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New Mexico's largest city observes the holiday season with notable style and festivities. Take part in the holiday celebration including coupons, centuries-old traditions and numerous events that offer something for everyone.
 

Holiday/Winter Hotel Packages & Deals

Luminarias

The holiday season in Albuquerque means Luminarias. Luminarias are a simple brown paper bag, partially filled with sand to make it stable and a single votive candle to illuminate the simple lunch bag. Several of these together create a beautiful ambiance welcoming guests into your home for a holiday party or celebration. A fun way to experience a little bit of Albuquerque’s holiday traditions is to create luminarias to line your driveways, sidewalks and maybe even your roof at home.

The annual Old Town Luminaria Tour on December 24th is not to be missed.

Watch our special two minute holiday video about Luminarias, "Life of a Brown Paper Bag."

Native American Dancing and Pueblo Feast Days

Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on weekends and enjoy Native American dancing and art demonstrations, you can also take part in baking bread and making art. The holidays are a wonderful time to visit the neighboring pueblos, many of them hold feast day celebrations in November and December.  View more information and see the schedule here.   

Shopping:

Albuquerque has the biggest and best shopping in the entire state with three premier malls and many special shopping areas and specialty stores. Whether you have been to Albuquerque or not, there is something for everyone from traditional Southwestern jewelry and pottery to contemporary designs of paintings, sculpture and more.

Stroll through two of Albuquerque’s historic neighborhoods and shop in unique local shops on two consecutive days.

  • The Nob Hill Shop & Stroll on Saturday, December 7 begins with the Twinkle Light Parade and includes shopping and food specials, family entertainment, and photos with Santa.
  • The Old Town Stroll on Friday, December 6 features live entertainment, dancers, family activities, Santa Claus and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis. 
Check out 10 great local holiday gifts.

Dining

And we can’t forget the food. Food is so essential to our identity that our state even has a state question, “Red or green?” which refers to the type of chile you prefer on your dish at a restaurant. The delicious flavors of New Mexico’s cuisine make perfect gifts for any time of year, but are especially popular at the holidays to add a little spice to the winter months - products like New Mexican green chile, dried red chile powder, more types of salsa than you can imagine, and our tasty State Cookie, the biscochito.

The festive season brings traditional New Mexican culinary specialties to the forefront with tamales, posole, and biscochitos on every table.

Treat yourself to a special holiday dinner at one of Albuquerque's fine dining establishments.  Albuquerque was recently named one of "20 Awesome Winter Foodie Destinations" by Zagat.com.

Add a taste of Albuquerque to your holiday season with traditional New Mexican recipes.

Holiday Escape

The holidays can be hectic and stressful, treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment at one of the premium Albuquerque area spas.

Museums

Visit one of the many distinguished museums and learn about the centuries-old history of Albuquerque, the 19 pueblos of New Mexico as well as turquoise, dinosaurs, hot air balloons, rattlesnakes and more!

Outdoor Activities

Celebrate winter with a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway or take a  day trip from Albuquerque for skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking and snowshoeing in the surrounding mountains. Sandia Peak Ski Area is working on improvements and gearing up for the 2013 - 2014 season. 

Special Holiday Events

Tastes of the Season November 9-10
Tastes of the Season is your holiday wine, food, and shopping experience. Visit the Star Center for all of your holiday preparations meal and cooking ideas, wine for entertaining as well as gift giving and to start that holiday shopping!

Holiday Wine Tasting November 13
Join our Wine Director for a wine tasting focused on a selection of Holiday wines. Tastings will be followed by a special La Merienda dinner at The Inn.

Capitol Christmas Tree Albuquerque Stop November 15
The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree will once again be stopping in Albuquerque, New Mexico on its journey to the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The festive celebration will feature luminarias, hot chocolate, apple cider, cookies, a Toys for Tots collection, an area to make ornaments and more.

Weems International Artfest
November 15-17
Weems Artfest has become a nationally recognized juried art event for the knowledgeable art collector. Artfest offers educational activities for children and adults through Children’s ArtSMart, artist’s demonstrations, Student Art Booths, and the inclusion of Albuquerque museums and various state and city philanthropic organizations.

Miracle on 34th Street November 20-December 24
Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. Especially at stake is one little girl’s belief in Santa.

32nd Annual Placitas Holiday Fine Harts & Crafts Show November 23-24
For 32 years, locals and visitors have enjoyed the transition to the holidays while shopping, talking with the artists, and meeting old friends amidst the creative wonders of the Placitas Holiday Sale. Traditionally held on the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale has been a beacon for artists and art lovers. The Placitas Holiday Sale has acquired an excellent reputation for extremely high quality fine arts and crafts, good food, fine wine and lots of fun.

Traditional Winter Spanish Market November 29-30
The Winter Market will showcase the work of 100 New Mexico Hispanic artists both adult and youth. Many of the unique, handmade art pieces will have a Holiday theme and are perfect for the collector, for the home, or to be given as gifts.

Concert: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas November 29
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas is the first Christmas album and sixth studio album released by new age musical group Mannheim Steamroller. The group has released five subsequent Christmas studio albums, most recently Christmasville in October 2008. It was the band's first album to crack the Billboard album chart, peaking at #50.

A Christmas Carol November 29-30
A holiday favorite! A Christmas Carol tells the story of the miserly Mr. Scrooge who is visited on Christmas Eve by ghosts that show his past, present and future. The family of Bob Cratchit becomes instrumental in a heart change for Ebeneezer Scrooge. Start off your holiday season with this heart-warming tale that the entire family will enjoy.

Corrales Winter ArtFest November 29-December 1
Get a start on your holiday shopping at the Corrales Winter ArtFest. 38 Corrales Society of Artists members will be selling their art during this 3 day show!

Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival-Holiday Show November 29-December 1
The Rio Grande Holiday Show marks a great opportunity for artists and festival goers to experience one of Albuquerque’s best-loved events while enjoying live holiday music, festive food sampling, and much more. It’s no surprise that this festival takes the turkey when it comes to New Mexico’s Thanksgiving Weekend traditions!

Albuquerque Civic Chorus Holiday Concert November 30
The South Broadway Cultural Center is proud to bring you a marvelous holiday performance featuring the Albuquerque Civic Chorus. Over 70 of Albuquerque's top vocal performers will delight you with their performance of Saint-Saens' "Christmas Oratorio" and Britten's "Ceremony of Carols".

The Nutcracker Ballet November 30 - December 8
NM Ballet Company presents an enchanting world where life-sized mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes dance, and delicate sweets entertain.

16th Annual River of Lights November 30-January 5
Visitors of all ages can enjoy the dazzling displays of animals, fantastical creatures and much more as they stroll throughout New Mexico’s largest walk-through light show.

Cooking Class: Holiday Feast December 1
The holidays are right around the corner and we want you to be a super star host! Our focus for this class will be on prime rib, classic seasonal sides and show stopping desserts! You'll be sure to "wow" your guests with these delicious entrees.

Holiday Nature Crafts at the River of Lights December 4, December 11, December 18
An event for the whole family to enjoy. Create gifts inspired by nature at the River of Lights.

Old Town Holiday Stroll December 6
Shopping, live entertainment, dancers, family activities, Santa Claus on hand and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis.

University of New Mexico Home for the Holidays Concert December 6-7
Three of the University of New Mexico's finest choirs will present their second annual holiday program at the historic Kimo Theater. The groups involved will include the UNM Concert Choir, Las Cantantes (the UNM women's chorus) and the UNM Children's Chorus.

Festival of Trees December 6-8
Special guest appearance by Santa Claus and free photos. Bring your own ornament or craft supplies (or use ours) and create an ornament for a child at Carrie Tingley at the Elves' Workshop. All weekend, enjoy live entertainment from local acts.

16th Annual Nutcracker on the Rocks December 6-8
Keshet’s Nutcracker on the Rocks is an original rock-n-roll rendition of the classical holiday tale, incorporating the music of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin.

25th Old Church Holiday Fine Art Show December 6-8
The Old Church Holiday Fine Crafts Show is held annually the first weekend of December. The Old San Ysidro Church is filled with a variety of exceptional quality crafts and festively decorated. All work is handmade by the exhibitor and may include jewelry, pottery, fabric, paper, gourds, ornaments, and more.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever December 6-22
Something for the whole family this Christmas! In this hilarious tale, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids, possibly the most inventively awful kids in history. You won't believe the mayhem and the fun when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head-on!

The Vortex Theatre Holiday Festival December 6-22
A festival of multi-cultural holiday themed pieces of any variety! A variety of 8-10 minute plays, monologues, poetry, musical pieces, and dance, presenting holiday reflections, themes, points-of-view, and stories from different cultures, religions, races, and genders.

Kringle Jingle 12K
December 7
Join us for the Kringle Jingle 12K including a 6K and Kids K. This event is a must on your holiday to do list. The Kringle Jingle is set in the beautiful Four Hills Neighborhood.

Starlight Parade December 7

Come join us for the Starlight Parade and follow us through the Village of Corrales to the Rec Center for a visit with St. Nick for the kids and a huge bonfire and cookies for all.

Holiday Pie Mania December 7
Enjoy delectable tastings as you watch top chefs demonstrate how to make their signature holiday pies, then bid on your favorites in a lively auction, to be freshly baked in time for Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations and gift giving.

Nob Hill Shop & Stroll December 7
Annual Holiday Spectacular, new this year we a teaming up with Nob Hill's Shop and Stroll. Start at noon and shop the day away in a festive relaxed atmosphere. Starting at 5:15 p.m. the Twinkle Light Parade will travel from Washington to Girard. See floats, cars, marching bands, bicycles, animals and more!

Twinkle Light Parade December 7
The fun and exciting Twinkle Light Parade will travel west on Central Avenue between Washington Street and Girard Blvd. Central Avenue will be closed from San Mateo to Girard. Featuring floats filled with twinkling lights, custom cars, bands, dancers and much more, the parade will add to the magic of the evening.

Family Artsmaking Workshop: Paper Arts & Holiday Sparkle December 7
The Education Program invites families for a morning of artmaking focused on paper arts. We will learn some box-making techniques, bag-making, envelope creation and some cut/collage techniques with re-cycled paper, scissors and glue.

Garden Holidays December 7-31
Embrace the holiday spirit at the Botanic Garden during the daylight hours through the month of December.San felipe de neri with luminarias in old town by marblestreetstudio.com

Albuquerque Concert Band Holiday Show December 8
The Albuquerque Concert Band is an all-volunteer organization presenting programs of fine music for concert band in the Albuquerque area throughout the year. Enjoy your holiday music favorites at this free concert.

Christmas at Kuaua December 8
Warm your tummies with hot chocolate and cider and your hearts with familiar carols and a visit from St. Nick! Share plates of cookies with the jolly ol’ man. Delight in the glow of hundreds of beautiful luminarias and gaily decorated trees. Gather ‘round the roaring bon fire where Native drummers and storytellers will move your spirit.

The Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker December 11
Celebrating its 21th anniversary The Moscow Ballet brings this holiday classic to Albuquerque. With larger than life puppets, 9 hand-painted backdrops and hundreds of exquisite costumes, the Great Russian Nutcracker is the most spectacular Christmas celebration!

Albuquerque Jingle Bell Run/Walk December 13
Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Raise funds to fight arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. 5K or 1 one mile run or walk Santa's Village, Senior Corner, Food Trucks, Live Music, Twinkle Lights and much more.

Coffee Tasting December 13
In this class, you will learn more about the flavor, body, acidity and aroma of coffee. We proudly serve locally roasted Villa Myriam specialty coffee, and the class will be lead by talented owners Juan and David.

Performance: Mariachi Christmas December 13
The thrilling horns and whirling dancers bring the colorful celebrations of a Mexican Christmas to our stage.

Christmas Joy December 13-15
Come celebrate the Spirit of Christmas in dance as the Performers Ballet & Jazz Company will present the 26th season of its Bravos award-winning holiday production.

Nebraska Theatre Caravan Presents A Christmas Carol December 14
With all the warmth and comfort of a cup of Christmas cheer, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan production of A Christmas Carol is packed with laughter, pageantry, and gorgeous costumes. Every memorable detail of Dickens' tale springs to life, from spine-chilling ghosts to deeply-felt carols, bringing the joy of Christmas to you and your family.

New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus Show December 14-15
Kickoff your holiday season with a show filled with all the fun and surprises that have made the New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus holiday concert one of the area's favorite traditions. It's a performance that is sure to delight with laughter and merriment.

The Ballet Repertory Theatre Presents The Nutcracker December 14-22
An enchanting world where life-sized mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes dance, and delicate sweets entertain. Ballet Repertory Theatre's holiday classic has been a family favorite since 1996 and is a great way to relax and reflect on the beauty of the season.

Festival of Voices December 15
This will be New Mexico’s most intimate and moving holiday season performance ever! Hear the chorus take you through music for many of the holidays celebrated at year’s end, joined by the youthful artistry of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, Albuquerque Youth Symphony Chorus, Albuquerque Junior Symphony Chorus, and the Albuquerque Bel Canto Choir.

Jim Brickman’s The Magic of Christmas December 18
Jim Brickman brings the spirit of the season to life once again with The Magic of Christmas! Brickman, along with special guest performers, delivers the perfect blend of music and entertainment, making lasting memories for the whole family.

Wine Tasting: Bordeux December 18
A tasting with our wine director featuring Bordeux. Tasting followed by a special La Merienda dinner at The Inn.

Concert: An Irish Homecoming December 20
Back by popular demand! Cherish the Ladies with special guest Maura O'Connell return to Popejoy in An Irish Homecoming. The group won recognition as the first and only all-woman traditional Irish band, but soon established themselves as an Irish music sensation. In this special holiday show, the women create an unforgettable evening of Irish celebration.

The Nutcracker Ballet in the Land of Enchantment December 20-22

The Nutcracker Ballet, a beloved holiday tradition comes to life in the late 1800s in territorial New Mexico. Resplendent with New Mexico heritage and traditions while maintaining the classical grace of its origins

Home for the Holidays Concert December 21
The New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the holidays. John Morris Russell will be conducting with special guests soprano Kisma Jordan, The Manzano Day School Chorus, Bosque School Choir, Albuquerque Academy Choir and the Choir of the Cathedral of St. John.

New Mexico Farolitos Trail of Lights 5K December 21
This 9th annual holiday favorite is a unique opportunity to celebrate the season. Participate in a 5K Run/Walk on a course lit by farolitos - holiday lights of the Southwest.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl December 21
College football game pits the Mountain West Conference against the Pac-12. This event will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Luminaria Tour December 24
Enjoy a New Mexican tradition and take a magical ride with the City of Albuquerque and ABQ RIDE through a twinkling wonderland in Old Town, the festively adorned Albuquerque Country Club, and other hot spots decked out for the holiday.

The Figueroa Music and Arts Project Presents New Year's Eve in Vienna December 31
The Figueroa Music and Arts Project Symphony Orchestra, with Guillermo Figueroa, conductor and violin, presents Viennese classic masters such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Strauss. The evening's music includes waltzes, polkas, and Hungarian dances and rhapsodies.

New Year's Eve Adult Night December 31
Ring in the new year at the Museum! Enjoy dancing, guided tours, a salsa bar and watch the ball drop in our planetarium as we stream footage of Times Square.