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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 in fall 2023. Check out all the ways people are enjoying the area’ s award-winning breweries, eclectic restaurants, mountain and river adventures, wide-open spaces, and guided tours.
Painted Lady Bed and Brew
The Ghost Light Saloon is officially open in the Painted Lady Brewing Beer Garden with eight local craft beers on tap (along with hard cider, seltzer and a few select brews in cans). The Saloon is housed in a converted 20th century former Albuquerque Trolley Car.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque
Enjoy the Land of Enchantment in the newly redesigned guest accommodations at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque. Operated by award-winning Atrium Hospitality, the centrally located hotel in downtown Albuquerque has completed a four-phase, multimillion-dollar transformation of all 261 two-room guest suites.
New Sober Bars Open
Crafting the finest, health-conscious tea-based drinks, the Lost Cultures Tea Bar menu showcases a variety of unique flavors - from fragrant teas to expertly brewed kombucha and specially crafted non-alcoholic cocktails. Whether you’re looking to relax, study, get some work done, socialize, or spend an evening out enjoying non-alcoholic cocktails, there is something for everyone. New Mexico’s first zero proof bar Luxe Lounge opened in late 2023, offering delicious non-alcoholic cocktails, wine and beer.
Delicious New Openings in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill Neighborhood
Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood is on the rise. Enjoy local brews at Flock of Moons Brewing Company and drink agua fresca at Chamoy Bar. Grab a hotdog at Urban Hotdog Co.'s new location and sip on a cup of joe at Dawn Patrol Coffee Shop. Lucky Goose recently opened a vegan breakfast joint, Goose Nest.
New Restaurants on Albuquerque's Eastside
The Bakehouse Off The Wheaten Path is a new gluten-free bakery that opened this summer on Albuquerque's Eastside. Featuring a wide range of 100% gluten-free baked goods, it also offers a selection of vegan options as well. Nobody Calls Me Chicken is a new vegan chicken joint, serving sandwiches and tenders. Slice and Dice Pizzeria, a pizza and board game restaurant, opened a new location on the Eastside. Garduño's opened a new location inside Nativo Lodge.
New Food Options at El Vado
Cafe Chica, an Italian donut shop, became a new tenant at El Vado Motel. Cafe Chica's brioche-style bombolonis were previously sold at farmers markets and events out of a pink trailer. In the new retail space, Cafe Chica also serves coffee and espresso, Italian cream sodas and gelato. 5 Star Express also opened recently, serving burgers and shakes.
New Offerings at Sawmill Market
Two new offerings are now open at Sawmill Market. The Rosé Bar serves up a wide selection of rosé, including delicious frozen rosé, or frosé. Sweets is a modern soda fountain bar. Try dozens of refreshing combinations of flavored Italian sodas and floats. Another Sawmill Market offering, Frenchies Sandwiches offers a modern take on French dip sandwiches, with a range of dips, including prime rib and portobello mushroom. Diners can get tots on the side smothered in green chile queso.
New Event Space at Casa Rondeña Winery
In the midst of an expansion, Casa Rondeña Winery is doubling their vineyard acreage and adding a new event center for weddings and private functions. Due to open at the end of 2023, Casa Rondeña will welcome guests with another beautifully designed building and features in 2024.
Pasando Tiempo Winery Expands Tasting Room
In late 2023, Pasando Tiempo opened a larger wine tasting room to accommodate the rising number of visitors and locals eager to taste their delicious, locally made wine. In addition to individual tastings, the larger venue allows for the winery’s vintner to host wine tasting dinners, classes and lessons.
New Burrito Restaurant on the Westside
Cali Burrito Co. opened Dec. 1. This new Albuquerque restaurant concept pairs California-style burritos with fries. The owner hopes to expand with more locations in Downtown in the coming years.
New Asia Exhibit Opens at ABQ BioPark Zoo
The new Asia exhibit area transformed an undeveloped section of the ABQ BioPark Zoo into a new home for many Asian animals—picture orangutans, siamangs and tigers exploring a rotating, flexible area that will engage their senses (and make for an exciting visiting experience). Snow leopards have room to climb and stellar sea eagles glide into a nearby pool. “Every new space at the ABQ BioPark is designed to engage the animals’ natural behaviors and provide expanded enrichment opportunities,” says Greg Jackson, ABQ BioPark Marketing Coordinator. Other exhibits under construction are set to open in 2024.
Golf Simulator Opens on Albuquerque's Eastside
Pars and Rec is a new golf simulator business open in the Hoffmantown Shopping Center. Visitors can utilize trackman simulators while eating and drinking. The simulator gives people feedback on their swing, helping them improve their game. Pars and Rec also offers full club repair and resale.
Challenge Trail Extension
There’s a new trail for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders to enjoy in the Sandia Mountains. The U.S. Forest Service officially opened the Challenge Trail Extension to the public in 2023. The 5-mile trail extends the existing Challenge Trail further down the Sandia Mountains. From top to bottom the whole trail is now about 9.2 miles.
The Groove Artspace Opens Downtown
A woman-owned arts teaching cooperative has just opened its doors in Downtown Albuquerque. A welcoming environment for non-traditional artists and aspiring creatives, The Groove Artspace LLC is led by Erika Harding and Alison Robbenhaar. This small business will have partners who lease space (studios, gallery, teaching space) and run their independent art businesses in collaboration with The Groove Artspace.
Acoma Pueblo Reopens Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum
The Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum is open each weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and offers in-person guided tours, a gift shop where Acoma artists appear onsite showcasing their unique artwork (pottery, jewelry, textiles and more), and the Yaak’a Café, offering a diverse menu of Acoma traditional foods as well as contemporary American dishes prepared by tribal members.
New Spa and Retailers Open at Pueblo-Owned Avanyu Plaza
Avanyu Plaza, the growing business and cultural hub on the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center campus owned by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, is continuing to expand in the heart of Albuquerque. Wellness boutique Rainwater Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit, opened this summer with spa services, a yoga studio and other healing-focused services that align with Native American values. Mama’s Minerals, New Mexico’s largest rock and bead store, also opened a location at Avanyu Plaza. La Montañita, New Mexico’s largest locally owned food co-op, also opened a location in Avanyu Plaza in 2023. These celebrated newcomers join a vibrant roster of local businesses at Avanyu Plaza including 12th Street Tavern, Laguna Burger, Itality Plant Based Foods and Sixty-Six Acres.
New Flights to and from the Albuquerque International Sunport
The Albuquerque International Sunport is expanding its reach to a wide variety of national destinations. Most recently, Southwest Airlines announced a nonstop flight to Long Beach, California that began Sept. 5. The airline will also resume daily service to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore.
West Central Route 66 Visitors Center Opens to the Public
Part Route 66 museum, part event hub with panoramic views of Albuquerque, and part community business accelerator, the new West Central Route 66 Visitors Center opened to the public this summer. According to Luis Hernandez Jr., Executive Director of the West Central Community Development Group, the visitor center is the culmination of a decades-long collaboration between the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and West Central community leaders to create a gateway to Albuquerque that will serve as a welcoming space for travelers and locals alike to celebrate what makes the city so special. There’s a lot to check out here, including cultural events and artisan markets in the outdoor amphitheater and marketplace, weekend car shows honoring the state's vibrant lowrider car culture, a taproom, a gift shop, interactive New Mexico Music Hall of Fame exhibits, 4,500 square feet of event space, and affordable drop-in office space for nonprofits and local small businesses.
Barelas Neighborhood Beautification
The beautification of the Barelas neighborhood is well underway. With large-scale artwork, vibrant tile, and brightly colored benches the enhancement of the historic neighborhood is bringing even more public art to the city. In addition to the celebration of local artists, the neighborhood is also undergoing renovations to make it more pedestrian-friendly with ADA-compliant sidewalks.
World Balloon Celebrates 50th Anniversary in 2023
World Balloon, the first ballooning company in New Mexico, is celebrating 50 years of professional ballooning in 2023. Started by Sid Cutter in 1973, the company is now owned by retired Albuquerque Police Commander Murray Conrad, Julie Conrad and Jim Kosinski. World Balloon is easily recognizable by the red, white and blue stars and stripes balloons.
Renovations to Begin at Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North
Renovations are slated to begin at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North. The 310-room hotel was recently acquired by Legacy Development & Management. Guest rooms, bathrooms and the conference center will all get upgrades. A new restaurant and bar will be added, along with a new pool and fitness center. The renovation is expected to cost $22 million and last two years.
Downtown Makes Room for Long-Awaited Upscale Boutique Hotel
The much anticipated ARRIVE Albuquerque hotel is set to be completed by the end of 2024. A historic rehabilitation of the 1965-built Downtowner Motor Inn (most recently The Hotel Blue) will transform the Route 66 landmark located at 8th and Central into a new boutique hotel, ARRIVE Albuquerque.
Work Continues on Element by Westin Hotel in Uptown
Construction on the 120-room, 86,335-square-foot hotel began in late 2021. It is expected to be ongoing for roughly two years.
Indian Pueblo Kitchen Will Soon Include Teaching Kitchen
Estimated to open in late 2023/early 2024, the Indian Pueblo Kitchen at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 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.
Gruet Winery to Open New Tasting Room
The renowned Gruet Winery recently announced a forthcoming additional tasting room, offering more opportunities for wine enthusiasts to taste and celebrate their family-made, world-class wines.
El Pollo Loco to Open in Albuquerque
El Pollo Loco will have nine new locations in New Mexico, the first of which is set to open in November 2024. The new restaurants will feature the company’s newest design, including self-ordering kiosks, mobile to-go and delivery pick-up areas, and dining rooms that open up to a patio.
New Nuevo Nuevo Bites Culinary Excursions
Coming in Spring 2024, a new immersive culinary experience featuring local restaurants and chefs will enhance Albuquerque’s foodie scene. Composed of 5 of New Mexico’s best-kept secrets including food, wine, coffee, spirits and dessert, join New Nuevo on a culinary adventure.
In-n-Out is Coming to Albuquerque
The popular burger chain In-n-Out is expanding to Albuquerque. A location is expected to be open by 2027.
New Australia Habitat at the ABQ BioPark Zoo
It’s a time of growth and transformation at the ABQ BioPark! Construction on state-of-the-art Australia exhibits is underway at the ABQ BioPark. The reimagining of the Australia area of the zoo continues and phase one is scheduled to open in 2024. The first area to open will be Australian Shores, which will bring little blue penguins and other seabirds to Albuquerque.
Heritage Farm at the ABQ BIoPark Botanic Garden to get a Refresh
Renovations are currently underway at the Heritage Farm in the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. Updates include stained glass windows featuring Native wildlife, new animal pastures and barns, an outdoor classroom and an electric train that will take up to 100 people around the one-mile loop surrounding the Heritage Farm. This section of the Botanic Garden will get its own entrance and ticket booth as well. Renovations are expected to be completed by April 2024.
Comedy Club to Open at Winrock Town Center
The Hyena's Comedy Nightclub is bringing one of its comedy clubs to Albuquerque. The comedy club will be located next to the Tricore Winrock Labs and Presbyterian Medical Group clinic in an underground venue. Construction will begin this fall.
Flix Brewhouse Set to Open New Location
Flix Brewhouse is gearing up to open up a new location on the city's Eastside. The former Regal UA High Ridge theater is being remodeled to transform into Flix Brewhouse. The new theater will feature seven screens and 700 seats. Flix is expected to open by the summer 2024.
Dream of Flight: Albuquerque International Sunport’s “Once in a Lifetime” Renovation
Visitors to the Land of Enchantment will soon be able to experience a real taste of Albuquerque as soon as they deplane, thanks to an ambitious modernization project now underway at the Sunport. The first phase of the renovation, the relocation of the TSA screening checkpoint north toward the escalators, will be completed in 2023, with the goal of making it “the most enviable TSA experience in the country,” says Manny Manriquez, Sunport Innovation and Commercial Development Manager. Future updates will include an open-plan food hall featuring eight local restaurants, a new “mini shopping mall” highlighting made-in-New Mexico products, fresh local art installations, as well as updated carpeting and seating throughout the Sunport. The folks behind the renovation hope fans of the Sunport’s current Burqueño vibe will appreciate the updates to come. “We are maintaining our incomparable sense of place, the look and feel of the Sunport as we know it, by enhancing it. We’re bringing in more traditional colors of New Mexico—drawing out the turquoise and dark red hues—and offering more local flavors in both dining and shopping,” according to Manriquez.
Updates on the New Albuquerque Rail Trail
A modern and artistic pathway that reflects the culture and history of the land of enchantment. The Rail Trail will transform Albuquerque’s downtown neighborhoods. The Trail is a 7- to 8-mile multi-use trail that will connect key destinations in the greater downtown area, while also encouraging economic development, healthy recreation, and cultural expression. This project balances the utility of a pedestrian parkway with bold, innovative storytelling that makes the Rail Trail a canvas for explaining how we are united in this place.
Winrock Begins Construction on Park and Lake
Construction on the long-awaited centerpiece of the Winrock Town Center redevelopment is finally underway. Breaking ground on a massive outdoor open space in mid-May, developers and city officials now say the highly anticipated park and lake will be open this year. Owned by the Albuquerque-based Goodman Group since 2007, the Winrock site has been under a redevelopment plan for more than a decade. Renderings show the park is expected to include grassy outdoor spaces with trees, shaded seating areas, walking paths, a round gazebo-like structure, a nearby dog park and multiple bridges over a massive lake which will be filled with water treated on-site.
Netflix Official Expects Albuquerque Studios Expansion to Be Ready By 2024
Come 2024, Netflix officials expect thousands of people will be present at its North America Hub at Mesa del Sol. The California-based streaming giant said construction is underway on the project and dirt is moving for its massive expansion at Albuquerque Studios, which has a price tag of $1 billion. That is the same price point Netflix acquired Albuquerque Studios for in 2018.
Heritage Real Estate Announces New Project at Park Square in Uptown
Planning and development of a major renovation at Park Square is underway. As part of the project, Heritage Real Estate will be bringing in high-quality, local vendors including Gruet Winery, a high-end men’s clothier known as Eternity Men, a high-end women’s clothier known as Eternity Women, a wellness studio and two mini-food hubs featuring fresh, curated food and beverage options for Park Square tenants and the broader community. Construction begins in June. The grand opening could happen as early as July 2024.
Legacy Development & Management Plans for Sunport Hotel
While it remains in the planning stages with the City of Albuquerque, Legacy has plans for a five-story hotel that will encompass 112 rooms across 73,595 square feet near the Albuquerque International Sunport. The project remains conceptual at this point, Kassam said. The hotel would be located off Sunport and University boulevards at 1500 Sunport Ave. SE, down the street from Interstate 25.
Jet Bridges to get Upgrades at Albuquerque International Sunport
Thanks to a federal grant, 21 outdated jet bridges at the Albuquerque International Sunport will be getting upgraded. The improvements include new carpet, interior panels, ceiling, lighting and accessibility. The hallways connecting the Sunport to the jet bridge will also get some improvements. Plans are being finalized now, and renovations should be completed by next year.
Route 66 Turns 100 in 2026
Route 66 will turn a century old in 2026. The highway was commissioned in 1926 and connects Chicago with Los Angeles. The first route ran north to south through Albuquerque as part of a curve that connected Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Los Lunas and several Native American reservations. By 1937, the road had straightened out and ran in a more east-west direction along the route we’re more familiar with today. Today, the route runs through the heart of Albuquerque along Central Avenue, leading travelers through some of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods and still serves as a jumping off point for transportation.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Turns 50 in 2026
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center will be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2026. The IPCC works to preserve Pueblo culture, and provides a place to discover and learn more about Pueblo culture. It is owned and operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico.