Fall is one of the most invigorating seasons in Albuquerque. The cooler temperatures are perfect for exploring the outdoors and savoring ABQ's many comfort foods and beverages. Albuquerque's fall events are spectacular celebrations, whether they include hot air balloons soaring through the skies or intricate Día de los Muertos calaveras. Below are some of the ways that locals and visitors fall in love with Albuquerque all over again every autumn.
Kick off the fall with the New Mexico State Fair, ranked second-best state fair in the nation by SmartAsset.com. Attend PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeos, concerts by the likes of Big & Rich and Kenny Loggins, classic car shows and much more, and find no end to food and attractions on the fairgrounds. Continue the fun and food with the Salsa Fiesta in Old Town--the ultimate salsa celebration, with a homemade salsa competition, children's activities and music by Ryan Montaño and the Salsa All Stars.
¡Globalquerque!, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, brings together musicians from around the world for two days of cultural expression and exchange, with artists at the 2017 festival visiting from countries including Mali, Georgia, Senegal, Venezuela and Korea. The free Global Fiesta, on the second day of the festival, also features educational workshops and performances.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air ballooning event in the world. Watching hundreds of balloons ascend into and then share the skies is a sight like no other; there's a reason visitors come from all over the globe to marvel at the magnificent colorful orbs floating across bright blue skies. The fifth annual Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival, held during the first weekend of the Balloon Fiesta at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, showcases the works of Native artists and features artist demonstrations, traditional dances and Native fusion cuisine.
Halloween offers plenty of opportunities for scares, such as Dragon's House of Horrors and Quarantine: The Curse at Expo New Mexico, the fairgrounds for the New Mexico State Fair. (Throughout the year, you can experience the spooky thrills of the Ghost Tours of Old Town and the Albucreepy Downtown Ghost Walk.) In late October and early November, celebrate Día de los Muertos with the Day of the Tread, a day of charitable bike riding around the city, and the Muertos y Marigold Parade and Celebration, an unforgettable festival for Día de los Muertos, the ancient Mexican tradition honoring loved ones who have died. The Marigold Parade and Celebration has a street parade and food and art vendors; the abundant calavera (skull) artistry and attire are remarkable.
The 2017 dates for the above events are: New Mexico State Fair, Sept. 7-17; Salsa Fiesta, Sept. 9; ¡Globalquerque!, Sept. 22-23; Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?, Oct. 7-15; American Indian Arts Festival, Oct. 7-8; Day of the Tread, Oct. 29; and Marigold Parade and Festival, Nov. 5. Dragon's House of Horrors and Quarantine run throughout October.
Fall Outdoor Activities
October temperatures in Albuquerque average a high of 69 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 46--ideal for enjoying the city's beautiful natural surroundings. Hike along one of the Sandia Mountains' 150+ miles of trails and admire the leaves' changing colors, or take the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, the longest tramway in North America. Or head south: With its bigtooth maples and Gambel oaks, the 4.3-mile Fourth of July Trail in the Cibola National Forest south of Albuquerque has some of the most magnificent fall colors in New Mexico.
The Rio Grande runs through western Albuquerque and is another place where you can admire the fall colors, whether you're biking along the 16-mile Paseo del Bosque Trail, wandering through the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden and Zoo, or competing in the Duke City Marathon (Oct. 22).
Fall Comfort Food and Drinks
When the temperatures drop, there are few things as gratifying as a hearty meal or toasty beverage. To sample award-winning wines in a beautiful setting, visit the tasting room at Casa Rondeña Winery. The Range Café has irresistible offerings such as New Mexico mac and cheese, plus a dessert menu heaping with all sorts of treats. Authentic New Mexican cuisine is always comfort food; try the chile con carne enchiladas at El Pinto or the breakfast sopaipilla sliders at Sadie's of New Mexico. Piñon Coffee's traditional piñon coffee has the flavoring of the piñon--the nut produced by the state tree, the Piñon Pine--producing an indelible flavor that has been a New Mexico favorite for decades.