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Albuquerque Holiday Traditions, Activities and Events

ABQ365 - Luminarias PromoNew Mexico's largest city observes the holiday season with notable style and festivities. Take part in the holiday celebration with coupons, centuries-old traditions and numerous events that offer something for everyone.

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New Mexican Holiday Traditions


Old Town Luminarias

Luminarias are a quintessential component of the holiday season in Albuquerque. These simple brown paper bags come alive when they are partially filled with sand and a single votive candle. When the candles are lit and the bags are lined up together, they create a beautiful ambiance welcoming guests into homes and neighborhoods during the holiday season. A fun way to experience a little bit of Albuquerque’s holiday traditions is to create luminarias to line your driveways, sidewalks and maybe even your roof at home.

The annual Old Town Luminaria Tour on December 24th is not to be missed.

Watch our special two minute holiday video about Luminarias, "Life of a Brown Paper Bag."

Native American Dancing and Pueblo Feast Days

Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on weekends and enjoy Native American dancing and art demonstrations, you can also take part in baking bread and making art. The holidays are a wonderful time to visit the neighboring pueblos, many of them hold feast day celebrations in November and December.  View more information and see the schedule here.

Albuquerque Holiday Activities


Albuquerque has the biggest and best shopping in the entire state with three premier malls and many special shopping areas and specialty stores. Whether you have been to Albuquerque or not, there is something for everyone from traditional Southwestern jewelry and pottery to contemporary designs of paintings, sculpture and more.

Stroll through two of Albuquerque’s historic neighborhoods and shop in unique local shops on two consecutive days.
  • The Nob Hill Shop & Stroll on Thursday, December 1 includes shopping and food specials, family entertainment, and photos with Santa.
  • The Old Town Holiday Stroll on Friday, December 2 features live entertainment, dancers, family activities, Santa Claus and the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis. 
  • The Twinkle Light Parade on Saturday, December 3 kick off your holiday season with 100 twinkling floats, vehicles, schools and animal groups all joining the tradition.


Chiles And we can’t forget the food. Food is so essential to our identity that our state even has a state question, “Red or green?” which refers to the type of chile you prefer on your dish at a restaurant. The delicious flavors of New Mexico’s cuisine make perfect gifts for any time of year, but are especially popular at the holidays to add a little spice to the winter months - products like New Mexican green chile, dried red chile powder, more types of salsa than you can imagine, and our tasty State Cookie, the biscochito.

The festive season brings traditional New Mexican culinary specialties to the forefront with tamales, posole, and biscochitos on every table.

Treat yourself to a special holiday dinner at one of Albuquerque's diverse dining establishments.

Add a taste of Albuquerque to your holiday season with traditional New Mexican recipes.

Outdoor Activities

Celebrate winter with a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway or take a day trip from Albuquerque for skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking and snowshoeing in the surrounding mountains. Keep an eye on the weather conditions at Sandia Peak Ski Area if you're looking for snow sports less than 30 minutes from Albuquerque! 

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Special Holiday Events

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