Albuquerque’s art scene is incredibly diverse and vibrant, growing larger and more dynamic every year. All types of art can be appreciated in ABQ, from delicate watercolor paintings to massive bronze sculptures and everything in between.

Many of our art, cultural and scientific institutions are also worth visiting—and many of them are either free or very affordable.

So, if you’re an art lover who is visiting Albuquerque but doesn’t have a sky-high budget, how should you approach navigating the local art scene? Let’s find out.

Look Out For Open Nights

Two people hold wine glasses while looking at art at Lapis Room

Although some galleries or art spaces charge admission, you may find that they also welcome guests for free on opening nights. This is a great way to bring in a crowd, but it's also perfect for art lovers on a budget.

Watch the press and social media for open nights because if they're not free, they may well be heavily discounted or include drinks and snacks for a nominal fee.

Visit Cultural And Art Museums

A view of an exhibit inside the Albuquerque Museum

Photo Credit: Dirt Road Travels

New Mexico is home to over 100 incredible historic, cultural, science and art museums, 41 of which are totally free to enter. If you like art history and want to learn more about its connection to Albuquerque’s colorful past, these are some of the best places you can visit during your time in the city.

The artworks and artifacts in Albuquerque’s museums extend beyond fine art and into jewelry, pottery, ceramics and theater, all of which have close cultural ties to Albuquerque’s history. Taking a more historical perspective on the city’s history can be both mesmerizing and educational!

Have An Open Mindset

An exhibit at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Photo Credit: Jeremy Felipe, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Whether you consider yourself a free spirit or not, taking on a more explorative mindset can help you discover new places and institutions you may not have encountered on a strict schedule.

Experiencing Albuquerque’s art scene on a budget isn’t too difficult when you know where to look – and sometimes, taking a walk and being spontaneous can lead you to the most memorable and exquisite places. Not many of the museums and art galleries in Albuquerque charge entry, and even the ones that do are still affordable – they want people to come in and enjoy the beautiful art they display. Find a list of museums to visit here.

Go To The Albuquerque Public Library

The Albuquerque and Bernalillo County public library system offers a wealth of knowledge on the local art scene as well as the history and cultural relevance of different institutions in the area.

Plus, it has books! A trip to the library is always a good idea, and you can use it as an opportunity to research local artists you may want to explore when roaming about the city. Finding people and places that offer public knowledge is always a good place to start.

Go On A Public Street Art Tour

Two people listen to a tour guide explain a mural

One of the best ways to experience Albuquerque’s rich arts and culture scene on a budget is to walk or bike through its public street art. This city’s public art scene is vibrant and full of life, making it both a visual and experiential feast for the senses. Plus, you get to see a variety of people, architecture and natural scenery along the way. This is ideal if you’re an aspiring street photographer building up your portfolio, as you can shoot and explore at the same time.

Although murals are painted throughout Albuquerque, we recommend moseying through Downtown on foot and enjoying what’s on offer. You’ll spot some of the city’s most iconic and historic public art—all without paying a cent. Whether you’re interested in art or not, this is a great experience to have when touring New Mexico. To learn more about street art in New Mexico, visit

Take An Art Class

People pose in front of their easels while taking a class at Kelly Jo Designs by Wine

Photo Credit: Facebook

You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy being creative, and Albuquerque gives you plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the local scene, even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before. There are numerous classes available, and you can learn the art of glassblowing, paint a pet portrait or a wine glass, or make a mosaic. Alternatively, you can get your hands dirty and do some pottery.

There are also dance classes, mixology classes, and even fly fishing for those who want to try something different.

Enjoy The Albuquerque Art Scene

When traveling through any city or town, immersing yourself in the local art scene can be an enriching and transformative experience. Not only do you get to absorb beautiful and inspiring visual art, but you also experience the privilege of understanding the local culture and history from a deeper perspective.

Albuquerque’s art scene is very accommodating toward inexpensive tours and family-friendly options, making it easy to see art or do a class on a budget!