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.

Explore what’s new and happening in Albuquerque for Fall 2021 while keeping a safe distance. Check out all the ways people are still enjoying ABQ’ s award-winning breweries, outdoor dining, mountain and river adventures, wide-open spaces and guided tours.

What's New in ABQ, 2021


New Hotels & Renovations

New Hotels Open in Albuquerque 

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Albuquerque University Area and TownePlace Suites by Marriott Albuquerque Old Town both opened in 2020. The dual-branded Homewood Suites by Hilton/Hilton Garden Inn Albuquerque Downtown will open mid-September 2021 and the dual-branded Fairfield Inn/TownePlace Suites by Marriott at Winrock Town Center is expected to be operational by 2022. 

Refurbished Historic Properties Open on Route 66

The El Vado Motel was one of New Mexico's first Route 66 motor courts and reopened to the public in 2018 following a major restoration. Today, the reimagined space contains 22 retro guestrooms, an onsite taproom and a changing group of local food and retail pods. Its sister property, the Monterey Motel (and MOMO Lounge), underwent a similar restoration and recently reopened its doors this past August. On the east side of Albuquerque’s Central Avenue (Route 66), the De Anza Motor Lodge breathes new life as a refurbished luxury and corporate apartment complex. 

Sandia Resort & Casino Reopens After Major Expansion and Renovation

Sandia Resort & Casino recently completed a 75,000-square-foot expansion, which introduces more space to the high-limit gambling room on the first floor, as well as a brand-new 25,000-square-foot sports bar and restaurant on the third floor. The third-floor expansion also introduces indoor golfing facilities and the addition of widescreen televisions.

New Indoor Track Unveiled by Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department

The City of Albuquerque Parks & Recreation Department has introduced a brand-new indoor track within the Albuquerque Convention Center. The indoor track will host regional and national track and field competitions, with the goal of bolstering the city’s notoriety for recreation and sports, as well as its tourism initiatives. 

Culinary News

New Restaurants and Cafes Open in Downtown Albuquerque

  • Yummy's Mini Donuts and Ice Cream
    • Yummy’s, owned and operated by a former University of New Mexico Lobo Basketball player, opened in August and serves up fresh mini donuts, ice cream, milkshakes and more. 
  • Katrina Ice Cream Shop
    • This family-owned and -operated ice cream shop opened its doors in July and features rotating flavors of housemade ice cream and paletas (currently around 22 different flavors of each), visually amazing churro shakes, boba, aguas frescas, corn in a cup, candy and so many toppings!
  • Curious Toast Cafe
    • This partner project is the creation of Victoria VanDame (OT Circus) and Chef David Ruiz. Located in the building across the street from OT Circus, Curious Toast opened in July and offers coffee, tea and creative, tasty and visually beautiful open-faced toasts and sandwiches. Breads and veggies are sourced from vendors from Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers' Market. 
  • The Paleta Bar and Spring Rollin’
    • The Paleta Bar and Spring Rollin’ offer build-your-own paletas and Vietnamese spring rolls. Located on Gold Ave. and 4th Street in the Stay Gold mural building, they opened their doors this summer. 
  • EL ROI Cafe
    • After a delay in opening due to the pandemic, EL ROI Cafe is a family-owned business that opened in May and serves up traditional New Mexican and Native American dishes. The menu includes traditional New Mexican foods like enchiladas and Pueblo staples such as fry bread and mutton stew.

The Taproom at Old Town Opens

Old Town’s first taproom is officially welcoming guests as of July 2021. This was a long-term, long-awaited project from the owners behind Palmer Brewery and Cider House and Left Turn Distilling. The taproom serves craft cocktails and local brews as well as Asian-inspired cuisine from Kitsune. 

Farm & Table Welcomes New Executive Chef

Farm & Table is thrilled to announce their new executive chef, Jens Peter Smith. Many guests will recognize Chef Jens, as he has been an integral part of the Farm & Table family for the past two years. After taking the helm in May, he is now leading the kitchen team with the skill and passion that he developed through his culinary training which began in Switzerland and led him throughout Europe, to New York and eventually into his own food business in New Mexico.

Attractions & Facilities

eBike Tours Now Offered in Albuquerque 

Free-to-Roam eBiking is a new venture in Albuquerque that offers motorized bicycle rentals as an active way to explore the city. The company launched earlier in 2021, and currently has 24 bikes for guided tours and open rentals at two locations: Bike In Coffee at 949 Montoya St NW and at Lynnwood Park at 12308 Lexington Ave. NE.

Walking Tours are Back

Downtown Walking Tours have resumed. The Albuquerque Historical Society offers free Downtown walking tours beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturdays through November. Tours begin at 1st Street and Central Avenue and travel along Central to 8th Street. Special requests are also welcome for tours year-round.

New Mexico Artisan Market Opens in Permanent Home

New Mexico Artisan Market at the Bazaar is located within a 12,000-square-foot warehouse space at 1904 Bellamah Ave NW in the up-and-coming Sawmill District, conveniently located across the street from Sawmill Market and next door to Spur Line Supply Co. More than 70 unique, local merchants showcase their wares each weekend - Friday through Sunday - through Oct. 10. New to the Bazaar is a youth artisans component, where young artists ages 10-18 are able to apply to secure a space to exhibit their works for free.

Los Poblanos Opens Hacienda Spa

Housed in the historic Hacienda at Los Poblanos, the Hacienda Spa provides a unique experience. The intimacy of the space combined with distinct architectural and design elements craft an environment that explores all senses. Hacienda Spa opened in July 2021 and offers treatments focused on massage therapies and facials, pairing botanically based, professional skin care lines with the Los Poblanos artisan lavender product line and other botanicals sourced from the farm. To further enrich the spa experience, yoga, meditation and fitness classes will be held in a new yurt in a quiet, forested area on the property. 

Balloon Museum Announces New Exhibitions and Events for Balloon Fiesta Season

The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum and its partnering Foundation announce new exhibitions, events and opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy during Albuquerque’s largest festival and tourism event of the year, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 2-10. The Balloon Museum is open year-round and it is directly south of the Balloon Fiesta Park, on an elevated overlook which boasts one of the best views of the daily launches of hundreds of hot air balloons and the evening balloon glows and fireworks during Balloon Fiesta.

Plaza Don Luis Welcomes New Vendors and Begins Hosting Events

Plaza Don Luis is a new take on Old Town Albuquerque. It is home to New Mexico wineries and a brewery in addition to locally owned retailers such as modern gift shop Luna + Luz, lifestyle recreation retailer Happy Hiker, Lapis Room art gallery, pH Bar spa and salon and others. The official grand reopening following recent renovations will take place on Oct. 30 and will celebrate new and existing vendors and feature live music performances, family-fun activities, chef-inspired cuisine, additional local concessionaires and local boutique shopping.


Albuquerque International Sunport Regains and Adds Direct Flights

Southwest Airlines this summer announced the return of direct, non-stop service between Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, Calif. and the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). Delta Air Lines has resumed direct, non-stop service between the Sunport and Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) in Minnesota. JetBlue is increasing the frequency of its popular non-stop flight from ABQ to JFK to five times per week through the end of summer. 

Coming Soon To ABQ


New Hotels & Renovations

Albuquerque’s Imperial Inn Motel to Get a New Look

Located near the East Downtown neighborhood, the Imperial Inn Motel has moved forward with a major renovation that will transform the space into a major retail and residential space. The $7.6 million renovation is the result of a partnership with Palindrome Communities, based in Oregon. Completion is expected in summer 2022. 

Max Q at Kirtland Soon Expected to Break Ground

Later this year, Kirtland Air Force Base will break ground on a new, open-to-the-public development called Max Q at Kirtland. The project will transform more than 70 acres of the base outside of the military fence into a multi-use development to include shops, a hotel, restaurants and office space accessible to the public. Developers anticipate initial buildings to be delivered to tenants in 2022. 

New Boutique Hotel McCoy Coming to Albuquerque

The Bernalillo County Commissioners voted to introduce a resolution to help fund a new boutique hotel in Albuquerque, Hotel McCoy. While developers are still in the design phase, there are plans to include a bistro, bar and indoor pool with nearly 100 rooms at a room rate of under $100. If approved, the project is slated for a 2021 opening date.

Culinary News

Restaurants, Wineries and Brewery Coming to Historic Old Town

New developments coming to Plaza Don Luis in historic Old Town include wine-tasting rooms from Noisy Water Winery out of Ruidoso and Sheehan Winery in Albuquerque, Outpost Brewing and Taproom, Texas-style barbecue joint Fat T’s BBQ, Flying Roadrunner Bakery and others. Several vendors have already opened their doors with the entire development expected to be open by October. 

Indian Pueblo Kitchen Announces New Teaching Kitchen

Coming in 2022, the Indian Pueblo Kitchen will include a teaching kitchen that will offer exciting opportunities for students to learn Indigenous cooking techniques and restaurant operations in an engaging, collaborative environment. Eventually, the Indian Pueblo Kitchen will provide entrepreneurs, food truck operators and Native American food artisans with access to a commercial greenhouse and commercial kitchen. The restaurant and teaching kitchen will also offer culinary experiences such as cooking classes, wine pairing dinners, Feast Day meals and farm-to-fork dining.

Attractions & Facilities

Work Continues on West Central Route 66 Visitor Center

A collaborative effort between the county, the city of Albuquerque and local stakeholders, a new 21,000-square-foot, $12 million West Central Route 66 Visitors Center will include a museum, a taproom, office space and outdoor amphitheater. Albuquerque is home to the longest urban stretch of Route 66, the iconic “Mother Road” that brought together existing local and state roads from Chicago through St. Louis to Los Angeles, spanning more than 2,400 miles and eight states. Community leaders broke ground on the visitor center project in March and anticipate opening to the public in 2022.

Popular ABQ BioPark Train on the Move to Botanic Garden

The ABQ BioPark train ride will be permanently moved and upgraded at the Botanic Garden as part of an expansion of the Heritage Farm, which is set to begin this year. The move also comes at a time when the Zoo is preparing to begin major construction on the new Asia and Australia exhibits.


Sky Bridge Connecting ABQ Convention Center Project Underway

This partnership between Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency and Zydeco 66, LLC, includes a sky bridge connecting to the Albuquerque Convention Center and a plaza along the upcoming Rail Trail, along with 140 residential units or hotel rooms. The project serves to improve pedestrian connectivity while offering new housing opportunities for residents.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Breaks Ground on Retail Expansion Project

The 21,000-square-foot retail expansion at Avanyu Plaza will comprise three buildings and contain space leased to businesses, restaurants and retailers, and smart classrooms owned and operated by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The project broke ground in September 2020 and is slated for a Fall 2022 opening date.

Immersive Art Experience Could Be Coming to Albuquerque’s Rail Yards

A new idea to revitalize the Albuquerque Rail Yards is to turn the area into an immersive art experience called “The Spirit Station.” The brainchild of local artist Michael Wieclaw, it would also feature a patio and a train car called the bar car, to be operated by Still Spirits, a local distillery Downtown. Still in the development stage, the city doesn’t expect it to be completed until 2022.

516 and Outpost are Pursuing a Major Center for the Arts in Sawmill

516 Arts and Outpost Performance Space, two organizations that have become household names in the Downtown and University-area cultural scenes, are planning to build a new $10 million, 31,000-square-foot arts center at the corner of 18th Street and Bellamah Avenue in the Sawmill neighborhood. If all goes to plan, workers would break ground in August 2022, finishing up in early 2024 ahead of a spring opening.

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