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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 Spring 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.
The Spin Laundry Lounge, a combination fitness center and laundry facility, will be one of the amenities available. At the entry to the site, off Central Avenue, visitors will be greeted by a coffee shop that doubles as the hotel’s front desk, across from the entrance to the brand-new building that will house a cocktail lounge and three local food vendors all sharing an upscale, family-friendly dining area that overlooks the classic 1960s swimming pool. Seven “micro-retail” storefronts, similar to the popular ones at the El Vado Motel, will also be part of the project. These will house small local businesses such as flower shops, souvenir shops, hair salons, and clothing and home goods boutiques. The main building is slated for a 2023 opening—including all guest rooms and suites, as well as the coffee shop/front desk, flower shop and retail tenants. The new construction, consisting of the cocktail lounge, food pods, event space and another handful of retail spaces, will be open by summer 2023.
Explore Albuquerque's Speakeasy Boom
There’s a new nightlife scene in Albuquerque, and it comes with secret passwords and hidden entryways. That’s right, speakeasies are alive and well in the city. Pull open a bakery “shelf” to step inside ’20s-themed speakeasy Teddy Roe’s behind M’tucci’s Bar Roma; tap a golden banana to enter Hotel ZAZZ’s newly open hidden vinyl and cocktail bar Z-Lounge off the hotel lobby; drop the code word in El Rey Liquors to get into the secret freezer entrance into Founders Speakeasy; or make a reservation at Vernon’s Speakeasy to get the password to soften the bouncer and receive an escort behind the hidden bookcase. There are so many hidden discoveries to explore!
Los Poblanos Opens Town and Ranch in Downtown Albuquerque
Head to this new throw-back cocktail bar and upscale shopping destination to experience a taste of celebrated organic farm and inn Los Poblanos without leaving downtown Albuquerque. Located in the original 1940s Heaston’s Town and Ranch Tractor Supplies building where Los Poblanos’ soaps and oil-based lavender products are made, Town and Ranch is a melding of heritage and modern craftsmanship. Visitors can sample a selection of classic and signature cocktails made with Los Poblanos new botanical spirits gin line inspired by the historic farm in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Alongside the tasting room, the shop at Town and Ranch offers a curated selection of edible provisions, apothecary products starring Los Poblanos lavender, handcrafted gifts or a bottle of Los Poblanos Botanical Spirits gin, available exclusively on the property.
Golden Crown Panaderia's Cookie ATM Offers After-Hours Treats on Demand
Shining like a fluorescent oasis in the night, the new "cookie ATM" at the nationally famous Golden Crown Panaderia offers an ingenious way to snag some biscochitos, New Mexico green chile bread or pumpkin empanadas, any time, day or night, 24/7/365. Throughout the day, Golden Crown bakers load the custom designed touch-screen machine with freshly baked goods accessible whether the bakery is open or closed. According to bakery owner Chris Morales, half the challenge of designing the machine was ensuring the biscochitos don’t break when dropped behind the delivery door.
New Pacific Rim Food Park Brings Together Asian- and Women-Owned Eateries
Love local food trucks? Head to the Northeast Heights for a one-stop culinary tour assembled by Judy Chiang, owner of Rising Star Chinese Eatery, complete with grassy areas, shade sails, picnic tables and global food favorites. Motivated by a desire to strengthen the local minority-owned restaurant industry post-COVID, Chiang formed a collaboration between Grace United Methodist Church (which owns an empty lot near the restaurant) and created a permanent home for five food trucks, all Asian- or woman-owned, with plans to host more mobile eateries, farmers markets and community events in the future. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Pacific Rim offers diners a diverse choice of dishes from Vietnam, Japan, South America, California and beyond.
Enter the Mouse Hole, a Small (But Mighty) Cheese Shop in Downtown ABQ
Offering over 40 award-winning international cheeses alongside artisan products from New Mexico—think local bread, wine, jams, mustards, pickles and crackers—the Mouse Hole is the newest venture from the team behind fresh local eatery La Finca Bowls. Be sure to try the all-local cheese board featuring three New Mexico-made cheeses and an assortment of local condiments and breads. (Even the cheese boards themselves are local, handmade by 505 Resin Works!)
Delicious New Openings in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill Neighborhood
Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood is on the rise. The Historic Lobo Theater has reopened as a lounge and event space and has been joined by a slew of new destination eateries and bars. Visitors to the area can now enjoy a sip at upscale casual wine bar Public House ABQ, dive into vegan burgers and loaded fries at popular food truck Lucky Goose’s new brick and mortar (complete with colorful art made by pigs—literally), enjoy locally sourced food and a curated wine list at Central Bodega, bring a large group for cocktails and small plates at Gather and sister gastropub 3128 Social House, sample local liquors at 505 Spirits, and enjoy modern comfort food at Butter. Book a room at the colorful Hotel ZAZZ and enjoy a stay in Nob Hill to experience all the goodness the revitalized neighborhood has to offer.
Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro Reopens After Pandemic
A popular spot along Central, Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro is reopening after being shuttered for about three years due to the pandemic. The cellar bar is now open Thursday through Saturday. The main kitchen area and mezzanine will reopen soon. The restaurant debuted a more substantial food menu and a brand-new cocktail menu.
New Coffee Shop for Motorcyclists Opens its Doors
Sunday Service Motor Company recently opened in the North Valley. Enjoy a coffee in the morning and a beer in the afternoon. Sunday Service brews its own beer on-site and serves other local brews. The coffee is roasted in-house as well. Attached to the cafe is a community garage for motorcyclists. The membership-based garage lets the community work on motorcycle repairs and maintenance, and has professional mechanics on-hand during certain hours to help out.
New Restaurant Opens in Hollow Spirits
Whet 1324 recently opened inside Hollow Spirits Distillery. The owners call the menu "chef-inspired street food." Open seven days a week, the menu will change seasonally. Some of the distillery's ingredients are incorporated into the dishes, and there are pairing dinners featuring Hollow Spirits cocktails in the works. The kitchen inside Hollow Spirits is also used as a catering company for Fresco Catering Co.
X Studio at Explora Opens to Bring STEAM to ABQ Teens
X Studio, which opened in February, is Explora's new 8,000-square-foot teen center offering the latest tools, technologies, makerspaces, workshops and mentors to bridge teens with the most creative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) professional fields of their interests. Presenting a vast menu of options with free membership – from animation, music and film production, 3D printing and cosplay to welding, woodshop, podcasts, video game development and so much more—X Studio aims to make sure every teen's talent and ambition is invigorated. The center will also feature a teen lounge for gaming, socialization, learning mindfulness, getting homework help or simple relaxation.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Adds New Exhibits
An innovative, hands-on experience that explores New Mexico's unique natural history. Experience its origins, dinosaurs and ancient seacoasts. Walk through a “live” volcano! Meet the 30-ton, 110-foot long seismosaurus, the world’s largest dinosaur, along with exploring the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s temporary exhibits:
Artists Circle Gallery at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
"Clay Line of the Red Willow People: A Showcase of Three Taos Pueblo Artists" (Jan. 20-May 22). This exhibition at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center affords the opportunity to see Taos Pueblo at its finest through the eyes of three talented artists who were born and raised in this community. Taos Pueblo is and has been a thriving Native community, before contact and earlier. Located in Northern New Mexico, the Pueblo is designated as a World Heritage Site for being the longest continually inhabited community in the United States. The three artists are Angie Yazzie, micaceous potter; Brian Taaffe, painter; and Deborah Lujan, photographer. Each of these artists bring their perspective of how they are grounded in the beauty of their surroundings through their art.
Upcoming Exhibits at 516 ARTS
New Businesses in Historic Old Town Albuquerque
One of the most-visited attractions in Albuquerque, the city’s oldest neighborhood continues to evolve while preserving its historic Southwest charm. Take a walking tour around Old Town, explore the more than 150 locally owned and operated businesses, and check out some fresh updates! Popular Southwest boutique Luna & Luz has relocated across the Plaza to a ground-floor adobe building complete with a kiva fireplace and more cleverly curated local goods than ever. Taking over the former Luna & Luz space in Plaza Don Luis is Enchanted Collective and Collective Coffee, part gift boutique, part pop-up headquarters for local vendors and part coffee shop. In more coffee news, a small-scale distiller and coffee roaster from Church Street Cafe owner Marie Coleman is slated to set up shop in Old Town directly east of Visit Albuquerque's Visitor Information Center.
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 a video Pueblo tour in the Ts'iKinuma K'aiya (Story Telling Room/Theatre), 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. Currently, walking Pueblo guided tours are not being offered on top of the village mesa, but Operations Manager Melvin E. Juanico anticipates a return to the pueblo guided tours in spring 2023.
TourABQ and Rainbow Ryders Launch Partnership
At the beginning of the tourism season this spring, TourABQ and Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co. launched a partnership between the two companies. Both will be offering discounts for each other's businesses. TourABQ operates the ABQ Trolley, along with a number of other specialized tours. Rainbow Ryders CEO and founder Scott Appelman says the companies have worked together for years, but this new partnership makes things more official.
New Flights to and from the Albuquerque International Sunport
The Albuquerque International Sunport is expanding its reach to a wide variety of national destinations in 2023. Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop flights between Kansas City and Albuquerque on April 11, and is increasing the number of daily flights to Houston (Hobby), Las Vegas, Phoenix and Southern California (including Los Angeles and San Diego).
West Central Route 66 Visitor Center @ Nine Mile Hill
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 will open to the public in early 2023. 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.
Experience 2023's Annular Solar Eclipse at the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®
The countdown to the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is underway, with a very special astronomical twist in 2023. The world-renowned event is scheduled to occur Oct. 7-15, 2023—perfectly timed with 2023’s Annular Solar Eclipse. The eclipse will take place during the tail end of the Mass Ascension on Saturday, Oct. 14. Albuquerque will be in the eclipse’s direct path, making for prime viewing conditions.
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.
Downtown Makes Room for Long-Awaited Upscale Boutique Hotel
Plans for Hotel Blue/ARRIVE Albuquerque are under wraps as Palisociety, a fully integrated hospitality company that acquired ARRIVE Hotels, moves in heavy equipment and construction crews to the former Downtowner Motor Inn. In 2019, ARRIVE Hotels originally planned to redevelop the old inn into an upscale boutique hotel. Since being acquired by Palisociety, it is unknown if their plans match ARRIVE’s concept of restoration, however, Palisociety is anticipating a 2024 opening.
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.
New Australia and Asia Habitats at the ABQ BioPark Zoo
It’s a time of growth and transformation at the ABQ BioPark! Construction on state-of-the-art Asia and Australia exhibits is underway at the ABQ BioPark, and both habitats are scheduled to open in 2023. The new Asia exhibit area is transforming 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 will have room to climb and stellar sea eagles will be able to 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. The reimagining of the Australia area of the zoo continues and phase one is scheduled to open in 2023. The first area to open will be Australian Shores, which will bring little blue penguins and other seabirds to Albuquerque. The lorikeet walk-thru aviary will also open in 2023, allowing guests to see and interact with these colorful birds.
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.
Major Los Altos Park Sports Renovation Continues
Planned as a year-round destination for outdoor sports and recreation, the revitalization of the 32-acre Los Altos Park continues with a projected opening of the first phase (focusing on five completely new softball fields) in late spring/early summer 2023. According to the City of Albuquerque Parks & Recreation Department, “The amenities at Los Altos Park have rapidly evolved over the last two months from a level and developed foundation and the area is coming back to life. With the sod being installed in November 2022, along with the foul and light poles, the ball fields are starting to take shape. The concession building and perimeter fencing for the ball fields are also near completion.” Future updates include a signature BMX pump track facility, suitable for hosting regional and national competitions, a new dog park, tournament-regulation horseshoe court and new playground.
New Spa and Retailers Coming to 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, will continue to expand in 2023 in the heart of Albuquerque. Wellness boutique Rainwater Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit, is slated to open in the spring of 2023 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, and La Montañita, New Mexico’s largest locally owned food co-op, will also open locations in Avanyu Plaza in 2023. These celebrated newcomers will join a vibrant roster of local businesses at Avanyu Plaza including 12th Street Tavern, Laguna Burger, Itality Plant Based Foods and Sixty-Six Acres.
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 7-Mile Albuquerque Rail Trail
This mixed-use, $39.5 million urban parkway trail will transform the existing Downtown Rail Corridor and connect the core of downtown Albuquerque with nearby neighborhoods and cultural amenities in a whole new way, providing opportunities for recreation and wellness activities, cultural expression, multi-modal pedestrian transportation and economic enlivenment of historically underdeveloped areas of the city. The 7-mile loop will connect some of Albuquerque’s top destinations, including the Bosque Trail, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, ABQ BioPark Zoo, Historic Old Town, the popular Sawmill District, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Rail Yards and more. Several key railway crossings were completed in 2022, and 2023 will see further progress on this historic collaborative project.
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.