With its rich history and diverse outdoor activities, Albuquerque makes a unique vacation destination for visitors of all ages. Nestled between the peaks of the Sandia Mountains and ancient Native American pueblos, Albuquerque boasts sunny blue skies more than 310 days a year, plus one-of-a-kind sites and experiences year-round. One of the oldest cities in North America isn’t standing still, however—there are plenty of new ways to explore ABQ throughout the winter.

New Hotels & Renovations

The Restored El Vado Motel Opens on Route 66 in Albuquerque

This revitalized, historic property held its grand opening in July of 2018. When it initially opened in 1937, El Vado was one of the state’s first motels to greet Route 66 travelers. Today, the restored El Vado is a unique blend of historic character and charm, combined with modern comforts and amenities. The space not only features custom Mid-Century Modern furnishings and one of a kind local artwork, but a changing lineup of up-and-coming restaurants, the El Vado Taproom, featuring a rotating selection of New Mexican brews, and several local boutiques and shops—making it a must-visit destination within Albuquerque.

De Anza Motor Lodge Reopening Set for Summer 2019

Development of the historic De Anza Lodge broke ground in November 2017. The iconic Route 66 property has been closed since 2002 and will be rebuilt to house a hotel, apartments, restaurant and office space. As part of the $8.2 million renovation, the motel’s historic Zuni murals and artifacts will be preserved, along with its neon sign. The entire project should take about 18 months, slating the reopening of the De Anza for summer 2019.

Heritage Hotels & Resorts ABQ Properties Welcome Updates, Developments and Renovations

A few of Albuquerque’s Heritage Hotels & Resorts properties will welcome updates and renovations this year. Hotel Chaco will introduce a new wine & spirits bar, estimated to open early summer 2019.

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town will undergo various guest room upgrades and a facade renovation. These renovations are planned for completion by early summer 2019.

University Lodge to Become The Avenue Hotel

A historic Nob Hill motel originally built in the 1960s is planned to be relaunched. University Lodge will be renovated into The Avenue Hotel, breaking ground in 2019 with a planned one year completion. 

Boutique Hotel, Arrive is Coming to Downtown Albuquerque

A boutique hotel group has purchased the former Hotel Blue, which will be returned to its mid-century modern glory with a full remodel. Arrive has plans to convert the ground floor into a new restaurant, bar and pool which will also get the mid-century treatment. Completion on the remodel is expected for late 2019. 

New Marriott Breaks Ground 

Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc. (IPMI) recently broke ground on its new 92-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott, kicking off the next phase of development of Avanyu Plaza on 12th Street, across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, part of the 12th Street Business and Cultural Corridor. The new hotel plans to open in the fall of 2019. 

Ojo Caliente to Debut Newly-Renovated Vintage Trailers

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is a unique resort destination that has been a gathering place to heal the mind, body, and spirit naturally for centuries. To give guests an especially unique and nostalgic way to stay at Ojo, the property will soon debut a handful of newly-renovated vintage trailers for guests to book.

Culinary News

New Restaurant Rising on Sandia Peak

Construction of the new $7.5 million Sandia Peak restaurant that will replace the old High Finance at the top of the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is underway. Plans to demolish the ’60s-era High Finance Restaurant and Tavern and build a bigger venue on U.S. Forest Service-owned land were first announced in August 2015. The development team is aiming for an early spring 2019 opening for the new 13,000-square-foot business.

Downtown ABQ Lands New Craft Distillery

Hollow Spirits, a new craft distillery serving up seasonal drinks in a laid-back brewery atmosphere, officially opened its doors to guests on Nov. 13. In addition to serving an array of tasty beverages, the distillery also offers a variety of health-conscious food options created by award-winning executive chef Tristin Rogers.

Tin Can Alley Breaks Ground in Northeast Heights

A new shipping container development from the founder of Green Jeans Farmery broke ground in the Northeast Heights on Nov. 13. Located at San Pedro and Alameda, the 11,000-square-foot Tin Can Alley will house a variety of food and beverage offerings, including Santa Fe Brewing, Amore Pizzeria, Rustic Star Burgers, Nitro Fog Creamery, Pho Cup, Guava Tree Cafe, Epiphany Espresso and a 505 Southwestern restaurant kiosk.

ABQ’s Brewery Scene Continues to Boom

As the first city in the nation to officially designate a Brewery District (located off 1-25 near Candelaria), the city now has an official Downtown Brewery District as well. With 40+ breweries and taprooms in the metro area (and more on the way), Albuquerque has blossomed into an acclaimed craft-brewing city, with one of the highest numbers of breweries and taprooms per capita in the country.

Attractions & Facilities

Visions of the Hispanic World Debuts at Albuquerque Museum

Visions of the Hispanic World is on view at Albuquerque Museum from now through March 31, 2019. Albuquerque is the first city in the U.S. to host the exhibit, which features artifacts that have never been seen outside of the Hispanic Society of America. The exhibition tells a rich story of cultures settling in Spain and bringing the best and most innovative elements of their heritage to the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish colonies.

Penguins are Coming to the ABQ BioPark

Penguin Chill, a new, immersive, indoor, year-round penguin exhibit at the ABQ BioPark Zoo is coming spring, 2019. 

Internationally-Renowned Turquoise Museum Relocating to Downtown Albuquerque

New Mexico’s popular Turquoise Museum is relocating from downtown to the 8,500-square-foot castle that belonged to the late Gertrude Zachary. The Museum, opened in 1993 by the Lowry family, houses what is believed to be the world’s largest collection of turquoise. The new museum will feature exhibits including: the science and geology of turquoise; turquoise mining; turquoise around the world; hundreds of examples of turquoise jewelry; and an overview of imitation turquoise.  There will also be a new research library, a café and a flower shop on site.  

New 50-Mile Activity Loop Expands Across City

Albuquerque is nearing completion on its 50-mile bicycling, running and walking loop that connects more than 400 miles of existing bike paths. The loop brings trail users through some of the city’s most popular destinations: beginning in downtown, along the Riverside Trail up to the Paseo Del Norte, on to Balloon Fiesta Park and along the Sandia Mountains.

Plans for Mountain Coaster atop Sandia Peak Moving Forward

Development plans for the anticipated Sandia Peak mountain coaster continue to move forward. The mountain coaster, which will be located at the top of Sandia Peak, will feature coaster rides lasting approximately three minutes, and give riders the opportunity to control how fast they move up and down the mountain. 


The City of Albuquerque Breaks New Ground

The City of Albuquerque recently broke ground on several major downtown projects, including the groundbreaking for the new Zocalo Lofts Project, a three-story mixed-use building, which will have apartments and retail took place mid-May. The city provided a $250,000 grant to move the development forward and anticipate that the project will be completed by spring of 2019.

Downtown’s Civic Plaza will continue with its $4 million upgrade as part of a multi-faceted plan to reinvigorate downtown. Plans and developments so far have focused on replacing the fountain with an interactive, family-friendly, modern and sustainable water element, along with improvements to the surrounding area for shade, access and activities. Continued enhancement of Civic Plaza will continue in 2019. 

ABQ to Revitalize Historic Rail Yards

The City of Albuquerque will take over efforts to revitalize the historic Rail Yards. The first step will be to open the building adjacent to the already-updated blacksmith shop, which is home to the Rail Yards Market, and fill it with local vendors on Sundays.

Highly Anticipated One Central Opens Downtown

One Central, a mixed-use project located in downtown Albuquerque, is officially open for business. Located on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and First Street, One Central features 68 studio and two-bedroom apartments, a 423-space parking garage, and will house several local businesses that will occupy the ground-level space, including Deep Space Coffee.

Sawmill District Continues Development in Historic Old Town

This area, just north of Historic Old Town, was once dominated by warehouses and industrial buildings, but is expected to be the next hip neighborhood in Albuquerque and will be a hub for local art, entertainment, food and shopping. A warehouse, once home to the Paxton Lumber business, will be converted into the Sawmill Market, a 25,000-square-foot food and market hall. There are plans to renovate more of the buildings as well. The Sawmill District’s location, next to historic Old Town and the majority of Albuquerque’s museums, make it the perfect place for travelers to jump back and forth between historic and modern elements of the city. The district’s newest retailer, Spur Line Supply Co., opened in September 2017 and features clothing, a children’s shop, records, stationary and florals.

Avanyu Plaza Begins Second Phase of Expansion

Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc. (IPMI) recently broke ground on their innovative and functional 30,000-square-foot Avanyu Plaza North, with an estimated completion date of December 2019. This is Avanyu Plaza’s second phase of expansion and will also include 20,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space in three new buildings, plus a 2,000-square-foot security annex to ensure public safety throughout the vast entertainment and office complex.

New Direct Flights

Albuquerque International Sunport International Once Again

On Nov. 17, Albuquerque celebrated the first international flight out of Albuquerque International Sunport since 2009. The new non-stop service between Albuquerque International Sunport and Guadalajara, offered by Mexico’s largest low-cost carrier, Volaris, is an effort to make international tourism and trade more convenient out of Albuquerque International Sunport.

Starting June 18, the Mexico-based airline will begin twice-weekly flights with nonstop service to Chihuahua, expanding its reach from the Sunport to two cities.


The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Celebrates 50 Years

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. Established in 1969, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the only congressionally chartered museum in the nuclear field. It tells the story of the Atomic Age, from early development to today's peaceful uses. The museum is excited to celebrate its 50th anniversary through numerous special events including the Einstein Gala, held on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at Sandia Resort & Casino

Hinkle Family Fun Center Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary by Donating to 25 Local Non-Profits

Hinkle Family Fun Center, Albuquerque’s landmark family fun center, is celebrating 25 years in 2019. In celebration, the company will be making 25 $250 donations to local nonprofits throughout 2019.

“What better way to celebrate 25 years of making memories that matter than to give back to our community," said Bryan Hinkle, Co-Owner, Hinkle Family Fun Center in a press release. “We’ve always believed the foundation of a successful business begins with being an involved, caring partner in our community.”

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