Spring in Albuquerque, New Mexico is full of flowers, warm weather, and sunshine. Albuquerque experiences 310 days of sunshine each year and only 9 inches of rainfall annually, so you can plan on outdoor activities and events throughout spring and into summer.
The dry, high desert climate makes even warmer temperatures comfortable, and spring's average highs hover around 69 degrees and average daily lows around 44 degrees. Outdoor events and activities are ideal activities for a May visit and include the May wine and beer festivals, Cinco de Mayo, and evening art walks.
Annual May Events
New Mexico Wine Festival: Held in Balloon Fiesta Park, the annual wine festival is a 3-day event held in over Memorial Day weekend. The event presents New Mexico wineries and international food and crafts vendors in a relaxed, festive setting.
Cinco de Mayo: Albuquerque's Cinco de Mayo events celebrate Mexican culture with parades, folklórico dance, mariachis, and, of course, amazing food and drink. Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla when Mexican forces won in the military battle against the French forces of Napolean III. In Albuquerque, the National Hispanic Cultural Center holds special events and you're likely to see Cinco de Mayo specials on food and drink at Albuquerque's Mexican restaurants such as El Pinto, where they serve both New Mexican and Mexican dishes and a whole menu of Margaritas in a garden setting.
Albuquerque Beer Week: Beer lovers will enjoy this annual event which kicks off toward the end of May. Events take place at breweries across the area and people gather at larger venues such as Sandia Resort and Casino for Brews and Blues over Memorial Day weekend. Watch the event Facebook page for upcoming plans.
Mother's Day at the Zoo: Each May, families are invited to bring Mom for a day at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. There is usually a special Mother's Day Concert with well-known musical ensembles such as the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra. Mother's Day events are included with regular admission.
Ongoing Events to Go To in May
First Friday ARTScrawl: The Albuquerque First Friday ARTScrawl and ARTful Saturday are self-guided gallery walking tours that take place each month at galleries across the city. Pick up a brochure with a list of participating member galleries with details about their current shows and you use the listings and gallery map to plan your own tour.
Native American Cultural Dances: In New Mexico, the Native Pueblo communities celebrate seasonal cycles through prayer, song, and dance. Many of these ceremonial dances are open by invitation only. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is the only place in North America to offer traditional Native American dances every week year-round in a social setting where you are invited to watch and even take photos. The schedule includes dance groups from the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, as well as Plains, Navajo, Apache, and Hopi dancers. During May, dances are scheduled on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Things to Do and See in May
Walk Through the Botanic Garden: May is an ideal time to stroll through the botanic garden in the Albuquerque BioPark, cited by the Travel Channel as one of the top 12 in the country. The garden, a 36-acre botanical garden next to the Rio Grande, exhibits desert plants, rainforest plants in a 10,000-square-foot conservatory, and has both formal themed gardens and a demonstration garden.
Picnic and Fish at Tingley Beach: Located adjacent to the Rio Grande Bosque (woods), Tingley Beach has three fishing ponds that are free and open to the public (you will need your New Mexico fishing license though). The beach has grassy areas and picnic tables and paths for strolling after lunch and there are paddle boats you can rent for a little fun on the water.
Ride the Sandia Peak Tram: The Sandia Peak Tramway, the world's longest tramway, runs to the top of Sandia Peak at 10,378 feet altitude. May is an ideal month to take the tram because the weather is warming and you may have a clear view of Albuquerque and beyond. The new restaurant, named Ten 3 (because of the elevation at the top of the Sandias) is close to being finished and is due to open at some point in 2019.
Hang Out in Old Town: Old Town Albuquerque's narrow streets and old adobe buildings are where you'll find some good New Mexican food such as those flat, layered enchiladas and fluffy sopaipilla pastries. Photo-worthy stops include the venerable San Felipe de Neri Church and the little shops in historic adobe buildings where you can shop for Native American jewelry and weavings.
Visit the Balloon Museum: The huge hot air balloon fiesta takes place each year in October, but May is a good time to visit the Anderson-Abruzzo International
Balloon Museum to see hot air balloons, learn about ballooning history and visit the new Hall of Fame of balloonists. The museum, which overlooks Balloon Fiesta Park, is open free of charge Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the first Friday of the month (excluding October).
Go Birding at the Nature Center: While many species of migrating birds have left the area by May, it's an ideal time to see local birds doing some nest building. If you enjoy getting out in nature and discovering local birds and riparian wildlife, then a visit to the Rio Grande Nature Center where there are indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas overlooking ponds, and trail access to the Rio Grande, is in order.