during the fall season from September through November. The temperature has cooled some from the summer heat and is ideal for fall festivals, including the world’s largest ballooning event. Plus, it’s chile roasting season, and if there's one thing Albuqerqueans love, it's chiles.
It’s tough to find a time that isn’t appropriate to visit Albuquerque as this high desert destination is known for its mild climate. May through October is high season in Albuquerque, and there are an abundance of festivals to check out. The holiday season brings cooler yet still mild temperatures, and the affordable skiing/snowboarding at Sandia Peak Ski Area and surrounding slopes give the area a festive holiday appeal. All in all, winter is a treasured season in the Southwest.
No matter when you visit Albuquerque, chances are you'll see balloons in the skies: the Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World boasts 300 flyable days a year. Add to that the number of sunny days, festivals, and Southwestern cuisine, and you'll find any season ends up being the best time to visit Albuquerque.
Popular Events and Festivals
Albuquerque is known for hosting a bounty of festivals, fairs, and expositions all year. If there’s an event to celebrate, you’ll likely find a festival in its honor: folk art, film, kites, music, rivers, and cowboys. That's not to mention the International Balloon Fiesta, plus seasonal celebrations at the Native American pueblos.
The Weather in Albuquerque
While the climate is moderate, this is a high desert and there are still distinct seasons. The winter months from December through February run cool, with average temps in the upper 40s during the day and close to 30 degrees at night. Summer, from June through August, runs hot and dry with temps during the day in the upper 80s.
Winter in Albuquerque
It’s always a great time to get outdoors in Albuquerque and winter is no exception. The days are sunny, with temperatures reaching the high 40s to mid 50s—perfect for taking one of Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory's many tours. January is a popular month for skiing and snowboarding; if you want to hit the slopes, head to the nearby Sandia Peak Ski Area or surrounding spots like Ski Santa Fe and Ski Taos. In February, daily high temperatures rise to between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
Events to check out:
- River of Lights or the Twinkle Light Parade: These holiday events make winter a treasured season within the heart of the Southwest.
- Nature in Winter Festival: Put on by the ABQ Backyard Refuge Program, the event will teach you how to create a habitat for birds and insects in your own backyard.
- New Mexico Black History Festival: This celebrates important contributions made by African Americans in New Mexico and the United States. Events are held the entire month of February.
Spring in Albuquerque
Although March brings slightly warmer weather (average temperatures are in the low 60s), the air is often chilly due to seasonal winds. You’ll want to bring a jacket for evening activities. Average temperatures climb to the upper 60s to mid 70s in April, making it a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the spring flowers.
Events to check out:
- National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show: Taste and purchase more than 1,000 fiery food products at this three-day festival, which sees 170 exhibitors and 20,000 people annually.
- Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest: This is the place to go if you want to indulge in fine chocolate, coffee, and gourmet food, as well as locally-crafted wine, beer, and spirits. Enjoy events like cake decorating classes, live music, culinary demonstrations, baking contests, and, of course, coffee and chocolate portrait painting classes.
- Light the Night Sky Lantern Festival: Every April, lanterns are sent skyward to honor lost loved ones, make wishes for the future, or release the past.
- The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow: This features competitive Native American singing and dancing, with more than 3,000 participants from Tribes across North America. You’ll find a performance stage, the Indian Traders’ Market (which boasts 400 arts and crafts vendors), a food court, and more.
- Cinco de Mayo: In Albuquerque, the 5th of May is celebrated with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods.
- New Mexico Wine Festival: New Mexico’s biggest wine event, the festival features selections from the state's best wineries. You'll also find artisans, food trucks, and musicians at this annual three-day Memorial Day weekend event.
Summer in Albuquerque
June brings summer into full swing with temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s. Temps remain in the low 90s through July and August. Expect frequent afternoon showers throughout the summer months.
Events to check out:
- Festival Flamenco Alburquerque: During this eight-day festival, Albuquerque dedicates itself to the art form of flamenco.
- Summerfests: These free concerts around town run from June to August.
- Albuquerque Folk Festival: Demonstrations and lessons during this festival teach folk activities like music, dance, and storytelling, in old American, New Mexican, Middle Eastern, and other international traditions.
- Mariachi Spectacular: This is the place to learn about the history of Mariachi and watch it being performed.
- Route 66 Summerfest: The event features an Old Route 66 Car Show, a kids' zone, art market, food trucks, and live entertainment.
- Red & Green VegFest: Learn about all things vegan and its effects on the planet.
Fall in Albuquerque
As fall settles in, the temperatures drop to the 80s and 70s—and with that comes a variety of festivals to explore. The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, one of the most famous balloon festivals in the world, is held the first and second weeks of October. November brings cooler air as the temperatures drop to the mid 50s.
Events to check out:
- New Mexico State Fair: See horse races, rodeos, concerts, craft concerts, and more at this annual September fair.
- SOMOS ABQ: During this event, chefs, brewers, musicians, performers, nonprofits, and community organizations band together to present an immersive showcase of the city's talent, creativity, and spirit.
- ¡GLOBALQUERQUE!: This annual music festival is held each September at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
- Salsa Fiesta: You can pick your favorite salsa at this annual tasting event in Old Town.
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: More than 500 hot air balloons from around the world fill the sky in a spectacular display.
- Albuquerque Tango Festival: One of the most celebrated and attended tango festivals in the U.S., you can enjoy workshops, classes, and plenty of tango dancing over this three-day weekend event.