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 Spring & Summer 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.
Albuquerque Celebrates 315 Years as a City
In honor of Albuquerque’s 315th Birthday this year, the destination will be partnering with local artists and businesses to host special activities, virtual performances and related experiences. The celebrations will take place April 10-25, 2021.
Major Upgrades to ABQ BioPark
During a recent five-month closure, the Zoo underwent a makeover to enrich animals and boost guest experience. The most noticeable upgrades are the brand-new Birds of the Islands exhibit and the re-imagined Raptor Roost exhibit. A new river otter, frogfish exhibit and coral tank expansion will greet visitors.
ABQ Unveils Development Center Dedicated to Minority-Owned Businesses
In December 2020, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and City Economic Development Director Synthia Jaramillo unveiled the city’s new Minority Business Development Center. The center works with clients on strategies for growth, contracts, certifications, access to capital, all of which will ultimately create more jobs.
Historic Central Avenue Hotel Added to National Register of Historic Places; Set for Major Renovation
Hotel Blue – originally dubbed “Downtowner Motor Inn” – is undergoing $22 million renovation from ARRIVE Hotels & Restaurants. Built in the 1960s, the property will adopt a new name, ARRIVE Albuquerque, upon completion. ARRIVE has plans to convert the ground floor into a new restaurant, bar and pool and anticipates the property will be operational by 2022. Additionally, Hotel Blue was put on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2020.
Albuquerque’s Imperial Inn Motel Gets a New Look
Located near the East Downtown neighborhood, the Imperial Inn Motel will move forward with a major renovation that will transform the space into a major retail and residential space. The 7.6 million renovation is moving forward as the result of a partnership with Palindrome Communities, based in Oregon. The timeline for completion of the project has yet to be announced.
Max-Q at Kirtland Breaks Ground
In January, Kirtland Air Force Base broke 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, including shops, a hotel, restaurants, and office space accessible to the public.
Enormous Expansion Comes to Sandia Resort
Sandia Resort & Casino is currently working on a 75,000-square-foot expansion, which will introduce 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 will also introduce indoor golfing facilities and the addition of widescreen televisions. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2021.
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.
Phase Two of Revel Venue, ABQ's Latest Entertainment Destination
Since its grand opening, Revel’s is in its second phase constructing a 22,500-square-foot concert venue that will hold around 300 guests. This venue will have multiple bars across two levels, a mezzanine and VIP seating. Construction is expected to be complete in 2021.
Plaza Don Luis Adds Wine Tasting Spots and Taproom
At least two wine tastings rooms and a taproom will soon set up shop in Old Town Albuquerque’s Plaza Don Luis, a move that promises to shake up the tourist-heavy district. The new additions include Noisy Water Winery, Sheehan Winery and Outpost Taproom. Renovations at Plaza Don Luis are expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2021. Additionally, a new BBQ restaurant, Fat Ts, opened on the plaza recently.
Work Begins 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 tap room, 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. The visitor center anticipates 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 in 2021. 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
A partnership between Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency and Zydeco 66, LLC, includes a sky bridge connecting to the Albuquerque Convention Center, 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.
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.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Breaks Ground on Retail Expansion Project
The 21,000-square-foot retail expansion at Avanyu Plaza will comprise of 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 Spring 2021 opening date.