Free Holiday Fun in Albuquerque

Luminarias Light Up City for Christmas

Luminaria Tour in Albuquerque at Christmas
Visit Albuquerque

Luminarias are the hallmark of Christmas in Albuquerque, and you can see them all over the city, from the University of New Mexico to Old Town and the Country Club neighborhood and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Most of these places are also the scene of traditional and annual holiday season events that get you in the spirit of Christmas. Check out what's happening around the holidays.

  • 01 of 07
    Old Town Plaza
    Peter Unger/Getty Images

    The Old Town Albuquerque Holiday Stroll gets the holiday season started on December 1 with the annual lighting of the Old Town Christmas tree, accompanied by live entertainment and loads of shopping specials. Old Town is lit every holiday season with luminarias, in itself a sight to behold and an Albuquerque tradition.

  • 02 of 07

    Save the date for one of Albuquerque's signature holiday events, the Twinkle Light Parade on Dec. 2. Floats, bands, bikes, cars, and Santa himself will parade down East Central Avenue through Nob Hill from Washington Street to Girard Boulevard from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Pack up the kids, some warm clothing, hot chocolate, and some Christmas cookies and head out for an event with some real Christmas spirit.

  • 03 of 07
    Pueblo Cultural Center
    Ernesto Burciaga/Getty Images

    If you are on the hunt for traditional Native American gifts, head to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Dec. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. for its annual Pueblo Shop & Stroll, lit by countless luminarias. You'll find handmade Christmas ornaments in clay, jewelry, and works of art. Have some hot chocolate by the bonfire as you experience a performance by the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers at the end of the evening.

  • 04 of 07

    One of the highlights of Christmas in Albuquerque is a tour of luminaria displays on Christmas Eve. Walk around the Old Town Plaza and venture into the Country Club neighborhood on Dec. 24, with stops for hot chocolate, carolers, and holiday cheer along the way. Other neighborhoods to try are Ridgecrest and North Albuquerque Acres. Enjoy the lights as soon as the sun goes down. 

    You can drive yourself if you know the area or you can take a tour so you can gawk as much as you like. (The tour is not free, and tickets are required.) The Christmas Eve tour begins at the Albuquerque Convention Center and meanders through Old Town and the Country Club area.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    The Hanging of the Greens at the University of New Mexico is its oldest student tradition, and it takes place in 2017 at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the UNM Bookstore. Carolers will move across campus to University House with a wreath for UNM's president. Then a reception will be held at Hodgin Hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Besides the caroling and the formal wreath presentation, UNM is the scene of a gorgeous and large luminaria display, not to be missed.

  • 06 of 07

    The Belen Harvey House Museum, in Belen, about a half hour's drive from Albuquerque, puts on a spectacular light show every year for the holidays. It is lit with more than 300,000 lights and is decorated with vintage Christmas items, nativity scenes, and more than 100 Christmas trees. There are also treats to eat and music to enjoy. Bugg Lights is open every day from Nov. 25 through Dec. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.

  • 07 of 07
    Albuquerque
    Bob Thomason/Getty Images

    The holiday season means lots of shopping, and what better way to get into the spirit than at the Nob Hill Shop & Stroll on Dec. 7. Central Avenue will be closed to traffic between Girard and San Mateo boulevards to make it easier to walk around the Nob Hill area of interesting local shops. If that's not enough, there will be live music and decorations of the season.