The holidays are a special time in Albuquerque. Deep crimson chile ristras, brilliantly illuminated storefronts and walkways, and unique events spreading cheer and holiday magic are just a few highlights. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the holidays this year, Albuquerque is the place for you. Here are a few ways to get in the holiday spirit just in time for the New Mexico Bowl.
River of Lights
Experience millions of glowing, sparkling lights and over 150 dazzling light displays, animated sculptures, and a synchronized music light show at New Mexico’s largest walk-through holiday production.
Each November – December at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
ABQ Trolley Co.’s Trolley of Lights Tour
Tis the Season for Christmas trees, luminarias, nutcrackers, eggnog and holiday lights! ABQ Trolley Co. presents: Trolley of Lights - a holiday lights tour. Join ABQ Trolley Co.as they head out to see Albuquerque's holiday lights aglow. The tour departs from Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town and includes highlights like Old Town Plaza Christmas tree and decorations, Rio Grande Blvd., and Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals’ Lights & Luminarias Bike Tour
Join Routes Bicycle Tours as they take you through the heart of Albuquerque, down luminaria-lined avenues in Old Town and past some of the most impressive light displays in the Southwest. Their unique and intimate bike tours are the perfect way to experience the holiday sights, sounds, scents, and magic of New Mexico without the traditional headaches of heavy traffic and slow moving lines.
One of our most treasured holiday traditions in Albuquerque is our cuisine. The official state question of “Red or Green?” is always in season, but is especially fitting during the holidays. Several New Mexican recipes pass from generation to generation as a way to keep holiday traditions alive. Some of our favorite celebratory foods include tamales, posole, chile stew and biscochitos. You can even try some out for yourself! Find unique, New Mexican holiday recipes here.
Learn more about all of these foods and other traditions here.
Traditional Holiday Sights
Throughout New Mexico you will see vibrant red hanging chile peppers called "ristras." These decorations are especially common during the holiday season after a new chile crop has come in during the fall.
Many churches, families and neighborhoods around Albuquerque decorate their dwelling and business exteriors with luminarias for the holidays. The largest display takes place on Christmas Eve in the Old Town Plaza and Country Club neighborhood. Luminarias (sometimes called farolitos) or “little lanterns,” are nothing more than hand-folded brown paper bags filled with sand and a single votive candle. When they line the walkways by the hundreds throughout the plaza, their simple light transforms into an impressive and welcoming glow, leading to the historic San Felipe de Neri Church and its Christmas Eve mass. Luminarias are often used to decorate homes before a holiday gathering or party.
You can find more about Albuquerque holiday traditions here.