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Fall is a special season here in Albuquerque. Mornings are cool and pleasant, warmed by the bright sunshine; the cottonwoods turn a beautiful yellow along the Rio Grande; and seasonal growers markets bear fresh fruit and roasted chile. Fall is what locals refer to as the "magical season," with the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, captivating color changes and incredible blue skies. 

Summer still lingers in September and early October, with "sweater" weather setting in during November. In Albuquerque, fall foliage is most noticeable in the fertile bosque (forest) of cottonwood and willow trees that line the Rio Grande, cutting through the city center. Albuquerque's close proximity to the mountains means that a short drive will take you to stunning views of the changing Aspen trees.   

Hot Air Ballooning and Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® is the world's largest balloon festival. For nine days in October, the Albuquerque skies are colorfully painted as more than 500 balloons lift off from Balloon Fiesta Park. Walk among the moving picture show of hot air balloons lifting gently through the crisp, fall air. It'll feel like you're in a dream. The opportunity to fly in a balloon over Balloon Fiesta is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but flights aren't just limited to those nine days. In Albuquerque, balloons fly year-round.
Book a balloon ride »

Tastes of the Season

New Mexican cuisine is what our state is known for. Its defining ingredient? Chile. Chile comes in two varieties: red or green. Which one you will prefer is up to your palate. The smoke-kissed flavor of freshly roasted green chiles and the earthy fruitiness of red chile sauce are essential to our favorite dishes, like breakfast burritos, stacked enchiladas and stuffed sopaipillas. In the fall, you can find fresh green chile that they will roast for you in almost every neighborhood grocery store. 
You'll quickly learn to answer your server's question, "Red or green?" with authority. Say "Christmas" if you want to sample both red and green chile, and don't be afraid to ask for the chile on the side if you're not sure. 
Find New Mexican Restaurants »

Dia de los Muertos

In Albuquerque, Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebrations take place over several weeks in October and November, although the holiday is traditionally celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Families remember deceased loved ones and honor them by building offering altars (ofrendas) where sugar skulls are placed, along with offerings of pan de muertos (bread). The holiday is festive although the subject may not be, as spirits are welcomed back into peoples' lives for another year.

Beer & Wine

Albuquerque is really picking up steam in the craft beer arena and fall is a great time to enjoy a local brew. New Mexico also happens to be the oldest wine-growing region in the country, so there are plenty of stops for both the advanced and the needs-to-be-enhanced palate.  
Explore Beer & Wine Experiences »


Authentic Southwestern pottery, weavings, rugs, art and more fill the picturesque adobe shops and galleries of Historic Old Town, often at prices that put other Southwestern cities to shame. Nob Hill is a vibrant district along an iconic stretch of Route 66, bursting with eclectic shops, locally-owned restaurants featuring wine bars, live music and nightlife. ABQ Uptown is an outdoor mall filled with upscale specialty shops, restaurants and a spa/salon. 
Learn more about shopping » 

Outdoor Recreation

Basking in 310 days of sunshine, Albuquerque's backyard is a playground for adventures of all types. Clear blue skies and wide-open spaces offer an abundance of outdoor opportunities throughout the year. And fall is no exception. Go hiking and biking, tee off from world-class golf courses, or take a ride on North America's longest aerial tramway the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway
Learn more about outdoor recreation » 

Distinctive Museums

With 19 museums to enjoy, everyone in your travel party is sure to find something to interest them. With topics covering everything from turquoise to hot air balloons to nuclear science, you could spend days in our museums. Museum patrons will learn about the history of Albuquerque dating back to 1700 and beyond, teens may enjoy learning about how the personal computer was invented in Albuquerque and the little ones can have fun learning through hands-on science experiments at Explora.  
See a complete list of museums »

More Fall Activities